Virtual Assistance 101: How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Charge?

Admin AssistantThat’s the million dollar question, isn’t it. 🙂 Whether you are an aspiring Virtual Assistant or Administrative Support Consultant; or you are wondering how much you should expect to pay an Administrative Consultant, rates are a hot topic. And, you will find tons of opinions on what the rates should be! Hopefully this article will clear up some of the confusion.

The difference between PAYG, retainer and “Service” rates.

PAYG (Pay as You Go) are rates that are charged by the hour. You pay for each hour that you use and they are paid for after the hours have been used. Some Virtual Assistants use PAYG for clients who are not sure how many hours they need each month.

A RETAINER is a rate package where there is a set fee for “retaining” or “holding” a set amount of hours specifically for a client. For example: I have a ten hour retainer package for $650 per month. This means that the client on this retainer has reserved ten hours of my time per month just for him or her. (Btw, you can see all of my retainer packages here.) These hours are paid for in advance. Any overages are billed at the hourly rate.

SERVICE rates are not billed by the hour or plan, but rather, they are separate services that are charged for particular services rendered. For example: In my business I offer Facebook and Email Marketing services which are billed at a separate, all-encompassing rate.

Are rates negotiable?

Simply put, no. Would you negotiate the fees of other consultants or professionals? Of course not. They are experts in their fields and so are Administrative Support Consultants (and VAs). There are some Virtual Assistants that may offer special, temporary discounts or free offers; but, those VAs and Administrative Consultants who value their skills and service will not negotiate.

So how much DOES a Virtual Assistant charge?

Industry standards have rates set generally at $35 – $65 per hour. The more experienced Administrative Professionals will charge upwards of $80 – $100 per hour. And believe me, any Virtual Assistant or Administrative Consultant worth her salt is definitely worth the rate she charges.

On the flip side, there are Virtual Assistants who charge as little as $15 – $20 per hour. As a matter of fact, if you look on elance, you will find rates as low as $5 dollars an hour. However, when a Virtual Assistant charges such low rates, they not only undermine themselves, but their clients as well.

By charging low rates, it requires the VA to take on more clients in order to break even – let alone any profit. With more clients, it can mean less personalized care for each client. Also, with such low rates, one has to wonder about the VA’s confidence in her skills or her status as a business owner. Does she believe in the value she brings her clients?

Some things to keep in mind.

1. Each Virtual Assistant or Administrative Support Consultant sets her rates according to her skill and experience level. Most have several years of experience in the corporate world. And those who have more experience as a VA will often have (as a general rule) higher rates than those just starting out. (But not always!)

2. In the wise word of Anastacia Brice: “Virtual Assistance was never meant to be the low-cost, or even lower-cost alternative to getting administrative support. It was meant as the far more convenient alternative to getting administrative support.”

3. There are other benefits clients receive when working with a VA that they don’t get with an employee. These benefits – which are inestimable – were discussed last week. Not only do you get a lot more accomplished when partnering with an Administrative Profession, you get access to all her talents, expertise, and resources available to her.

4. You will find differences (sometimes big differences) between AssistU Virtual Assistants and other Virtual Assistants. AssistU graduates undergo rigorous training which shows not only with their rates; but, also in their level of service and expertise.

Have questions about the rates or anything else we’ve discussed in this series? Feel free to contact me.

In our final part of the series next week, I will give you some advice on how to choose the best Virtual Assistant or Administrative Support Consultant for you.

Missed a part of the series? go here to catch up:


What a Virtual Assistant Really Is

What a Virtual Assistant is Not

What’s in a Name?

How to Become a Virtual Assistant

Benefits of Partnering with a Virtual Assistant

Services offered by Virtual Assistants