The Definitive Guide to Paying Home-Based Filipino Virtual Assistants

by Chris C. Ducker · 227 comments

Virtual Assistant Salary Guide

PLEASE NOTE: This post was originally published in September 2010. Since then the ‘work from home’ industry in the Philippines has, and will continue to develop immensely over. I’ve therefore decided to update this post regularly, so that no matter when you visit, it’s always up to date!

Last Updated: June, 2014

One thing is for sure – if you pay peanuts, you’ll get monkeys!

Since launching Virtual Staff Finder back in 2010, we’ve received thousands of questions on the subject of working with virtual assistants – particularly from the Philippines. Everything from hiring and training them, right the way down to working with your VA on a day to day basis, and how to keep them motivated.

However, the number one question we hear more than anything else is “How much do I pay my Filipino Virtual Assistant…?”.

So, to answer this question in a concise, yet highly knowledgable way – based on years of experience – and the fact that myself and my VSF Team are based here in the Philippines, all year round, this post has been put together as a general guide to doing just that – paying your Virtual Assistant based in the Philippines.

Please bear in mind these salary guidelines are for home-based Virtual Assistant’s from the Philippines, working from their homes, for you directly. If you don’t want to work with virtual staff directly, nor train them, motivate them or even speak to them – then I suggest looking into a more professional outsourcing set-up.

Different Types of Virtual Assistants

So, here you go a guideline on the four main types of Virtual Assistant’s, what you can expect them to be able to do, task wise, and what you should be looking to pay them for both full-time, and part-time positions. Hope this clears a few things up for everyone.

Virtual Assistant Skill Sets

There are also other types of virtual workers available from the Philippines, such as video editors, audio editors, graphic designers and the like, however, based on us working with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the time we’ve been in business at Virtual Staff Finder, we’ve found this set of four to be the most sought-after.

Please note: After a full signup audit in November 2013, we realized that 72% of our clients are looking for General VAs (GVA), and therefore now only focus on this one role at Virtual Staff Finder.

Paying Your Virtual Staff in the Philippines

For a long time, Paypal has been the go-to choice when it comes to paying your virtual team (no matter where they are based). However, recently, Ko-Kard launched an amazing service here in the Philippines, and is now my personal recommendation for when it comes to paying VAs in the country.

The service is instant, much like Paypal, fees attractive and most importantly, it’s super easy for your staff to get their hands on their money, as the service offers a ATM / Visa Debit Card, meaning not only can their salaries be withdrawn via cash machines worldwide, but that they can use the card to purchase things just like a credit card in stores, restaurants, etc.

If you’d like to find out more on Ko-Kard just visit them HERE.

Note: If you are a Filipino virtual assistant and would like to get paid via Ko-Kard, please click here to sign-up for free.

Salary Guidelines

Ultimately, its down to you, as the virtual boss to decide what you are happy paying for your virtual staff. However, to be able to attract, hire and keep great staff working for you virtually by outsourcing to the Philippines, you also have to be very aware that the industry has, and continues to change immensely. The people are becoming more and more experienced, and more and more in-demand.

They know this, and therefore it is no longer possible (in our eyes, anyway) to get a General VA for $250 a month. Not if you want them to do a great job for you, anyway!

The following are current average full-time salary guidelines that you can follow, keeping in mind that there are less experienced workers willing to work for less, and more experienced workers that will want to see much bigger numbers – its all relevant:

  • General Virtual Assistant (GVA) – $500-$800 a month
  • Article / Content Writer - $500-$700 a month
  • SEO / Web Marketer VA – $650-$850 a month
  • Web Developer - $700-$1,400 a month

Additional / Emerging Virtual Staff Roles

I’ve seen more people recently asking for additional types of virtual staff on a regular basis over the last year or so. They are as follows, and again – all rates are approximate and based upon market conditions and experience levels, obviously:

  • Graphic Designers – $700 – $1,200 a month
  • Audio / Video VA’s – $500 – $1,200 a month
  • Mobile App Developer VA’s – $800 – $1,400 a month (Note: not popular in the Philippines currently. Look to Eastern Europe for this for the time being!)

* Part-time rates would obviously be 50% of full-time rates.

Now, again, these are just guidelines. For example, 5-6 years ago, you could get a full-time General Virtual Assistant from the Philippines to work for you for that $250 I mentioned earlier. But, times change, and the home-based virtual staffing world is changing, too.

If you have any more questions on this subject feel free to comment below, or for more in-depth answers and advice, just reach out to the fantastic Virtual Staff Finder team directly.

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{ 223 comments… read them below or add one }

EastVantage September 29, 2010 at 16:31

When a relation between employer and VA is established, the VA will have a tendency to drive up the agreed price, like any employee asking for a raise. This is easily achieved when the VA delivers good work, the employer becomes dependable on the work performed and, of course, $50 more per month is not going to break the bank for the overseas employer.

But equally important is the USD/PHP exchange rate. For reasons totally outside the control of the VA/employer, the peso purchasing power of the USD salary can vary 20% within a one year period.

And we are not even touching on inflation in the Philippines.

So for VA type of work, expect that the rates are going to go up at 15-20% per annum for the foreseeable future, unless exchange rates change drastically in favor of the dollar (not to be expected IMO).

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 18:46

Hi East!

Youre right, $50 extra per month is NOTHING compared to what can be achieved each month with a fantastic VA.

You also make some very clear observations about the rate here in the Philippines changing so much – do you live here? Work here? Bit of both…?!

Thanks for the insightful comment – to be frank, I didnt think to even mention it in the post, so I am glad you did, here in the comment section (and thats what the comment section is for, everyone…!!!).

Thanks again!

Chris

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"Talk in English " LLC May 9, 2012 at 21:21

Do you respond to these all of comments yourself or one of your VAs through your profile? :-)

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Chris C. Ducker May 10, 2012 at 07:01

Good question.

I reply to all comments here on the blog myself. Always.

Thanks for commenting!

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danda September 29, 2010 at 17:13

thats great Chris
Cheers

a helpful post would be
what kind of structure you use for a team
ie 1 operations manager and 3 general workers?
or similar

what kind of teams etc.
it a horses for courses answer but alwys helpful to see how otheres stucture a team

cheers

d
- Show q

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 18:43

Hi Danda

Indeed, it does depend on the person / team involved and they way they LIKE things to be done. But, youre right, this would probably make for a cool post. I’ll look into it for the future.

In the meantime, check out Phil Montero’s http://www.theanywhereoffice.com blog. Its a great resource for mobile and virtual work set-up.

Thanks for the comment.

Chris

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Jonny Gibaud September 29, 2010 at 17:33

Chris,

I am intrigued that a web developer can only demand a small amount more than a VA.

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 18:41

Hi Jonny

Depends on the volume of experience you need them to be at, obviously. As I noted, this is just a guideline – I know some entrepreneurs that pay a lot more than these figures – but, they also get real superstars, too!

Thanks for dropping by, bud.

Chris

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 18:51

Hey Milt

There are more people here now WANTING to work from home. The problem is finding the people that CAN actually do the work to the standard that most overseas employers want them to do it to!

And youre right, in regards to VA’s working for several ‘full-time’ virtual bosses, and just killing it, financially. Unfortunately their work suffers, obviously, and with it, the overall view on VAs based here in the Philippines – if entrepreneurs are generally worried about this, then they really have no choice but to hire a professional services company, such as my company Live2Care (shameless plug I know, but hey – its my blog!), which dedicates ONE worker to ONE client.

