How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Cost?

The question I am most frequently asked is “how much does a Virtual Assistant cost?” I always “hate” this question because I wholeheartedly believe a Virtual Assistant is not a cost, but rather an investment, but I will address that at another time.

dollarI don’t know how many times I have seen RFPs (Request for Proposals) come through the Virtual Assistant Associations job boards where the amount of money being offered is a fraction of what should be offered. In the same regard I have seen entrepreneurs pay way too much for Virtual Assistants.

I have a very strong opinion when it comes to pricing and Virtual Assistants and I want to stress this is my opinion only, but it is based on experience of what works and what should be expected!

Virtual Assistants range in price from $25 to $75 per hour and everything in between (in fact I have even seen Virtual Assistants that charge more than this and also some who charge less than this)! However I believe we need to stop making decisions based on hourly costs of a VA. Instead I encourage you to figure out your budget and figure out your list of tasks and do one of two things:

A – Here is my list of tasks, approximately how much do you think that will cost me each month on average

B – Here is my budget, here is my list – how much of that list can I get each month for my business.

This will allow you to compare apples to apples so to speak. The problem with Virtual Assistants and pricing is often due to inexperience as a business owner they pick a number from the air or they charge a price because that seems to be what everyone else is charging.

Consider this … if I find you a $25 per hour VA and they take 4 hours to do a project a $75 an hour VA would take an hour to complete – who is further ahead??

Stop making decisions based on hourly prices. Use one of my two strategies and please do your due diligence. If you are considering working with a Virtual Assistant ask them how long on average is takes them to do a newsletter as an example.

I know as a Virtual Assistant I used to scare people away when I told them I charge $55 per hour, but on average it takes me 30 minutes to an hour to do a newsletter. I have worked with a Virtual Assistant before who was charging $25 per hour and it took them almost 3 hours each time to do the newsletter. Bottom line don’t be afraid to ask how long it takes them to do projects or better yet ask their existing clients if they feel the time charged each month for tasks is fair based on the hourly rate.

One last point I would like to make … I am not at all suggesting higher priced VAs are faster at getting things done. I know $25 per hour VAs that are really fast and $75 per hour VAs who are not! All I am suggesting is please, please do your homework!

Help, I can’t afford a Virtual Assistant!

Getting your first Virtual Assistant can be very scary, I get it! It’s easy to simply say “I can’t afford it” rather than look for ways you can afford it. We convince ourselves when we have more money we will get one, but the more money often doesn’t seem to come and there is one very good reason for that. You are staying stuck in the statement of “I can’t afford it” rather than changing it to “how can I afford it.”

465239See here’s a little secret I am going to share with you … having a Virtual Assistant is definitely an investment, but it is probably one of the biggest ones that can have a positive return on investment. Done properly you will soon see your business can grow and prosper with a Virtual Assistant and it will be so much more than the cost or expense you see it as right now.

Think about it for just one second … how much time are you wasting right now on any number of the following:

  • Trying to figure out how to do things, especially technological things
  • Tasks you dislike doing so much they get put off until it is almost too late
  • Anything but the money-generating tasks and so at the end of the day your income for the day is near zero
  • Working endless hours in the evenings and weekends just to “keep up” and as a result you are starting to miss out on some of the things you would really love to be doing (especially with family and friends)

So hopefully you are starting to realize that there is a solution. There is a better way. Let me share with you three simple ways you can budget for a Virtual Assistant in 2016 without feeling you are going to break the bank.

Start Small

You don’t have to start with a really big budget when it comes to a lot of Virtual Assistants. With a lot of Virtual Assistants you can sign for as little as 5 or 10 hours a month. And here is the interesting thing … Virtual Assistants can get a lot more done in those 5 or 10 hours than you think!

Some Virtual Assistants are even open to working on an even smaller budget such as a project basis or an hourly basis for a single project as a “test” to show you what they are capable of. I say just go and do it to “get your feet wet.” If this is the way you want to go then think about something you have on your plate right now and experiment with the Virtual Assistant experience. Of course there are a lot of benefits to signing a long-term contract and it does open more doors, but just try it I know you will like it!

Commit to Increasing Your Sales

The biggest mistake I see entrepreneurs making is they hire a Virtual Assistant and then only look at it as getting back some of their time. This may be true in the long run, but in the short term when you initially work with your Virtual Assistant don’t change the number of hours you work, but instead change the way you work. For example, if you contract with a Virtual Assistant for 5 hours a month then commit to using an additional 5 hours a month for sales calls or attend a new networking event. You must use this newly “found” time in a productive manner that will affect your bottom line. When you can increase your income because you use the hours to increase sales you will not notice the cost of the Virtual Assistant as much because your bottom line will stay the same or increase.

Let me give you a little more clarity. What does one new client mean to your business on a monthly basis? With 5-10 hours of Virtual Assistant services you are looking at somewhere in the neighbourhood of $200-$500. For most one new client will mean more than this amount of money and I am sure if you dedicated 5-10 hours each month on this very thing you could increase your sales by the amount of the cost of your Virtual Assistant quite easily.

Hire for Automation

Another mistake many entrepreneurs make is they delegate tasks that could easily be automated. A good example is your client intake process. Does every step of this process need to be handled by a person because it is different every time? The answer is probably not. There are quite likely many aspects that are the same every single time. Start to look for these patterns and ask your Virtual Assistant which ways they can be automated.

A great example I use with every one of my clients is scheduling. This is one of the first things I suggest getting automated if it isn’t already. I personally use TimeTrade, but there are a number of other options out there. I (as well as many of my clients) used to spend a lot of time going back and forth with clients to try to schedule appointments. Now I simply share my online calendar and it does everything for me. My clients invest the time in the beginning to have it set up, but then once it is set up there is no more (or very little) investment of time from either my clients or myself as their Virtual Assistant.

So now that I have given you a few ideas of ways you truly can afford a Virtual Assistant, it is my hope for each one of you that you will look differently at 2016 and stop procrastinating. You can afford a Virtual Assistant and I am sure once you do you will be exactly like many of my clients and wonder why you waited so long.

For those of you ready to treat yourself to a Virtual Assistant, I would love to chat with you and help you work through exactly which tasks on your plate are best outsourced. Click here to schedule a complimentary 30 minute VA Q&A using my online schedule!