Virtual Assistant Philippines: How to Hire, Pay & More (2019)

virtual assistant philippines

Are you thinking of hiring a virtual assistant from the Philippines?

This article will tell you pretty much everything you need to know – where to hire, how much to pay, how to transfer money, hiring tips, pros & cons, etc.

 

Here’s What This Article Covers

In this post, I’ll tell you the secret sauce to hiring an excellent virtual assistant from the Philippines.

Click on the links below to jump to the section you want.

 

Additional Sections

We will also cover basics like:

Ready? Let’s go.

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Where to Find Philippines Virtual Assistants

There are numerous recruitment agencies as well as online services that can help you scout for the best Filipino virtual assistance.

The sites we have listed make filling positions like project manager, administrative worker (handles administrative tasks), and data entry specialist easy.

Now, there are tons of other sites like Upwork that help hire VA’s, freelancers, and independent contractors, but these are our favorites:

 

Virtual Assistant Recruitment Services

 

Virtual Coworker

virtual coworker

Virtual Coworker is an offshoring service that provides virtual workers to businesses based in Australia and the USA.

Their assistant services recruitment center is based in the Philippines and selects virtual assistants suitable for your industry. You can find Filipino workers who are skilled in general assistance, bookkeeping, web and graphic design, recruitment assistance, social media management, and tech support.

On this service, most virtual assistants work remotely. You can also choose between a part-time or a full-time employee.

How does it work?

  1. You send a brief about the responsibilities you want a virtual assistant to handle.
  2. Based on your requirements, the Virtual Coworker Recruitment team will source, screen, and interview suitable candidates. Depending on the nature of the job, it may take a couple of weeks to find suitable candidates.
  3. You then receive resumes of the best candidates along with their hourly rate.
  4. Choose which potential virtual assistant you would like to interview over Skype.
  5. Once you select your VA, the service organizes the paperwork and the payroll system.
  6. Once you have hired and worked with your virtual assistant, their time tracker software (such as Time Doctor) sends you a daily email about the end of the day of summary.

How much does it cost?

What separates Virtual CoWorker from other virtual assistant services is that there are no recruitment fees. Filipino virtual assistants work on hourly rates that are fixed based on the skills required.

You can hire general virtual assistants for $6 per hour (300 pesos) or highly skilled VAs such as system Administrators for $14 per hour (700 pesos). You can find their pricing guide here.

 

Outsourced.ph

outsourced.ph

Based in Australia, Outsourced.ph has employees in both the Philippines and Australia. The company exclusively serves small to medium sized businesses and clients. You can source technically skilled virtual assistants from this service since most of the staff is specialized in web development, QA testing, and IT support.

Quick Tip: If you find it challenging to find a worker in your niche (for example – game development), Outsourced.ph can connect you to a suitable virtual assistant.

They also have accountants for tasks like payroll taxes, telemarketers, customer service reps, real estate support, project management services, and graphic designers. Outsourced.ph allows you to hire multiple workers so that you can create an entire virtual assistant team. Selected VAs work in an office environment which has reliable Internet and backup power.

How does it work?

Just like Virtual Coworker…

  1. You provide the company with a job description.
  2. The business searches for employees from their existing database.
  3. If your job is highly specialized, Outsourced.ph starts the recruitment process to find an ideal candidate.
  4. The business provides the perfect Virtual Assistant for your organization.
  5. After the hiring process, your virtual assistant works directly from the Outsourced.ph office space based in Manila.
  6. The organization manages the paperwork and payroll for the selected employees.

How much does it cost?

Outsourced.ph manages recruitment, salary, office space, facilities, IT equipment, workstations, accounting, insurance, and other employee benefits. Due to these additional services, the hourly rates of your employees can be a bit higher than other options. The hourly rates vary from $9 (450 pesos) per hour to even $25 (1270 pesos) per hour based on the skill requirements.

You can find their pricing guide here.

