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Minimum prices for virtual assistants

Ah, the thorny issue of rates! We get asked all the time about minimum prices for virtual assistants; whether those charging low prices are devaluing the industry; how we can support people who do charge low rates etc.

minimum pricing for virtual assistants

Why doesn’t SVA simply declare a minimum price for Virtual Assistants?

We get asked why we don’t recommend a minimum price for virtual assistants all the time.  Surely, as an industry leading association, we want everyone to charge as much as possible and not devalue the industry?

Absolutely!

I would love it if all VAs were charging £30, £40 – heck – £50 an hour.   But price fixing isn’t the way to do it.

SVA has never recommended minimum pricing for virtual assistants, and we’ve never excluded people from joining based on what they charge.  We do gather information on pricing from UK VAs in the UK VA Survey each year and we share the results based upon the mean and mode averages that VAs charge to give people an idea of what a VA would normally cost.

What is price fixing?

First of all, what is price fixing?  Price fixing is when competitors collude together not to undercut each other.  It is illegal as it can stop competitiveness in the market and drive prices up.  It’s known as a “cartel” when competitors come together and have minimum pricing requirements. 

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So for example if you joined a group where they only accept you if you charge £25/hour+, that would be illegal.  Or if they recommended an “industry standard pricing” without showing the source of that information.

But who can run a business on those low rates?

There will always be people who can do it cheaper.  Either because they cut corners, or simply because their living costs are cheaper or maybe their business model is just slicker. The fact is, if their business model isn’t sustainable, they won’t be in business for very long!   

Having said that, plenty of business models can support low rates:

  • They might offshore work
  • They could be operating with very little margin for error – one busted computer or unexpected tax bill could ruin their business
  • They could be working a lot of hours at low rates which adds up to a decent income
  • They might only be offering specific services which are streamlined or have specific software because they do them so often – so something which takes you 4 hours to do might only take them 1 hour.
  • Working with clients who are only prepared to pay low-ish VA rates is a niche – it’s easy to target them.

The problem isn’t really the low rates, the issue tends to be communicating the value of what you offer to clients so they are prepared to see why you are worth the higher fee. 

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Can we talk about virtual assistant rates at all?

Yes – if that information is publicly available.  If it’s “insider information” you can’t share it with people who could take advantage of that (i.e. other VAs).

That’s one of the reasons the UK VA Survey is so important – it let’s us talk openly about rates without discussing minimum prices for virtual assistants. It shows us the range, what the top rates are, the lowest ones, what rate most VAs charge.

More information: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/price-fixing-guidance-for-online-sellers

TAKE THE QUIZ: https://maxcma.typeform.com/to/MQJ1s0

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