Odd term, I know. But that’s what I saw recently in a forum. A guy wanted to buy a VA for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. He asked for the monthly rate. He was posting via a job forum because he wanted to get the VA direct rather than through an agency which doubles the charges (his words, not mine).
That made me wonder if people think engaging a VA through a VA Network means they’re paying higher rates and I want to let you all know that ‘no, you’re not’. When a Virtual Assistant registers with a VA Network, they’re paying an annual subscription fee to belong to an industry based group. That group or network manages the website and helps to promote the industry and their members through the funds that have been received by their paying members. At no time does the network charge clients for the right to search through their listings, website or for contacting a VA direct. So, you can engage a VA without paying agency fees.
The situation is quite different if going through an agency. Generally an agency is the employer of the VA in which case they are probably better called a ‘virtual worker’ rather than a Virtual Assistant. VAs are self-employed business operators, not employees. The agency sets the fee to be charged, selects which one of their virtual workers will be working on the job and invoices the client. They then pay their employee. So while you might have direct communication with the virtual worker, they’re actually employed by the agency. As I’ve not worked for an agency I don’t know how long you can be with clients. I do know as a self-employed Virtual Assistant that I have serviced several clients over a period of many years and I get to choose which hours I work, what I charge, and the type of work I want to do. I enjoy the working relationships I have with my clients and the work that I do for them too.
If you are working with an agency do you know what you are being charged out at? Are you under a contract that says you can’t source your own clients? Are you really being paid what you’re worth? Something to think about. The internet gives us a lot of flexibility and choices and it’s worth doing the research before committing to an agency – either as a VA or as a client.