Want to hire a virtual assistant but not sure if you have the budget?
A major concern for most business owners looking to outsource their activities is
How much is a virtual assistant going to cost me?
While several factors determine virtual assistant costs, it’s easy to find a virtual assistant that fits your budget.
To help you out, this article will break down the key factors that affect virtual assistant costs. We’ll also cover some of the most trusted payment methods you can use to pay them for their work.
The article contains
(Click on the links below to jump to a particular section)
- What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
- How Much Is A Virtual Assistant: Three Key Factors Involved
- How To Pay Your Virtual Assistant
Let’s get started.
What Does A Virtual Assistant Do?
A virtual assistant provides services to companies and entrepreneurs via the internet. While they work remotely, they can still access the data and tools required to do the job.
Most virtual assistants are independent contractors or freelancers with a specialized skill set. However, you also have virtual assistant businesses that provide virtual assistants for a host of activities like
- Administrative tasks
- Managing email correspondence
- Organizing your calendar
- Data entry
- Financial planning
- Customer support
- Graphic design
- WordPress website management
- Digital marketing
Click here for a list of 90+ tasks that a virtual assistant can do.
How Much Is A Virtual Assistant: Three Key Factors Involved
There’s no standard rate for a part-time or a full-time virtual assistant – they can charge anywhere between $1 to over $100 per hour!
However, virtual assistant costs largely depend on various core factors like
- The type of work they do
- The experience they have
- Where they’re based out of
- The size and duration of your project.
So how much is a virtual assistant going to cost you?
To help you estimate what you’ll have to pay for a virtual assistant, here’s a close look at three key factors
Factor #1 – The Type Of Work They Do
Are you looking for a VA who can manage your social media accounts?
Or are you looking for copywriting services?
The money you pay your virtual assistants mainly depends on the services you’re getting from them. For example, if it’s a task like handling phone calls or scheduling appointments, you’d be paying around $8-12 per hour.
When browsing VA marketplaces, carefully look at virtual assistant job descriptions to know the type of VA work they do. This will determine the rates they’ll probably charge you.
To help you get started, here are four different types of virtual assistant services and their average hourly rates.
Note – The virtual assistant rates mentioned below are average hourly rates in the US.
A. Administrative Services
A virtual administrative assistant performs routine clerical and admin tasks such as
- Maintaining contact lists
- Handling phone calls and emails
- And more.
If you’re looking to hire a virtual administrative assistant from the US, you’ll have to pay them around $10-20+ per hour.
B. Executive Services
Virtual executive assistants perform many of the tasks administrative assistants perform. However, in most cases, executive assistants also perform high-level administrative tasks like
- Project schedule management
- Preparing business proposals
- Planning company events
The average hourly rate of a virtual executive assistant from the US varies between $30-40+.
C. Accounting And Bookkeeping Services
Most companies hire virtual financial assistants to perform tasks such as
- Preparing ledgers and balance sheets
- Sales tax reporting
- Managing bill payments
The average hourly rate for virtual accounting and bookkeeping services from the US is $12-25+.
D. Miscellaneous Services
Data entry and marketing are some of the common miscellaneous VA services that SMBs and entrepreneurs like real estate professionals need.
Some common miscellaneous VA services are
- Ecommerce product data entry
- Social media management
- Property research
- Email marketing
- And many more.
For hiring such virtual assistants from the US, you’ll have to pay around $10-20+ per hour.
Factor #2 – The Experience Level
Another important factor affecting a virtual assistant’s pay rate is their experience level.
Usually, virtual assistants with tons of experience charge more. This is because they have years of experience and are efficient at what they do.
However, you can also hire inexperienced virtual assistants who charge less for their services. While this may seem economical, it may come at the cost of expertise. Additionally, you may even have to spend money to train them for the job!
So the key is to determine how experienced your virtual assistant should be.
For example, if you’re outsourcing a task like social media marketing, it’s better to hire a VA with three to four years of experience. While they’ll charge more for their services, they’ll be able to quickly understand the social media landscape to give you faster results.
However, if you only want someone to upload social media posts, you can hire a virtual assistant with zero to one year of experience — you might even be their very first client and it should still be fine!
Factor #3 – The Location They Work From
Ever wonder why so many companies hire virtual assistants from India and the Philippines?
It’s because it’s cheaper!
Virtual assistants from these countries charge far less than their counterparts from the US and Europe.
For example, the average hourly rate for a virtual assistant from India is around a quarter of the rate of a US-based VA, which is around $10-30.
But in most cases, those lower salaries don’t come at the cost of talent. You can find talented and experienced virtual assistants from these countries at a fraction of the price you’d usually pay!
Here’s a quick glance at the hourly rates of various types of virtual assistant services
|Type Of VA Service||Average Hourly Rate (in the US)|
|Accounting and Bookkeeping Services||$12-25+|
|Miscellaneous Services (Marketing, SEO, Research, etc.)||$10-20+|
How To Pay Your Virtual Assistant
When you’re hiring a VA through a virtual assistant company, you’ll likely pay the agency, who, in turn, will pay the virtual assistant. Here, the payment structure is pretty standard as the VA business will have it’s own regulated format for payments.
However, if you’re hiring a virtual assistant on your own, the payment policies can vary on a case-by-case basis.
Most VAs prefer to be billed on an hourly basis and receive online payments for their services. However, some virtual assistants prefer working on a retainer and even accept checks and credit card payments.
So how do you pay your virtual assistant?
Here are three ways to help you decide how
A. Choose The Right Payment Structure
A VA payment structure determines the basis on which virtual assistants charge potential clients. As each VA may have a different payment structure, you need to agree on something you’re comfortable with.