 

Virtual Staff Finder

virtual staff finder

Virtual Staff Finder describes itself as a ‘Professional Matchmaking’ service. This service links small business owners or entrepreneurs with experienced Filipino virtual workers. General Assistance, Content Writing, Digital Marketing, Graphic Designing, and Customer Service are some of the industries covered by this service. Not only does this service help you find a suitable employee, but you also receive a ton of tips and tricks on how to manage your future Virtual Assistant.

How does it work?

To access their virtual assistant connections, you would need to:

  1. Sign up to the service.
  2. After the payment, the VSF team will send a job description document where you would need to fill staffing requirements.
  3. The sourcing team will pre-screen their extensive VA database to find a suitable candidate.
  4. Potential Virtual assistants undergo phone and/or face-to-face interviews and background checks.

Tip: While you wait for potential candidates, you can browse through informative videos detailing the Virtual Assistant management process and guidelines to increase your productivity with your virtual assistant from the Philippines.

After the selection process, you can interview the top 3 candidates through Skype. Once you find your ideal Virtual Assistant, you would need to determine their salary based on their skills, experiences, and job role.

How much does it cost?

Virtual Staff Finder has a one time fee of $495. You would need to pay your Virtual Assistants directly. You would need to fix your salary rates accordingly to the market. For example, a standard General Virtual Assistant average rate varies from $450 (22800 pesos) – $600 (30400 pesos) Fortunately Virtual Staff Finder offers many resources and an e-book which can help you fix salaries for your virtual assistants.

 

Virtual Assistant Job Boards

Do you prefer to hire a Filipino virtual assistant on your own? These remote work websites help you find and connect with VA’s, including freelancers and independent contractors.

 

Onlinejobs.ph

onlinejobs.ph

Onlinejobs.ph is the largest job site for Filipino workers who seek remote working opportunities. The website allows you to handpick resumes which are suitable for your job role. You can go through thousands of virtual assistant profiles for job roles such as Digital Marketing, Writing, General Assistance, Administrative Assistance, etc. After the hiring process, the website allows you to maximize your productivity with their inbuilt tools.

How does it work?

There are two ways to use Onlinejobs.ph:

  1. You can browse through thousands of resumes to find potential applications.
  2. You can post a job requirement on their website.

Quick Tip: You can narrow down the resumes by creating search filters. The most efficient filters are “Strong English Writing Skills” and “Resumes updated last month.”

Once you find a suitable worker, communicate with them through an e-mail or a Skype call. You would need to manage the hiring process, paperwork, and payroll (including payroll taxes) by yourself.

After hiring your VA, you won’t need to communicate with him through the website. The website still offers value after the process through its unique time tracking software TimeProof, which allows you to monitor your employee’s activities.

How much does it cost?

Onlinejobs.ph is free to use! You can post jobs through the free version, but you can not view applications on the website. It offers Premium and Pro versions for $69 & $99 per month respectively.

 

Outsourcely

While hunting for a Virtual Employee, you might spend a lot of time communicating with potential candidates.

How do you speed up this process?

Outsourcely allows you to directly contact and hire your employee through their built-in communication tools. With a database of 300,000 remote workers, you can find a virtual assistant for most industries. Currently, you can find a VA for design, mobile/web development, writing, admin support, customer service, and sales.

How does it work?

Just like onlinejobs.ph, you can either:

  1. Browse through the categories available.
  2. Post a job requirement on the website.

When you post a job opportunity, the website automatically notifies Virtual Workers with suitable skill sets. You can filter the applicants through various search terms such as internet speed and desired salary. You can also use the filter feature to determine if your candidates are fluent in English.

Once you find suitable candidates, interview them directly through its inbuilt e-mail, private chat, and video and voice calls. When you find your ideal virtual assistant, pay them directly through their requested channels.

How much does it cost?

Outsourcely is a paid service. Before signing up for the service, you can post a job for free and pay for the plan later. It offers a program for individuals ($19/month), small business owners ($59/month) and medium businesses ($229/month). You can find what features each plan offers here.

Not happy with the service? Outsourcely gives your money back if you cancel your subscription within 30 days.

