How to set your rate as a Freelancer/Virtual Assistant in 2023

Freelancing 101: Foundations & Essentials
March 3, 2024
4 minutes
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Setting the correct rate or price as a freelancer is an important aspect of this job or business (however you want to see it). But it’s also one of the most difficult aspects of freelancing and a lot people - newbie or experienced ones - struggle with this. While you may know what skills you have and the value you offer, it might still be difficult to set your rate.

So, in this article, we’ll explore some pricing strategies and best practices to help you come up with a rate.

1. Hourly or fixed rate? 

Before you deep dive into setting your rate or pricing, it’s crucial to determine if you want to go for fixed or hourly rate. For VAs, an hourly rate might be ideal because of the variety of task you’d have to take on. Although, there are companies who prefer paying a fixed rate per month for a fixed number of hours, they would sometimes ask what your preferred pricing is.  Fixed rates are usually best for freelancers with clear and fixed deliverables like website development or graphic design projects.

2. Competitor research and market rate

Find out what other freelancers or VAs rates are for similar services. Ask other freelancers or check diff. job platforms to see other freelancers rates. This will give you some insights on what the rates are and find an average from there.

3. Identify and calculate the cost of your freelance work and personal expenses

If you’re planning to shift to freelancing full-time, it means that you’re going to incorporate both your freelancer work cost and living expenses. Take the time to identify the cost and calculate how much all of that will incur on a monthly basis. In your calculation, please include the tax you’ll have to pay as a self-employed individual.

4. Set a monthly or annual salary goal

Once you’ve calculated your monthly living expenses and freelancing costs, set a monthly or even an annual salary goal. If you’re just starting and are used to having a monthly salary, setting for a monthly goal mightbe easier to come up with so go with that.

For example:

monthly salary goal = 35,000 PHP
Working days a month = 20 days
Working hours per day = 8 billable hours
20 x 8 = 160 billable hours

35,000 / 160 billable hours = 218.75 php/hr

Computing your annual salary goal would look similar but replace the number to reflect the annual working hours. Take into consider days off and sick leaves.

5. Assess Market Demand

Check the market demands for the services you offer. See what clients’ average budget is or how much they’re willing to pay based on expertise and project specifications. This way you can align your pricing with that of your ideal client’s budget and makes your service appealing to prospects.

6. Implement and refine

Pricing is not set in stone. It will change over time and it’s important to evaluate your pricing model from time to time. For VAs, there may be clients who will give you bonuses and pay raises yearly. If this is not the case, then it’s up to you to raise your hourly rate and propose it to the client.


Pricing your services may be an intimidating and confusing part of the freelancing journey but it’s one of the most crucial. Which is why it’s important to know this before applying to jobs or finding clients. Just remember that it’s not just about setting a high rate to sustain your lifestyle. It’s finding the right balance between knowing your value and expertise and meeting client expectations. So try setting your rate, evaluate it after 6 months or a year and refine.

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Cover of The Executive Enabler VA Workbook: A sleek design featuring essential tools and insights for virtual assistants, helping you excel in your freelancing journey.
This workbook was designed with the newbie VA in mind. This will help you determine your niche, your service offerings, crafting your portfolio, and more.
I'm Jelly, main writer and owner of TEE, and I've been a VA for more than 10 years now. The Executive Enabler has been created in the hopes to help and guide new VAs in their journey.

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