Here’s a quick look at some of the standard pricing structures used by virtual assistants
- By the hour
Here, you pay the virtual assistant for each billable hour. For example, you pay a virtual assistant $6 per hour worked. This is more suited for VAs handling recurring tasks like handling phone calls.
- By the task or project
Here, the rate is project or task-dependent. For example, you pay a virtual content writer 5 cents for each word typed.
- Flat rate
You pay them a fixed salary for a certain number of hours worked on a weekly or monthly basis. For example, a flat rate of $150 for working 10 hours per week or month.
B. Use Popular Payment Platforms
The major benefit of hiring virtual assistants is that they’re location-independent. You don’t have to hire a VA living in your city or country, which gives you a larger talent pool to choose from.
However, as your virtual assistants can be from anywhere, you need to use a payment platform that’s accepted worldwide.
Here’s a closer look at some of the popular payment platforms used to pay virtual assistants
PayPal is a leading payment platform used by corporates and startups to pay their virtual assistants.
- You don’t need to create an account to start using it.
- Supports 20+ world currencies.
- Can set up automatic recurring payments to pay your VAs.
- High transaction fees for international payments — 0.3% to 7.4% on all transactions.
- Takes three to five business days to transfer money from your PayPal account to a bank account.
Payoneer is a popular payment platform that simplifies the process of paying your virtual assistants across countries.
- Supports 100+ world currencies.
- Integrated with most freelancing websites like Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer.
- The currency conversion rate is only 2-2.75% per transaction.
- Can be difficult to set up a Payoneer account.
- Charges an annual fee of $29.95 for card and account maintenance (depending on the country).
3. Wise, formerly Transferwise
Wise, formerly TransferWise is a global money transfer platform that charges low and transparent fees on all transactions.
- Supports 40+ currencies.
- Offers the real mid-market exchange rate.
- Free account registration.
- Limited reach — used in only 50 countries.
- Can’t set up automatic recurring payments to pay your virtual assistants.
For more details on online payment platforms, check out: How To Pay Anyone In Any Country.
C. Use A Performance Monitoring Software
As most virtual assistants charge you on an hourly rate, you need to keep track of their work hours accurately.
Without tracking their work hours, there’s no way to
- Verify how long a project actually took.
- Know if they’re passing off idle hours as hours worked.
- Verify if they’re only working on your tasks when you’re being billed.
- Monitor their web and app usage during work hours.
- Prevent them from getting distracted while working.
Luckily, you can use a performance monitoring tool like Time Doctor to monitor your virtual assistants.
What’s Time Doctor?
Time Doctor is a powerful performance monitoring software that’s used by large companies like Apple and PwC and small businesses like Thrive Market to monitor their employees. It accurately tracks the time your virtual assistants spend on your tasks to help you pay them for their hours worked.
Here’s a closer look at how it helps you manage your VAs
1. Automatic Payroll Management To Help Pay Your VAs Accurately
Time Doctor’s Payroll feature helps you accurately pay your virtual assistants for their billable hours. It automatically calculates each VA’s pay and lets you pay them using a payment method of your choice.
While the tool integrates with Wise (formerly TransferWise), PayPal and Payoneer, you can also use a custom payment method to pay your VAs.
The Payroll feature is also fully-customizable. It lets you select
- The payment method – select default payment integration or use other methods to pay your virtual assistant.
- The payroll period – select from a list of default values or set a custom payroll period.
- The rate type – specify a fixed payment rate or opt for an hourly rate as per your virtual assistant’s payment policy.
- The rate per hour.
- The currency – choose from a list of global currencies.
Note – Time Doctor deducts no fees for making these payments.
2. Powerful Project Reports To Help Track Your VA’s Work
Time Doctor’s Project Report gives you an accurate break down of the hours spent by your VA on each project.
It shows you which virtual assistant worked on each project or task and for how long. For example, you’ll know the time spent by your digital marketing assistant on a specific project.
As these reports are accurate to the second, you can use it to verify the time they spend working to ensure that you’re paying them appropriately.
3. Distraction Management To Help Your VAs Focus On Their Worked
Worried that your VAs are distracted by non-work related websites and apps while working?
With Time Doctor, it’s not an issue.
The tool’s distraction management feature helps your virtual assistants focus on their work without getting distracted by unproductive websites and apps like social media.
If they access an unproductive website or app while working, Time Doctor auto-displays an alert asking them if they’re still working or not. This nudge is usually enough to get them back to work.
4. Inactivity Tracker Prevents Logging Idle Hours As Hours Worked
Time Doctor has a built-in inactivity tracker that guards against your virtual assistants running the timer when they’re not working.
If there’s no mouse or keyboard activity for more than three minutes, Time Doctor displays an alert asking them if they’re still working. If they don’t respond to this alert, the tool automatically puts them on a break and stops tracking time for the project.
This lets your virtual assistants only log active hours as hours worked.
Note – Time Doctor does NOT monitor which keys are pressed, it only checks if any keys are pressed or not.
Estimating the cost of hiring a virtual assistant doesn’t have to be complicated.
The first step is to identify the type of virtual assistant services you need. Once you’ve done that, look at the service you need and determine the VA experience level that’s required. After this, you’ll have no trouble determining what you’ll have to pay a VA for their services!
Lauren Soucy is the VP of Marketing for Time Doctor, the world’s leading time tracking and productivity software. She has 15+ years of experience in marketing at fast-paced companies. Her first passion is SEO, she can’t start her day without coffee, and she enjoys spending time at the beach with her two boys and her husband.