“Outsourcing?? No…that’s way beyond my budget. I cannot afford it.”
That’s how Laura thought until last year before she hired a Virtual Assistant. Laura was a digital marketer and a consultant who designed various courses for the benefit of all those who wanted to learn. She used her website to market her courses to coaching centers, corporates and colleges.
She used to manage everything herself as she had just started out and wanted to see how things go before taking on extra heads. She started her day with checking emails, making business calls, responding to emails etc. The rest of the day she would devote to writing and designing new courses.
Soon she realized she was so caught up in mundane tasks like emails, calls etc that she hardly had any energy or zeal left to writing new courses. She felt drained and exhausted, yet felt that she had not done anything productive. She needed to think about growing her business too. She couldn’t just sit there. She knew she needed help but dismissed the idea of outsourcing as being way too expensive!
Not just Laura but most entrepreneurs tend to think that way. There’s a myth that outsourcing costs money and is an option only for big businesses.
In fact, it’s just the opposite.
Outsourcing can help you save and eventually make money.
If done right.
Laura was doing was most of administrative tasks, customer service tasks herself. She spent major half of the day checking emails, responding to queries, scheduling meetings with prospects etc. She realized that she got so involved in these mundane activities that she neither had the time nor the energy left for other more important stuff.
She wished she had an assistant who could take care of everything for her so she could devote all her time to writing and designing new courses and meeting clients
She couldn’t hire a full-time assistant as she was self employed and used to work from home. She had no office space or infrastructure for employees.
With great reluctance she started looking for Virtual Assistants on the internet. After days of research she finally had her answers.
How much does a VA cost?
Laura found that the Virtual Assistant Cost varied greatly starting from as low as USD $5 to USD $ 50 or even higher depending on the requirement, organization, experience etc. Now before we explain the costing, let us first understand who are these VA and where are they hired from.
Most Virtual Assistants are freelancers who are self employed and offer their services in exchange for a small fee on per hour basis. They offer their services through a number of freelancing sites like Upwork, Guru, Freelancer, Fiverr etc.
On the other hand, there are companies/agencies as well who offer a wide range of virtual assistant services. They have flexible pricing packages and charge either on an hourly basis or per project basis. It’s always better to go avail services through a reputed organization with proper documentation so you are assured that your money is safe and is in the right hands.
Some advantages of working with companies are:-
- Contract with proper terms and conditions to support the interest of both parties.
- Proper customer support to resolve queries and complaints.
- They employ professionals after careful screening and background check. In case of freelancers it’s you who will have to screen and select candidates.
- In case you are not happy, you can request the organization to change your VA.
- Some companies offer free trial period so you are sure before putting in money.
- In case of individuals, they would mostly accept payments through PayPal. Companies on the other hand accept different payment methods like Wire Transfer, Western Union, PayPal etc.
You may expect to pay a little more in case of organizations but you get value. Companies normally assign individuals who are expert in a particular domain and can work with minimum hand-holding. Also they will get the work done faster than other beginner-level VA.
For instance for general administrative tasks like checking emails, responding to them, scheduling appointments etc you can expect to pay anything from USD $5 to USD $ 10 to somebody who is a fresher or with minimal experience.
Similarly an experienced individual through an agency would cost upward of USD$ 10 for similar tasks.
It doesn’t always mean that you should opt for the cheaper option because oftentimes the VA who is charging less will probably be less efficient and take longer to complete a task than the higher priced VA. So assess your requirements carefully, plan out tasks you wish to outsource and then take a decision.
Track your VA to ensure you get your money’s worth
It is important to monitor your VA’s activities to make sure your VA is spending hours productively. Of course it’s not possible for you to be physically present to track your VA activities but thankfully with the help of various tracking softwares you can easily keep a watch on your VA’s activities.
In case you do not wish to invest in tracking software just yet, you can ask your VA to keep a daily log of all tasks done and send it to you at the end of the day so you know what you are being charged for. It’s your right and your VA should happily comply.
Daily reporting will also help you to supervise your VA and correct him if he is going wrong. This will help you get the job done right and the VA to manage his time effectively.
Pay Hourly or Project Basis
Generally all big outsourcing companies have flexible payment models depending on the requirement. For repetitive tasks it’s better to go for hourly payment system where you pay your VA only for the hours he has worked.
On the other hand, if you want your VA to set up a campaign on social media, you can offer to pay on project basis wherein you pay after completion of the task. Your VA will plan out campaigns, design copies, prepare text, targeting, budgeting etc and can set the campaign live. You will review the entire task done and then pay after final completion of the project.
There is no right or wrong here. It’s all a matter of mutual agreement between you and the service provider.
To Wrap things up….
It’s easy to find a VA at reasonable rate for any task. What is important though is you need to have done your homework well. Sort out your requirements and make a list of tasks that you want your VA to do.
Do your due research to arrive at a reasonable hourly rate for a VA. Remember rates depend on the requirement. Short list the companies you want to work with for Virtual Assistant services and contact them.
Have a clear conversation about their services, prices, your requirement etc. Convey your expectations. If you find the price to be a bit beyond your budget, you can always negotiate. You never know you might just get a very good deal!