Virtual Assistants’ Hourly rates vs. Packages: A Complete Breakdown
When you first begin your career as a virtual assistant (VA), you might not know what you're truly capable of. You’re not quite sure yet how long it takes you to finish certain tasks or how efficient you are at handling certain things than others. This is very nerve-wracking for many VA’s as they do not know how much they should charge and how. Hence, we are here to give you a breakdown of the two main styles of pricing for us VA’s: Hourly vs. Packages.
How long does it take you to write an 800-word essay about your favorite band or food? You can probably do it in less than two hours, right? Plus, you can be sure of the quality of your work as you will find it to be quite easy. Now, can you do the same thing in the same amount of time if the essay was about the trade policy of a foreign country you’ve never heard of? Can you also vouch for the quality of your work afterward with the same amount of confidence? Probably not.
This is where hourly pricing for your services comes in handy. As you are not quite sure how long each project will take you, you should charge by the hour. You wouldn’t want to work 18 hours on a project that will earn you only $15, right? It’s also straight to the point and leaves no room for confusion between you and your client as they will pay you for the set amount of time you work.
If, however, the task you are assigned is something you have expertise in, then you should have an internalized hourly rate. This means knowing exactly how much your effort’s going to be worth in a project per hour. For example, if you are an expert website builder, but you know that the client’s extravagant requests will take you around five hours to complete, then your internalized hourly rate would be around $5 per hour. Hence, you will charge them $200 for completing the task. This also serves as your basis when it comes to making packages, so do not ever sell yourself short!
Most VA’s also keep their minimum internalized hourly rate a secret from their clients as this makes things more professional and avoids the chances of having arguments over the prices. We recommend having an internalized hourly rate of $5 to $8 for starters VA.
Lastly, hourly rates help you especially if you are new to this field to take an estimate of how long tasks will take you. Once, you’ve gotten the hang of it, then you can raise your hourly rates based on demand, and the quality of your skills.
Hourly rates are great if you can do things for the same amount of time forever, but as VA’s we all know that our skills vastly improve over time! Setting up a website that would’ve taken you 5 hours back then will only take you 2 hours now, or organizing a webinar takes you only an hour to set up after doing it for some time. Hence, the number of hours that clients need from you drastically becomes lessened over time.
This is where packages come in. Instead of getting paid based on the hours of work you’ve spent, packages allow you to be paid based on the quality or amount of work you submit. This way, you don’t get the short end of the stick for doing a good job.
Packages are usually sorted by month. For example, you can a basic package wherein you will offer a wide array of related services such as email management, Facebook management, Facebook ads, and/or Instagram management to content creators for only $350 per month. Then you could add more complex services such as website building and accounting in a second package for $600 per month. You could also make sort of a premium package that combines all of your most valuable and needed services and charge a set price such as $1000 per month.
Remember that when you switch to packages, you now have goods that can be delivered to clients. Whether it’s a product such as websites, or services like administration, you are now charging them to get access to your quality service or product.
It’s hard to estimate your prices at first, but that is why starting with hourly rates is recommended as you can gauge your skills and see yourself get better with tasks over time. Hourly rates offer a lot of flexibility and chances to explore yourself as a VA. Packages, on the other hand, make you more established among clients. Thus, knowing that you are charging the right prices for your products and services, will make sure that clients will avail of your packages all the time no matter which kind of pricing you are using.