Reliable, proactive and professional support from a Virtual Executive Assistant is desirable for many CEOs, executives and business owners. Often viewed as a luxury, it may surprise you that the hourly costs of outsourcing to a virtual executive assistant can vary considerably.
In this article, we will explore the cost of hiring a VA by considering pricing options, setting realistic expectations and comparing the cost of outsourcing to hiring a new employee.
If you were to research the ‘cost of hiring a virtual assistant,’ you’ll undoubtedly be met with a variety of prices. Highly knowledgeable and reliable virtual assistants can charge upwards of £50 per hour, whereas outsourcing overseas can offer you rates below minimum wage – as labour costs in some countries are far lower than our expectations in the UK.
Looking at the most recent statistics from The Society of Virtual Assistants Survey, within the UK, hourly rates range from £10-£95 an hour; the most popular rate to charge in 2021 was £25/hour – the mean average being £27.17. While overseas, the cost can be much lower.
The critical question is; what is a reasonable hourly rate for a virtual assistant with the skills and experience you need?
As experience and skills develop, so too will prices. It’s worth considering the core activities you want to delegate before interviewing. Many executive virtual assistants can help with various administrative tasks, but some specialise in specific areas. Depending on the tasks and level of experience you need, costs will vary considerably.
If it’s a one-time project, flat fees are often the norm. However, if you’re looking for regular support, you’ll need to consider hourly pricing or retainer pricing. This is where you commit several hours per month, which is prepaid.
It’s also worth remembering that although virtual assistants work from home, they still have business costs that quickly add up. Try to keep this in mind when looking through proposals.
Costs Vs Benefits
While weighing up the options mentioned above, you should contemplate the importance of your VA’s location. For example, how easy will it be to communicate with your VA if you choose to go overseas? Different time zones can cause significant delays and communication issues. Not to mention language barriers. Even if their spoken English is good, their written word could still be problematic.
If you choose to outsource abroad, check that your virtual assistant is adequately protected should anything go wrong (do they issue you with a contract, are they insured?) and similarly check that they understand current regulations and guidelines for your field of expertise.
It’s about finding the right Virtual Executive Assistant for you and your business; research your requirements and weigh up the benefits vs costs.
Hiring a Virtual Executive Assistant is an investment in your business. By delegating those tasks that are not the best use of your own time to your VA, you can focus on the areas of your business that enable you to grow. Money spent on a VA now will likely mean more clients and larger projects in the future (perhaps, consider how much an hour of your time is worth to you). When you view it in this context, you can see the value of outsourcing.
Set realistic expectations for what your executive virtual assistant will do. While they may have the necessary skills to accomplish various daily tasks, you’ll need to invest time with them to develop and grow your working relationship. Remember that their job is to complete specific tasks proactively; they are not an employee of your business.
New Employee VS Virtual Executive Assistant
Take some time to look at the costs of hiring a personal assistant and compare this to hiring a Virtual Executive Assistant for the required time. You’ll be surprised at the difference. Employees will need a salary, but you’ll also need to factor in other costs, such as national insurance, pension contributions, employee liability insurance, training, holiday and sickness, energy bills etc. Outsourcing is often more affordable when you factor in these additional costs.
VAs will charge a flat hourly rate (depending on the VA and the situation/task). They are also responsible for their overheads, including tax implications.
Working successfully with a virtual assistant is about building a good working relationship. Cost isn’t everything. If you find the right person with the right level of expertise – invest and watch your business grow.
Sandy Hearn wrote this article at Executive PA Solutions. We partner with forward-thinking business owners and professional individuals requiring tailored Executive Assistant support to help them feel more in control of their lives. Our dedicated support ensures that our clients find the right balance between work and life commitments, priorities, and goals, to gain time and freedom for the things they most enjoy.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Source: UK Virtual Assistant Survey v12