The Service Plan Mistake You May Be MakingMar 17, 2022
Unlike service plans provided by mobile phone providers, virtual assistants need to stop allowing any unused hours 'roll over' to the next month (or beyond!).
Now before you throw your arms up in the air declaring that this doesn't seem at all fair to clients and why on earth would they agree to what basically sounds like a 'use it or lose it' proposition that no self respecting VA would offer, or client would accept, here's the reasoning behind this best practice business pricing strategy:
❌ This is NOT about getting free or undeserved money out of clients.
❌ This is NOT immoral or in any way a scam.
❌ This is NOT a strategy where you leave them to their own devices for weeks only to spring the surprise at the end of the month that they didn't use up all their hours.
✅ This IS about ensuring you have a consistent and predictable amount of work and income coming in each month.
✅ This IS about both you and your client valuing your time. They are effectively paying for you to keep time each month aside just for them (e.g. a retainer).
✅ This IS about keeping the lines of communication open at all times, with regular check ins regarding the numbers of hours that have been used up throughout the month.
✅ This IS about avoiding unused hours by knowing what nice-to-do projects your client has that you can work on when everything else has been completed.
There should be no surprises for anyone involved!
When you allow clients to rollover any unused hours, you're effectively ...
1️⃣ Opening yourself up to scheduling issues in the following months.
2️⃣ Allowing clients to take advantage of your kind nature.
3️⃣ Welcoming the avoidable liability of building up too many hours that you 'owe' to clients.
This retainer strategy allows you to plan for business expenses, your time (remember that capacity planner of yours?) and is a brilliant way to reduce some of the financial stress and anxiety that comes alongside being a virtual assistant.
It's also a very common pricing practice in the business world - especially for freelancers.
Having a non rollover policy shouldn't discourage clients from hiring you. In fact, when done well, you're training your clients to manage their time more wisely and to value yours.
Communicate, communicate and communicate some more!
Ensuring you maintain a great relationship with your client requires ... you guessed it ... communication! Especially when it comes to service plans where you are not rolling over unused hours.
You need to communicate your non roll-over policy:
1️⃣ In your sales call when discussing your pricing and plans.
2️⃣ On your website and other marketing material that has your service plans outlined.
3️⃣ In your Contract/Service Agreement.
4️⃣ During your regular updates on how many hours they have used up throughout the month.
If your client ends up with unused hours at the end of the month because of YOUR lack of planning, proactiveness and lack of communication then that's on YOU. You'll need to suck it up, take responsibility, allow those hours to be rolled over and make sure it doesn't. happen. again.
But if your client ends up with unused hours at the end of the month despite your planning, proactiveness and clear communication ... well, that's on them.
Sam + Jo xoxo
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