The Ultimate VA Success Guide: How To Calculate Your Virtual Assistant Rates + Create Packages

Knowing your Virtual Assistant rates is the first step you need to master before you create your service packages. However, there is a lot of confusion and miscommunication in regard to this topic. That’s why I wrote this VA Must-Reads post which will help you get clarity about your Virtual Assistant rates’ importance.

Virtual Assistant Rates Step 1: What Is Your Baseline Rate?

The most important thing to know when going into business for yourself is how much do you need to make. This is what I call your baseline rate – the minimum you can charge to keep the lights on. If you charge less than your baseline rate, you’re losing money. To me, this is the very first thing you should figure out as part of your Virtual Assistant Rates, especially if it’s going to be your livelihood.

Please don’t ask someone else what to charge for your services – only you know all the facts. I’ve seen people give a suggested rate which is fine but do the work to figure out your unique baseline or minimum Virtual Assistant rates you want to charge. Otherwise, you may not be in business long.

The VA Industry is NOT a cookie-cutter industry – it’s NOT one size fits all when it comes to what you charge, what you offer, or how. That’s the beauty – you choose what works for YOU.

It’s also important to be clear on how you’re going to charge for your services (offers).

  • Hourly
    • You’re being paid for your time
  • Packages
    • You’re being paid for your expertise
  • Projects
    • You’re building or launching something that is short term

Your baseline rate factors into all of these – even if you’re offering packages or projects, you’re still working by the hour even if you’re not paid by it. There are many pieces to the “what do I charge” question. Your Virtual Assistant rates are dependent on:

  • Your expertise
  • Your baseline rate
  • Your offers

So… if you don’t know your baseline rate, please take the time to figure it out. Remember, if you’re looking to start and grow a profitable business, it all starts with how much you need and want to earn. You can find out more in my post Know Your Virtual Assistant Baseline Rate So You Don’t Have A Hard Time Paying Your Bills! I walk you through

  • Your numbers
  • How to find your baseline rate
  • Examples of rates by expertise

Virtual Assistant Rates Step 2: Are You Being Paid For Your Time or Expertise?

A common misconception is that your workload is based on the number of clients you have… but that’s not the case at all. It’s based on either:

  • The number of hours you bill (billable hours)
    • This is relevant if you’re charging by the hour (retainers).
  • Or… the number of packages or projects you’ve sold
    • This is relevant if you’re selling service packages or do project-based work.

Remember it’s not a smart business decision to put all your eggs in one basket and work for only one client regardless of how much you work for them. It’s the same thing as having a JOB. You should work with multiple clients which equals multiple revenue streams.

Billable Hours

You’re working off billable hours if you’re charging your Virtual Assistant rates by the hour and tracking your time. This is similar to say an attorney who charges a retainer to give out legal advice. Each time you ask them a question they deduct the amount of time it took to answer it from the retainer. Once you’ve used up the hours you have to buy another retainer.

You need to track the number of hours you’re billing either weekly or monthly to be sure you’re making enough.

Packages Or Projects

Packages (service packages) are expertise-based and are NOT based on hours. They are what I recommend all Virtual Assistants eventually move to as you will run out of hours to sell and hit an income ceiling. By being paid for your expertise instead of your time you have the ability to earn more money and free up your time.

An example of a service package is a 1-Page WordPress website. It includes everything you get and a fixed price. Projects are based on scope. Scope means what you’re creating and delivering to the client and they are always unique. The difference between a project and a package is you define the scope for a package and the client defines the scope for a project.

With projects, like packages you’re being paid for your expertise, not your time. An example of a project would be the launch of a new course. Tracking projects and packages are similar, it’s based on the number sold per month or quarter.

In my blog post, The 3 Virtual Assistant Pricing Methods That Will Help You Start + Grow Your Business I share more in-depth details including:

  • Creating retainers
  • Pricing packages and projects
  • Tracking your numbers

Virtual Assistant Rates Step 3: Are You Ready To Move To VA Packages?

As I mentioned above, you’ll want to move away from selling your time (retainers) to selling your expertise (packages) as soon as you can. Why? Because:

  • You’ll be paid more for your expertise than your time
  • Sooner or later, you will run out of time to sell and hit an income ceiling
  • You won’t have to track your time anymore
  • Packages can earn your more $$

I moved to packages when I got tired of tracking my time and I wanted to make more money. For some reason, people are willing to pay you less for your time than for your expertise. Maybe it’s because they’re not really clear on what they’re getting for their money.

Packages make it easy for your clients to understand what they’re paying for and what they’re getting.  No surprises included! A few things you should know about packages first:

  • They are not based on time or hours
  • They are expertise based
  • It’s difficult to package admin tasks
  • Many people confuse packages with retainers – they are NOT the same thing
  • You can’t package what you don’t know

Now that you’ve got an idea of what packages are all about – let’s talk about what you need to know to create your own service packages. I have a simple system that I designed based on my own service packages that make it easy to create and price almost any expertise.

In my blog post Create Virtual Assistant Packages Based On Your Unique Expertise + Earn More $$$ I walk you through the process of creating your own including:

  • Step by step guide
  • Real-life examples
  • Tips on pricing, and how your Virtual Assistant rates play a role in it

If you are looking for in-depth training on how to create your service packages, calculate your baseline rate, and so much more, I recommend you have a look at my Virtual Assistant Success Training.

Bonus Tip: Don’t Solve Problems For Free!

I wanted to include this bonus tip about creating what I call Audit Packages. They’re not the same as a service package, audit packages are used when a client or prospect asks your help to “troubleshoot” an issue. It’s not uncommon for clients to ask for your help with something that is out of their area of expertise, like a piece of technology for example.

Many times, we just help them by spending time and energy assessing the issue then either fixing it or telling them how it can be fixed. That’s all fine and good, except many times we don’t charge for it or we’re only charging them our standard Virtual Assistant rates not one based on our specific ability to troubleshoot and solve the problem.

Audits are a great way to get paid for your expertise to help solve your client’s or prospective client’s problems. In my blog post Are You Solving Problems For Free? Then Create Your Virtual Assistant Audit Packages Now! I go into more details about creating and offering audit packages including:

  • Real-life examples
  • Tips on pricing

Did The Ultimate VA Success Guide: How To Calculate Your Virtual Assistant Rates + Create Packages help you get more clarity about your rates? Do you need further explanations? Please let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.

Thanks for reading – Susan

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Written by Susan Mershon

Susan Mershon started The Techie Mentor™ in 2013 to teach her no-fluff approach to the strategies and skills that Virtual Assistants need to create, build and grow a profitable and sustainable business.

With a strong base in project management, Susan brings her love of systems and teaching to offer in-depth training and mentoring to new and experienced Virtual Assistants.

She’s taught thousands of Virtual Assistants her proven strategies and systems for getting started, getting clients, and charging premium rates that can earn them 4x more than typical admin skills.

To learn more about her, how she’s different, and what she offers, please go to The Techie Mentor website.

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