A New VA Advice community member emailed me asking for more details on how to go from charging hourly to creating packages in her virtual assistant business.
She realized that the hourly model would not bring her the income that she really desired for the quality services that she provided, and that she’d eventually hit a cap by pricing her services in that way.
Rather than just giving her an explanation on how to make the switch, I also included for her a detailed example of exactly how to turn one of her services into several different packages in order to really benefit her clients as well as provide her with monthly ongoing income.
And then I realized that I needed to make this answer into a blog post so that everyone could benefit. So, here’s my answer to her, but in a better, more organized blog post-ier kind of way so that it’s easier to read. 😉
The first thing to do when switching from an hourly pricing model to a package is to make sure you know your base hourly rate.
Your base hourly rate isn’t just a number you’ve pulled out of the air divided by how many hours you work in a week. There is a MUCH better way to come up with this figure.
I created a totally free resource that will help you figure that out.
I strongly suggest that you take this step before going any further. And even if you aren’t ready for packages yet and you’re still charging by the hour, fill out the worksheet. It will help to ensure that you’re charging what you really should be charging.
Okay, did you do that? Great! Now keep reading.
Now that you have your base hourly rate figure, you can use that number to plug into some calculations.
The example I’m going to use is for creating social media packages.
You can create some basic packages for monthly social media management. That way, you have some steady income coming in from monthly clients.
First, you want to list every single task you do for social media clients. Mark down how much time each of these tasks take you. Then apply your hourly rate to each task. Be sure to include some extra time in this equation for things that may go wrong or take longer than you think.
Once you’ve listed everything and assigned each task an amount of time and dollar figure, add up all of those prices. This is the basis for your package rate.
When looking at that number, think about the value you are providing your clients with ongoing social media management.
In order to encourage someone to buy one of these packages, you need to focus on the end result they’re going to get or the pain point that you are resolving for them.
Will your package help them get more website traffic? More subscribers to their list? More people into their sales funnel? Focus on their ultimate goal. For many of your potential clients, that may be increasing their reach in order to gain more followers that ultimately turn into paying clients.
Now that we’ve discussed what value really means here, look at the rate that you’ve come up with for your package.
Should your number be higher? Lower? If you’re looking at that number and thinking that no one will ever pay you that amount, but you know that you absolutely rock at this and get results, then you might need to do some mindset work.
You’re going to see prices out there from virtual assistants that you consider to be high, low and everything in between. You don’t need to be as concerned about where your numbers fit in with everyone else’s. You should be more concerned with focusing on the unique abilities you bring to the table with your clients and the value they get out of working with you.
An ongoing monthly social media package could include things like:
–Coming up with a plan for WHY they’re using social media (Are they looking to grow their list? Gain new followers? Make product/service sales?)
–The actual posts and scheduling them
–Updating their social media profiles
–Creating graphics for the posts
–Replying to comments, posts and retweets
–Creating weekly or monthly social media content calendar
You could also offer different levels of this monthly package.
This will depend on how much time you need to spend and whether or not you’re creating content for the client. Keep in mind that it’s up to you as to whether you’d like to help provide or research to create the actual content for the posts or if they need to provide that to you.
Those monthly packages can vary based on how much they’re getting from you. For example, you could have a basic package that includes posting so many times a month on X number of social media platforms. Then another that includes more posts and you responding or thanking people for their engagement. Then another package that includes all of that plus content creation or research.
For example, you could have 3 different monthly packages based on how much value you offer in that social media package, and they would be offered at 3 different price points.
In addition, you can offer a “starter” setup package for people who are just starting out on social media where you offer things like:
–Evaluation to see where they are with social media right now
–Help them discover what platforms they really should be using based on the clients they want to reach
–Set up of profiles on the platforms, including brand continuity
–X number of starter posts on those platforms
As part of your free consultation process, you might consider offering a free social media evaluation. You can create a checklist for yourself of things you’ll look over when evaluating a potential client’s social media presence. Then, after your free evaluation, you suggest to them which package would fit them best.
Another key point is to be sure to reevaluate your package pricing regularly.
As you begin working regularly with social media clients, revisit your pricing structure. Are certain things taking you longer than you originally estimated? Have you taken a new course that’s provided you with more expertise in a certain skill?
Then be sure to update your pricing accordingly.
If your pricing and packages are listed on your website, update that information so that new potential clients visiting your site see the latest info.
Add into your contract with clients that you will evaluate your services provided as well as rates every six months or year, with price increases as a possibility, so there are no surprises.
To convert your hourly prices into packages, take the following steps:
–Configure your base hourly rate
–Break down the package into tasks with dollar figures assigned to each
–Decide on your price based on value
–Offer an initial package as well as monthly packages in order to achieve ongoing income
–Evaluate your package pricing regularly and adjust as needed
Is this the only way to create packages? No. But as I tell my coaching clients all the time, you need to use what resonates with you and apply it to how you want to run your business. This is definitely a method that works. It can help you figure out those numbers if you’re at the beginning of this process and you’re not sure where to start.
Now it’s your turn.
Do you have questions on this process? Have you made the jump from hourly rates to packages? What has worked best for you? Leave me a message in the comments or start a discussion in the Virtual Assistant Empowerment Facebook group.