Oftentimes I hear a concern that a business owner cannot afford a Virtual Assistant (VA). But VAs have widely varying costs and work structures. It is possible to find a VA to meet your needs and stay within your budget. To get the most bang for your buck, you need to be clear on the following things: what tasks you want completed and the type of person qualified to complete those tasks.
Different Cost Structures
VAs will charge differently, so you must think about what way is most comfortable for you.
- By the task. Example: $X for each page typed or blog written
- By the project. Example: $X for a newsletter set up or website update
- By the hour. Example: $X for each hour worked
- By blocks of hours. Example: a flat rate for 10 hours each month or week and an hourly rate for hours beyond that or not. Some VA's have monthly subscriptions for their services and you pay one monthly fee for all tasking.
Different Types of VAs
The different types of VAs affect your overall cost, so it is imperative to pay close attention to how your VA is structured.
- Freelancers/Independent Contractors. They may be cheaper because they have low overhead, but they are usually a one-person shop which may limit their availability and/or response times.
- Overseas VAs. Often the cheapest option, but you have to contend with an unawareness of western management and business practices. There is no personal customer service to assist when there is a disconnect in communication or dissatisfaction with services.
- Tech Platforms. These make it easy to source a VA, but can be overwhelming and unpredictable.
- Agencies. Often the most expensive because of the overhead, but they have screening and support systems and a wider availability of VAs. They take the guess work out of hiring a VA. They do the initial vetting, submit all of their pay paperwork and can be contacted when a relationship does not work out or needs to end.
VAs’ rates can range anywhere from as little as $2-3 per hour to more than $100 per hour. Most realistically, you will find that a VA's hourly rate ranges between $15 and $85. It all depends on their experience and expertise.
Review your list of tasks to delegate. How many do you have? How many hours would you need? And at what level of expertise? Take our Freedom Makers Task Audit Quiz to determine which tasks you need outsourced.
Maybe you cannot afford a full time VA, but could you afford $100-$300/month? Or even $30/month? How much would just 1 hour a month help? Or just one task? This why hiring a VA is so beneficial to small businesses. You do not need to hire someone full time but rather for a limited amount of hours and still remove the tedious tasks that slow you down.
If there is a task you usually put off but is critical to the growth of your business, consider going a little beyond your budget. When you get out of your own way, you will likely recoup that cost and then some. As your business grows, so will your budget for other, less urgent but still important tasks.
Find a VA to meet your terms
A critical piece to getting the “most bang for your buck” when it comes to using a VA is to be clear on what you’re looking for in a VA. The more clear you are, the better the fit and the less friction you will have--literally, more bang for your buck!
Some terms to be clear on include:
- Flexibility: How much flexibility do you need? Do you know for sure you need a flat 10 hours every month? Or does your business have peaks and valleys that you’d like a VA to be in sync with? Think about and ask about this as you speak with a few VAs.
- Availability: What kind of turnaround do you generally expect? Make sure your prospective VA can meet that expectation. A good expectation is 24 hours but it is important to communicate whatever the expectation is.
- Level of Delegation: I love Michael Hyatt’s concept of the 5 Levels of Delegation. If your delegatable tasks generally fall into 1 level, look for a VA who can work at that level. One level is not better or worse than another level; some people are just better at certain levels than others. Finding a VA who can thrive within the level you are seeking will ensure you have a good fit.
The key to get the most out of your VA while staying within your budget is to know exactly what you want them to do. When you know your terms and find a VA who can meet them, the VA will help you more than you could ever imagine. Learning how much a VA costs is important but also learning the value they add to your business is crucial.