It is a tricky one, pricing your services. Possibly the biggest challenge a business owner faces. What do you do? Cut prices to win over competition? But what if each competitor entering the market is doing the same thing? Driving prices lower means losing money on each job.
I had clients in the past tell me my rates should be higher, and others say anyone can go to one of the freelance websites and find an army of virtual assistants charging much, much less. Amidst the rise of the virtual office support, clients need to re-think hiring a low cost virtual assistant. A lot of business owners trying to cut cost, can end up with a worse scenario, where virtual assistant collaborations have gone terribly wrong.
And figuring out how much to charge for your VA services is critical to the success of your business: there are many factors to consider,including the complexity of the task, deadline/turnaround requirements, and special skills required.
Some tips for VAs:
- Don’t under sell yourself: Many VAs have the misconception that offering lower prices will mean more work. This is not always true. If you continually under-price your services, you will find yourself working long hours with very little income to show for it. I did that mistake in the past.
- Per hour vs. per project: Many VAs use a combination of hourly and per-project pricing. If you decide to charge on a per-project basis, you should still have an idea of the hourly equivalent to properly gauge your profitability.
- Efficiency: As you build your virtual portfolio, you may find that it takes less time to complete assignments. At this point, you may consider raising your fees.
- Repeat clients: A great way to maintain clients and keep your virtual work log full, is to offer discounts. A client with three projects will get a more cost effective deal by spreading them out over a few weeks or even months. By offering a discount to contract all three, you make your client happy, while providing yourself with a longer assignment and the opportunity to build a lasting relationship.
There are other packages like a retainer fee… and other variables too like the market, the niche ….
Here’s a relevant blog: Why you’re not charging what you’re worth… and what to do about it – from Flying Solo
And another one from the Virtual Assistance Professional magazine: Your VA services are too expensive aren’t they?
Each virtual assistant business is unique and services vary, there are no set rules on developing a fee structure. Clients are always happy to pay for a service that met or exceeded what they expected, the return on their business is also tangible….so rates up? :)