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Virtual Assistants: Charging By the Hour vs. By the Project

Recently I wrote Are Virtual Assistants Expensive and was asked by one of my readers what the difference was between hiring a Virtual Assistant vs. hiring one through bidding sites such as Elance.

Question: “It seems that you charge by the hour wheras they charge by the project.”

Answer: In most instances I charge by the hour because I feel that is the most fair to both parties involved. I frequently find that new clients may not always be able to accurately articulate what they need completed so it can be difficult to provide a quote based on the project. In other instances clients will come to me wanting XYZ completed but upon my review I find and suggest additional things that they should implement, which then changes the scope of the project.

Sites such as Elance and Guru really work best if you have a one-time project and you have a solid understanding yourself of how many hours you expect it to take to completion. If you are looking for the absolute lowest price and have extra time to sort through all the bids then Elance may be the route to go.

I’m Jaded: Why I don’t participate on bid-by-project sites

When I first started my Virtual Assistant business I tried to obtain jobs through Elance, Guru and Odesk. I found it to be a highly competitive venue with low conversion rates. Therefore, for myself, I felt it better to spend my “marketing” time building relationships through Twitter.

As a Virtual Services provider I do not want to compete on price alone; rather I prefer to establish a “partnership” with my clients where I spend time discussing their goals so that I may offer suggestions that they may not be aware of. Understanding and helping them achieve their goals increases my value.

Regardless of how you decide to hire a Virtual Assistant be sure to do your due diligence to assure that you are hiring the best person for the job. Download my free “Hiring A Virtual Assistant Checklist” to assist you in your search.