Thanks for the insightful comment, mate – appreciated.

Chris

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veronica September 29, 2010 at 19:08

To a certain extent, I agree with this rates. the $350-500 rate for a general VA is reasonable. Personally, I charge by the hour

Howevever, the $350 a month for a good content writer is just too cheap and goodluck finding quality writers with that rate.

Oh, and I am from the Philippines. If you guys ever need a VA, just drop by my site :)

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:05

Hello Veronica

Welcome to the site. As I mentioned, these rates are just guidelines.

I have two Filipino VA’s working for me, here in Cebu, and one of them does nothing but write content for me, on a number of different topics, for a number of different websites. I pay him $350 a month. He has worked for me for 6 months now and I am VERY happy with his output. So, it is possible – but, I assume you’ll agree that its also a matter of personal preference, when it comes to ‘quality levels’, too.?

Thanks for dropping by, and it would be lovely to see you commenting on other posts in the future.

All the best,
Chris

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Meg Stewart January 19, 2011 at 22:31

Do you realize that $350 per month for a full time (40 hours per week) VA comes out to $2.18 per hour? Would you work for that amount? Could you live on double that amount or even triple that amount? Most employers will have to admit that they could not. There are many VA’s out there that are professional and can more than “rock the work” and certainly deserve to paid more than $2.18 per hour. And anyone employer worth his salt would be making enough to pay more than that without breaking the bank.

In my opinion, work should be more based on a fixed rate or per project basis rather than hourly in most cases. Employers should clearly outline the work and pay based on outcomes and results rather than hourly which ends up being more fair for both parties. VA’s who are good at what they do and can produce quality results in a shorter period of time will make more per hour than VA’s who are just learning skills and need more time to complete a project.

In using results oriented payment, the motivation comes not from the employer but from the knowledge that the more effectively a VA works, the more money they will make per hour. It becomes an internal motivation for the VA to work smarter and more effectively rather than the employer trying to figure out how to motivate their VA and keep them happy. Anyone who knows about employees will tell you that internal motivation is much stronger and more cost effective than trying to externally motivate employees regardless of the arena.

In my opinion, you should be looking for the VA’s who can provide you quality work and pay them accordingly. And it should be WAY more than $500 per month if you are expecting an exclusive forty hours per week. Perhaps the reason so many employers are complaining about having to train, motivate and keep their VA’s happy is because they are too worried about finding the cheapest labor possible? Even in the real world, HR people know that paying workers what they are worth is one of the biggest motivators around.

Just my thoughts.

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mel May 17, 2014 at 12:15

I agree with you, Meg. But in this country, workers have been conditioned to accept what they are given because ‘it’s hard to find a job’. Whether your output is of high quality or not, the pay remains the same. It’s the system in this country.

If you’re a fair employer you will take the initiative to pay more, esp. high quality work. But that’s the system of making profits–the less money you pay somebody to do the job, the more income for you. You do all sorts of schemes to lessen your expenses as a businessperson, without thinking whether it is fair enough to those who do the work for you.

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KC Truby April 2, 2011 at 07:33

We are article and content maniacs on our new lead gen web site just coming on line at http://www.qbexpress.com and I can tell you we would NEVER hire article writing outside of the USA. Even the people we have hired in the UK have a unique and identifiable syntax that is obviously not North American anglatized.

Between my wife and I we have 65 full and part time VA working on a variety of tasks from US home based sales people to back link girls in the Philippians to accountants in India to software engineers. So we believe in the concept. I would rather hire an article company / pay the 10.00 and get stuff back that only takes me 10 to 15 minutes to clean up.

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Mikael Rieck September 29, 2010 at 21:15

I’ve currently working with three people. Two are doing SEO and one is writing articles.

The SEOs are paid $250 and $300 per month (full time), while the content writer is paid $400 (will increase to $500 very soon).

The reason I pay my writer so much is that she is really good, is probably working more than 8 hours per day and I want to hold on to her.

I’ve never been afraid to pay for quality and that is also why my two SEOs are paid differently.

/Mikael

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:07

Hi Mikael

There you go – “Never been afraid to pay for quality…”.

In life, with most things, you sincerely do get what you pay for.

Thanks for the interesting comment, Mikael.

Best,
Chris

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Randall September 29, 2010 at 21:58

I agree with East. The Peso has went up against the dollar. Last year we were buying pesos for 48/1 now it is 44/1. The first time I went to the Philippines it was 50/1.
Great post, Thanks for all the tips.

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:08

Randall

The first I came here, during the Estrada rule, it was 55…!!!!!!!!!

Although the country is better off without him (my personal opinion, obviously), I’d sure like to see that conversion rate jump back into play, though!!!

Thanks for dropping by,
Chris

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KC Truby April 2, 2011 at 07:37

Its not only the exchange rate. In 2002 when we started hiring accountants in India we paid them $150 to $200 per month. Now we pay $1,100 for an experianced accountant and $1,650 for Chartered Accountants. This is in Bangalore where we have an office – but the cost is getting so high for skilled labor that we have started hiring housewives and retired CPA in the US. Lots of advantages to it. Same hours, same culture and we only end up paying for hours worked and not a flat monthly salary.

Of all the places in the world where we hire, people in Inida miss more days of work then anywhere in the world in my opinion.

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Steve Wyman September 29, 2010 at 22:18

Hi Chris

With say an article writer looking for $300 a Month how many hours a day/week/month would they expect that to be?

I ask as people sometime miss the maths.

$300 is dirt cheap really. Lets assume they have a 7.5 hr day but are effiecent for only 4 hrs (look at your own work day for reference dear readers) and they work 20 days a month (do they do 30? i know in thialand they would) then you’d be paying them $3 an effective working hour thats peanuts..

When ive been in Asia I do think people start to get upset by being ripped off bythe locals when in reallity they are trying to make good money no just get by money and if they are good why not.

My approach would be to keep the cost low to start with and then increase it yourself if they are great and you want to keep them. You might want to make it so your superstar VA doesnot want to go and work for chris and earn more :-)

Regards

Steve Wyman

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:12

Hi Steve

Great feedback, man.

Almost everyone I know that works with VAs is happy to bump up their salaries after a while. Usually 3-4 months is a good time frame to judge someones work, character, etc. At this point a little increase in salary for a home-based VA is a good thing, to make sure they dont disappear on you.

Thanks for commenting, bud.

Chris

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Ben September 29, 2010 at 22:47

I’ve been a casual, morning coffee, reader of your posts off and on for a while now. I kinda found this post surprising. … I was assuming these prices would be much higher.

I’m a US transplant in central america, and fairly used to cheap labor, but $350 a month would be hard for many locals to live on even here.

As an observation, you may be doing yourself a disservice by not making your rates at Live2Sell a little more public (if they are anything close to these ranges). Even having experience in areas with cheap labor, I was assuming that one of your assistants would at least be in the $1K/mo range or so. You might get a lot more people calling you if you gave them a ballpark. It’s hard for many people (especially Northern Americans) to wrap their head around the concept that there are really quality people out there that will work for this cheap.

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:18

Hi Ben

First up – thanks for your first comment. I hope its the first of many.

Live2Sell is a full-time, professional services company. We provide supervised services, and all the trimming that go hand-in-hand when hiring a professional services firm to work with. Redundancy, training an development, management support, etc., etc. So, yes, the prices are a lot more than just hiring and working with a home-based VA. At Live2Care (part of the Live2Sell Group, you can hire a full-time general VA with us for around the $1,000 price tag.

