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Realtor comments on rates

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I've been a floating assistant since 2002. My rates went from $15 to $20 in the first 8 months and stayed there for 3 years. I increased by $3 to $23 for a year then increased to $25 in 2007. I haven't increased my rates since, but the markets have changed, and business is more web-based than ever. The real face-to-face part of the business is training and the rest can be done virtually via Top Producer, MLXChange and RealtorLink. For listings and transactions all I need is a copy of the paperwork - the rest can be processed and faxed to our market centre administration office - who perform the invoicing and cut the cheques.

 

Last week I had a client complain about her invoice. My policy is to charge in 30 minute minimums at $15.00 minimum charge. The client asked me to mark a listing as sold, make it active, syndicate it to various locations etc. When I suppplied her with a conceptual package that would involve submitting a listing to website and various additional listing websites (with the package still under construction) she still only valued it at $25.00 for the whole service with NO consideration as to how much TIME performing the service and maintenance actually takes. I was thinking about $100 for the package (though I have yet to finalize the content and price) so her response, to me, was insulting. Hence the reason I'm on this forum.

 

I have a lot of clients who treat me like an "assistant" or "employee" with no consideration that I am a business owner as much as they are.

 

On top of it all, I have had some agents treat me like my rates are too high, and others who consider me a god-send say my rates are too low.

 

You get all kinds in this business.

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I had a 'friendly' pass from both sides with a potential client last week for similar incidents, Marie. I quoted a price for getting into the service or file, making the change which is not one copy/paste, but often 10 or more, checking it in the browser, letting the client see that it should be different and fixing that. She thought the package for X number of changes wouldn't be right because 'some of these tasks take 10 minutes'. We had a friendly parting with me thinking, okay, use YOUR ten minutes that become 30 and her thinking that surely there is someone out there who will work for almost nothing.

 

I need money, not more to do.

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Thank you Candy and Judy for your thoughts.

 

I'm about to raise my rates to $30 this year. A writer VA gave me a good idea for implementing the change. Start with a $2.50 increase and in 6 months or so up it another $2.50. Though, I am tempted to drop the $30.00 bomb June 1st for all services then create a package which includes a pile of web advertising (2 hours minimum) 10 minutes here and there, for $100 all inclusive. In addition to that package will be on-going process of feedback and updates for an additional and single fee regardless of how long their listing takes to sell - however, that aspect can be incorporated into a package type deal of 10, 20 or 40 hours per month as I have seen some VA's quote in contracts which the client will need to select their package before any work begins.

 

I don't have any contracts except an NDA with the Brokerage, which is probably why most of my clients hire me for one-offs (which I don't mind when they are a solid project rather than piddly little pieces).

 

I've got to get my marketing in place before I return to Ottawa so I can get some appointments and projects booked to fill in next week. I need a minimum of 20 hours per week at my current rate to reach my MINIMUM monthly income goal.

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Another VA and I were talking about this just a week ago. She said that she had a conversation with a potential client who said that he had a student working for him as a VA for $10.00 an hour. She said, "That must not be working out for you or you wouldn't be calling me." A few months after he hung up the phone, he called her back and said,"You were right it wasn't working out." He hired her at her regular rate of pay and said it was her confidence that he liked.

 

I must admit that I wouldn't have thought of saying that, but it's one of the better answers I've heard regarding our asking for a decent hourly rate.

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