“How much does a VA cost* and is there normally a minimum number of hours? E.g. could you get someone to do an hour every now and then / as you can afford it?”
This was asked at a forum I participate in recently and it is a common question. I thought I’d share my answer with you all.
There is no set hard and fast rule with VAs. They originally came from the home-based secretarial field and have evolved from there. Some work with an hourly rate, some work with monthly retainers. Some specialise in particular service offerings, or industries, and others are generalists. There is no VA who can do everything but there are VAs who can do a lot of different things. Rates will vary according to their experience and skillset and their cost of living. So if they live here in Australia their rates will reflect that, if in another country then their rates relate to that country generally. There may be additional things that make it important for a business owner to engage the services of a VA in their own country and these things may relate to protection of IP, the need to work in the same timezone, being covered by legal or tax laws, cultural understandings including the use of local language, etc.
There is a misconception here in Australia that if someone engages a VA here they are engaging an employee, which is incorrect. A VA is an independent contractor and works with multiple clients, not one. So that means you aren’t liable for super, tax, leave, etc as Sandra mentions above. If any business owner felt the need to have someone ‘fulltime’ they would need to either engage an employee and therefore have all those other things to pay out for, or engage 2, 3 or more VAs who specialise in various service offerings.
So, in short, yes you could engage a VA for just an hour a week if you wanted to, or even on an ad-hoc basis. I have a few clients who have been with me for over 15 years and only use my services on an occasional basis.
*For those in Australia engaging an Australian VA rates will often start at around $30AUD per hour for basic work and $48+ per hour for more involved work.