Hope that clears things up a little, and thank you for the feedback, I appreciate it.

Enjoy that morning coffee, my friend!

All the best,
Chris

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Matthew Needham September 29, 2010 at 23:02

Hey Chris,

I get the impression that people don’t really understand the value that Virtual Staff Finder adds for the ‘finders fee’.

True, you can go to the trouble of advertising on job boards and interviewing and taking on staff, but your service takes the work out of this and interview Filipinos in their native tongue, a service welll worth paying for.

For me though, it’s not really about how much or how little I pay each month, it’s getting the results that drive my business forward.

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:20

Hi Matthew

I wouldnt have expected any other type of comment from you on this topic, knowing you the way I do. And yes, results are always worth paying for.

Thanks for the plug on VSF, much appreciated..!!!

Thanks for dropping by, bud.

Chris

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Mike Stankavich September 30, 2010 at 04:48

Matthew, that’s a really good point. I figure it this way – Virtual Staff finder costs approximately the same as a month’s salary. If I go through even one unsuitable candidate, it’s likely to cost me the same amount of money as the VSF fee plus my time invested in them plus my frustration with not getting the desired results. It’s well worth the cost.

And you are so right about focusing on the value of the results as well the cost. The cheapest option often doesn’t provide the best overall value. It doesn’t matter whether you are buying services from virtual staff or kitchen knives. That’s a key life principle that you should always keep in mind.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 06:27

Hi Mike

Thanks for backing up the service, mate. I’m glad you feel that way.

Hope all is good in Manila.

Regards from Cebu.

Chris

PS. When are you coming down for some fun in the sun with the family..?!

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Mike Stankavich September 30, 2010 at 11:08

All is good in Manila except for housing – the money they want for condo rental in Fort Bonifacio is far higher than I ever expected. But I think we’ll get it sorted soon.

I definitely have it on my list to make it to Cebu, hopefully by the end of the year. Very much looking forward to meeting you one of these days.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:31

Likewise, Mike.

I’ll keep the water warm and the beer cold for you, bud!

C

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Michelle Dale September 29, 2010 at 23:08

Global VA rates are complex things, what I pay my VA’s depends entirely on their location, language, reliability, character, experience, skill set, work ethics, initiative and the tasks that I need them to perform.

For example, the VA’s who deal with my clients daily, are all native English speaking, and they are paid a higher rate.

The VA’s I use to do tasks where it does not involve direct contact with my clients, are paid less. Every VA is different.

My own team members and department managers are located all across the world, including the UK, USA, France, Spain, Saudi Arabia, India and The Philippines – but I use the different staff I have for very different and highly specific things. The lowest rate I pay is $3 per hour and the highest is €14 per hour.

I offer Virtual Assistant services, so my team is the backbone of my business, but it can still work well, if you want to hire a larger a team of lower rate VA’s who are then managed by someone who you pay to be a manager, and give them an excellent rate to quality control, double check, organise, train etc…

This way, I truly believe that you can have the best of both worlds.

I would always advise offering regular set hours to your VA’s, rather than random odd hours here and there. Chris has given blocks of rates for full and part time – this has always worked best for me too.

Great post Chris as usual!

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Merri September 29, 2010 at 23:13

As a Virtual Assistant, I am a business owner who works collaboratively with my clients. My clients do not train nor motivate me as I am the administrative expert in the VA/client relationship and bring years of administrative experience to the table.

As business owners, Virtual Assistants pay for their own office space, equipment, marketing, training, certifications, health insurance, self employment taxes, software, etc, and in the U.S., cannot be profitable for under $35/hour. A very new VA who doesn’t offer other in-demand services like teleseminars, social media marketing or website maintenance, might choose to start at $35-40 an hour when first building her practice, but the mid-range for highly skilled Virtual Assistants is $45-60 per hour. I know of other VAs that charge $80-100 per hour and are worth every penny.

Think about what you would pay a full time employee, add equipment, unemployment insurance, medical benefits, holidays, paid vacations, paid down time, seminars, etc. and you’re likely spending at least $3,000 per month on that employee. VAs are not intended to be the Walmart of employees. VAs are business owners offering a convenient alternative to the traditional office assistant.

Some of the things mentioned in your article and follow up comments sound like you are talking about employees in call center type environments that focus on quick task-oriented projects. A Virtual Assistant is one that partners with her client in a long-term and collaborative relationship and is invested in her clients’ long-term success.

The photo you chose to use at the top of the article should have alerted me to your point of view. You’re telling people that they can pay peanuts for highly skilled professionals. I’ll just say that you get what you pay for. And John Ruskin would agree …

“It’s unwise to pay too much, but it’s worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money — that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do. The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot — it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run, and if you do that you will have enough to pay for something better.” ~ John Ruskin

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Chris C. Ducker September 29, 2010 at 23:30

Hi Merri

Thanks for the excellent comment, and welcome to the blog.

You mention that a VA has a client. This is the case, very much so, in the US, where most professional VAs are hired per hour, here and there, and for special project-based work. The type of VAs we’re talking about here and full-time overseas based VAs.

These VAs dont have clients. They have employers.

As for your comment on the photo I used in the article, if you read the photo caption, it actually says ‘Gone Are the Days of Paying Virtual Assistants Peanuts’, so I wasnt giving that idea to anyone, rather, the exact opposite.

Thanks for your comment and great feedback on the fact that VAs are fundamentally business owners themselves.

Best,
Chris

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Desiree September 29, 2010 at 23:30

There are many, many VAs out there who aren’t task-oriented, but will *partner* with their clients in long-term, collaborative, relationships. We’ve worked hard over the last 12 years to legitimize our profession. It’s sad to see that minimized by what you are paying these overseas *professionals*.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 01:29

Hi Desiree

Thanks for your feedback.

This will always be a debate.

Domestic based VAs, against overseas VAs. And obviously, it comes down to ‘different horses for different courses’. The large majority of the people who read this blog have no problems working with overseas virtual staff (although that isnt the only thing we discuss here at the VBL blog). This is because they are either running a business on a budget, or are just starting out, where cost is obviously a factor, too.

Overseas workers might not speak PERFECT English. However, I have worked with them for over 10 years and have always got my moneys worth, as an entrepreneur. And that is where the personal ‘choice’ of hiring and paying whoever you want, whatever you want, comes into play.

Thanks for dropping by!

Chris

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Sheryl M. Snitkin September 30, 2010 at 01:07

Greetings,

I echo Merri and Desiree’s comments. As a graduate of AssistU I was fortunate to have Desiree as my trainer, and am pleased to say that Merri is a fellow AssistU grad. As for Merri’s comment that we are not the Walmart of employees, it’s very true. What we are is the Nordstrom of Virtual Assistants!

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 01:31

Hi Sheryl

Thanks for your comment. So nice to see so many AssistU Grad’s at the blog!

Maybe you guys can comment on some of the other posts in relation to VAs here on the blog, too. I’m enjoying them!

Chris

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Michelle Dale September 30, 2010 at 03:38

This is like debate club :D

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 03:45

Hahaha.

That’s the whole point of blogs, isnt it…?! Well, it is for this one, anyway!

Opinions – Bring ‘em on!!!

Thanks for dropping by, Michelle!

C

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Michelle Dale September 30, 2010 at 04:12

You are totally right, I came by earlier and left a comment – had to come and check in again, I like the banter on here today :-)

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 06:24

Banter it is, my dear!

