How Much Does A Virtual Assistant Cost? Can You Afford One?

by | January 27, 2023

Having the support of a virtual assistant by your side is a great way to save time and increase productivity. Not only do SMBs want to hire them but big organizations are also turning to virtual assistants to help manage their daily tasks. But there are some things that make business owners think twice about actually hiring one and the virtual assistant cost is certainly one of them.

Is hiring a virtual assistant going to cost much? Is it going to upset my budget? What if I pay but don’t get a quality service? If you are a business owner and your mind has been raided with similar thoughts, our value-packed guide is just what you need.

In this article, we’ll delve deeper into the virtual assistant cost and take a look at the different factors that can affect it. By the time you are finished reading, you will you’ll have a better understanding of how much you should be paying to a VA and how you can keep the costs down.

Virtual Assistants – A Luxury Or A Necessity?

Virtual Assistant Cost - Virtual Assistant Popularity Stats

With every passing year, the business world dynamics are constantly evolving. If we look at things, let’s say a decade back, things were done differently. The thought of hiring virtual assistants for your business was not even alive let alone considered. 

The idea started becoming common around 2017. And when the pandemic hit, boom – the tables were turned. Virtual hiring became a force majeure that led to revealing how profitable it was for business owners, especially small to medium entrepreneurs. 

When we start a business, most of us go through the superhero syndrome. But that feeling gets invalidated when the business starts expanding and you find your schedule in a mess. Even then, some business owners are reluctant to hire virtual assistants for various reasons, like:

  • Financial reasons
  • Fear of poor work quality
  • Apprehensions of losing control  
  • Uncomfortable with the virtual scenario

While these all may be valid reasons, they cannot balance out the stress and burnout you go through. Running a business is teamwork, not a one-man show. Sooner or later, you will have to start building a team to get things running to reach your business goals. 

Now from large corporations to startups, everyone wants to hire virtual assistants. And why not? When you hire a virtual assistant, this is what you will get:

A. Valuable Time

Time is money when you are running a business. When getting free from daily recurring tasks, you get to focus on what your business needs more–your core competencies and creativity. After all, that is what is going to bring in potential clients.

B. Cost Saving

Did you know that hiring a virtual assistant can be more cost-savvy than hiring an in-person employee? No fringe benefits, no office space, and no inventory cost. And hiring help can free you up to get better ROI

Fact: Hiring a VA instead of a permanent resource can slash up to 78% of the running cost of your business per year.

C. Diverse Set Of Skills

Virtual assistants are highly skilled professionals. You name the niche and you will find yourself tons of skilled virtual assistants for that. And realistically speaking, a virtual assistant can fill in the skill gaps for your business that you are struggling with or are unable to do.

Now you be the better judge. Is hiring a virtual assistant luxury or a necessity?

Virtual Assistant Rates In The US

Virtual Assistant Cost - Virtual Assistant Hourly Rate

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So let’s talk money. Generally, a virtual assistant’s salary ranges somewhere between $5-$100 per hour. However, the average virtual assistant’s hourly rate is around $25. While a lot of factors pitch in, mainly it depends on the skill set you are hiring for.

For your ease, here is a general breakdown of VA rates in the US based on their service type. Since the majority of virtual assistants work on a per-hour basis, we will also provide hourly charges.

Service Type

Hourly Rate In USD

Administrative Tasks

$15-$20+ per hour

Legal Task Management

$15-$26+ per hour

Social Media Management

$10-$12 per hour

Accounting and bookkeeping

$15-$25 per hour

Customer Relationship Management

$15-$18 per hour

Advanced Consultant VA (related to IT)

$38-$50+ per hour

Let’s now examine the elements that affect a virtual assistant’s cost.

5 Factors Influencing The Virtual Assistant Cost 

As we mentioned before, there are scads of factors that influence the cost of a virtual assistant. Let’s get the inner scoop on these:

1. The Niche You Are Hiring For

This is the top most factor that influences the virtual assistant cost. Do you think web design virtual assistants cost the same as administrative virtual assistants? No. We don’t think so either.

It is not fair to assume that all services should be paid equally when you know some require much more brains than others. Manual work like data entry and general phone call handling will cost less than accounting or website management tasks.

2. The Experience Level

Experience does cost more. The experience level of a virtual assistant directly resonates with the efficiency of the work. That means more tasks are done in lesser time than the one who is less experienced and might take a lot of time to figure out stuff. 