 

VirtualStaff.ph

virtualstaff.ph

VirtualStaff.ph is a job board for Filipinos who work exclusively at home so you can get competitive rates. However, to contact and hire your virtual assistant from the Philippines manually. The website’s education section offers an ‘Outsourcing Masterclass’ which details the entire hiring and management process. These resources, along with the user-friendly design, makes VirtualStaff.ph an ideal choice for employers who are new to outsourcing.

How does it work?

The website is easy to use.

  1. You can instantly browse through hundreds of profiles matching your industry or post a job description.
  2. Once you find the perfect profile, use their contact details to connect with them.

The website also provides a salary guideline based on the job role.

How much does it cost?

VirtualStaff is free to use, but you can contact remote employees directly through the website. The business version allows you to post unlimited jobs and makes it easier for you to contact and hire your potential virtual assistant. The business version is around $49/month, which makes it one of the cheapest alternatives available.

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How Much to Pay Your Filipino Virtual Assistants

You should set your virtual assistant’s salary based on three criteria:

  • Skill set
  • Years of experience
  • Job role

Chris Ducker, a virtual staffing expert, listed the monthly salary ranges that he uses for his Filipino Virtual Assistants.

  • General Virtual Assistant (GVA) – $500 – $800
  • Content Writers – $500 – $700
  • SEO Virtual Assistant – $750 – $950
  • Web Developers – $800 – $1400
  • Graphic Designers – $700 – $1200
  • Mobile Developers – $800 – $1400

This is a rough guide for reference. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide your virtual assistant’s salary.

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How to Transfer Money to the Philippines

You are charged with a small amount of hidden currency conversion fees every time you move money through wire transfer. You may need to spend an extra $50 per shipment!

So what are the alternatives to wire transfer?

 

Payoneer

Your virtual assistant can receive their money directly on a debit card through the Payoneer account. You can also directly transfer to the receiver’s bank account. There is a $50 bonus if you receive more than $100 through this method.

Transferwise

This service allows you to transfer money to the Philippines at a low cost as their system functions on local bank transfers. Depending on the route, they charge a small upfront fee between 0.5% and 2% for transactions.

For more information, check out Time Doctor’s detailed guide to transferring money to the Philippines.

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Hiring VA’s – How to Assess Candidates

assessing virtual assistant candidates

As an employer, it’s essential to follow a process while hiring virtual assistants. Your process allows you to decide which parameters you will use to evaluate them. A process also helps compare candidates easily by assessing the same attributes for each applicant.

Here are a few critical tips for hiring virtual assistants:

Important interview questions you must ask

After selecting your top picks for your new virtual assistant from the Philippines, you would need to learn more about them before you hire them. You can divide your interview questions into three categories.

1. Background Questions

These questions are designed to assess essential selection criteria. For example, if you want to know how focused the candidate would be at their work, you can ask, “Do you already have another job? If so, where are you working and how many hours do you spend on the job?”

Other questions you can ask:

“What is your favorite way to communicate?”

Asking these questions will help you understand how mature their communications skills are (including if they are fluent in English) and how savvy they are with the latest communication tools.

“Will you work from home or an Internet café?”

Their answer indicates their availability. If your virtual assistant is working from an internet cafe, his schedule will probably not be too flexible.

2. Skill Questions

Are your candidates good at what they do? If working in customer service, how well will they serve the client?

Put their technical skill set and experience to the test with these questions.

“What do you consider your core skills and services? Which ones are outside your scope?”

Use this question to gauge their strengths and weaknesses. You can expand the scope of your virtual assistant’s responsibilities if you feel that she is highly qualified.

“On a scale from 1 – 10, can you rate your XYZ skills?”

Keep in mind their ratings do not indicate how successful they are at their work. It shows their confidence level.

“Can send me three examples of your best work?”

Their portfolio reveals their true potential. You can also see whether the candidate would be able to maintain your expected standards.

3. Teamwork Questions

How experienced is the candidate at working in a team and in interacting with people? How well will they able to handle these situations?

Ask them the following:

“Have you ever proactively addressed a client’s need? If so, how did you manage the situation.”

Their answer highlights their diligence at work. A positive response ensures that your virtual assistant will be able to help you and your clients in periods of crisis.

