The Hourly Rate Issue: How Much Do Virtual Assistants Charge for their Services

Many times these questions are asked: What is a Virtual Assistant? How much does a virtual assistant charge for their services? The answer below also explains why virtual assistants charge the rates they charge.

"Virtual assistants are independent entrepreneurs who work remotely and use technology to deliver services to clients globally. Most work from their home offices and receive their project instructions by phone, fax, e-mail or even instant message. Although many virtual assistants offer secretarial services, as more people with diverse backgrounds and skills enter the ranks, virtual assistants who specialize in such areas as marketing, graphic and Web design, IT support or even translations are becoming more common.

Clients are most likely to hire virtual assistants to save money or because they need help with a temporary project. Virtual assistants pay for their own equipment (including purchasing, upgrades and maintenance), taxes, training, healthcare and insurance." -- Entrepreneur Magazine,

The answer above from Entrepreneur Magazine notes that virtual assistants have to pay for their business expenses just like any other business owner or entrepreneur. Virtual assistants are business owners who also have operating expenses as well as they want to earn a sustainable income. Some virtual assistants have other virtual assistants working in their business with them and pay these virtual assistants as sub-contractors.

Virtual assistants are not paid as though they work a standard 35-hour week for each client. For example, if a client pays the virtual assistant $800 for a 20-hour monthly service contract, the virtual assistant will charge for the 20 hours worked in a month. Compare that to over $2,000 a month for an administrative assistant who works a 35-hour week plus other payroll obligations and office expenses:

  • income taxes,

  • pension plan,

  • unemployment insurance,

  • benefits such as health plan and life insurance

  • office furniture,

  • computer/office equipment,

  • office supplies

  • telephone, fax,

  • Internet,

  • hydro, and

  • office cleaning services.

A virtual assistant entrepreneur/business owner has several years' experience in their specialty and area of expertise. They have certifications, university degrees, and continue to attend training opportunities offered in their vocation to enhance and maintain their skills.

Who can use the services of a Virtual Assistant?

  • Professional speakers

  • Authors

  • Small business owners and entrepreneurs

  • Business and personal coaches

  • Real estate agents and mortgage brokers

  • Contractors

  • Property managers

  • Consultants

  • Specialty sales managers and representatives

  • Businesses who can't afford to or don't want to hire a full-time employee

  • Businesses who need a professional to work on a project on an occasional basis

  • Any business person who wants more time to focus on priorities that generate more revenues for their business and own/operate a successful business

Therefore, to answer the question: How much do virtual assistants charge for their services?

Typically, in North America virtual assistant hourly rates range from $25 and up. The standard rate in Canada is $35 to $40 per hour. Primary factors that influence pricing of services are based on the virtual assistant's career experience, expertise, education/training, and specialty; and the type of work to be done, volume of work, attention to detail, and length of time to do the work. Virtual assistant's offer monthly service contracts which provide a discount on the hourly rate.

Entrepreneur Magazine notes: Business trends indicate an increase in the demands for services offered by virtual assistants and for individuals who start up a virtual assistant business, the profit potential is good. The virtual assistant industry, especially, has grown in leaps and bounds around the world over the last 25 years. More noteworthy, shows that the average full-time virtual assistant working in the United States earned a gross income of $44,000 after their business operating costs have been paid as of October 2013.

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