Virtual assistants are in high demand among businesses of all sizes, with large companies being the most likely ones to turn to a VA for support (49% of them, as reported). But why?
An eCommerce Virtual assistant performs repetitive tasks and streamlines essential processes. As a result, businesses can save valuable time and focus more on strategic initiatives and core competencies.
However, while the benefits of hiring an eCommerce VA are evident, the cost factor remains a crucial consideration for businesses both large and small. This cost factor is affected by various aspects that businesses should know before hiring an eCommerce VA.
In this guide, we will explore the factors affecting the cost of hiring an eCommerce VA and examine different pricing models available in the market at present.
How much does it cost to hire an eCommerce virtual assistant?
It’s incorrect to say that you can get a virtual assistant (VA) for a fixed price. When hiring a VA, you get a rough estimate, but nailing down an exact price is tricky because several factors come into play.
Let’s take an example. If your business hires eCommerce virtual assistants from Western countries like the UK, prices are higher because of the higher currency exchange rate. On the flip side, if you choose to outsource virtual assistant services from countries like India, you’ll likely have lower costs due to the lower currency exchange rate.
However, factors like living cost, location, skill level, experience, and expertise are major cost differentiators. So, while you can’t get a fixed price upfront, you can explore different options to find the best fit for your needs and budget.
What are the factors that affect the cost of hiring a VA?
Here are the top 4 factors that can affect the cost of hiring a virtual assistant for your eCommerce store.
Skills & expertise
The pricing of a virtual assistant (VA) is significantly affected by their skill level and expertise. VAs with specialized skills or knowledge in areas such as inventory management, eCommerce product listing, order processing, or social media management may charge higher rates due to their skills.
Additionally, the VA’s level of expertise with specific tools or software can also influence pricing. For example, VAs who are proficient in using eCommerce platforms, CRM software, or project management tools may demand higher fees.
The cost of VA is directly related to their level of experience. These experiences have been divided into three categories, each having its own set of skills and pricing accordingly.
- Entry-level VAs are those with basic skills and experience who are just starting out in the eCommerce field. Let’s take an example of a product description. They can perform basic keyword research and curate simple product descriptions that focus on features and benefits. However, their descriptions might lack creativity and persuasive language. As a result, entry-level VAs often charge lower rates compared to their more experienced counterparts.
- Mid-level VAs have more industry experience and a wider range of skills than entry-level virtual assistants. Going with the same example, these VAs are capable of conducting advanced keyword research to optimize descriptions for search engines. They can highlight product features effectively, incorporate customer pain points, and create a coherent brand voice. Their rates fall in the middle range (less than entry-level and more than senior-level VAs), offering a balance between cost and expertise.
- Senior-level VAs are highly experienced professionals with a proven track record of success in the virtual assistance field. They possess advanced skills in handling complex projects. They have a deep understanding of your target audience (their buying journey, preference, etc.) and can tailor descriptions to resonate with them. Their expertise and efficiency often come at a higher cost, as they can deliver high-quality work with minimal supervision.
Location and time zone
VAs from places with high living costs may charge more to cover their expenses. For instance, a VA based in a city with expensive housing might charge higher rates than one from a more affordable area.
Apart from this, if you need a VA who works during your business hours for real-time collaboration, they may charge higher rates compared to one in a different time zone. This is because they would need to adjust their schedule to match yours, which might require them to work outside of their regular hours.
On the other hand, if you don’t require real-time collaboration and are fine with mutual communication, you could consider hiring a VA from a different time zone with lower rates. For example, if you’re in the United States and hire a VA from a country with a significant time difference like India, they might offer more cost-effective services due to the currency exchange rate and comparatively lower cost of living.
The cost of hiring a VA is influenced by the scope and difficulty of the project, as well as the timeline in which it needs to be completed. More extensive and time-sensitive tasks are likely to incur higher charges due to the increased workload and urgency.
For instance, a comprehensive marketing strategy for a business would necessitate more experience and knowledge than making a single social media post. Or, handling customer service requires more time and effort than just reviewing the overall performance of the product.
So, If you require a job to be done quickly, the VA may need to prioritize your assignment over other tasks, which may result in additional expenses. For example, if you require a last-minute website upgrade for a product launch, the VA may impose an additional fee due to the urgency.
What are the best pricing options for eCommerce virtual assistants?
There are two main types of virtual assistants: those who work part-time and others who work full-time and possess advanced skills and knowledge. Both these types of eCommerce Virtual assistants follow four simple types of pricing models.
Hourly-based pricing model
Hourly-based pricing is a common way of charging for VA services. With this model, businesses pay the VA for the number of hours they work on different tasks. The VA tracks their time and bills you accordingly. For instance, if they worked for 20 hours in a week, and are paid $20/- hour, they are liable to get 20*20 for the work done. This pricing structure is suitable for businesses that have fluctuating workloads or need occasional assistance.
Project-based pricing model
In this model, the VA provides a fixed-price proposal for finishing certain tasks. The seller has to pay a one-time fee before the project starts. These types of pricing models work great for well-defined and finite projects, where both businesses and the VA have a clear understanding of the scope and deliverables.
Monthly retainer pricing model
A monthly retainer is a pre-negotiated fee that you, as a business, pay the VA for a set number of hours or a specific scope of work each month. The VA reserves those hours exclusively for you, providing ongoing support as needed. The benefit of a retainer is that you have the VA’s services available regularly, which can be particularly useful for ongoing administrative or support tasks.
Performance-based pricing model
Performance-based pricing links the VA’s pay to particular accomplishments or results. The payment may depend on the accomplishment of a specific project or the VA’s capacity to perform predetermined objectives or criteria. This kind of pricing can be effective when the VA’s contributions have a direct impact on the revenue or expansion of your organization, but it might be more difficult to put into practice for those jobs that don’t have obvious, measurable results.
Some well-known virtual assistant providers & their pricing structure
Hiring a virtual assistant remains the ideal solution for streamlining your workload and managing time-consuming tasks efficiently. However, finding a virtual assistant who possesses the required skills and fits within your budget can be a challenging task. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to acquire the right virtual assistant for your eCommerce store who can handle various complex tasks and provide you with much-needed relief. So, invest time in selecting the perfect virtual assistant and witness a significant boost in productivity and peace of mind.