If you’re thinking of hiring a virtual assistant, you’re probably wondering how much it will cost. Depending on which route you go, the cost can greatly vary. We’re here to help break it down for you so you can make an informed decision.
The most budget friendly option, typically around $5 per hour, is an overseas virtual assistant firm. These firms are often based in the U.S. but build their teams in other countries with lower minimum wages than in the U.S. Overseas VAs can be helpful for certain types of projects:
- Online research
- Building spreadsheet/documents
- Building email/phone lists for sales
Overseas VAs are best for projects that are not outward facing and have no client communication. This is because a common complaint with overseas firms is the language barrier. Another issue that arises is where the assistant is located with different different time zones and working hours. Therefore, if you’re considering using an overseas firm, it’s best for projects that aren’t super time sensitive and where communication between VA and client doesn’t need to be immediate.
US Based Firms
In the past 10 years, there has been an influx of US based virtual assistants firms. Prior to that, your only option would have been an overseas assistant. Small business owners are finding themselves in need of help with tasks that go beyond the skill set of overseas assistants. Today, you can find a variety of firms from small and large to local and national, at all skill levels and price points. Generally speaking, a US-based assistant will range from $20 to $40 per hour, depending on skill set, experience, timeframe, and the tasks required. For clients and projects that require a higher or more technical skill set or a quick turnaround time, the rate can exceed $75 per hour. Some firms also prefer to charge a flat rate per project or even a weekly or monthly rate.
Executive / Marketing / Specialized VAs
A specialized VA is one with a specific skill set that requires training and experience. Therefore, these types of assistants generally cost more. The benefit of specialized VAs is the opportunity to work with someone to cover ALL of your needs. An executive assistant or an Operational Business Manager (OBM) usually work more on a full-time basis. They can be paid by the hour or be salaried. An executive assistant or OBM is essential to your business running smoothly and may handle everything from calendar management to bookkeeping.
If you’re looking for a specialized virtual assistant, there are a ton of resources available to help find a good fit. Social media is full of groups that cater to virtual assistants and entrepreneurs. You can reach out to the groups, explain what you’re looking for, and assistants can respond to you or give recommendations. Local and regional firms are also helpful because they typically have a number of assistants with varied skills and experience and will likely be able to match you with a good fit.
How do you choose?
When deciding on your virtual assistant, cost is of course, going to be a big consideration. Hourly versus monthly packages comes down to what you are most comfortable with. You can easily break down the monthly cost to an hourly rate to compare firms apples to apples. If you find yourself with two options – one by the hour, one on a monthly package – ask yourself what you feel most comfortable with. Do you prefer a set cost? Are you comfortable going over a certain number of hours per project?
The most important thing is to have open communication with your assistant and firm, if you decide to go through one. Make sure you know the firm’s policies. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Do they require hourly minimums?
- What’s their cancellation notice policy?
- Do they implement rate increases?
- What’s their payment process?
By keeping communication open, your assistant can be mindful of their time and your budget and let you know in advance how long the requested task should take. Since the decision to hire a virtual assistant is a financial and business one, make sure to do your research and interview several firms or assistants until you feel fully comfortable. Ask questions, understand their policies, and keep the lines of communication open.