When you hire a less experienced virtual assistant, remember that if it’s not a constraint on your pocket, it will be on your time. An inexperienced VA may need training and that will automatically bring up the costs.

Experienced VAs can handle complex projects more efficiently. The best way to go about the whole process is to do the maths. Ask yourself, how much in-depth work you need for a particular task. 

Let’s take an example of a social media virtual assistant. If you need someone for only putting up posts, you may hire someone with little to no experience. But if you need someone to run campaigns, create content, or do collaborations, you require a VA who is already familiar with these tasks.

3. The Geographics

The virtual assistant cost will vary by location, and the dynamics will change depending on where your VA is based. There are particular elements linked to the location that may raise or lower the costs. It starts from the cost of living and the cost of expenses in a certain country. 

You will find virtual assistants with lower rates from countries like India and the Philippines as compared to the ones living in the US. Another thing to keep in mind is that different locations mean different time zones. If they don’t offer flexible work schedules, the costs will automatically go down. 

Then there is the language difference, which affects how much a virtual assistant will cost you to hire. If you are hiring a VA for a language-based task like content writing or proofreading certain documents in Latin or Portuguese, the VA rates will be lower as compared to the one who is providing similar services in English. 

4. The Project Duration

How complex is your project and what time frame will it be finished in? Do the complete analysis. Calculate all the if and buts. The longer the project, the more it will cost you. At the same time, if you keep coming back to your virtual assistant for new work regularly, you can pay them on monthly basis. Monthly plans always prove to be best for the client’s budget.

5. A College Degree

Yes, a college degree does influence the virtual assistant cost. This especially stands true when a virtual assistant is required for tech support. A good degree is almost a guarantee that your virtual assistant is knowledgeable in the skill set they claim to have. 

A tech company hiring a virtual assistant for web designing tasks would prefer one having the same educational background. This gives the VA grounds to ask for a higher hourly rate as they are aware of their worth.

4 Different Payment Options For Optimizing Your Virtual Assistant Hiring 

You do have the facility to go by different payment methods when paying a virtual assistant. This is one of the highlighted perks of hiring virtual help. It is super convenient. Just pick one model that suits your budget best and get the whole thing rolling. Let’s take a detailed look at each model.

I. Pay Per Hour

Virtual Assistant Cost - Hourly Compensation Benefits

The most preferred and commonly used method to pay a virtual assistant is an hourly wage, although this can get a little tricky. You will be assuming more if you think that every second of the hour you paid for was spent working on your task.

But yes there is one way out to tackle this problem as well. Have you heard of time-tracking software? This software can be installed on the device on which your VA will be working. They show you how much time is spent working on a specific tab or browser. 

You can view the automated screenshots on your dashboard that this software takes at random intervals which will help you analyze the overall productivity. VA outsourcing companies usually provide you with one for better reliability.

II. Pay Per Task

One of the main benefits of hiring virtual assistants on a task basis is the flexibility it offers. With this option, you can hire someone to take care of a specific task, and then let them go once it’s complete. This allows you to scale up or down as needed, depending on the workload you have at any given time.

To make the most of this payment structure, having accurate estimations of task durations is essential. If you don’t have a clue about it, search the web or even ask your VA. This calculation will help you set a fixed rate for each task and pay accordingly.

III. Pay Per Project

This is somewhat similar to the above-mentioned payment model. If you are hiring a VA for a specific project which involves a series of complex tasks, you pay them a flat rate fee for it. 

With project-based hiring, you can tailor your virtual assistant needs to specific projects, rather than committing to a set number of hours or a monthly rate. This allows you to get exactly what you need without overpaying. 

IV. Monthly Retainer

Hiring on monthly basis will allow you to have a virtual assistant available on a consistent schedule. This allows you to plan ahead and know that you have dedicated support when you need it. It also allows for the development of an established working relationship. This can lead to better communication and a deeper understanding of the business’s needs, resulting in more efficient and effective work.

It also allows you to have better management of your projects as you have a dedicated team member available for a set number of hours, who can work on multiple projects and help in managing their progress, which is not possible with a task-based or an hourly-based contract.

Can You Actually Afford A Virtual Assistant? 

So we finally come down to the million-dollar question here. The answer is that you are the better judge here. We’ll just pinpoint some facts and you can take it from there. 

A. Investment Or Indulgence?

Virtual Assistant Cost - Why You Need A Virtual Assistant

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We want you to have some vision about where you want to take your business this year. We are sure that one goal has to do something with your business making more money. Hiring a VA who can take over the tasks which can free you up to work on meaningful things for your business is an investment. A long-term maybe. But you need to think of it that way.