“How do you manage relationships with difficult team members?”

If you are hiring more than one virtual assistant, you need to know whether they would be able to collaborate with ease.

“Have you worked for foreign employers before?”

If the answer is yes, your virtual assistant from the Philippines is aware of your expectations and can easily adjust to your timezone.

 

Assessing your Virtual Assistant – Beyond the Interview

assessing your virtual assistant

After hours of interviews and trials, you finally hire a promising Virtual Assistant from the Philippines.

But are they as good as they appeared to be?

As the employer, you cannot gauge your Filipino VA’s abilities until they start working for you. You should set up a trial period of 2 weeks before giving them full-time employee responsibilities.

Here a few skills to look out for during training and the probation period to decide whether you should keep your virtual assistant or it’s time to hire again.

1. Ability to follow instructions

After hours of searching for a graphic design employee, you find a promising Filipino assistant. You send him an email asking him to create a new banner for your website along with size specifications.

However, the designed banner is way bigger than the size required. He would have to resize or recreate the banner again, leading to a lot of wasted time.

Your VA should be able to follow your instructions precisely for things to run smoothly.

How do you check for this trait?

While posting a job requirement, sneak in a small instruction in the middle of the post. For example, “Start your application with the word ‘Goldfish.’”

So when you receive hundreds of applications, you can find obedient virtual assistants by searching for ‘Goldfish.’

2. Taking Initiative

Virtual Assistants work on essential yet repetitive tasks daily. You don’t need to issue instructions every day. After a week, you notice that your virtual assistant from the Philippines doesn’t start the same task without your instructions.

Micromanaging your VA is time-consuming and exhausting. Your employees should be able to work without being pushed.

Does your virtual assistant take the initiative?

Before hiring and training, send an email to your potential VA about the results of the application would be released on a specific date. On the day of the results, do not contact your virtual assistant.

If your Virtual Assistant sends up a follow email regarding the results, it’s a good sign that he is willing to take the initiative.

3. Ability to meet Deadlines

Does your virtual assistant take hours struggling at a task?

It can be frustrating if your employee is unable to finish their allotted work on time.

For example – your graphic designer submits the website banner days after the proposed launch date hence delaying the website. You miss out on a lot of potential revenue!

Not to mention, slow workers can be a hindrance when trying to grow your business.

How do you know if your virtual assistant can finish the work on time?

You can check this trait during the trial phase and the training period.

In the beginning, you can impose tight yet reasonable deadlines for your employees to test their speed. Say for example – Writing a 1,000-word article in 4 hours.

Once you are satisfied with their productivity, you can relax your deadlines, so that you don’t stress them out!

4. Keen learner

If you want to grow your business, your virtual assistant’s skills should also improve. They should be able to step out of their comfort zone.

However, most virtual assistants from the Philippines prefer repetitive and easy work for a comfortable income. The chances are that they may not want to face difficult challenges that can help them learn more about their industry.

Fortunately, many virtual assistants are willing to improve their skill set within the industry, and you can give them a chance to excel under your conditions.

How do you know if your virtual assistant wants to learn and grow?

During the interview phase, you can ask your candidates about the last book they read. Moderate or even casual readers would be open to new information and learning.

You can also quiz them about specific resources that have helped build their skill set. For example, you can ask your graphic design assistant what websites or articles have helped him improve his work.

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Advantages of Hiring a VA From the Philippines

So you have heard of assigning work to a virtual assistant through business process outsourcing (bpo), but why hire a virtual assistant from the Philippines?

 

High Education Levels

For one, the population is highly educated.

With a growing literacy rate and an ambitious young workforce, outsourcing to the Philippines means work well done.

The Philippines is a powerhouse in the outsourcing industry.

According to UNESCO’s Literacy Rate statistics, the country’s literacy rate is 98.22% as of 2015. Due to high literacy and therefore, top communication skills, Filipino remote workers have been in high demand over the past few years.

Time Doctor’s CEO Rob Rawson has credited Filipino virtual assistants to Time Doctor’s success.

