How Should a Virtual Assistant Set Rates?

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There are a lot of factors to consider as you set your rates as a virtual assistant. It's very easy to think that you're working from home, and therefore your overhead is low and you should charge less.

But this can be a huge mistake. Your time is still extremely valuable, and you'll be putting a lot of hard work into your business, not just in helping your clients, but in finding them in the first place. Your rates need to cover everything you do.

Virtual assistant rates range from $15-75 an hour, but this depends on a lot of factors. Take a look at who you are targeting. If you're targeting lawyers, you'll be charging more than if you are targeting other home businesses. The work is quite simply more specialized, and the market can generally pay more.

You can do a general job of this by checking out what your competition is charging. Find other virtual assistants who are targeting a market as similar as possible to yours. You may have to contact them, acting as a potential customer to get a rate quote, or their rates may be right on their websites. This is a great starting point, provided you are targeting similar markets and have similar skills.

We can take a look at some of the basics right now.

Every home business has some basic factors to consider when setting prices. These will help you to figure out what it will take for you to really earn enough to make your efforts worth your while. Too small a profit really won't be.

Your Time

A lot of people new to home business do not value this highly enough. If you've done office work outside the home, what did you earn? Average it out per hour. Then remember that the job quite likely came with benefits, such as medical, dental, paid time off and so forth. The only way you're getting those with a home business is if either your spouse's job offers them or you provide them yourself.

Your Equipment

It all costs money, and you may have to spend some to get all the equipment you should have. You may not have to get a fax machine, eFax and similar services may do the job quite well enough, but other things you will need to buy. Reference materials for your specialities. Appropriate software. A business phone line.

Marketing

You may or may not know much about the Internet, but there is one simple rule: Build it and they will come just ain't so.

You will have to market yourself and your business. You'll want business cards. Flyers, possibly, or brochures. And most definitely a website and you'll have to market that too, quite possibly using pay per click advertising. It costs money to do these things. Not to mention the time it takes to really get things going. Keep remembering that your time is valuable.

Taxes

Yes, you're going to have to think about taxes. If you're losing money it can be a writeoff, but if you're earning you have a lot to think about. Such as paying quarterly estimated taxes. But think positive. If you're having to pay quarterly, it means you're doing something right. But keep in mind that when you were employed by someone else, they paid a part of it.

Insurance

Business insurance may be a good idea. It's protection in case of serious problems. But you should also be thinking about how your business may impact your needs for your homeowners or renters insurance, car insurance and so forth.

Mortgage/Rent

You may be able to write off a part of these on your taxes, but that also means you can think of them as one of your business expenses. You'll want to talk to a tax professional about how these are impacted on your taxes.

Utilities

Similarly, you can consider some of your utilities to be business-related expenses. Your home office uses electricity, after all. And that phone line? What about the Internet connection? Keep asking your tax professional questions.

Travel/Transportation

Do you do any driving in the course of your virtual assitant work? Meet with clients? Even travel long distances on rare occasions? Then you may have some costs of business to calculate in there.

Your Target Market

As I said above, your target market matters. You can charge more for some areas than others.

Each of these will matter as you set your rates. The fun part is how flexible you can be. You can charge a certain amount for jobs that will be done regularly and have monthly rates for that, while you have hourly rates for individual projects. Other items can be flat rate, such as logo design. And of course, don't forget rates for when the client is in a rush. If they want you to hurry, they need to be willing to pay for that.

Even with set rates, be willing to talk to clients who want something special set up. If it sounds good, go for it. But don't let the bargain hunters get you down. Bargain hunters are notoriously difficult clients and can eat up more of your time while paying you less. If someone wants you to drop your rates too far, they probably are not worth your time.

After all, your time is valuable.

Back to virtual assistant main page.

 

More Virtual Assistant Articles

How Do You Decide Which Virtual Assistant Services to Offer?
You don't have to do it all as a virtual assistant. Pick the services that you're going to offer as you get your start.

Creating Your Virtual Assistant Niche
Choosing your target market can make a huge difference in your success as a virtual assistant.



Copyright © 2003-2017 Stephanie Foster unless otherwise indicated

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