Should we charge an Hourly Rate or Monthly Fee?


Hi everyone, just joined the Society of Virtual Assistants… I’m in Central Bedfordshire area.

I would be interested to hear views on which strategy is best, should V.As

  • charge an hourly rate and clients pay for what they use, or
  • should we charge a monthly fee and if we do the work required in less time, so be it - as we are a valuable resource to that client and what they pay is deemed reasonable and value for money for them…?

Views are most welcome!!

Best wishes and have a great rest of Friday!



Depends a bit - if you can convince clients to pay upfront straight out the gates GO FOR IT!

But generally VAs tend to charge hourly because clients just aren’t sure about how many hours they will use… i.e. It’s not the same as having an admin employee, we usually get more done than your average admin as they aren’t paying for breaks and we tend to be more focused and have a few tricks up our sleeves!

I know Phillipa of Essential PA only does set fee rates which she charges per month - basically they charge for the task rather than for the time it takes… But then if it’s diary management or email filtering, how can you gauge how much volume of work there will usually be?

Both ways have merit…It’s about figuring out what’s easiest to sell to your target market. Some clients with steady workflow might prefer knowing what they are paying each month - whereas I know my clients’ workloads fluctuate a lot and that is why they are using a VA instead of having an employee.


Lovely to hear from you Caroline, I really appreciate your reply… my question was borne out of a discussion I was having with my mentor, and I agree its really hard to determine how much a client needs day to day and week to week, but equally there are advantages of paying a monthly fee - if you can get it right…! Its the value of the service we provide.

On my HR side, there are companies which have bronze, silver and gold style packages and charge a flat fee rate each month, from which the company doesn’t use the full potential of the package they take - thus profit might be seen as easier?! I have a couple of clients who use roughly the same each month, so am looking to suggest to move to a monthly fee - so I’ll have a mixture - just haven’t made that step. I will still record the amount of hours / time spent to make sure its an accurate fee charged.

Which is another question… how do you record your time, do you use an app or just record on an excel spreadsheet?

Lovely to be a part of the group!

Best wishes



I’m a dinosaur - I use a pen and paper (I kept on forgetting to switch off the timers but I always work from my paper planner).

Having said that, it gets tracked on Smartsheet which we use as a CRM/task flow, and that gets used to do the billing.


Lol! I record on my excel spreadsheet… which links into my accounting spreadsheet. I’ll take a look at Smartsheet also. always useful to compare and contrast how we approach things.

best wishes



I charge by the minute - but charge people in advance for retainers, or in blocks for projects. I then charge for any extra time over the retainer in arrears.

I use Hours Tracker - which prompts me to comment as I log out. My phone sits propped in front of me while I work so I can check which client I’m working for if something happens to distract me.


Hi Serena

I charge hourly for most accounting tasks as I don’t know how long they are going to take. However, for payroll, admin, diary management etc. I charge a set fee, this does mean that some weeks I lose out but others I gain.
Hope that helps



@Wendrie - I’ve just had a look at HoursTracker and it appears to be really useful. I’ve just set myself up as a VA and was looking for an app just like this. Thank you!


I offer both an hourly rate for express (pay-as-you-go) and and my retainer clients are packaged into a number of hours per month. I offer a reduction in the hourly rate based on the number of retained hours the client books. Monthly retained hours are paid for in advance to guarantee my time. Retained/pre-paid hours works better for me because I can properly structure my time throughout the month, and I know what I’ve got coming in money wise.

In terms of tracking I’m a Toggl girl! :slight_smile: Very easy to use and I can provide my clients with PDF reports with their invoice.


I charge hourly and have all my jobs scheduled on my calendar. However, I do some things like payroll and telephone answering as a weekly/monthly invoice. I invoice weekly using my calendar and as everything is logged on there, it makes the job easy and less time consuming.


I have an hourly rate that converts into a monthly fee. I don’t do project or intermittent work. I only work with clients with a minimum amount of hours a month. So it usually breaks down into £x is my hourly rate and if you want to work with me for 15 hours a month it will be £x a month. Clients pay me in advance of each month, and is setup on a recurring payment plan, i.e. standing order or PayPal recurring payments, so neither the client or myself have to think about it. If overages come up then that is just invoiced separately. I have tried other methods in the past. Different fees for different work. Pay as you go work. Even a profit share system (that was definitely the most profitable), but what I am settled with works well. I would love to try profit share system again, obviously!!! LOL But it really has to be with the right person. I have recently engaged in a small project, but that is directly through a Project Manager VA that I know, and that appears to be working well. More like a Pay as you go working engagement, but I manage the what is needed when as it is not particularly deadline driven.