Whats your take on the overseas VA set-up? Curious to know…

C

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Michelle Dale September 30, 2010 at 19:21

I posted my take on it in the comments above, Merri Jumped in after me.

Actually I also have a video I did on this very subject not so long ago, http://virtualassistant-live.com/offshore-virtual-assistant-vs-onshore-virtual-assistant/ also did my take on what I think a Virtual Assistant is http://virtualassistant-live.com/what-is-a-virtual-assistant/

I have a very successful VA company, built on a very high quality of service, and I have a strategy for using offshore and onshore VA’s within it.

I have some very good filipino VA’s working with me, some with much better work ethics than some onshore VA’s I have used. But also I have to admit, I have had some terrible ones :-)

My final take on it is – unless you have ‘experience’ working with an offshore VA, and have actually hired one yourself, then whatever opinion you have is based on speculation rather than actual experience. It’s impossible to box people into “This is a Virtual Assistant” because times have changed, business is moving on and we all have to roll with it or get left behind…

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 20:15

Thanks for the candid comment, Michelle.

Yes, there are plenty of bad apples, as well as good ones! But, that can also be said for any industry – anywhere in the world, obviously.

I appreciate that you work with both overseas workers and VAs that are based locally in the UK. Its a nice perspective that you offer for that reason alone. Very interesting read over at your blog, too.

Cheers,
Chris

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Ben Lang September 30, 2010 at 04:54

Hey Chris,

Awesome blog, just found it thanks to Michael Dunlop, loved the interview by the way. Anyways I wanted to connect with you, I’ll be back :)

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 06:24

Hi Ben

Thanks for dropping by, and the kind words.

Nice to have you as part of the VBL Community.

I look forward to connecting with you properly in the coming months…

Best,
Chris

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Ian B. September 30, 2010 at 06:29

I usually pay anywhere for $300 – $2000 for my virtual staff. I have no problem paying $2000 or even more if the quality is there. Granted these higher paying jobs are much more technical (programming, design) and it’s hard to come by great employees for those jobs.

In general though (when I’m dealing with the Philippines) I have learned a couple secrets to getting better employees. I tend to hire for a trail period (usually a month) at the low end of the pay scale (about $300) and pay weekly. During this time I put writers and programmers through rigorous task and deadlines (VA’s and Content Writers) and difficult proof-of-concept development (Programmers).

This usually weeds out the wrong people right away and gives me an idea of their skill level. After the month if I have a better idea of how much their work is worth to me, and will pay accordingly.

Don’t be scared to pay if they offer you a service of a high enough quality that helps bring more money into your business.

Chris, I’ve been a lurker on your site for a while. Great stuff. And you can eventually expect me to get in touch with your Virtual Staff Finder service soon. We’re growing, I’ll need more people ;)

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:26

Hi Ian

Thanks for the insightful feedback, and for sharing the way that you ‘test’ your virtual workers out, before going all-out with them.

Looking forward to more of your comments in future posts, buddy.

All the best,
Chris

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Tony Ruiz September 30, 2010 at 08:07

Solid tips Chris, this one of those resources that all us entrepreneurs will be referring back to when hiring a VA.

I’m about the check out the replay webinar with Tyrone.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:27

Hi Tony

Thanks, bud.

Well, hopefully, the entire site is seen as a solid resource – not just on virtual assistants, either! :-)

I appreciate your ongoing support on the ’cause’, bud. Thanks for dropping by.

Chris

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Susan September 30, 2010 at 08:35

As a VA, your article sickens me. And a reminder, that Virtual Assistants are professional entrepreneurs, and we are not “hired” as you say. We are not employees, we are collaborative business partners. We are in business to be profitable just like you and everyone else. You get what you pay for…

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:30

Hi Susan

You do get what you pay for, I agree.

I am not sure why this article would ‘sicken’ you. Its just a run-down on ideas and salary perspectives when working with overseas virtual assistants. I appreciate that as a domestically based VA you might not like the idea of outsourcing to other countries, but, lets face it – at the end of the day – it is a personal choice.

Hope all you AssistU ladies can spend a little more time on the site – and perhaps comment on some of the other VA related posts here. It would be nice for you to be a little more constructive – you never know – you might end up getting some more ‘clients’ from it all.

Thanks for dropping by today.

Chris

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Mike Stankavich September 30, 2010 at 18:27

Susan, I understand that you have a business model and strategy that you and your clients find effective and valuable. But that doesn’t mean that it will work for everybody, whether supplier or customer. As in many things, one size does not fit all.

For some tasks and projects having an onshore collaborative partner adds value, and for some, it doesn’t. Let’s face it. Some tasks just don’t require a high level of sophistication or cultural sensitivity. For that sort of task I see no reason to pay a premium price when a more economical choice meets my need.

I suggest that finding ways to differentiate your services and establish your value proposition would be far more constructive than bashing people who are for the most part not direct competitors.

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Milt September 30, 2010 at 10:57

What a cracking debate.

some excellent points have been raised.

and I think it ain’t over.

Respect to you Chris for moderating these comments. My mind would melt being in the middle of all this.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:31

Hi Milt

It’s what its all about, mate.

This ‘debate’ is nowhere close to over. It has been ongoing for years and will continue for many more, thats for sure.

Thanks for the comment.

Chris

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Linda September 30, 2010 at 11:21

Hey, Chris
I, too, am an AssistU VA. Amen to everything said by Desiree, Merri, and Sheryl. Another point to add is that my client work with me on retainer. Yes it is an hourly rate, but they pay me upfront, and are happy to do it. My “project rate” is higher. I don’t take on projects often, but much prefer to really get to know my clients so to better serve them and add to their success.

You say you always get your money’s worth working with overseas VAs. Good for you! Imagine if you had someone partnering with you in an ongoing collaborative way, dealing with your clients, brainstorming ideas, acting on your behalf and for the good of your business. I wonder what that would be worth to you.

You are absolutely right, though. You do get to choose with whom and how you want to work. So do I. :)

Warmly,
Linda

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:34

Hi Linda

Thank you for the great comment.

I know the limitations of overseas workers. And I know exactly what domestically based VAs can handle, too – and it is a different skill set, obviously. I have actually worked with a couple of US based VAs before, and was very happy with their work. I might even do so again in the future.

However, the overseas outsourcing game is a profitable one, for both the VA and the virtual employer. I am glad you can see that, and appreciate your comment very much.

Have a lovely day!

Chris

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veronica September 30, 2010 at 14:45

This is indeed turning out to be a good discussion. I especially like the point made by Chris on VAs having employers instead of clients. I personally prefer to have clients instead of an employer. It’s great being your own boss and I see myself as my clients’ partner.

Btw, Chris do you have samples on contracts and such? I donwloaded your e-book too! Will be a great resource for my blog.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 16:35

Hi Veronica

You can try Tyrone Shum’s “Mass Outsource” program for lots of different documents, etc.

Glad you downloaded the eBook. Hope you find it interesting.

Chris

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El Edwards September 30, 2010 at 20:01

I can understand why US based VAs aren’t very happy with these figures Chris but the point about different horses for different courses is key. Your VAs and the ‘domestic’ VAs aren’t really competing. They’re playing a totally separate game.

I’m not a VA but I couldn’t afford to eat if I earned $500 a month! As a writer I work with the people who can allow me to buy essentials like chocolate and breakfast tea. There’s no way I’d try and compete with your rates. I provide a different service to a different market.

