How is a virtual assistant salary put together, and how is it structured?
Well, the answer really depends on what kind of business set-up you have. As a starting point, though, remember that there are two main ways to charge a client – either an hourly rate or a package deal – and both have their place.
Ready to settle the great rate debate once and for all? Let’s dive in.
Explain hourly rates versus package deals to me
So, on paper:
A virtual assistant hourly rate is where you send an invoice for pre-agreed hours you have worked, post-operatively, or for the hours you are booked on a pre-paid retainer basis. These hours can differ each billing period and may scale up and down based on your availability, the workload – or both.
A package offering is when you charge a set price for deliverables and scope that are clearly defined. There’s one set price for anything included in the package, with any additional ad-hoc services billed separately. That means changing the price on a package deal is generally a no-go without prior discussion and approval with the client.
Which is better for building a healthy virtual assistant salary? Well, there are multiple scenarios where either option could work, and the best choice really depends on a couple of factors:
- First, the business setup you have. Australian VAs and OBMs who have structured their skillset into a few select offerings might find, for example, that packages are a more cost-efficient way for them to ‘round up’ and sell what it is that they do. Those who prefer a virtual assistant hourly rate may do so because they don’t want to be tied too heavily to a specific type of task or role (or can’t predict the workload!).
- Secondly, what does your client actually need? Remember, it’s part of the scope of your engagement to help advise them on what the best outcome would be for any given problem. Part of taking the weight off their shoulders is helping them to see the chaff from the wheat – this might mean taking a birds-eye view of their operations to provide a suggestion that is actually beneficial for them (and more cost-effective in the long run).
Pros and cons of different virtual assistant rates in Australia
Of course, there are pros and cons to each offering, and that’s why it’s important to think of what will be most helpful to you and how you’ve structured your business.
Generally, hourly rates are better when it’s clear that there’s no set workload or business-as-usual activity to a client’s operations – you might be needed for 80 hours one month, 130 the next, and perhaps 50 after that.
So, an hourly rate might be more suited to the VA or OBM who can foresee that there will be more work on the horizon than at that moment and don’t want to undercut themselves with a package rate that will have them doing more for less.
Some clients might also bring you on for a small bundle of work initially to see how you fare with the pace of their operations and whether you can perform working with their customers and systems. This is normal; in this case, an hourly rate is often the most simple starting point. Just be sure to clarify that there’s scope to move to a package offering in the future.
On the other hand, packages are good when deliverables and scope are clearly defined.
So, for example, you might see that Anne, a busy mortgage broker, thinks that she has a relatively simple need for only a couple of things: email inbox management, some social copywriting and inbound phone call triaging. However, from talking to Anne, it’s also clear that she’s really struggling with the CRM technology she uses. So, a package offering may be a good way to build in more value (that she actually needs) and make the price increase more palatable for her.
You can brand your packages however you’d like depending on your niche, although remember, typically, the higher-end offerings would require more hands-on input and access to you. So, you’ll need to specify available hours upfront and reflect this in the price. I mean, just consider T Swift’s Eras Tour billion-dollar revenue number, and it’s easy to see how package sales can play a huge hand in profit.
Unlike hourly rates, packages mean you will not be penalised and earn less as you become more efficient and deliver the agreed work faster.
Remember the downsides, though – you can undercut yourself if you sign a client on for a package but then end up far extending the scope of it. Also, the rates always have to factor in the costs of things like insurance, taxes and business subscriptions. Stay firm and diligent in the lane of what you’re offering for your virtual assistant rates in Australia, and you’ll be fine.
The next step for building your virtual assistant salary
There you have it.
Neither an hourly rate nor a package deal is necessarily better than the other – just different – and completely dependent on your business and where you want it to be.
If you’re deep in the throes of setting up your VA or OBM startup business, you need From 0-10 Clients, our free eBook on everything you need to know to set up your VA operations correctly, the first time.
If you now know how you want to charge, you may be ready to use our brochure and proposal templates with options for hourly rates and packages across Canva, MS Word, Google Docs and Qwilr.