Hiring a virtual assistant is an ever more popular way to help get on top of a busy work schedule. By taking on a freelance VA to handle administrative tasks, you can free up time at work without making a full hire.
A virtual assistant doesn’t have to be based where you are – in fact, they don’t even have to be in the same country. In this article, you’ll find out all about hiring a virtual assistant in the Philippines – a country where there are particularly many.
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Virtual assistant hiring is common in the Philippines, so the most straightforward way to do it is through one of the many VA platforms which are particularly focused there.
Here are some of the leading options.
A simple option to begin with. OnlineJobs is much like a normal job board, specifically targeting VAs in the Philippines: you can browse potential hires who’ve created profiles on the site, and you can also post an ad. Then you can get in touch with them via email, interview them, and make the hire yourself.
OnlineJobs gives you more control than some other platforms, letting you contact them directly to arrange details like working hours and salary. If you want to keep some control over the hiring process yourself, that’s excellent news. But if you want more of the process handled by an intermediary platform, another option might be preferable.
You pay OnlineJobs a fee for premium access – including contact details – but they don’t take a cut of salaries.¹
Another company that’s expert in the Filipino VA scene is Virtual Staff Finder.
This platform is a little more like a recruitment agency: you sign up and tell them what you want, and then they source a selection of candidates for you. You’ll be able to choose between three pre-vetted candidates, who you can video call for an interview.
You pay Virtual Staff Finder a one-off fee. Once they’re hired, you pay your VA directly.²
Philippines-based Bottleneck provides what it calls Dedicated Distant Assistants, who can help you and your business with tasks from email management to web design.³
Unlike the previously mentioned companies, Bottleneck remains involved after the hiring process is complete. Payments, changes to your assistant’s hours, and additional services, all pass through Bottleneck.⁴
Outsourced.ph is another Filipino company providing remote staff to companies around the world. As the name suggests, its scope goes beyond just VAs – you can also hire people in the Philippines to work on anything from engineering to real estate. ⁵
This is another company that intermediates between you and the staff, and you get an online dashboard so that you can keep up with how everything is going.⁶ Outsourced.ph may not be for you if you’re after a more casual sort of setup or only a few hours per month, but for larger-scale projects it’s worth considering.
Virtual Done Well has headquarters in the US, Australia and the Philippines, and it’s another service that takes care of the whole process and retains some involvement. One benefit is that your VA will therefore have the support of a full professional setup in the Philippines.
You’ll need to agree to at least 80 hours a month, ⁷ but bear in mind that as well as standard VA tasks you could find someone who can assist with marketing, web development or research tasks as well.⁸
With bases in the US and the Philippines, TaskBullet allocates you a “bucket” of hours that your VA will use up on a task-by-task basis. When you’ve used up your whole bucket you can buy another one.⁹
TaskBullet has an enticing structure if you need help on a more ad-hoc sort of basis, rather than having a regular amount of work to offer your assistant. Then again, there’s plenty that a TaskBullet VA could help you with, from data entry to general admin.¹⁰
That’s just the start. You might also want to check out options including:
- VA Staffer
- Pepper VA
One key reason that businesspeople are drawn toward Filipino virtual assistants is a desire to cut back on costs. On average, the cost of living is lower in the Philippines than the US, and salaries tend to be lower too.
However, bear in mind that you’ll also be saving money through hiring a freelancer rather than a staff member, and also you won’t need to provide office space and equipment. In other words, the savings go beyond the hourly rate.
That’s worth bearing in mind, because you shouldn’t simply try to get the cheapest possible deal. You should be looking for an assistant whose work you will truly value, and pay them accordingly.
If you’re interested in the full-package services mentioned above – where you pay the service rather than the assistant – then you’ll likely be paying a predetermined amount on a subscription-type basis. Bottleneck, for instance, charges between $11.50 and $12.25 per hour for a recurring full-time subscription to its standard service, which works out at $1,840 a month or $490 a week.¹¹ Or at TaskBullet you can buy a “bucket” of 20 hours for $220 or 240 hours for £1560.¹²
If you’re looking to hire a Filipino VA directly then you’ll need to arrange their salary yourself.
Of course, you’ll need to consider all the same factors you would when hiring anyone, anywhere. Factor in:
- How much work they’ll be doing each month;
- How skilled or demanding the work is;
- How much experience they have;
- Their cost of living.
Virtual Staff Finder¹³ and OnlineJobs¹⁴ both mention figures around the $500 to $600 mark as a decent full-time monthly benchmark.
However, that’s only a very rough guide: if you’re asking for more specialist skills, you should expect to pay more, or if you only want someone part time, it could be less. And just like anywhere else around the world, if you want to make a hire with more experience, you should expect to pay more.
Don’t forget, as well, that the Philippines is a large country, and there’s plenty of variety within it in terms of cost of living – Manila is a lot more expensive than some of the smaller cities, for instance.
