How Much Does a Virtual Assistant Cost?

How much of your workday is spent by making or answering phone calls, doing admin, collating research, performing data entry and more? If you spend too much time on admin-related tasks, you are not spending enough time on the strategic side of your business. This is influencing your bottom line. Take some of that time back by delegating these tasks to a Virtual Assistant (VA). With a VA, you can have the peace of mind knowing that everything is going smoothly.

If you’re wondering how much a VA costs, it largely depends on the:

  • Project size
  • Project duration
  • Rate and expertise of the VA you choose

In this blog post, we’ll look at what influences VA costs and give you a better view of what you should expect when hiring a VA.

Submit an RFP with VAASA

Something to remember: Usually, a very cheap VA should get you running for the hills because true professionals value their time and expertise.

Here are factors that influence VA costs:

1)  Scope of work

Before you think about VA rates, you must first decide what you will delegate. Write down what the scope of work will be and which qualities you are looking for in a VA.

Virtual Assistants can handle a lot – from scheduling appointments to drawing up reports, they are quite capable of getting anything done in the administrative field. You should not be afraid to delegate work to them.

Yet, it can still be difficult to decide what a VA must do. If you’re running a project, you may not be certain of the exact tasks your VA will do. An easy way to start is by listing all the tasks or processes that make up a project. Then from those, identify the tasks that you don’t like doing, as well the tasks that take up a lot of your time. From these tasks, consider which ones you are comfortable delegating to a VA and which ones you prefer doing yourself.

In addition, although there are many to choose from, your VA must be the right fit for your company. She must be self-motivated, competent, accurate and a problem-solver. This will also affect the cost.

Get started now: Find out how to submit an RFP!

Be sure to include as much detail as possible. It may be helpful to break these down into categories. For example, you may hire a virtual assistant to help with any of the following;

  • Assistance with a new marketing campaign. A virtual assistant can help you with digital marketing campaigns by publishing content, curating email lists, posting to social media accounts, and more.

Here is a view of what a well-known virtual assistant agency charges in South African Rands:


2)  Expertise

As mentioned above, the most important qualities to look for in a VA are motivation, competency, accuracy and a problem-solving ability. The more experienced someone is, the better they will perform – and the higher the rate will be also.

If your business has a corporate feel, it’s better to higher a VA with corporate experience. This will quicken the learning process and help you work well together from the get-go.

The more complex the work, the more experience you will need. Don’t settle for less just to have somebody get the job done. In the end, it may cost you even more to rectify errors.

Start by checking the CV/resume, and then ask prospective VA’s what their core skills, strengths and services are. If the work you need to get done is out of her scope, you may have to get someone more experienced and in turn pay a higher fee.

Here are typical rates charged by virtual assistants according to Upwork:

Typical Rates Charged by Virtual Assistants*

Type of Virtual Assistant Description Average Hourly Rate
Administrative Professional/Data Entry VA Proofreading, data entry, clerical work, research, Excel, etc. $12-20+
Marketing VA/Customer Service/Accounting Support Copywriting, budgets/accounting, marketing support, customer support, CRM software experience, email marketing, social media marketing; software like PowerPoint, QuickBooks, Salesforce, WordPress, etc. $20-35+
Advanced VA/Consultant

Executive Assistant

Business consulting, content management, project management, advanced IT/site management, web development, and server management $38-50+

*Reflect rates charged by freelancers on Upwork in North America with over 1,000 hours and 90% success rate.

3)   Work frequency

Depending on your needs, you can hire a VA once-off, per hour or on a project-by-project basis. Each method has its own payment terms. Hiring a VA for the long-term is much cheaper for example. Also, you don’t have to stress about continuously training various VA’s for projects – you train your VA once and then can work with her for the long-term.

Determining how long you will need a VA is up to you. Remember the tasks and processes you drew up in step 1? Go back to that and estimate how long you will need a VA. It’s always better to buffer in some extra hours so you are not left without a VA if your project overruns.

What if you need more than one VA? This is not a problem, but we would advise having different agreements with each of them. Therefore, do the scope exercise for every new VA. In any event, we at VAASA can advise you on best practices. Just shoot us an email.

4)   Location

Although VA’s work virtually, the cost of labour in certain countries is cheaper than others. VA’s in Africa and the Philippines are cheaper than those in the United States for example.

When searching for a VA, take location into account. Open your mind to working with people from various nationalities which opens you up to a larger pool of candidates. With this being said, pay attention to time zones as well. Working across different time zones can lessen communication and team work between the two of you.

This is of course not the case if you’re looking for around the clock 24-hour support. If this is the case, you will greatly benefit from hiring someone in another time zone.

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