Over the last few years, APVA have championed the importance of a fair hourly rate for VAs in the UK and internationally. In 2018/19 we carried out some research into the expenditure of VA businesses, and found that a VA working 30 hours per week and charging £25 per hour was potentially only ‘taking home’ £18.03 of that hourly rate, as the rest needed to be set aside to cover essential ‘business necessities’ – the overheads that responsible and professional business owners should have in place. These business essentials include (but are not limited to):
- Tax and National Insurance Contributions
- Professional Indemnity, Cyber and Public Liability Insurance
- Compliance registrations (for example, registering with the Information Commissioner’s Office and with the HMRC for their Anti-Money Laundering Regulations, if appropriate)
- Software/Hardware costs
- Office supplies
- Ongoing professional development training, etc.
It’s worth considering that the minimum wage for employees in the UK (aged 25+) from April 2020 is £8.72, and that many employees have access to sick pay and holiday pay – something that self-employed small business owners do not. Here at APVA, we believe it’s fair to suggest that VA businesses are able to bring in enough money to cover their business expenses AND their essential living expenses, whilst also ideally having a little set aside to support them should circumstances change – a clear example being the Covid-19 pandemic this year, when a number of self-employed individuals found themselves with significantly reduced income and without the same financial support as their employed counterparts. Yes, there was the Self-employed Income Support Scheme (extended for a further 3 months in July 2020), but there were many individuals (including some Directors of Limited Companies, and individuals without the required self-employed income history) who fell through the gaps.
Last year, the results of our VA survey found that the most common hourly rate charged by survey participants was between £21-25 per hour, so we were pleased to see an uplift in hourly rate charged by survey participants this year – 39.7% of survey respondents in 2020 advised that they charge between £26-30 per hour, with 25.8% of respondents charging over £30 per hour, and 2% of total survey respondents charging in excess of £45 per hour. In addition to this, the most common response to the question: ‘How much do you believe that you are worth per hour?’ was also £26-30, with 32.9% of respondents giving this answer.
For us, this signals a positive change in the VA industry, with more and more VAs recognising the value of their work and charging an appropriate amount to ensure that they can cover all of their professional expenses as well as more of their essential living costs. We recognise that rates differ geographically and depending on the services offered by VAs, but from our daily conversations with VAs from across the world, we also know first hand the dedication, high level skills and extensive experience that many VAs share with their customers, and are pleased that this is reflected in a higher average hourly rate.
If you’d like to find out more about the UK and international VA industry, why not download a free copy of our 2020 VA Survey results? Please visit https://qk331.infusionsoft.app/app/form/va-survey-results-2020 for your copy.