One of the first questions you may have as a virtual assistant when navigating your first clients to work with is how much you should charge. A simple step could be jumping onto the Bureau of Labor Statistics to get a rough estimate based on your niche. Beyond that, you may want to take a look at typical payments that virtual assistants receive based on their specialty or ask fellow virtual assistants for their own information regarding payments in groups and forums.
A note that one size does not fit all. You may be applying for a job with a certain title, but are coming in with a desirable specialty that could benefit a client. Do not shortchange yourself when first applying for a job.
Research the industry you work in as a virtual assistant
How can you possibly set your rate if you do not know what the industry average is? You may fear to charge too much, but in reality, most virtual assistants may be charging too little without any research done prior to setting their ask price for their virtual assistance to clients. Taking the time to research statistics on your industry, asking other virtuals their pricing scale, and collecting data will set you up for better success and will ensure you won’t be playing catch up by undercharging clients.
Be consistent with your asking rate
Consistency is key when the price comes into play. You do not want to ask lower for one client and then higher for another. This leads to an inconsistency in what you are asking which then blurs the lines between what you think you are worth and what you are actually getting compensated with as a virtual administrator.
Being clear on what you charge and not budging even if a client wants to pay lower ensures you are getting what you feel you are worth based on your background and skill set and also gets you in a habit of being able to work with clients and bring to the table what you know and how you can help them and proceed in that nature which is a key component in the workforce of being able to prove and show why a certain pay rate is what you should be paid.
Bring all relevant performance information to potential clients
As stated above, you can research pay rates as a virtual assistant, but there is also a grey area in which you will need to look at your own skill set to mark the final price. Perhaps you see that virtual public relations workers get paid $25 hourly, but you also come in with a certification that not every public relations worker may have or added public relations backgrounds such as a ready-made PR contact list that would benefit the client. These key pieces of added information should be brought to the table and considered when asking for your rate when starting with a client.
You may be able to ask for a bit more hourly or as a salary because of your unique skill set or what you can bring extra to the table and should be afraid to provide these key bits of information to the negotiation table.
Clients willing to pay you what you are worth are worth sticking with
The final key to asking for your rate is to remain firm, know your worth, and know when to walk away. You want to formulate a lasting relationship with your client and if you had to already walk into the business relationship on a major pay decrease to compromise and keep the client, then the business relationship may not be worth establishing in the first place.
Clients that want to harbor a great relationship with their virtuals will try and meet the needs of the virtual when it comes to payment. If you feel short changed from the beginning, then it may not be a good fit. Keeping true to yourself and your rate will bring in clients that want to work with you, as long as you both are being fair with your pricing and compensation.
Meadows VA School offers great tips and industry knowledge on best practices as a virtual assistant and how to navigate rates.