How Much Does an OBM Cost?

No matter what industry you work in, no matter if you’re a small business or an international conglomerate, there’s one thing that always holds true: 

You can’t do everything by yourself!

We’ve all been (or possibly are) at that stage of business where you’re putting in 16 hour days, and your family starts to forget what you look like. It’s a sacrifice of your time now in the hope of building ease and flow later. 

Many solopreneurs are working with a limited budget and it can feel like a challenge to hire help. Chances are that hiring a full-time employee is currently out of your financial reach—and to be honest, it’s often an unnecessary expense. So what are your options? 

Virtual Assistants and Online Business Managers are fantastic assets that can expand your workforce in a cost-efficient way. 

The price that you pay (and I feel like this rule should be applied really any time you lay your money down) should be equal to what you’re personally gaining from your purchase.

For instance, when you shell out $800 for a cell phone you’re not paying for the phone. You’re paying for the convenience of being able to… 

  • take pictures, 
  • use social media, 
  • play games, 
  • watch movies, 
  • listen to music, 
  • Use apps that make your life easier or more fun, 
  • Text your friends and family, and
  • Make phone calls

… any time you want from anywhere you are. 

That’s a lot of value that makes the price point acceptable for so many of us. But if you’re someone who only wants to make a phone call and nothing else, that price is completely unreasonable.

Value, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.  

The price of an Online Business Manager (OBM) should be based not only on the services they are providing you, but also the knowledge they bring to the table, the connections they help you make, the skills they have and those they can help you hone in and use (instead of being stuck doing all-the-things just to make your business go).

An OBM will cost more than a Virtual Assistant BUT remember that you’re paying for a managerial-level role and all the sophisticated skills that go with it. They’ll be managing and taking full ownership of projects and your team (if applicable) to ensure your goals are met.

Related Article: Do You Need an OBM or a VA?

How Much Should I Spend on an Online Business Manager?

One of the most common questions I get asked is, how much does an OBM cost? And that answer is… complicated.

Generally, I believe a good pricing guideline for an OBM is between $65 and $150 an hour. It all depends on what skills and knowledge they have and what services they’ll be providing. 

OBMs on the lower end of the scale will typically manage a few small projects at a time and one or two team members. They also tend to be a bit more hands-on and aren’t afraid to jump in and get their hands dirty to get things done. 

At the higher end of the scale, you’ll find OBMs who can manage larger more complicated projects and teams. They tend to be more hands-off in that they won’t jump in to do the actual work as quickly, preferring to rely on the team to do their job like the well-oiled machine they’re working to build for you. Them stepping in can throw a cog in the works so they smartly reserve that action for emergencies only.

Typically your OBM will work on a retainer or monthly package that will allow hours to fluctuate somewhat from month to month while keeping your monthly payment consistent. 

What If I Find An OBM Who’s Offering a Better Price?

Now, you might say that you’re easily able to go online and find professional looking websites that offer online business management services for a fraction of the costs that an OBM quoted you. And to you, I can only say, “Good luck!”

There’s usually a reason why the prices of those other “Online Business Managers” are so low. 

They’re often general service VAs who decide to call themselves Online Business Managers because they do more types of tasks than your typical general admin VA and feel the OBM title justifies their higher rate — but they’re actually not all that good at managing.

Or it might be a fantastic OBM who just doesn’t have the confidence yet to charge what their work is worth. In which case, be prepared for the inevitable day when they ask to either raise their rate or end the relationship. 

Regardless it’s necessary to say that price on its own is not a reliable indicator of the value you’ll receive.

You’ll want to make sure to look for reviews, testimonials, and check a few references before jumping into bed with anyone. 

When you do take someone on, don’t just dump everything on them and wash your hands of it. You need to be involved and help them as they get to know you, your business, your goals, and your expectations. 

Should I Pay MORE than Your Suggested Rates?

I also believe that there’s a ceiling to the amount of money you should pay an OBM. If you’re paying your OBM way over $150/hour every month, you’re probably not spending your funds wisely. While you “get what you pay for,” there does come a point where it makes more financial sense to hire a full-time manager who is completely dedicated to your business and is possibly even physically in the same office with you.

Just like hiring a Virtual Assistant, hiring an Online Business Manager can be a game-changing decision for your business. 

All of a sudden, you no longer have to worry about overseeing your complicated projects or taking care of your entire team. Instead, you will have a professional who is experienced with projects and managing groups of people, directing the tasks and deliverables that will build your business. 

This also frees you up to do more of the work that only you can do. I’m obviously a huge believer in the power of a virtual workforce, and after you give an OBM a try, I’m sure you will be too!

Have you ever worked with an OBM before? What was your experience like? Leave me a comment!

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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