How does a Virtual Assistant charge for their time?

February 7, 2022

If you haven’t outsourced before, you may be wondering how a Virtual Assistant charges for their time. Here’s the scoop.

How does a Virtual Assistant charge for their time?

If you haven’t outsourced before or you are looking into hiring your first Virtual Assistant, you may be wondering how it all works. As Virtual Assistants have wide-ranging skill sets and can help you with so many different tasks, it’s understandable that you’d be confused over how they charge. I mean, do Virtual Assistants charge per hour or per project, and do you pay in advance or after the work is finished? And how do you know they’re charging you for time spent on your tasks and not those of their other clients?


So how exactly does it work, and do all Virtual Assistants work the same way? There’s understandably a lot of questions around this subject, so let’s take a look at some of the answers. 


What is the average cost of a Virtual Assistant in the UK?


The average cost to hire a Virtual Assistant in the UK is £25.00 - £35.00 per hour. But it will vary per Virtual Assistant. This variation can be due to location, level of experience and the skills they have. Of course, it also varies depending on how they charge for the tasks (see below).


You can often hire a Virtual Assistant for less than the UK average by going offshore. But beware of issues such as language barriers, insurance and data protection. It’s often the case that you get what you pay for. If you find a Virtual Assistant offering a low price, be sure to carry out your due diligence. Check they’re fully insured and ICO registered. Also, check they have the necessary documentation in place, such as contracts, disaster recovery plans etc.


If you’re looking for a Virtual Assistant with specialist skills or knowledge you can expect costs to be at the higher end of the spectrum. Companies with several Virtual Assistants also tend to charge higher prices. 


When doing your sums, it’s important to remember there are no recruitment and payroll costs. Virtual Assistants are self-employed, so you don’t need to pay National Insurance, Employers’ Liability Insurance, holiday pay, sick pay and other benefits. Nor will you need to pay for standard office equipment, office space and licenses for common software. This makes hiring a Virtual Assistant a very cost-effective and efficient solution.


Per hour, quarter, by the minute - Time tracking software


For basic administrative tasks, such as handling your emails or carrying out research etc, Virtual Assistants usually charge for the time spent on the task (unless on retainer - see below). This can be a set hourly rate or rounded up or down to the nearest minute or quarter hour, depending on what’s set out in their contract. The Virtual Assistant will carry out the work needed, and then send you a record of the time spent, along with an invoice for the completed work. This will usually be sent at the end of the month.


Per project basis or package rate


Those projects that are more complex, specialised or difficult to monitor, will often have a set project or package cost. This can include social media post creation, the setting up of social media accounts and bios, website copy and design, copywriting, or even email clear-outs. This type of charge is most commonly invoiced prior to commencement of the work, although you may also be charged a deposit upfront, with the remainder due once work has finished.


Monthly retainers


A lot of Virtual Assistants charge a monthly retainer rate to their clients. This gives peace of mind to both the Virtual Assistant and client. A monthly retainer is great for you, as you then know how many hours you have allocated to you, along with the monthly price you need to budget for. The Virtual Assistant has peace of mind too, as they know you’ve committed to a set amount of time, and they can block that out on their calendar in advance. This is why retainers usually give you a preferential hourly rate - the more hours you can commit to, the better the hourly rate will be. And, as a monthly retainer client, you’ll have higher priority than the Virtual Assistants ad-hoc clients, too! Retainers are usually invoiced at the start of the month, but you will often still receive a record of the time spent at the end of the month.


Check your contract


If you’re ever in any doubt as to how a Virtual Assistant is charging for their time, book in a call and have a chat. If you’re already a client, the terms and charges will all be listed on your contract - so refer back to that if you have any questions. And of course, when it comes to your review call, you can always discuss your available options before renewing for another period of time.


When you’re new to outsourcing, it can be confusing to understand the way Virtual Assistants charge for their time. However, due to the nature of the work, the scope of projects and the timescales involved it can vary enormously. But knowing upfront, whether your project is an hourly rate or a set price - along with the recorded timesheets for work completed - can go a long way to ease the confusion.


If you would like to discover more about the world of Virtual Assistants, check out this blog or get in touch.