As someone who knows nothing about the exchange rate, my only concern is that these rates are fair and comparable to other parts of the world based on the local price of living. If your employees left your snazzy environment each night to return to a life of squalor, then I’d be very unhappy. But you’re a nice guy so I assume that your staff can afford to live comfortably on the wages they are paid.

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 20:13

Hi El

Excellent feedback here, and from an obvious unbiased standpoint, too.

Yes, my staff are paid well, and looked after. But let me make it clear – we are talking about HOME BASED virtual staff here, not people that work directly for me, at my company facility.

And youre right – the offshore and onshore VA game, are two completely different games.

Chris

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El Edwards September 30, 2010 at 20:19

Apologies Chris. You’re right. It’s an important distinction to make.

I have a question as a result though. These suggested rates for a home based offshore VA (and yes, I appreciate that they’re only guidelines.) Are they rates that would allow the home based VA to enjoy a good standard of living?

The example in the comment about the sisters who worked 4 full time contracts made me think about this. Did they do this because they were being greedy or because it was very difficult to live on $250 a month?

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Chris C. Ducker September 30, 2010 at 20:28

They did it because they were greedy – or, because they were living beyond their means.

$300-$400 is a good monthly salary here. As inflation continues around the world, the Philippines will be no different. Things will become more expensive. So, the rates will go up, just like they have from a couple of years ago – but, bottom line. The wage is fine for todays cost of living.

C

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El Edwards September 30, 2010 at 20:40

Fab. Thanks Chris. I don’t use a VA at present but it’s good to have someone like yourself around who can tell it like it is. Appreciate your candidness.

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ellathinks September 30, 2010 at 22:53

Hello Chris,

what a great debate. This debate has been on going since I started working as a VA in 2007. Very touchy…
I even wrote a blog post before about this and I also earned a few comments >

I agree with Michelle and El Edwards. Of course I may be a lil’ bias because I also came from the Philippines (Aklan). All virtual assistants have a very huge market, we don’t need to be up against each other or bring each other down all the time because of rates.

Professionalism is not based in any location or race right? I may have been one of the ‘bad apples’ before but I believe that with my 3 years experience and my own mistakes and learnings I have grown to learn the value or providing quality work.

I agree with Chris we do not have Perfect English but our imperfections are somehow perfect for most of our clients. One thing I realized in this industry is that I don’t have to strive for perfection, because my mistakes will definitely hone me to become a better version of me…

There are a lot of clients who can afford to pay higher rates and would be perfect for domestic va’s however there are also start up entrepreneurs who can only afford to work with VA’s like me who can provide the services they need that will just be right for their budget…

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Chris C. Ducker October 1, 2010 at 00:08

Hi Ella

What a great comment…!

You own up to being a bad apple, but also comment that youve learned by your mistakes (which is so so important in every walk of life), and that you provide great quality service for your employers / clients, no matter where they are in the world. Mentioning your imperfections, and why some of the people that have utilized your services, and accepted them is just as important as the work that you perform for them.

Thank you for dropping by, and I hope to see you commenting again in the future.

Chris

PS. You never know, I might even hire you one day myself! :-)

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Rhi October 1, 2010 at 00:19

Hmmmm $350 a month for a general Virtual Assistant in a call centre environment.

Isn’t that less than $2 an hour before taxes.

Guess those lucky ladies won’t be buying their daily wares in the same place you’ll be buying yours Chris.

How much does it cost to buy a decent work shirt in Philippines Chris 500 php?

Very useful for VAs everywhere to know just how much a great chaps like you pays his employees …

Best get yourself a second call-centre full of lovely ladies at $2 per hour, BEFORE THE COUNTRY SEES INFLATION SOAR!

IS THAT THE GROWTH YOUR’E AIMING FOR?

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Chris C. Ducker October 1, 2010 at 02:08

Rhi

I have tried to make it SUPER CLEAR – these are salary rates of HOME-BASED VAs (It’s even in the title of this post!).

So they can wear anything they like ‘to work’.

Chris

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Michelle Dale October 1, 2010 at 16:52

Hi Rhi, It’s nice that you are so concerned, maybe I can put your mind at ease.

I am originally from the UK, I am a Virtual Assistant and I have been a digital nomad for the last 5 years.

I spent 2 of those years living in Egypt, where the economy and cost of living is very low. At that time $350 would have been more than I could spend in a month, on my rent for a really nice 2 bed apartment, food, clothing, and utilities.

Now there is now way I can speculate on the cost of living in the Philippines or how much a shirt costs, because I have never lived there myself, or bought a shirt there, but I do think that the economic climate in the Philippines maybe similar to that of Egypt where I was living (please anyone correct me if I am wrong), and really I can assure you $350 is enough to live a comfortable life, and in many cases, a much better life, because it is quite a decent wage (if your cost of living is a low as mine was) for this type of work that we do as VA’s.

I do appreciate it does seem a very low rate to the western world, but when you can actually experience living in such an economic climate like I have, you would realise that money goes a lot further :-)

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Mike Stankavich October 1, 2010 at 17:09

Michelle, as an American expat now living in the Philippines I can say that your experiences in Egypt do hold true in the Philippines as long as you don’t live in a high income area or buy imported goods. Many people in the Philippines live on far less than that.

For instance I have a brother-in-law who is a high school teacher in a rural area. He makes less than $200 per month and supports his entire extended family. They have very little to spare, but they get by. If he were bringing in $350 per month he would be able to make significant upgrades to his lifestyle.

On the other hand my expenses are far higher as I am living an essentially western lifestyle in one of the international business districts in Manila. I could very easily spend $3500 per month just for housing if I wanted to. I’m definitely more frugal than that, but the point is there’s a wide disparity.

The way I look at it is that the person that you are paying $350 today was quite likely making $200 or $250 in the local labor market, so you are enabling them to improve their situation. At the end of the day, if they are able to meet your needs, it’s a win-win. You achieve your objectives at a lower cost and they are able to increase their income. And bringing outside capital into their area will gradually drive larger scale economic growth.

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 01:11

Hi Mike

Thanks for the additional follow-up comment on this very exciting post. I have been truly touched by all the great feedback from all the regular VBL visitors and of course, the newbies, too.

Cheers,
Chris

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Michelle Dale October 2, 2010 at 02:43

It does sound the same Mike. I remember the first flat I had, in a nice area, near the city centre of Luxor was 500LE a month – at the time – £50!

I could have chosen to live in a more expensive apartment, in a pricier area with a view of the Nile, but I didn’t see the point.

Actually I could see the Nile from my apartment, in between 2 buildings, while hanging off my balcony at a really strange angle :D

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 03:39

Okay – now I am starting to get a little jealous AND, starting to search for hotels near the Nile……..!!!

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 01:10

Hi Michelle

Bloody excellent feedback. Nice work.

When you come over to the Philippines, that one deserves a glass of wine!

Best,
Chris

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Michelle Dale October 2, 2010 at 02:44

Sounds like a plan! I think Thailand is on the cards next year, so I’ll swing by!

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 03:40

Absolutely.

Might even meet you there, instead.

It’s 2 hours from here… I’ve three times in the last 18 months….! Lovely little Getaway!

C

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Rudy November 18, 2010 at 13:52

I am not a VA but after reading the entries on this blog I’ve learned a lot about what they do.

I think sometimes people loose their sights on what is important because they equate everything with the value of money and how much a dollar can buy most of the time in the current country where they are presently leaving.

In a country like the Philippines $350 dollars can go along way, enough to have a comfortable living. Of course what is comfortable to an individual? Perhaps that is better left to every individual.

