Virtual assistant India: Complete guide to hiring

TransferWise
12.06.20
8 minute read

At some point, every successful business has to think about taking on more staff – if not to perform new tasks, then simply to handle some of the administrative work you no longer have time to do.

But hiring an assistant can be costly, which is one reason why hiring a virtual assistant has become so popular.

It’s no surprise that India, capital of the world when it comes to outsourcing, is – along with the Philippines – one of the world’s leading destinations for virtual assistants.


In this guide to hiring a virtual assistant in India you’ll find out about some of the leading companies that can help you get hold of an Indian VA – and some of the pros and cons of hiring one.

Table of contents:

How to hire a virtual assistant in India

Of course it’s possible to try and hire someone in India directly via traditional methods like job boards. But that can be tricky if you’re not in India yourself.

The more standard method, especially for VAs in India, is to use an intermediary company. Your VA will work for them, often from a centralized office. And here are a few of the companies that offer that sort of service.

AskSunday

AskSunday is one of the best known virtual assistant platforms and has been going for many years. According to Virtual Assistant Assistant, AskSunday’s assistants are based in the Gujarat city of Ahmedabad.¹

You’ll be assigned what they call a “Dedicated Assistant” to do the tasks you request,² and you can buy packs of between 5 and 160 hours per month – you pay extra if the end up working more.³

Brickwork India

Another well established VA company is Bangalore-based Brickwork India, founded in 2005 – right when virtual assistance was first emerging.⁴ Brickwork offers a variety of models, including an hour-based one like AskSunday – or you can agree a fixed fee for project-based work.⁵

Brickwork’s assistants can work on everything from standard administrative tasks to accounts or software.⁶

MyTasker

Kolkata-based MyTasker also offers a range of services encompassing standard assistant tasks, writing and editing, and IT support.⁶ You can buy packs of 10 to 100 hours, hire a VA full time, or opt for a pay-as-you-go option.

Acelerar

Another option based in India is Acelerar, specialists in BPO (business process outsourcing) including virtual assistants. They can also help you out with data entry, creative design, eCommerce, and various other tasks, and all of their workers are in house.⁸

Get Friday

Headquartered in Bangalore,⁹ Get Friday is named after the famous fictional traveler Robinson Crusoe’s right-hand man, and it offers both virtual PA services and broader business support. They emphasize that the PA services can be personal as well as professional, even down to scoping out schools for your children.¹⁰ ¹¹

You can choose between monthly subscriptions and plans for specific projects, depending on what you’re after.¹²

WERVAS

Kolkata-based WERVAS (that’s “we are VAs”) offer VAs to do all the standard business tasks, but one they especially emphasize is helping you out on Amazon.

An Amazon Virtual Assistant can help you out with your Amazon Marketplace listings so you can spend less time trudging through your inventory.¹³

India Virtual Assistant

With India Virtual Assistant, headquartered in Delhi, you can provide them with detailed information about what you’re after, and they’ll assign you both a project manager and a specially chosen VA well suited to your project.¹⁴ This slightly more formal hiring process could be useful if you have very specific requests in mind.

Virtual Employee

As the name suggests, Virtual Employee is all about facilitating real employment, rather than the more casual setup some other companies offer. **You can effectively set up a branch of your company through them, working together from a central office.**¹⁵

Optimal Virtual Employee

Optimal Virtual Employee is another company that facilitates something closer to actual employment. Virtual assistants are just one of the categories of worker it helps to hire – they also provide web developers, for instance.¹⁶

Outsource2india

Outsource2india has been running for more than 21 years, and can provide VAs as well as data entry, software development, engineering, and various other services. This veteran company also does telemarketing.¹⁷

Others

That really is just the beginning. Among the many other companies you may want to consider are:

  • Webcenture¹⁸
  • Ossisto¹⁹
  • TaskVirtual²⁰
  • VATalks²¹
  • Invedus²²

How much to pay your virtual assistant in India

One of the main benefits of hiring a virtual assistant – in India or anywhere else – is that it tends to be cheaper than hiring an employee in a country with a higher cost of living.

According to Payscale, the median virtual assistant hourly rate in India is INR 196.53, which currently equates to around USD 2.68. ²³ ²⁴

However, if you want high quality, do be prepared to pay more than that, especially as, if you’re using an intermediary service like the ones listed above, they’ll also take a cut. It will likely still work out substantially cheaper than the equivalent in the US. And do bear in mind, it’s always worth investing in quality.

With the services listed above, the price will likely work out at roughly USD 10 per hour, although it’ll depend on the services you’re asking for, and may vary according to how many hours per month you want to buy.


How to transfer money to a virtual assistant in India

One key question remains – how do you actually pay a VA in India?

If you’re working through an intermediary company then they may well have a bank account in the US (or elsewhere) that you can pay into, to save having to make an international money transfer. But on other occasions, you may find yourself having to send money to India.

