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Hello Lovely Ladies,

 

I am a newbie and a potential client found me and inquired about my rates. I over priced myself out of a client already and I don't want to make the same mistake. I have decided to make my rates negotiable because I do not want to loose a potential client over rates. I do have a set rate that I won't go under, however I have to get back to this client with a good response and keep her interested. Any suggestions???

 

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Reiterate, perhaps in different terms than you previously did, the value you can provide in exchange for XYZ dollars. Perhaps also suggest a smaller project so the prospect can "test" you out with less financial risk. Once she/he sees what you can do, often a prospect will end up signing on for bigger projects/retainers.

 

Bottom line though: do not get hung up on people who give you excuses as to why they can't afford you. It's really not your problem.

 

It's usually the other way around anyway. i.e. You can't afford them.

 

Good luck,

Karri

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Hello Savvy,

 

I feel you may find the most satisfication down the road by having fixed rates instead of negotiable rates. Let me offer some points to consider . . . and hopefully avoid any future pricing headaches.

 

Determine your rates based on the types of services you are offering and the specialized skills you need to offer these services. For example desktop publishing service would probably cost a bit more than administrative services. Desktop publishing or bookkeepting needs specialized skill to perform well. Take some time to browse other VA sites to see the average range of rates. This will help you determine if you've overpriced your services or are still in the ballpark.

 

An important thing mentioned recently during one of the Monday evening chats was, "Your rates are your rates, period. You are worth every bit of what you are asking. Don't budge if your rates are within reason for the services you are offering." This pearl of wisdom was priceless. When we hire a plumber no one questions the rates, no one questions the telephone service, or even the dry cleaner. We understand this is the going price for the service.

 

When explaining your rates to a questioning client remind them that you are worth every penny and point out the savings of hiring you only for the work you've completed and not all of the overhead and other expenses with hiring an employee. Rehearse in your mind the benefits of partnering with a VA and sell them on your skills and experience. Remember they are not getting a jewel in the rough - VA's are polished jewels beautifully faceted with a twinkle.

 

Now with that said . . . consider offering a per project fee. This may be slightly higher that your regular rate or based upon the estimated time to complete this one specifc project. You may additionally want to consider offering retainer pricing with percentage discounts for quantity hours.

 

By offering a variety of "set" pricing structures I'm sure you'll find a pricing structure that can be affordable and comfortable for all of your clients. Remember to offer to invoice in smaller amounts, perhaps every two weeks, instead of monthly if that's helpful for a client's special needs.

 

~Ruth

 

 

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I have the same concern. I have some standard rates. Someone ask me to do a new office set up. Clean up files, handbook, interview part-time assistant and I gave them a price of one time fee of $300.00. My going rate is $30.00 an hour for Executive Assistant and $15.00 hour for Customer Service and Receptionist. I don't know if this is to low or high but I look on other VA's webiste and compared their prices. I remember being on one of the seminars when the speaker was Diana Ennen and she stated the going rate was between $35 to $100 per hour. She also said higher rates know you are qualified, rate should be based on your skills, Increase your rate depending on niche, and consider retainers and lower rates for more hours.

 

Kathy

"Customer Service With A Smile"

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Hello Savvy,

On VA Seminar Achieve they have one on Pricing, Marketing by Mark Silver. I'm listening to it know and maybe that can help you with pricing. Have a great day.

 

Kathy

 

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I went through a VA mentoring program and the coach gave a great piece of advice -- say to yourself over and over: "I charge $x per hour, I charge $x per hour." The "x" is actually DOUBLE your real rate. For example, if you really charge $50 per hour, say to yourself: "I charge $100 per hour" over and over. This builds your confidence and when you tell your rate to a prospect, there is no crack in your voice or lack of confidence about it whatsoever. How we come across can affect how people perceive us and our value. You'll come across like your rate is your rate -- period -- and you KNOW you are worth it.

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Guest Cheryl

 

 

 

I used to cringe when saying my rates until my now largest client said "I don't care about that, I just want someone that can do what I need, when I need it"

I stopped cringing or trying to explain it at that point - and just say "x for this x for that" and we can discuss project work.

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I've done a lot of quotes in my very brief career (so far) as a VA. I haven't gotten a single one yet, and have been thinking maybe I'm too high. However, I recently met with a prospective client from my BNI group. She's a new business, and can't afford a VA yet although she really needs one. When I told her my price, she never once batten an eye. What she did was to tell me she was going to figure out how to afford my services. That actually told me that I don't want to settle for a lower price just to get business.