In the US depending on the location $1000 may get you a decent studio or 1 BR apartment but what about the other expenses? Chris, I think that the price you have on this discussion is just about right for a starting employee of a company in PI. I believe you are a fair manager/owner from what I have read so far since you a re willing to be flexible with your employee’s income after they have proven themselves in time.

Rudy

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ellathinks October 1, 2010 at 00:32

I have actually been silently reading your blog since day 1 :) I live just an hour far from Boracay and I know you’ve been here for a number of times already. Ive even sent this link to some of my clients.

Can I just mention that I work for Michelle Dale for more than a year now and I will not deny that Michelle also witnessed my shortcomings and my “bad apple days”. But you are right, its more of how we utilize our weaknesses and the ability to turn it into something positive is what matters most.

I will definitely look forward to the day you will interview me :)

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Chris C. Ducker October 1, 2010 at 02:10

Hi Ella

Thanks again for your follow-up comment. I really appreciate it.

I’m sure that Michelle is proud to have you on here side, whether it be on a FT or PT basis.

All the best,
Chris

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Kriszia October 1, 2010 at 00:39

I have to disagree here. As a former VA, I’ve had days where I’ve been contracted to work full-time for one client, but the hours required barely covered 8 hours. Since I was paid per hour, I had to make up the difference in taking other jobs. And mind you, this was when I was making $7.50/hr. And I still wasn’t drowning in cash. The difference is that I paid for taxes and benefits, which means my take-home pay ended up being $500/month.

There are a lot of home based VA’s who manage several clients a month, and still manage to rock the work. (In fact, this is how it used to be until people confused online employees and freelancers.) What matters is that you can do the work, and have full disclosure. If you’re working two projects at the same time, then the client should know. And when I worked different projects, I made sure my clients knew it.

This isn’t too different from getting a second job to augment your income. If you think you can work part-time after a full eight hours, and still do a good job, then why should anyone stop you? This happens a lot in the brick and mortar world, so why not in the online world?

Unless you hire them as full-time employees, with the benefits accorded to those working permanently for your company, then a VA is essentially a freelancer. Not unless you have them sign a contract that prevents them from taking on other clients.

The nature of the job changes when you are looking for a full-time employee, and not merely a freelancer. And you should pay them accordingly.

This is why people should be clear in their expectations from the get-go, especially with Filipino VA’s. Some prefer to freelance, because they like the variety in handling different projects. These obviously won’t be a good fit.

Like Chris mentioned below, if you want to hire someone one on one, it’s best to either hire a VA from a company to babysit your project. At least you have a company to guarantee their work, or send a replacement.

Or, as so many have done before, be clear in your expectations. Draw up a contract, and bind them to your company. But be prepared to pay a little extra, because you’re hiring an employee, and not a freelancer.

I just don’t think these two sisters are scamming the system. VA’s are freelancers, and this is how most onshore and offshore VA’s work. If they can do the work, then why penalize them for wanting to make more money?

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Chris C. Ducker October 1, 2010 at 02:15

Hi Kriszia

Very good feedback. And you bring up some striking points. Especially when it comes to ‘if you think you can do it, why not’.

You are 110% correct in regards to disclosing the fact that youre working on other projects / for other people. I think that if you do this, and everything is out on the table for all concerned parties to see, then go for it!

WOW! I never expected this sort of interaction from a post that took me just 20mins to write, seriously!

Thank you to everyone…

Chris

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El Edwards October 1, 2010 at 02:27

You don’t fool me Chris. It’s on page 13 of Blogging 101: write about an emotive issue ;) Seriously though, it’s a valuable lesson for those of your readers who write blogs. Nothing incites conversation more than a contentious issue. Except of course the link bait of a ‘My favourite 10 blogs’ post ;)

Have a great evening. Isn’t it way past your bedtime my friend?

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Chris C. Ducker October 1, 2010 at 02:55

Actually, El, I gave up sleeping when I kicked off this ‘Virtual CEO’ goal of mine at the beginning of the year! :-)

Thanks for the support… And yes, bedtime is coming soon…!

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Tyrone Shum October 1, 2010 at 15:45

Hey Chris and everyone,

Great post here and I totally agree with how much it would cost to hire people.

In my business I have personally hired full time VA’s for around $300 per month and also for full time PHP programmers for $450 per month. Sometimes I’ve paid around $500 per month if they were really senior and they had a lot of experience.

At the end of the day, not only is pay important, it’s their skill sets. Once you have them on your team and they become an asset to your business, it’s about looking after them and providing them will good benefits.

I know once you have these they will stay with you for long term.

Great discussion here as well!

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 01:07

Hi Tyrone

Thanks for the comment, and ‘backing up’ the prices, etc.

Appreciate your support as a respected peer in the Outsourcing industry.

Cheers, Mate.

Chris

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David FitzGerald October 2, 2010 at 06:34

I’d like to switch attention from the heated ethical debate to a practicle one regarding skill set(s). It seems from my 2 year experience that running any type of blog or website requires Graphic design, SEO,plugin configuration, conflict resolution etc as well as routine maintenance adn support.
Does this ditctate a full virtual team requirement or is the process to define the scope of tasks of the VA and independently commission specific elements outside the brief using alternative forums such as RentACoder,Odesk,Elance etc
I guess everyone wants the one stop shop if they are out there?

Enoying the banter for sure.

Cheers

David

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 14:04

Hi David

Its tough to find one person to do all those things, like I said in this post, you will probably need a few people. SEO people generally dont make good writers, and good writers general dont make good general VA’s… And so on.

I appreciate the feedback, and good luck on your continued mission on working with VAs.

Nice looking blog, by the way!

Chris

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Mike Stankavich October 2, 2010 at 14:40

Chris, David, I agree – it’s definitely tough to find a single person that can work across all of those skill sets, and if you do, they likely (deservedly) won’t be cheap.

I’d say that’s one advantage of working with an outfit like Chris’s is that you can have one core resource assigned to you that can tap on other resources within their team as needed. But then again, you’ll pay a higher price to higher a professional team than you will if you build the team yourself.

Like always, you have to work out where your tradeoff falls between investing your time versus investing your cash.

I ran into this same sort of thing yesterday from a very different perspective. I was interviewing database developer candidates yesterday at my day job. Both candidates that I interviewed were solid SQL coders, but that was pretty much it. They didn’t have DBA, performance tuning, or data modeling skills.

That being said, my candidates were very willing to cross train into the other skill sets where they were not so strong. But I wouldn’t be able to put them to work today in those roles.

I think you’ll find that given the opportunity most folks you hire from the lower cost geographies are eager for opportunities to expand their skillsets. I’m taking that as a challenge to me to provide that opportunity to my people.

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David Fitzgerald October 2, 2010 at 19:45

Hello Mike /Chris thanks for the feedback. It looks like it comes down to defining the scope of routine work and then outsourcing specific jobs outside of this specification.
A word of caution for the novice Internet marketer (including me). In order to be able to specify the scope of project work and what is involved you need to understand the elements and process by which it is to be achieved. Therein lies the rub. If you don’t fully understand the general process than you can’t define the specifics. It’s a key distinction between having a good general concept without necessarily knowing the fine detail of “how to” technicalities.
I raise this issue here because I have spent countless hours and many dollars trying to acquire the skills to be able to define the specifications properly for outsourcing. I’ve gone down that route because outsourcing with too general a briefs leaves both parties somewhat dissatisfied or disgruntled. Its first rating because the time and effort involved distracts from the primary job of content creation and strategic management. As the saying goes “you don’t know what you don’t know” or can be blissfully ignorant in a state of “unconscious-incompetence”.
I think there would be big scope for process maps of the stages involved for this type of work. I know Tyrone Shum and Gideon Shalwick have developed some process maps for some components (Video). I think there is big scope here for more of this type of material (I don’t want commission!). Rich Schfren used to run a thing called “cashmaps” which was a series of monthly process maps on different components of Internet marketing technology. These were then produced as a laminated resource to bind –lovely
Anyhow Mike it looks like you have a good grasp of the technicalities from your comments?
My work is in training is Physiotherapists – so I’m straying way out of my comfort zone here. Time to go.

