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How Important is the Location of Your Virtual Professional?

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friendly female helpline operatorEven though the entire point of hiring a Virtual Professional is that they’re, well…virtual, you may find the location of your VA to be a very important part of finding a great fit for your company.

Your services may need to be delivered at a certain time.

Some businesses need their Virtual Assistants to be available during business hours in certain time zones.  Example:  I currently work with Company A, which is based on the East Coast, and that company has a number of tasks they need to be completed within EST business hours.  I also work with Company B, a West Coast based company, and the time difference isn’t an issue because my primary duty there is content creation.  I don’t work with any overseas companies at the moment, but take into consideration a company based in a time zone 12 hours from your own.  You’d have to stay up until the wee hours of the morning just to have a conversation about the day’s tasks.

There may be language barrier. 

If you’re like me and have a difficult time understanding people with thick accents, you’re not going to work well with someone overseas even in parts of your own country.  In the United States, a person based in Georgia is likely to have a pretty heavy Southern drawl.  Many people in New Jersey and New York City talk like Tony from the Sopranos.  (Nothing against Tony –some of my own family members speak like that!)  When you’re working closely with a VA, this may make a difference to you.

VAs charge based on what they need to live. 

It’s a common misconception that many Virtual Assistants overcharge.  Let’s take a look at this for a second.  In NY, I pay approximately 30% of my income to the IRS and the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.  Then I pay for health insurance, which is priced based on the state and even county that I live in.  Once you figure just those two numbers in, I need to charge about ten dollars more than minimum wage to just make minimum wage.  This doesn’t count things like office supplies, the internet bill, phone charges, and a plethora of other standard costs of running a business from home.  On the same token, someone living in the middle of Manhattan where the cost of living is even higher than it is in Upstate NY may charge double what I do.  They may not even have as much experience as me, the skills I have, or even the charming personality.  However, they have a rent or mortgage and need to buy groceries just like everyone else, so they need to charge accordingly.

You may need your VA to come to you.

Many VAs like to take on local clients.  They can have local meetings, stop by the office to drop off and pick up work, and, depending on the nature of the business, may need to see something in person in order to be able to help.  Only you know if you’d like to have a local VA or not, but depending on your needs, this is also something you’ll want to keep in mind.

Before you sign a contract with your Virtual Professional, take some of these things into consideration.  Call your potential VA, set up a consultation (many of us do this for free!) and ask as many questions as you possibly can.  Communication is key, and sometimes you won’t even know if location will affect your relationship with a VA until you talk to one!

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