Note: Want to get an “over-the-shoulder” view of what your Filipino virtual assistant is working on? Then check out Time Doctor for free for 14 days. You’ll be able to see what tasks your assistant is working on, how long the tasks take, and even see which apps and websites your assistant is visiting throughout the day.

Competence in English

English is part of the core curriculum in the Philippines. Many Filipinos are fluent in English, meaning a lower chance of experiencing lacking communication skills.

Prior Experience

Further, because call center jobs are typical in urban areas like Manila and Davao City, many of the Filipinos you will interview already have experience with Westerners.

Time Zone Advantages

As with outsourcing to other countries in Southeast Asia, the time zone difference can be a huge plus for businesses trying to carry out processes around the clock, such as 24×7 customer support.

Work-life Balance

And for the most enjoyable benefit of hiring a virtual personal assistant – from anywhere for that matter….

A better work-life balance for both large and small business owners and employees!

We have hired many Filipino workers. It is, therefore, our experience speaking when we say hiring a virtual assistant Philippines is the way to go!

 

Benefits of the Outsourcing Industry in General

In case you want to know more about the benefits of outsourcing in general, I’ll briefly list them here:

  • It typically costs less to hire a VA abroad than to hire someone from North America or Europe.
  • You can grow your business by allocating more resources to core competencies and fewer resources to non-core processes.
  • Because hired VAs are specialized in their work, the tasks performed are completed more efficiently at a higher quality.
  • Hiring outside of one’s region or nation often lends the opportunity for a more diverse set of skills and specializations.
  • BPO allows processes like customer support to be completed in a variety of languages and time zones, allowing you to gain global presence and serve more customers.

Whether you are a real estate business or a marketing consulting agency, BPO and virtual assistance are highly beneficial for all types of businesses. Yes, real estate virtual help is a thing too!

For more details on BPO advantages and the processes an employer can outsource, check out Business Process Outsourcing Defined (Plus Trends for 2019).

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Disadvantages of Outsourcing to the Philippines

Despite the Philippines’ excellence in the outsourcing industry, you may face particular logistical challenges when working with a Filipino VA.

 

Power Outage in the Philippines

Don’t be alarmed if your virtual assistant disappears mid-conversation. He might just be facing a temporary power outage.

The Philippines has scheduled power outages as a result of weak infrastructure. In these outages, one area at a time will be without power for some time.

If you have multiple virtual assistants from the Philippines, it’s entirely possible that they might not be able to work simultaneously.

Without power, your VA can only engage in offline tasks through their laptop, severely hampering his/her productivity.

Fortunately, in some areas Filipinos receive a notification when their area is due for a power cut.

Filipinos, You can use this information to plan a working schedule around the power outage. Prepare a list of offline tasks which your virtual assistant can do while waiting for the power to return.

Slow Internet Connection

Are your virtual assistant candidates taking a great deal of time to finish their trial tasks?

It’s unlikely that they are lazy or they don’t want the job. The VA may have a poor internet connection.

If you do hire them, the slow and unreliable connection will make the work very difficult.

Ask your candidates whether they have a fast, reliable Internet connection at home. You can also request a screenshot of their SpeedTest results.

“Ghosting” Assistants

Every so often a virtual assistant will go, well, virtually missing. For whatever reason, they cease all communication and leave the job without notice.

Such an occurrence could be due to cultural shyness or passiveness, or just general misunderstanding and confusion.

Therefore, it is vital to cultivate frequent communication and an open door policy. As with any new employee, mistakes happen! Ensure that employees feel comfortable asking questions when they are confused or make mistakes.

The 13th Month

More than a disadvantage, this is something to know and keep in mind.

In the Philippines, the 13th month is a custom that mimics a Christmas bonus in the United States. In the Philippines, however, this “Christmas bonus” is mandatory and is equal to one month’s salary payable before December 24th each year.

Whether or not you would like to acknowledge this custom is up to you.

Time Zone Difference

I mentioned earlier that the time zone difference could be a great benefit for companies that perform processes around the clock.

For those who don’t, however, managing the time zone difference can be a challenging experience depending on your location. The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of Eastern time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific time.