PS thanks for the positive feedback on my site – There were many scars of battle to achieve that and it’s only just starting!!

Cheers

David

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Chris C. Ducker October 3, 2010 at 01:00

You got it, David.

Process maps are absolutely invaluable in training people and getting them to your level, in terms of what you want and how you want it done.

I believe your site will be rockin’ – keep working hard on it, and all will fall into place.

Cheers,
Chris

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Mike Stankavich October 3, 2010 at 11:49

David, you make a very good point. I’d bet some of your experiences with developing effective specifications would make a great guest post. I’m still working on that skill myself.

I generally know very well what I want and how to go about getting it if I’m doing the work myself, but translating that into a requirements document that gives just the right specifics without burying my developers in details is a whole new challenge. There’s definitely an art to getting that right.

And since I forgot to mention it in my previous comment, I agree 100% with Chris – your site looks GREAT! Very tightly focused to your audience, and a clean and consistent visual style. Well done.

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Chris C. Ducker October 3, 2010 at 00:57

Excellent feedback for the people wanting info on programmers, Mike.

Eager is the word – they work HARD and will go the extra mile.

Cheers,
Chris

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Chuck Brown October 2, 2010 at 09:53

Hi Chris,

Just listened to your interview with Cliff Ravenscraft this afternoon and stopped by the blog to check it out and tell you how much I enjoyed it. I enjoyed this particular post (and the rousing response), and will be back to check it out in the future!

best,
c-

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 14:00

Hi Chuck

Thanks for dropping by…!

Hope you also surf around a little – just click on the virtual assistant category, and you’ll find a ton of stuff to check out.

Look forward to conversing more with you in the future.

Cheers.
Chris

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Candid Dee October 2, 2010 at 12:32

I just started outsourcing last month and I do find myself struggling to determine what is a fair price. Some persons are offering services ridiculously cheap and I discounted a few as I thought something was wrong, yet when I posted what I thought was a fair price for someone to do some marketing I was told my hourly rate was too low for HIM. So it’s all about supply and demand. His resume looked good and so did the feedback so we worked something out.

Bottom line is it’s what it is worth to the buyer and the seller

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Chris C. Ducker October 2, 2010 at 14:05

Couldnt agree more, Candid.

Thanks for the feedback – no matter how much I read on this post particularly, I am appreciating the feedback more and more!

Hope to see you back on the blog soon!

All the best,
Chris

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Mary October 5, 2010 at 00:35

Hi Chris,

This is such an amazing article. I have been reading your blog silently for the past few months and just want to put my two pennies worth in.

VA’s really helped me a lot to streamline my tasks. I have both domestic and outsourced VA’s. My outsourced VA focuses more on technical aspects of my business as they are cheaper than domestic VA’s, which is what i can afford for now. My domestic VA does my daily tasks because they know more of what i need.

I think it is really a personal choice in choosing your VA and how it can help you make you more productive.

Mary

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Chris C. Ducker October 5, 2010 at 04:30

Hi Mary!

Thanks for dropping by…

I’m glad you’ve finally decided to comment, after lurking in the shadows for a few months, like you say… :-)

I believe that it doesnt really matter if you hire locally (domestically), or from overseas.

The most important thing is that the VA you work with makes your life easier, more productive and generally promotes a nicer, more fluid lifestyle for yourself and those you love.

Thanks for the comment.

Chris

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Robb October 7, 2010 at 09:59

Wow, Chris.

I’m a guy who speaks his mind, but to be honest, there are some people in this thread who have said some pretty ignorant things!

It’s not about the price of a shirt, or how much people can afford to buy, or how “the man” is holding VA’s down.

Virtual staffing is about paying people for work they perform, from wherever they choose to perform it.

Sounds like some US-based VA’s are wanting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack by stating the obvious — that cost of living differs from one area of the world to the next. Big whoopee. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that one out.

If you have a better argument than that, please post it here. I highly doubt the currency exchange will shut its doors anytime soon.

The bottom line is that work-from-home VA’s are willing to perform a service for a price, and there are companies or individuals who are willing to pay them (commensurate with what they agree to work for).

If you’re a domestic United States VA and you work for $30 per hour, good for you. You could work for more or less depending on your skill set, negotiating skills, and maybe most importantly, how you market yourself.

But pay a week of your $30/hr salary to a VA in the Philippines or India and you will probably never hear from them again. It’s the equivalent to you making your year’s salary in one week.

Can anyone say, “vacation”?

So don’t talk about money as though it’s universally owed to people who work virtually. It’s insulting to our intelligence.

Most folks who work from home overseas are not out for the money, but out for income to live comfortably and do a good job for someone who cares about what they do.

Ask any VA and I’m sure they’ll tell you the same.

I personally run a tiny business from a 7×7 office at home, and wherever my laptop takes me. My work and my Filipino VA’s work afford a lifestyle that pays for performance, without all the rules, bosses, clock punching, etc… Do the work, get paid.

Simple as that.

Most people, like you and I, view work as a privilege. Not a hand-out from overseas.

Aaaaaand that’s my piece.

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Chris C. Ducker October 7, 2010 at 19:04

Aaaaaaaand a pretty good piece, it was, Robb!

Great comment. Enough said.

Chris

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Michelle Dale a.k.a. Virtual Miss Friday October 10, 2010 at 06:52

OMG I have been on hols for the last week, (actually holiday for me is working part time, but you get my drift) and I come back to find this is still going on!!

I agree, great comment from Robb above :-)

Totally Brilliant Blog Post Chris, Still Loving It :D

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Chris C. Ducker October 10, 2010 at 18:28

Hey Michelle

I have been blown away at the interest in this post. Robb’s take on things was very good, believe me. I have spoken to him on many occasions and he is SERIOUSLY organized in the way that he manages his VAs and the way he runs his companies utilizing their support.

Now, with this comment, I am thinking – “Can it hit the 100 comment mark…?”. Time will tell, I guess.

Thanks,
Chris

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LP October 12, 2010 at 11:08

I can kind of see hiring an overseas person to do basic bookmarking and maybe even Web design, but to write articles? Seriously? Look, you get what you pay for. You can actually get people in India to write auricles for about $2 an hour, but what you get is dreck. It’s a waste of your time and your $2. Content is king, and someone who claims to be so successful should know something so basic.

Someone who speaks English as a second language simply won’t write what you need. If you know even the most basic principles of SEO and online marketing, you know you need something that people will want to republish (if you’re getting content for directories) and that as many people as possible will want to link to. Ever linked to some barely readable content that was outsourced to the Philippines? I didn’t think so. Neither has anyone else.

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Robb October 13, 2010 at 03:28

LP,

You can find Filipino writers who speak near-perfect Western English but they come at a premium. You’re not going to pay $2/hr for a rockstar writer, just like you’re not going to pay $10/hr for someone who is simply bookmarking all day long.

