For busy executives looking to offload administrative tasks to focus on higher-value work cost-effectively, offshore virtual assistants are an increasingly popular option. Especially as the world has become more comfortable with remote work, the idea of hiring people in far-flung locations is not nearly as daunting as it once was. Working with a VA from Manila isn’t much different from working with a VA in San Francisco when everyone is working remotely.
There are a couple of options when it comes to hiring an offshore virtual assistant.
- Hire directly: You recruit, train, manage, and pay the VA as a contract employee.
- Use a managed VA service: A service provider recruits, trains, supervises and pays the VA.
Let’s look at the pros and cons of each model.
Direct Hire VA Pros
The primary driver for directly hiring an offshore virtual assistant is the cost. A service provider will add costs to the assistant’s hourly rate. That said, rates VAs charge can vary, as do those of managed service providers. There are other advantages to the direct hire model.
- You have total control over how you work with the VA.
- You can set your hours.
- You can hire for specialized skills like web development and graphic design.
Direct Hire VA Cons
The disadvantages of directly hiring an offshore VA have to do with time and risk.
- You have to spend the time recruiting, interviewing, vetting candidates.
- You also must invest in training, project management, and performance management.
- You have the overhead of payroll and any legal compliance with the VAs home country.
- If the VA doesn’t work out, you start over.
- Lack of control of data, device, and network security.
Managed VA Service Pros
Managed virtual assistant services can reduce the time and many of the risks involved in hiring an offshore virtual assistant. The primary advantage of this model is that you get a team behind your VA that makes the service turnkey on your part.
- The service provider recruits, vets, trains, and does the project and performance management of the VA.
- You can hire in a matter of days, and the assistant arrives trained on your tools and processes.
- The service provider also provides backup VAs for absences and continuity if a VA leaves or doesn’t work out.
- Expert management from supervisors with years of experience helping executives work with VAs to optimize the service.
- You have access to hundreds of VAs should you need help with new tools and technology. You VA can be quickly trained.
- Assistants undergo background checks and work in secure facilities, networks, and devices.
- You can quickly scale with more VAs as your business grows.
Managed VA Service Cons
Managed virtual assistants aren’t for everyone. Here are some of the reasons a managed service might not work.
- You want the lowest price possible. You won’t find it with a managed service because of the costs of delivering a high-touch service. That said, prices have narrowed.
- You need off-hours coverage. Most managed services can accommodate U.S. business hours, but they can’t always offer evening and weekend coverage as local employers.
- Need highly specialized skills like web design or coding. Most managed services focus on general administrative work, sales support, and back-office tasks.
- You only need occasional project help. Most managed VA services require minimum monthly hour commitments.
Looking for a VA?
If you’re looking to engage a virtual assistant, this article includes questions to ask about a VA or service provider. Prialto has offered managed virtual assistant services for more than 12 years with more than 1 million hours of experience. To learn more about working with a Prialto VA, check out our guidebook.
About the Author: Bill is Prialto's senior content marketing manager and writes about the future of work and how businesses can be more productive and successful. His work has appeared in the World Economic Forum Agenda blog and CIO magazine.