Additionally, there are various relatively minor factors to bear in mind. One is that you can arrange to pay for your VA’s health insurance for a very low amount extra each month. ¹⁴
And it’s worth knowing that it’s standard in the Philippines to pay people for an extra “13th month” each year. This may not be essential, but a good boss should do this.¹³
OK, but how do you actually pay your VA?
If you’re using one of the intermediary platforms, they may insist on a particular payment method which may even mean you don’t have to make an international transfer.
If you’re paying someone in the Philippines, however, you will want to make sure you’re doing this in a cost-effective way, which generally means avoiding a transfer via your bank.
There are lots of competing options for international money transfers to the Philippines, and PayPal is an especially common one. But it’s always worth finding out what exchange rate you’re being offered. If it isn’t the mid-market rate, then the service is likely taking a cut for itself.
That’s why TransferWise is a popular option among small businesses and solopreneurs in the US and internationally. It lets you transfer money at the real mid-market rate while being 100% clear about its low fees. Via TransferWise you can send directly to a bank account in the Philippines, or your VA can sign up for a borderless account, in which they can receive USD and easily convert it to Philippine pesos. TransferWise can be a great way to cut back on unnecessary costs.
Everything in life comes with advantages and disadvantages, and this issue is no different. Here are the key arguments on either side of the debate about hiring a Filipino VA.
First up, some of the advantages of hiring a VA in the Philippines.
This is the primary reason the VA industry exists in the first place: it’s often cheaper to hire someone remotely and on a freelance basis, than to bring someone into your team as an employee.
In the Philippines, like other countries with many VAs, average salaries are lower, so the same amount of work may be available for less money.
And this is the reason anyone hires anyone at all: so that they have less to do themselves. If you hire an assistant, you can win back some precious office hours and spend them concentrating on whatever you need to do to grow your business.
Specifically with regard to the Philippines, there are so many VAs and VA platforms there that you should be able to find one that will allow you to really maximize your efficiency.
Bear in mind that Philippine time is UTC+8, putting it 12 hours ahead of the East Coast. Which can be a great thing – your VA can complement your schedule by working while you’re sound asleep.
One advantage of the many platforms that facilitate VA hiring in the Philippines, is that if you need to expand your operation, they can sort that out for you. That’s a lot easier than another full-blown recruitment process.
In general, VAs in the Philippines are likely to speak great English and have a college education. And because being a virtual assistant is so well established as a career option there, you may well be able to find an assistant with prior experience in exactly what you need.
All of that makes the Philippines far more than simply a place to find cheap workers. If you do it right, you may well be able to find someone really well suited to your business.
Of course, there are disadvantages too – here are some of them.
Yes, this was also a pro, but still. Depending on your business, it may not be convenient to have your VA working during night time where you are. If you’ll often need to overlap in your (virtual) offices, it might be worth considering a VA in a more amenable time zone. Or, you could look into hiring a Filipino VA who will work nights.
For reasons outlined above, it would be a mistake to think of hiring a VA in the Philippines as a super budget option, even though it’s still likely cheaper than hiring someone in the US. But as far as VAs go, there may be cheaper countries to consider.
You can expect a professional VA to have decent equipment, a good internet connection, and everything else they need to do their job. But the chance of extreme weather is somewhat higher in the Philippines than in some other places around the world, and tropical storms, for instance, are a risk.
Any way you look at it, it’s going to be hard to stop by your assistant’s office to say hi and catch up, if they’re based in a totally different country. Whether they’re based in the Philippines or anywhere else outside your actual place of work, it can be a disadvantage not to be in direct contact with the people who work for you.
As well as physical distance being a potential issue,** it’s also harder to integrate someone working remotely into your team.** That’s not just a problem with staff in the Philippines, and it’s not just a problem with VAs, either – remote working can always be tricky from a teambuilding perspective.
That said, if you hire someone in the Philippines with prior experience, they’ll know all about this issue and how to make the best of the situation.
Hiring a virtual assistant isn’t something to take likely, and hiring one abroad shouldn’t be considered an easy option. Like with any sort of hiring, it’s vital to take the process seriously and respect everyone involved – that’s the best way to ensure you end up with someone who’s truly working from the same page as you.
In the Philippines, there are so many VA hiring options that you’re spoilt for choice. All the more reason to try and find the perfect fit.
- OnlineJobs - FAQ
- Virtual Staff Finder - How it works
- Bottleneck Distant Assistants - Services
- Bottleneck Distant Assistants - FAQ
- BPO Industries
- Outsourced Philippines
- Virtual Done Well - FAQ
- Virtual Done Well - Services
- Taskbullet - Example tasks
- Bottleneck Distant Assistants - Pricing
- Taskbullet - VA rates
- Virtual Staff Finder - FAQ
- OnlineJobs - Comprehensive guide to VA salaries
All sources checked 28 August 2020
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