This is a great question, because uncertainties around pricing are probably the most common concern for Australian virtual assistants and online business managers. There’s also a lot of fluctuation in the answer and surprisingly, this is a good thing.
We’ll unpack why a bit later — but before we get into the technicalities, let’s talk about you.
Take a breath.
We know pricing conversations feel overwhelming — and the self-doubt is real — but the fact you’re reading this means that you have confidence in what you do and how you do it.
Not everyone has skills like you, or better yet, can use them to directly benefit other people’s livelihoods to be more joyful and efficient. (After all, if everyone could do it, Australian virtual assistants wouldn’t head up such a burgeoning industry).
Believe that you’re worth your asking price, because you are.
With that out of the way, here is how to practically line up some dollars against value.
First cab off the rank is to think about your minimum pricing point, because that’s your launchpad. This means that you need to glean a number that accurately reflects what you know you could earn as a permanent employee in the market. For this, you want to use:
- All of your identified skills (where have you managed busy schedules, balanced client’s books, helped with copywriting or kept a website or CRM up to date?)
- Any niche expertise you can offer
- Past experience and previous roles that are relevant
- Extra ways that you can add value not advertised, like being confident on the phone
- The hours you have available to work in or around
With all of this intel, consider the minimum salary or wage you’d accept as an employee.
Contractors are businesses, not employees
Once you’ve got that figure, simply add 30% to account for overheads and non-billable time. This helps to account for the costs and the work you have to do to keep your business functioning, such as:
- Time spent marketing your business
- Unpaid meetings to win new clients
- Admin hours needed to invoice and track time
- Professional development – both your non-billable hours and the costs of training to keep abreast of trends and tools with continuous education
- Insurance costs and the regular reporting that goes with it
- Staying tax-compliant
- A savings buffer to account for holidays and leave, as well as those coffee breaks you waved goodbye to when you switched from employee to business owner
- Your phone, modem, laptop and other equipment (including their monthly fees)
- Other ongoing costs like MS Office and website hosting
You also want to factor in training hours for time spent on learning tools that would benefit a specific client. Have you been asked to build automated workflows, or learn a particular CRM? This is generally more of a per client thing, but should be factored in.
Can you see how we’re conceptually building value (and confidence!), and then using that to set a price?
We generally encourage Australian virtual assistants and online business managers to factor in a little cushioning for superannuation too.
While some clients will pay the super guarantee additionally without prompting, others don’t know their obligations around super. It’s best to check your eligibility, and if not, ensure you are adding to that little nest egg on your own.
Meet Rashida – Legal VA
Let’s see how this could work in practice:
Rashida is an Australian virtual assistant with 10 years experience as a legal secretary within a global legal firm. She’s managed the chaotic schedule of multiple lawyers, transcribed at court, and done additional training to qualify as a paralegal, which means she can draft and proof legal documents. She’s also confident on the phone and working with multiple high-level stakeholders.
Rashida is looking for work during school hours, and can commit a maximum of 5 hours per day, 4 days a week. If Rashida were to seek a permanent part-time role in this niche, she could ask for a salary ballpark of $40,000 per annum. This role would attract an additional 11% Super Guarantee, totalling $44,400. Rashida now knows her market figure. As a contractor, she needs to add 30% to it for non-billable time.
Rashida can take $57,720 – her contractor rate – and use it to formulate either an hourly offer or a package fee depending on the client’s needs.
Need an extra helping hand?
We’ve just launched The Australian VA & OBM Coach Directory – the one-stop shop for Australian VAs and OBMs searching for qualified experts across every field to upskill from, and use as a guiding light on tough business decisions.
Think handpicked coaches across social media management, copywriting, automation, proposal reviews, business systems audits and more. You can now book time with seasoned professionals to discuss your unique service offering, and use them as a personal gateway to price yourself.
As an added bonus, many can review your proposals and pitch documents (and even rewrite them for you if need be). Good luck to everyone in our wonderful community embarking on their pricing journey.