 

As Ruth said "My rates are my rates---period" And I'm worth every penny!

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I met a gentleman a couple of weeks ago, he was looking for someone to do some paperwork and basic accounting. I told him my rate, he said "that's not much at all", and the rate I quoted him was higher than I usually quote at because I wasn't interested in the work (I hate accounting).

 

People interested in your services will see the value immediately.

 

Cheryl

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I think if the client you lost thinks your rates were too high, and you agree with them, then you have to reassess your rates. You will never be able to sell your services if you think you are charging too much.

However if you don't agree with that client, If you think that you are worth what you charge then you will get paid accordingly. You need to believe that you are worth your rates.

I list my rates right on my website. I believe I am worth every penny.

I often tell potential buyers that I bill in 15 hour increments, or give them an idea of how much a certain project will be on final invoice. That technique has worked well for me. (is it 2 hours or 8 hours? is often what they are wondering anyway).

 

Good luck!

Tracey

 

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Did you really overprice yourself with the first client OR did they just decide to go with someone who offered their services at underpriced rates? Be certain not to underprice yourself. It is important that you stick to your rate schedule...the client should want you because you can get things done for them, not because you are cheap...

 

Kim

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Guest Lily E Chambers CPS
Did you really overprice yourself with the first client OR did they just decide to go with someone who offered their services at underpriced rates? Be certain not to underprice yourself. It is important that you stick to your rate schedule...the client should want you because you can get things done for them, not because you are cheap...

 

Kim

 

Good point! If you look on Craigs List, you will see bookkeeper jobs advertised at $12-$15/hour. I charge $45. I also know business people that had to pay a CPA to correct the errors made by the $12-$15/hour employees! Remember, you get what you pay for - so, better service means higher prices!

Edited by Lily E Chambers CPS

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Guest Aspen Business Solutions

I'm fairly new to the VA world, but have had a bit of experience quoting rates and talking with potential clients that wanted to negotitate my rates with me. In fact, I had to learn the hard way about agreeing with a client to lower my standard rate. So I have a little different spin to add to this one! I believe that it is important that we as VA's constantly remind ourselves that we are independent contractors and consultants - we are not full-time employees. As independent contractors, we establish our hourly or project rate and that is why we are in this line of work ;) If you allow a potential client to negotiate your rate down, I think that you may be opening the door to allowing that client to become your employer. And, as we all know VA's want to be a business owner's partner, not their employee.

 

I still get a little nervous telling people about my rates, but thinking along these lines has helped me feel more confident when I say, "yes, my hourly rate is $40." But we shouldn't be nervous, we are professionals providing a valuable service, just like a lawyer or therapist :)

 

This is just my two cents and I would love to hear any feedback from fellow forum members.

 

 

 

 

 

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I'm actually on here investigating the viability of a VA business for me, but I have had some experience over the years in helping startup businesses in a number of ways. If there is any one characteristic that I could point to as Most Nearly Universal among new entrepreneurs it is lack of confidence in the value of their services. The tendency is to underprice one's services in order to get the business. The problem lies in getting enough business to stay busy and failing to generate enough revenue to keep the business open.

 

You are selling your skills, but underlying that is the fact that you are selling your time. How much do you have to gross to have a viable business, after deducting all of your business expenses? If you were working as hard and as smart as you possibly could, with all of the clients you could ever serve lined up waiting for your services, how many hours a month could you bill? (Hint: With networking time, professional development and the administrative time you will spend on your own business, you will almost certainly not be able to bill as much as an average of 40 hours a week). From the amount that you have to bring in and the time that you have to sell, you can get a handle on how much you have to charge. Once you know that, DON'T APOLOGIZE FOR YOUR RATES. COMMUNICATE THE REASONS WHY YOUR SERVICES ARE WORTH WHAT YOU'RE CHARGING.

 

This is hard for many new businesspeople, but you have to prove it to yourself before you prove it to a client. Within the last day or two, I saw a table on this website that did a good job of showing why you, as a VA, are worth far more per hour to the client than their employee's "hourly pay rate" I don't remember where it was, but look for it - it will serve you well.

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Excellent comments Jim - couldn't have said it better myself.

 

Although I do always remind VAs that it's not just time you are charging for. Ultimately, you are charging for a value package that includes not only your time but your unique brand of knowledge and expertise!

 

Here is the table Jim may have been referring to. Tawnya has generously offered to let other VAs use it on their websites as long as they give due credit:

 

http://www.vanetworking.com/virtual-assist...-comparison.htm

 

Good luck,

Karri

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