Regularly on the VA forums, and sometimes via direct email, I see this question from new VAs. They have worked out what services they are going to provide, have begun seeking ways to network and find new clients but then when they get asked ‘how much?’ they get stuck.
That’s ok, we’ve all been there in some form or another.
What did I do when I was treading this same path 15 years ago? I looked at what I was earning the previous year in a corporate job.
I knew that if I was going to make this business work and not have to go back to a ‘job’ then my goal would have to be to earn a similar income. I was aware that I would have more taxable expenses and because I was now working at home I’d have less travel expenses and wouldn’t have to keep buying new clothes or even lunch. So I could probably get away with earning a bit less per week and still be ok.
I created a budget for the type of income I would need weekly and used that as a guide for what I could not go below. Then I created a spreadsheet and looked at what my projected annual income would be. From there I counted up the amount of public holidays and leave days I was entitled to. I deducted this from the number of working days in a year and then broke that down to the number of working hours. I then divided this figure into the annual income to come out with a base charge rate for my business and rounded up to the nearest dollar, or more likely the nearest $5 or $10. Periodically I review this and increase it as my expenses increase.
This is just a very simplified way of doing it. I have a formula in my book “How To Become a Virtual Assistant” that is more detailed in Section 4 on “How Do I Charge and Where Are the Clients?”
After going through that formula and setting your rates, it’s probably a good idea to do a bit of market research in your area to find out what the ‘going rate’ is for similar services nearby. It’s important that you don’t set rates that are too low as this can cause damage to your business and the industry. Make sure you read my article about this from a couple of weeks ago.