No hurries. Just take your time and answer these questions. 

    • Do you really need help?
    • Do you think saving money is a good trade-off than expansion?
    • Does your calendar management take priority over developing new client relationships?
    • Is not hiring a VA going to let you reply to that mail that has been waiting in your inbox for a long time now?

Still got doubts? Think of what you are going to pay when you hire a full-time employee. 

You can thank us later.

B. Do The Math

Do all the calculations before you jump to any conclusion of not affording a VA. When you hire a VA, you don’t add hourly or monthly wages to your budget. This equation requires the cost of benefits added to it as well. 

What benefits you may ask? Well, to begin with, your health, inventory, internet service, and software. So what you are paying them out of your budget is helping you reduce other costs. And then the bottom line is to calculate the value your virtual assistant is bringing to your business by getting you off the hook.

C. Negotiate If You Can

You always have the right to negotiate the proposed rates. But have the heart to accept a no if it comes your way. While we are at it, just make sure you don’t cross the boundaries when negotiating. For a better scoop on how much you should negotiate, do market research and come to some mutual terms based on the market rate. 

Before you jump to any conclusions and make a decision, remember the best part about hiring a virtual assistant is the “no strings attached” scenario. If you are not comfortable, you can end the deal. This is one breakup that is not going to cause any heartbreak. It is completely unlike hiring a full-time employee where you are bounded by time-based contracts.

Do you feel your shoulders relaxing and your forehead softening after reading this? Well, that’s your cue to hire an executive assistant immediately.

4 Proven Methods To Keep Your Virtual Assistant Costs Low

We tried looking into some ways to keep your virtual assistant costs low and here’s what we got.

1. Hire From The Right Source

Now read this carefully, as this may be the most useful information you will ever get when hiring a VA for your business. Hiring a virtual assistant from the right source makes all the difference when it comes to cutting costs. Well here’s how. 

Virtual Assistant Cost - ZirtualWhen you hire a VA from vetted and reliable virtual assistant companies like Zirtual, you are getting the best out of the lot. Firstly, you can blatantly minus the hiring overheads. The VA that we’ll provide you will be highly trained, professional, and supervised. If somehow things don’t work out with the first one, you get a replacement who is experienced and highly skilled.

Zirtual is best known for providing highly skilled college grads who have a full grasp of what they do. What’s best is that our VAs are rigorously trained so that they get right down to business on their very first day.

Another cost-effective option is to hire a freelancer. However, freelance virtual assistants have a reputation for lacking skills, producing low-quality work, and being unreliable in delivering projects on time.

2. Be Clear About The Assigned Tasks

Revisions and corrections may extend the time taken and cause frustration. In such scenarios, be prepared for the assistant to ask for more per hour wage. However, you can slash the cost by being precise about your requirements before you reach out to a virtual assistant for a certain task or project. Good management and communication can lead to the timely completion of tasks and eventually bring down costs.

3. Leverage The Right Tools

When you hire remote assistance, productivity heavily relies on technology. Since you are already crystal about the task that you assigned, the next step is what online tools will improve the process. 

You can use project management tools like Asana. For email marketing, you can leverage Mailchimp. For customer service, you can use Zoho Chat. Implementation of these tools will reduce the need for manual labor, leading to cost savings and increased efficiency in virtual assistant operations.

4. Monitor Their Performance

If you hire from a reputed source, you may not need to follow this step. But in other cases, it is best to have monitoring software installed like TimeDoctor or BambooHR so that you and your VA know the work time is being monitored. This brings in reliability and quality which means more tasks are done in the designated time and hence, bringing cost savviness to the house.


Who in the business world ever said that managing a business on your own can be termed heroic? Remember when we preached that managing and running a successful business is teamwork? We did it before and we do it now.

It might seem like a difficult time to take out a budget for hiring assistance. But trust us when we say that the virtual assistant cost is an investment that you will not regret. The benefits virtual assistants offer far outweigh the costs. The key is to find affordable virtual assistant services for your specific needs that can help you unlock the full potential of your business and take it to the next level.

For this exact reason, we at Zirtual outsource vetted virtual assistants with no long-term contracts. We understand where you are coming from and we want to help you take those tiny steps toward growing your business. It’s time you explore our affordable plans to pick the virtual assistant that will be perfect for your unique needs.