In that case, it’s well worth checking your options carefully, because different services can offer vastly different exchange rates, vastly affecting how much your US dollars are worth in Indian rupees. Services like PayPal are popular internationally but may not give you the best deal.

Always check the exchange rate you’re offered against the mid-market rate, to make sure you’re happy with the deal you’re getting. With TransferWise, you’ll always get the mid-market rate itself, with the low fee clearly stated alongside. You can either pay directly into an Indian bank account, or you or your VA could use a borderless multi-currency account for an even smoother process. If you’re concerned about avoiding unnecessary costs, TransferWise could be a useful option.

See if you can save with TransferWise

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Pros and cons of hiring a virtual assistant in India

Is hiring an Indian virtual assistant the right option for you? Here are a few points to help you weigh things up.

Pros

First of all, the benefits.

1. Costs

VAs in general are popular because they cut back on costs: hiring someone to help out on essentially a freelance basis is usually cheaper than employing someone in your office.

And of course, rates are comparatively low in India, so it’s generally a cheaper place to look to hire someone.

What’s more, the competition among Indian VA companies is considerable, so prices remain fairly low. There are lots of different sorts of packages including pay-as-you-go style options that’ll mean you don’t have to pay for more hours than you need.

2. Time

And this is the reason you need an assistant in the first place: to free up time so you can concentrate on other things. So long as you clearly communicate what you need to your VA, you should find that delegating some responsibilities wins you plenty of extra time to concentrate on bigger-picture issues.

3. Flexibility

Another benefit of the fierce competition among VA companies in India, is that many are flexible enough to accommodate tricky demands like 24-hour service. At the larger VA organizations, people work in shifts, so someone may well be there all the time to deal with your requests for help.

4. Education and English skills

English is widely spoken in India, and well spoken at that. Plus, it’s common for VAs to be well educated to college level. You will likely be able to find a VA who specializes in whatever area you need.


Cons

On the other hand, do bear the following points in mind.

1. Time

While round-the-clock service can be possible, the default is of course that VAs work during the day. And India is on the other side of the world to the US, so they’ll be getting on with your tasks while you’re asleep. That can be a great thing, if you wake up in the morning and find all your admin taken care of – but if you need to actually check in and have a conversation, it can be frustrating.

2. Distance

OK, you’ve already clocked this one, but it’s worth repeating. A virtual assistant in India won’t be able to do anything that requires their presence in the US. So if you need an assistant to staff the front desk, or drive around town every now and then, this really isn’t the right avenue for you to pursue. Although of course a VA in India may be able to hire someone to do those things for you.

3. Communication

Indian English is notably different from US English, and this can lead to communication problems, whether over the phone or in written text. But of course, many Indian VAs are well aware of this and it poses no obstacle at all. It is something to bear in mind when hiring, though.

4. Inconsistency

This isn’t universally the case, but some of the companies discussed above delegate tasks among a large team. So you might not get a super personalized service – especially if we’re talking about relatively small, one-off requests. That might be exactly what you need – but then again, it could also lead to confusion.

The large and centralized nature of many Indian VA companies does make India a little different from somewhere like the Philippines, where it can be easier to find particular individuals to work for you directly.

5. Personal touch

Having an employee in house is often a more expensive option, but the benefits of having an extra person in the office can be immense. It’s often super useful to be able to pay a personal visit rather than fire off yet another email, and being employed permanently makes them more loyal to the company too. These are the sorts of things you lose when you outsource a VA role to India – although of course, the benefits may outweigh these negatives.

Conclusion: VAs in India

You’ll be overwhelmed with choice when you start looking for VAs in India, especially if you’re content to go through one of the well established companies.

Of course, though, you must think carefully about the specific needs of you and your business. If you want to hire someone full time, it could be worth considering the Philippines as an alternative location, where you might find it easier to hire a freelancer directly.

On the other hand, an Indian virtual assistant company could be the perfect solution to your business’s needs, offering all the flexibility and support you could wish for. Good luck in finding the perfect VA solution.


Sources:

  1. Virtual assistant assistant - AskSunday virtual ratings and reviews
  2. AskSunday - How it works
  3. AskSunday - Pricing
  4. Brickwork India - About Us
  5. Brickwork India - Services and pricing
  6. My Tasker - Services
  7. My Tasker - Plans
  8. Acelerar - About Us
  9. Get Friday - Contact
  10. Get Friday - Services
  11. Get Friday - Personal tasks
  12. Get Friday - Pricing plans
  13. Wervas - Amazon virtual assistant
  14. Vitual assistant India - How it works
  15. Virtual Employee - About us
  16. Optimal Virtual Employee - Virtual assistants in India
  17. Outsource 2 India - How it works
  18. Webcenture - Virtual assistant services
  19. Ossisto
  20. TaskVirtual
  21. VA Talks
  22. Invedus
  23. PayScale - Average Virtual Assistant Hourly Pay in India
  24. TransferWise currency converter 14:51 BST, 31 August 2020

All sources checked 31 August 2020

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