Though it currently ranges between £10.00 and £111.00, the mean average hourly rate charged by experienced Virtual Assistants (in business 5+ years) across the UK is £28.18.1
(Some of these offer a discounted rate for UK registered charities – including me!)
If this rate initially surprises you, please consider carefully the following:
The average annual salary for a Personal Assistant in London in 2020 is £30,600 (range including bonuses and profit-sharing: £23,000+ – £41,000+). 2
What annual salary would you expect to pay for an experienced, qualified Executive PA?
To this you will need to add National Insurance contributions, staff benefits, office equipment, desk floor space, insurance, and payroll administration costs. You may also have to add pension contributions, car parking space and recruitment and training costs. Further, in the current Covid-19 situation, you may have to facilitate home working and undertake rigorous risk assessments.
What is the total cost of your employee?
Your PA will benefit from sick pay, holiday pay, lunch, tea and possibly cigarette breaks, trips to the water-cooler etc. She/he may also deal with personal email correspondence, surf and shop online and access their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts in time that you pay for. 3
How much does each productive hour of work really cost you?
Off-Shore Agency Assistants
You could use the services of an agency abroad which will provide a VA for you at around $10.00 per hour but if you want someone to work with in partnership – someone you can consult on administrative matters who understands your objectives and your business in its UK context, communicating knowledgeably with your contacts and clients – then you may prefer not to contract an off-shore agency worker.
UK Based Virtual Assistants
Your Virtual PA only charges you her/his hourly rate (plus any agreed expenses) for the work completed for you in that time and can provide a time-tracked activity sheet for each month. You only pay for your PA when you need her/him and yet there is continuity that is not found when hiring a temp. You do not pay for any holidays, breaks or personal correspondence. You will be invoiced (usually monthly) and make one simple payment by bank transfer. You may prefer to pay a monthly retainer for a set number of hours which gives your work priority.
Christian Knott’s comprehensive discussion on the comparative costs and attitudes of an employee and contractor provides very useful advice.
Please email me to request a copy of my brochure which gives my hourly rates for charity executives or church ministers, consultants to charities or businesses, sole traders, and commercial companies (please state which you are) and explains how I can help you to emerge from your in-box and concentrate on running your organisation. We can then arrange a phone discussion (no charge and no obligation).
Sources of information
1 UK Virtual Assistant National Survey v11 (2020) available for sale via the link on this page (see right sidebar) or for more information please visit www.societyofvirtualassistants.co.uk
3 BBC report on study by employment law firm Peninsula, concluding that 233 million hours are lost each month by employees “wasting time” on social networking sites in working hours. Based on a survey of 3,500 UK companies. 11 September 2007. See also article Employees really do waste time at work by Cheryl Conner on Forbes.com commenting on a Salary.com survey in 2012 which showed that 64 per cent of employees visited non-work related websites every day and, of that group, 21 per cent wasted 5 hours every week in this way.
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