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

Knowing your Virtual Assistant rates is the first step to master before creating your service packages. There’s a lot of confusion and miscommunication around this topic. That’s why I wrote this VA Must-Reads post—to help you understand the importance of your Virtual Assistant rates.

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

When starting a business, the most important thing to know is how much 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 this, you’re losing money. This is the first thing you should figure out as part of your Virtual Assistant Rates, especially if it’s your livelihood.

Please don’t ask someone else what to charge for your services – only you know all the facts. You need to do the work to figure out your unique baseline or minimum Virtual Assistant rates you need to charge. Otherwise, you may not be in business long.

It’s different for everyone. In fact, if I would have followed someone’s advice I would have gone out of business fast. The rate they told me to charge was half of my baseline! 

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 sell your services (offers).

  • Hourly
    • You’re selling time
  • Packages
    • You’re selling expertise
  • Projects
    • You’re building, creating, or setting up something, and you’re paid for your expertise

Your baseline rate factors into all these – even if you’re offering packages or projects, you’re still working by the hour to deliver them. 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
  • Your experience

So… if you don’t know your baseline rate, please take the time to figure it out. Remember, if you’re looking to build a profitable freedom-based 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 will 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 doing 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 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 charge your Virtual Assistant rates by the hour and track your time. This is similar to an attorney who charges a retainer to give 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 bill weekly or monthly to ensure you’re making enough.

Packages Or Projects

Packages (service packages) are expertise-based and not based on hours. I recommend that all Virtual Assistants eventually move to them, as they will run out of hours to sell and hit an income ceiling. You can earn more money and free up your time by being paid for your expertise instead of your time. There are so many pitfalls to selling time!

An example of a service package is a 1-page WordPress website. It includes everything you get and has a fixed price. Projects are based on scope. Scope means what you’re creating and delivering to the client, and it is always unique. The difference between a project and a package is that 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
  • They’re easier to market and sell
  • Packages can earn your more $$

I moved to packages when I was tired of tracking my time and wanted to make more money. For some reason, people are willing to pay you less for your time than for your expertise. It’s because they’re not really clear on what they’re getting for their money. There is no clear deliverable for what they’re buying – only time.

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
  • Many people confuse packages with retainers – they are NOT the same thing
  • You can’t package what you don’t know
  • You can package ANY expertise when you specialize

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 service packages, making 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

Bonus Tip: Don’t Solve Problems For Free!

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

Many times, we help them by spending time and energy assessing the issue and 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 or Consults 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 detail 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 clarify 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

P.S. Ready to be paid for your expertise and not your time? Join my Free Packaging Masterclass! This on-demand class will walk you through how to package any expertise using my proven system. Learn at your own pace and discover how to create service packages that maximize your income and free up your time. Don’t miss out—sign up now and start transforming your business today!

Susan Mershon
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  1. Shanicia

    I must say, I really appreciate this. Not only did you provide free information, you provided quality and quantity information. (Lol, hope that made sense) You didn’t skimp on the information given, and I’m so grateful. Helped me a lot.

    • Susan Mershon

      Hey Shanicia, thank you so much for the kind words and for taking the time to comment. So happy that you’ve found the information useful.

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