Business Assistance and What to Charge

You have decided that you want to go ahead with your dream of working from home, the next step is to perform some research for business start up assistance in your area.

I checked the internet before I started up my business and found a local company that provided a business course. At the end of the course I had to produce a business plan and I then received a start up grant. The course included marketing your business and accounting. These are invaluable for your business.

If you are based in the UK contact business link and they should be able to tell you of any start up grants in your area:

- Business Link in England: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk
- Business gateway in Scotland: http://www.bgateway.org
- Enterprise Northern Ireland: http://www.enterpriseni.com

Sources of online information include:

- http://www.smallbusiness.co.uk
- http://www.mybusiness.co.uk
- http://www.allbusiness.com
- http://www.newbusiness.co.uk

What Should You Charge?

I found it really difficult to decide on a rate to charge for my services. There are a number of different structures you can use. I researched a number of Virtual Assistant sites before I decided on my pricing.

Hourly Rate

From my research there seemed to be a consensus that you should not charge less than £18 per hour. I have set my lowest rate for administration and typing at £20 per hour. I decided that services I provide, that use my advanced skills, should be charged at a higher rate. You will need to factor in your experience and geography when deciding on your rates.

It is vital that you NEVER UNDER-SELL yourself. I have on occasions offered a reduction for certain clients who give me a lot of work. On reflection I would not do this again.

Charge per Assignment

On occasion you may receive a one-off assignment such as typing up a project for a student and it may be best to quote a price for the assignment. You may want to quote per 1000 words. This way they will know up front what the charge will be.

Retainer Packages

A retainer package is when a client signs up for a certain number of hours per month. You can offer a reduction in the hourly rate. You will need to set up a retainer agreement.

You will also need to compile a list for such tasks as printing, laminating, sending faxes etc.

The next post will look at choosing a name for your business.

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