For Australians, the time difference is minimal. For Americans, however, the gap is much more significant.

Less Education

Most college graduates in the Philippines complete their studies around the age of 20 years old. This means they have two years experience less of studying, creating the possibility for lack of education.

Less time studying may not mean an educational lack in all Filipino virtual assistance, however. Learn about your prospect’s skill set and understand their typical mistakes by giving them a trial task or two during the interview process.

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What is a Virtual Assistant?

virtual assistant

Virtual assistants are remote workers that provide various services to companies abroad.

Virtual assistants can be independent contractors, freelancers, or general employees of a VA company.

As we mentioned in our extensive article on virtual assistants, they provide services including:

  • Managing calendars, appointments and emails
  • Preparing reports
  • Personal tasks like booking hotels and restaurants
  • Simple digital marketing tasks
  • Social media management
  • Event management

And much more! Here’s a list of 98 tasks that you can outsource to a virtual assistant, including project management, administrative tasks, lead generation, and graphic design.

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Types of Virtual Assistants

In general, there are four main types of virtual assistants you can hire.

 

1. General VA

General virtual assistants include VA’s such as administrative assistants and data entry specialists. They deal with administrative support and administrative tasks like:

  • Email management
  • Research
  • Data entry
  • Website and blog management
  • Calendar management
  • Travel bookings
  • Social media marketing
  • Lead generation

2. Article/Content Writer

Virtual assistants that fall within this category are experienced (but not expert) writers that complete tasks like:

  • Content creation – articles, ebooks, etc.
  • Article writing and promotion
  • Video blog transcription and management

3. SEO Specialist

VA’s that specialize in SEO focus on:

  • Keyword research
  • On-page and off-page optimization
  • Link building
  • Niche market analysis
  • Blog management

Note: SEO virtual assistants aren’t typically experts, but can execute the tasks at hand.

4. Web Developer/Programmer

These virtual backend assistants are great for:

  • Establishing and maintaining WordPress blogs
  • Performing software updates
  • Creating business sites
  • Customizing programming and web page layouts

Depending on which tasks you delegate to your VA, they can serve as an executive assistant or a minimally used assistant for non-core business needs.

 

Conclusion

With more talented Filipino workers looking for online work, searching for a VA has become easy. Online assistant services and job boards allow you to hire a Filipino virtual assistant in a week.

Moreover, Filipino workers are educated, efficient, and proactive – traits that are highly valuable in a virtual assistant.

What’s more? You can hire virtual assistants at a price lower than what you would have to spend for a full-time employee. Where else can you hire virtual assistants for a price lower than the market rate?

Whether you are in real estate, manufacturing, or graphic design, let your virtual assistant (VA) from the Philippines handle the repetitive yet essential jobs for you, so you can focus on building a successful business.

 
Try Time Doctor
Greg Digneo

Greg Digneo

Greg Digneo writes for TimeDoctor.com, a time monitoring and productivity monitoring software designed for tracking hours and productivity of remote teams. If you would like to see where you and your team are spending your time during work, then try Time Doctor FREE for 14 days.

4 Comments

  • Andre' Stephens says:

    I am a non profit business owner and want to do more business with my VA in the Phillipines. In order to do so, they would need a tax I’d number. Because it is considered contract work. How do I go about getting them a tax id number. Is there another option?

  • Joanna Ravi says:

    Greg, Great article. Like you mentioned, reliablility is the biggest deal breaker in the VA world. Can I also request you to add reliable companies like WoodBows.com or Zirtual.com who employee the top talent VAs directly and assign a dedicated virtual assistant to us. That we can make sure our virtual assistants would be reliable and available on the phone. Thanks again for putting it together. I totally enjoyed it.

  • Nina says:

    Hi, I am a VA from the Philippines, and I have been working as a General VA with basic SEO knowledge since 2014. Regarding the rates I do hope employers will start from $3 an hour even for a newbie since we also pay bills aside from we worked hard, we are honest and with initiative. Since most of our clients are from different time zone most Filipino VAs need to work night shifts so I hope employers will consider it.

  • Rene Angeles says:

    Great work!

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