Rates – Pricing – what do you charge?
One of the hardest things when you become a VA is to decide what rates you are going to charge. The important thing is not to short-change yourself and instead consider the value you add to your clients.
You can charge by the hour, per project or through a monthly retainer.
It helps to know what you can do – and how long various tasks are likely to take you.
This all gets easier over time.
You get to know what tasks you are best suited to (so you can promote those more strongly in your marketing).
You learn to track your time and get to know precise (and approximate) times for how long it takes you to do specific tasks.
You become more productive as you get to know the time-saving tips and tricks of your computer tools and applications.
Use Excel to help you work out the numbers.
Create a spreadsheet and list all the common tasks you get asked (or may get asked) to do by a client.
Assign each task a time you know or think it takes to complete it. You can segment them if it helps to build a more accurate picture.
For example, for proofreading a document you could break that down into (i) proofread 10 pages, (ii) proofread 20 pages or (iii) proofread 30+ pages.
Create a column for ‘Quantity’ (the number of times that task is needed) and one for ‘total hours’.
When a client asks you to work on a project you can quickly calculate how much of your time it’s likely to take.
If you work on an hourly rate, you can then multiply the ‘total hours’ by the hourly rate. That gives you the likely fee you should charge.
It’s just a short step up to using that information to create a proposal (should one be required) with a neat, professional document.
And, of course, you can use Excel to record your money in and your money out.
What should you list?
When you are self-employed, freelance or running your own business it’s worth remembering what you may have given up from when you were working in a company:
- Holiday pay
- Sick pay
- Maternity leave
- National Insurance and tax sorted for you
- A desk, stationery, phone, photocopier, fax and other equipment
- Petrol and mileage
- Utilities including broadband, phone lines, water, heating, electricity
- Free coffee and tea
- Training, network meetings and Personal Development
- Guaranteed hours
- Security of income
If you work from home you will have overheads to cover – your phone, broadband, heating, water, lighting and electricity, plus all your stationery.
It’s important to weigh that all up when you set your charges.
And, of course, if you offer specialist VA services – such as website tech or Social Media marketing – you can add that into the money mix, too.
Using Excel can help to work it all out so you know where you are – and can set your charges with confidence.
How do you decide what to charge? Do let me know in the comments below.