Yep- we’re onto the bigger questions about V.A.’s this week – and in a (mostly) post-COVID world, one decision that business owners of all levels are having to make is where to invest cash, because – let’s face it – there wasn’t loads to begin with, and with costs of living soaring, and a recession likely in the near future, it’s clear that the next few months, and probably years, are going to be lean.
Yeah yeah, but what does a VA cost to hire?!
There are a few different types of VA, and they all cost different amounts to hire.
It’s helpful to think of it in terms of ketchup (I know, but bear with me). All ketchup is made of the same essential ingredients, but depending on which brand you buy, the price will change.
If you go for the own-brand ketchup it can cost mere pennies. A mid-level brand will cost a bit more, and then your premium brand posh stuff will cost the most.
Now. Hold on to that metaphor, because I’m going to come back to it.
V.A.’s come in levels of expense too, so let’s have a look at them from cheapest to most expensive.
The own brand ketchup of the V.A. world are those who you can find on places like Guru.com or Fiverr. They generally come from overseas countries such as India or the Philippines and are able to offer their labour for as little as £5-£6 per hour.
Mid-level brand V.A.’s are generally freelancers or associates of larger agencies, and tend to be based in countries like the U.K. and the U.S.
They usually have English as a first language, and more experience and education. With a much higher cost of living with taxes and pensions etc to cover, they charge more.
At the moment the price of this type of V.A. averages between £25-£35 per hour, though this is likely to rise in the next quarter as the cost of living crisis begins to bite (heating having to be turned on, for example).
High-End Virtual Assistants
The high-end brand of V.A. doesn’t tend to differ much from the mid-brand ones in terms of where they’re from or cost of living, but they do tend to be highly specialised, and might describe themselves as an Online Business Manager (OBM).
They will have many years of practical experience in this specialisation, as well as lots of qualifications.
It’s very hard to put a price on these V.A.s as their cost usually depends on their specialisation, but you can expect to pay £50 per hour at a bare minimum, and usually more.
Alright, so we’ve looked at the simple answer to the question, but (as ever) there are complexities to choosing which type of V.A. is best for you.
Lots of V.A.s will tell you that you get what you pay for, and that going for the budget level V.A., the one whose prices we simply can’t match as they fall below minimum wage, will bring you only tears.
Here's what doesn't often get said (especially by virtual personal assistants who want to sell their business admin services 😂😉).
Budget-level virtual assistants can absolutely be the right choice for you, depending on the kind of task you need to be completed.
Back to ketchup (stop looking at me like that – I like ketchup and it’s relevant!) We love ketchup in our house, and it’s one of those things which is constantly on my shopping list.
I’d like to say it’s because the kids won’t eat a meal without it, but if I’m being honest, my tastes also tend towards the ketchup-covered. In fact, I’m famous in my family for having ketchup with everything.
I buy all three brands of ketchup, because there’s a time and a place for each, and the same can be said of V.A.s.
I get the cheapest brand when one of my kids has a birthday party and we’re doing something like burgers or hot dogs. Yes, the quality of ketchup isn’t as good, but I have to cater for twenty screaming five-year-olds, and they’re going to be so hopped up on sugar and dinosaur games that they won’t notice the difference, whereas my wallet will.
Similarly, when you go for the cheapest hire of V.A. you are making a trade-off. There are going to be issues with communication, both due to the time difference and the fact that the V.A. is likely to speak English as a second language, so things will, as a matter of course, get lost in translation.
But there are times when this trade-off is fine. If you have a big bulk of simple work to be done such as data entry into a spreadsheet which is just a case of copy-pasting, or you just need someone to send out template emails based on a few keywords – or you simply want someone to act as a phone answering and message taking service, Fiverr or similar could well be the place to look.
The ketchup brand I mostly get is the supermarket’s mid-brand. It’s great for the every-day, and although it costs more than the own brand, it tastes better. I use it as a dip and in recipes, and it does really well for both. Yum.
Your £25-£35 V.A. is similar. They have a broad range of experience, and usually have a good level of education. They can turn their hands to most general admin tasks, and also usually have a niche – which could be an industry, or a task-type (or both!)
As an example, I am an ex-teacher, so I tend to specialise in the education sector because it’s where I have a great deal of background knowledge and experience. I describe myself as an educational VA.
Because they are likely to work in your time zone and speak English as their first language, you can expect communication to be much easier, especially if you are able to clearly explain exactly what it is you need (there’s going to be another blog on this later in the month).
This type of V.A. is certainly not cheap, but in the outsourcing world, as with ketchup, you get what you pay for.
I would love to buy the posh ketchup all the time, but my wallet simply won’t sustain it. So I tend to have a bottle of it for the occasions when anything less simply won’t do (like a grown-up hot dog).
I think the same applies to the premium-brand virtual assistants (or OBMs). They offer a level of experience and ability which come only from a long time spent learning a trade.
If their specialism is web design, then you can bet that they could be working as a contracted web designer – they are that good. They will be choosing to do it freelance for reasons of their own.
Their time is precious, and their skills are in demand, and so…again, you get what you pay for. They are fantastic for when you have a job that you need a specialist to perform.
Virtual administrators come in all different shapes and sizes, and each costs slightly differently.
A virtual assistant from overseas costs less that one from a country with a higher cost of living, often charging far less than the U.K. minimum wage.
A standard virtual assistant from the U.K. (or economic equivalent) will charge an industry standard of around £25-35 per hour, though this is likely to rise quite soon.
A premium (specialised) virtual assistant will cost more - and how much depends of their speciality and how in demand they are. Expect to pay £50 per hour or more.
The most important thing to note, though, is that each of these types of VA are useful, depending on the type of task you have to outsource. Virtual assistants for the win!
If you have any more questions, please do get in touch – I’d love to be able to help, and I promise to answer as honestly and without bias as I can.