Really useful podcast on pricing and offshore VAs - it’s Australian but I found it pretty relevant:
(NB: Australian dollars are about half UK £)
Every time the subject of offshore VAs comes up, people get rather…erm,…passionate! But this is an interesting view from Lyn - bit more measured than you’d usually get and also encompasses the regional rates issue too.
She’s spot on: You charge for the value you are providing to the client.
Now, having worked with a few offshore VAs (and done a bit of consultancy for them too!) I’m fairly confident that it’s not an issue. Reasons why:
- Different time zones mean a simple job can take 3 days to complete. E.g. I brief a task Mon AM, the VA picks it up overnight Mon but comes across some small issue which they need guidance on, I pick that up Tues AM, and they finally complete the work during Tues night, so I don’t get it till Weds AM. UK based VA would have completed it on Monday.
- Language barriers - even good English skills sometimes suffer from being lost in translation. You need to brief tasks in a very specific way to get good results.
- Cultural norms - I know how long it takes Royal Mail to deliver the post. I also know you can’t do more than 3 meetings a day in London in different locations because of the time it takes to travel in between different places. Without that sort of knowledge, being a PA is really difficult.
- Legal Differences - A friend of mine used some Chinese web developers recently and discovered none of the pictures they’d used were cleared of copyright! We frequently see problems with US drafted VA contracts because they are classed under UK law as being employment contracts. And both the clients and you must comply with GDPR, which is super tricky when your VA works from a Hotmail account in the Philippines!
I challenge anyone who is bothered about offshore competition to take £50 and go test it out. It’s not the same service as a professional UK based VA. A bit like saying that someone in the market for a luxury Mercedes would go directly to “Bob’s Bangers” second hand car dealership - they wouldn’t, they’d go for the approved dealership. That’s not to say there isn’t a market for second hand cars: there is! But it’s about positioning and targeting the right people to work with.