Over the years we've been asked for examples of price increase letters - each VA business is different and you will know your clients best, but here's a few ideas about how you can increase your virtual assistant rates without alienating the clients.
Why raise your virtual assistant rates?
Firstly, remember that your clients will at some point expect you to raise your prices. If you've been in business for 10 years, hasn't the cost of living gone up during that time??? So small increases year on year are not unusual, clients may not like them (but they do expect them!). You may well even have a regular rate review written into your contract - or perhaps now is the time to instigate that?!
Secondly during their period of working with you, you will have gained insight into their processes and industry which make you more skilled at performing their tasks. They benefit from that knowledge, as you are faster than anyone else. Note the word "faster". So if you are charging hourly, you get penalised for being good at your job. Great incentive, right? An increase is only really fair in that situation.
Thirdly, there's a weird dichotomy of pricing: Clients believe higher rates equal better service. You raising your price may attract clients who were put off by "bargain basement" style pricing before... If they want to hire a great VA, it makes sense they'd pay as much as possible to get the very best.
Price increases are a normal part of doing business, and there are ways to introduce a rates rise without scaring away all your clients. Virtual assistant rates do change year on year (see UK VA Survey) so be aware of what is now the current going rate for a VA!
Current average Virtual Assistant Rates:
£25/hour for solo VAs, £30/hour for MultiVAs
Right, so we're doing this - we're raising the prices. What do we need to do?
- A simple letter or email.
- You may want to justify the price increase, but you don't have to.
- You may want to include a reminder about how you've added value to the contract since their rate was agreed.
- If applicable, include a reminder that regular reviews were part of the contract.
- You need to include what the new rate is and what date it will apply from.
We'd suggest a small increase year on year rather than a large hike less frequently. E.g. you might want to do 3% per year rather than £10 an hour immediately. (Top tip: Diarise the next review of your prices now!).
In terms of notice, you want to give a fair amount of time for them to adjust to the new prices, but not so much that they have lots of time to shop around - I'd suggest between 4 - 8 weeks' notice.
Examples of price increase letters for virtual assistants
Other ways to raise prices without charging more per hour:
Okay we've all had the client who has a fixed mindset about how much they are willing to pay for admin. Other than that, they are a great client. So how else can you raise the rates without them spluttering over "HOW MUCH for basic admin???!!!"
So here are a few ideas to soften the blow:
- Keep them on the old rate - But make sure the new rate with a "loyalty discount" is itemised on their bill so they understand what a bargain they are getting. All new clients get the new rate applied. It may not get you more money, but at least they know what good VAs charge and how nice you are!
- Charge for the task, not the hours it takes you - that way you aren't penalised for your efficiency.
- Charge a per audio minute rate - lots of clients are used to seeing these and prefer to know exactly what they are getting charged for each audio job. (Be sure to put in disclaimers about audio quality and numbers of speakers in your quote!)
- Downgrade the urgency of their tasks - if you can batch their tasks into a session once per week, it will take you less time than having to react every time their email pings into your inbox. You only need to pull up their info once, and it saves you tons of mental energy because you don't have to switch into that client's mindset more than once. They continue to be charged the same, but you'll definitely be working faster, effectively increasing your rate.
- Get them to commit upfront - Let them stay on the old rate, but only if they commit to X number of hours per month paid upfront on a "use it or lose it" basis. That way you have predictable cashflow, they have their favoured rate. Set the minimum number of hours as slightly more than they usually use, the unused hours should offset the cheaper rate. Any hours above the agreed prepaid hours are charged at full rate.