As VAs, one of the biggest challenges we face is how – and how much – to charge for our services. Yes, there is an hourly “going rate” which we can comfortably position ourselves either side of, but is a set hourly rate always the best way to go?

My simple answer is no. Checking out the market value of the service you’re providing is, of course, a good place to start and will give you an idea of what clients may be expecting to pay, but your focus should be on how impactful your work will be for your clients. In other words, how VALUABLE it is.

Shifting your perspective to look at pricing as a perception of value rather than a hard and fast number can really change the way you do business and ensure that your price accurately reflects your expertise, knowledge and experience as well as the services you’re providing.

Hourly rate or set fee?

Acknowledging value is especially important when undertaking projects that may be better priced at a set fee rather than an hourly rate. Here’s an example of how this worked out for me recently:

I was asked to assist in the recruitment of an Executive Assistant for a friend who works for a housebuilder: great work which I charged at an hourly rate I was happy with. I was involved in 100% of the recruitment process, including the final stage interviews. This led to another recruitment project within a different company – that of an Admin Assistant – in which I was involved with 80% of the process, just not present at final interviews. Again, great work which I charged at an hourly rate.

All good…BUT…. it got me thinking, about just how much VALUE I had brought to this process and the IMPACT my work would continue have on the client, and I realised that my rate was not an accurate expression of my WORTH. My fault, not theirs, obviously.

Always one to live and learn, the next time I was asked to recruit – this time for an Office Manager position – I weighed up the value of all that I would bring to the project and how impactful my work would be for the company, and I proposed a set fee that I felt accurately reflected this.  Again, a great project to work on with the outcome of a new recruit and a happy client. Only this time I felt that my fee really demonstrated my value. Happy days.

It’s really just about recognising work that will be best priced as a project and then pricing according to the value that your expertise, knowledge, unique skills and network will deliver. Don’t shy away from a rate that reflects what you will bring to the job – and remember that low fees don’t necessarily lead to work or, for that matter, respect.

Yes the mainstay of your business may be fixed-rate, hourly work such as typing documents or taking minutes, and that’s great, but when the opportunity arises to take on a project that draws upon your manifold talents and expertise in a wealth of different areas, recognise it as such and acknowledge that it may be better to charge a fixed fee that reflects this. And then pitch it accordingly, and most importantly, pitch it confidently. If you believe in yourself, and know your value, then the right price is likely to follow.

I know it may seem daunting to let go of the comfort of an hourly rate, but really, we are not serving ourselves well if we remain rigid and restricted by the confines of this mind-set. It’s all about adapting, and understanding when what we’re delivering is worth MORE than the rate we’ve set for ourselves.

Your quote should take account of a multitude of components including your personality, work ethic, organisational skills, connections, tenacity, commitment, creativity, problem solving abilities, ideas….all the things that make you you and add loads of value to your services!

Don’t be afraid to communicate these components to your client; how else are they going to see your true value, and understand that you’re #notjustava?

So, in summary, it’s an easy 4-step process:

  1. recognise when work would be better priced at a flat fee than an hourly rate;
  2. acknowledge the value your work will bring to your client;
  3. charge accordingly;
  4. don’t be scared – because YOU’RE WORTH IT!

If you want to review how you get your value recognised, speak to Joanne about booking a Get it Done session where you’ll have 3 hours of uninterrupted time working on this very thing, call Joanne today on 07928 228764