Question Retainer Packages or Service Packages or Both?

Hello Fellow Virtual Assistants.....

I am in the process of revamping business processes for my business. I am trying to get away from hourly work and have a question about Retainer Hours and Packages. I am having trouble wrapping my head around offering both retainer packages and service packages. Do I offer both? For example, Retainer Package would be X hours = $XXX vs. Bundle of services for $XXX.

Can someone please provide some guidance.

Thanking you in advance!

Michelle Alexander
MEA Virtual Solutions
 

lisa4jvs

New Member
Hi Michelle.

First, kudos to you for not wanting to adopt a dollar-for-hours system for your business.

I offer both and select the appropriate option based on a client's needs. Most of them are on service packages because their specialties have several elements that are key pieces to their success.

By offering both, I believe that I show potential clients that I pay attention to their requests, can make beneficial suggestions for their business, and grow with them.

I hope that helps.

Much Success! :thumbsup:

LMB
 

Susankelly

New Member
I still offer hourly but so far all my clients do a package of hours or a service package. Some of my clients don't need a package of services as they have me do all sorts of crazy stuff (one client I designed "fun" company tshirts, wrote an employee manual, and biz cards) so they buy a block of discounted hours and another clients I'm doing social media updates for which is easy to sell as a service.

I try to offer a variety of options.
 

LAVAS

New Member
Hi I am preparing my service packages as well as it will be a variety of general administrative tasks that I will be performing. I have struggled with these questions too. Do I offer a service package if various tasks, or a service package? which to me will be the same as a retainer, based on hours worked. But I am calling it a service package instead. I am not sure how to package up my services when I don't know how much of each task I will be performing....this is a tough one. I look forward to hearing what others have to say.
Also trying to determine what cost to charge for printing reports. How much per page? Do I follow what the local office depot is charging?
 

LuzDonahue

VAF Community Leader
Have you thought about talking to some of your older/trusted clients about this? If you can get some insights from some people who are in your 'ideal client' range they may be able to tell you a but more about what their preferences are. You definitely want to think about your ideal client's needs specifically. I would look at services that are requested together. For example, if someone wants you to update their blog, add images, and also update plug ins, maybe you can have a package that focuses on maintaing their blog.

You can also think about the services you want to do most and build packages that highlight those services. I still have hourly options but usually when people do hourly I end up creating a retainer package or a customized service package based on their needs. I prefer doing packages for services because it allows me to keep making the same amount even as I get more efficient at a job. It's more personal preference.
 
Thanks for your awesome feedback. It's was very helpful.

One last question (I think)...how do I come up with prices for my service packages? I have 4 packages and was thinking about giving them the same price. However, not totally on that idea. Would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!

Michelle
 

VA Karen

New Member
Put yourself in your client's shoes. If you were contracting someone else for the work you provide, how would you (as the client) want to pay for the work? Paying per hour at first may seem easy, but in the long run, which would save you the most money?
 
As someone just starting out I have decided to offer hourly as well as small retainer packages, since I starting out with this business on the side. It seems retainer packages are the more popular option as business grows.
 

ChristinaR

New Member
I still don't understand the hourly block packages or retainer packages. If the retainer packages are all equal to a number of hours, aren't you still tracking hours? I don't understand.

Christina in AL
 

ChiVA

New Member
I also work with different packages and will, of course, work with a client to find out what suits them best... retainers or a per project and because I offer E-Filing as a service, I have an E-Filing only type of package too.
 

BusyMomsClub

New Member
Hello Everyone!

I am in the process of putting together my price packages. I do not really care for the hour by hour rate and have decided to put together packages for monthly rates. I am struggling with what I would charge per hour. I've seen VA's throughout my google searches offering to work for $6.00 an hour. Call me crazy but I think I'm worth a bit more than $6.00 an hour. How will one pay their overhead as well as have some take home?? I'm not trying to sound greedy but I've graduated college years ago (actually moons ago) and still paying on student loans?? How does that work on $6.00 an hr. Please enlighten me so that I'm not totally thinking i'm crazy!

Chastity
 

Susankelly

New Member
You really can't concern yourself with that Chastity. There are a ton of VA's in other countries that charge under $10. an hour. I guess they can survive on that. I've seen some VA's here in the USA that charge between $10. and $20. per hour. I don't know why they charge that or how they survive. I'm assuming that being a VA isn't a full time job that supports them. Maybe they won the lottery and need to keep busy, have another full time job, or a husband that works and being a VA is more a hobby. I have no idea.

But when a prospective client says to me, "I've seen VA's that charge $18 an hour, why should I hire you?" That's become an easy answer for me. First off in my head I feel if they can't figure this one out, I'm not sure I want to work with them! ;)

But I'll take the time to try and educate them. When you back out expenses on that $18 an hour the wage of that VA is probably south of $9 an hour. The local grocery store pays more than that so my question to the client is: How professional do you think they will be? What sort of skills do they actually have? Are they critical thinkers? And more importantly do you think they can possibly be in business next year or even next month? And what might that do to the plan of bringing the clients business to the next level if they don't have someone that is a professional? Someone who may go out of business at some point?

I have a great education, years and years of experience, I'm an outstanding critical thinker, and I've worked on my own for over 13 years. One thing I've learned over all those years is very often we get what we pay for, especially in a service related business. I'm worth every penny of what I charge and I know for a fact that 99% of my clients say I'm worth more than what I charge and feel very lucky to have me. (one is newer and still on the fence!)

I have a lot going for me.. skills, dedication, education... oh and confidence! ;)
 

BusyMomsClub

New Member
Thank you so much for your post. Totally puts things into perspective. I have not been fortunate enough to win the lottery yet so I'm plugging away at putting my prices together! Thanks for the great advice and one liners for those types of questions! This is such a great group! Thanks!
 
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