I just got an article from a new VA who is working part-time for me, she’s writing 300 word blog posts for me for $2 per article. Read below and you can decide for yourself if you think this type of writing is worth it.

Here is an actual excerpt from one of her articles:

“Social Media is an outstanding opportunity to connect and build relationships with your fans. You’ll also have the opportunity to network online, to find key contacts and to find potential customers you might never have met in person. Here are the basic guidelines in starting your business with social networks…”

Not bad. Well worth the money in my opinion.

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ellathinks October 13, 2010 at 06:16

Ouch.. Seriously LP, do you really think we in the Philippines do not have the qualifications to write simple articles? Yes English is NOT our native language but we have freelance writers who graduated with degrees in Mass Communications, Journalism or English Majors. I must admit that not all Filipino freelancers have superb writing skills, that is why you have to screen your writers before you hire them right?

I may not be an excellent writer but I want to give justice to other Filipino writers out there who does their job well without having to step on somebody else’s shoes.

It hurts to think that there are people who thinks that way about us or any other third world countries. I hope lets not generalize.

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Robb October 13, 2010 at 06:28

Well-put, Ella. There are some fantastic Filipino writers out there who do quality work for a fair rate.

Like everything else in life, you just gotta cast a net, screen your applicants, and “Top Grade” your candidates.

They’re not going to fall into your lap out of the sky!

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Chris C. Ducker October 14, 2010 at 01:00

There is a great article on the blog here on a case study I did on Filipino VAs providing good quality original web content. Just search for it. You’ll find it easily.

It also backs up Adrian’s comments here, with 3 posts written entirely by a VA that I work with.

What a great discussion this post turned out to be – my first post with 100+ comments, too. Thanks to all that contributed.

Chris

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Rhonda October 15, 2010 at 22:24

As a VA with a US based business, I find the banter quite interesting. I agree with Desiree, Merri and Linda wholeheartedly! I am a highly qualified executive assistant with many years experience. I don’t believe just anyone can hang a sign saying they are a VA! It requires appropriate training and experience.

For those of you who live in the US but hire outside of the US, I have this question. Have you given thought to the repercussions of US money leaving the US on a regular basis for outsourcing? What is going to happen to our country, to our economy, to our people? Have you heard of the concept of “Buying Local”! It applies here.

Yes salaries are relevant to the country. If I don’t charge at least $35/hour, I cannot make the mortgage payment ($2000 of which $600 is taxes) to live in a modest working class home in NY let alone all the other high priced expenses per month.

Professional VA’s are not cheap and cheap VA’s are not professionals.

Just my 2 cents for what it’s worth!

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Mike Stankavich October 16, 2010 at 09:45

Rhonda, I take your point, but I differ with you in three regards.

First, you are putting a very specific interpretation on the definition of VA. The term VA is like the term love. It can mean lots of different things. In your case, you are talking about a trained and skilled resource who is capable of completing complex tasks with limited direction and is capable of strategic work as well as executing simple tasks that are clearly defined.

Sometimes all I need is somebody who can complete simple tasks. I see no reason to pay for the Ritz when all I need is Motel 6.

Second, with all due respect I don’t care how much your mortgage payment may happen to be. I didn’t tell you to live in NY. Why not move to Arkansas or West Virginia? I know, you don’t want to because the culture and quality of life is different. But that’s your choice, not your customer’s choice. The whole point of virtual is that it takes location out of the equation.

Third, I strongly dispute your implication that all foreign based VAs are inherently less skilled. As a population, the average skill is lower, yes. But there are very skilled people in the Philippines that have gone to the local equivalent of Ivy League universities. They are well read, speak near-perfect English, and are very capable of complex business strategy as well as completing simple tasks. I know, because I work with some of those people every day.

So, while I appreciate that you have a solid value proposition that’s worthy of consideration, I reject your conclusion that your high mortgage payment or your training and experience automatically makes you an inherently superior choice. Whether you or I like it or not, we live in a time of change, where competing on a global scale is an every day reality. It’s best to hone our skills and our unique selling proposition. Tell me specifically how you add $35/hour in value where my Philippines resources do not, and I will listen. But don’t tell me that you have a high mortgage payment – that doesn’t make you more valuable to me in any way.

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Rhonda October 16, 2010 at 23:26

Mike,

The first point I was trying to make is that the cost of living is definitely different in the US than overseas!

The second point is that if you take business away from the US, one cannot expect the US economy to thrive as well!

We could go on and on about this subject. I am sorry you don’t seem to understand the message I was trying to convey.

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Mike Stankavich October 17, 2010 at 09:55

Rhonda,

Of course the cost of living is more onshore than overseas. But that in and of itself doesn’t automatically justify a higher rate. And you’re right that it’s beneficial to the US economy for US companies and entrepreneurs to do business with US rather than foreign resources. But I would point out that this website is owned by a British entrepreneur located in the Philippines. So US patriotism is hardly a compelling argument to many if not most readers of this blog.

Free trade versus protectionism have been debated endlessly over the years. We’re not likely to resolve that debate here. The truth is that I’m really not sure what’s best in that regard. But the fact is that outsourcing and offshoring is a reality whether we like it or not. It’s better to accept that and find ways to compete. It comes down to value add.

If I were you, I would emphasize that your strategic skills, cultural knowledge, and native English speaker skills enable you to do work foreign providers cannot do and to be more efficient and thus of higher value on work that they could do. Lead with the value proposition rather than your cost structure.

In my case, rather than complaining that overseas programmers were stealing my job, I retrained into information security and architecture. I charge a high hourly rate not because of where I live or my cost structure, but because I offer a service that is of significant value to my customers and is not widely available at low cost.

It’s entirely appropriate for you to charge whatever rate you want. But at the end of the day, as a customer I will judge you on the value that you deliver to me, not your cost structure or where you live.

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Chris C. Ducker October 17, 2010 at 00:37

And on and on it goes…..!

Awesome!

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Chris C. Ducker October 17, 2010 at 00:34

Thanks for the feedback and the cents worth, Rhonda. It’s appreciate it…

I feel this comment section is going to probably be as alive as it has been in the last couple of weeks, years from now!

Cheers,
Chris

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Jem November 12, 2010 at 10:39

Hi Chris and everybody,

Well as a VA, I can honestly and proudly say that what I do currently is like under those three categories of being a full-time general VA, content writer and also doing SEO tasks. I’ve been working as a VA and have had developed my expertise with one client for over a year now and I’m wondering…

If I’m going to shift path and work directly or independently with this client and thus will have to leave my firm, I think it’s not going to be “fair” enough to receive only $300 per month doing 10x of quality work and working more than 8 hours alone (with this client-and-employer-to-be) compared to what I did previously with an outsourcing company doing only quality writing paying me $250.

What do you think?

Cheers.

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Chris C. Ducker December 29, 2010 at 08:24

nice

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webmaster December 29, 2010 at 08:30

cool

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isabel December 17, 2010 at 11:53

i have to agree. it’s tough and there are a bunch of us that CAN deliver.

you also have to consider that when the exchange rate fluctuates, we lose.

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Chris C. Ducker December 17, 2010 at 13:55

Absolutely, Isabel.

The Peso has taken a real battering over the last couple of years…! :-(

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Rob Rawson December 21, 2010 at 09:05

I’m interested to know if you can really get high quality staff for these rates, especially SEO specialists and web developers. $350 is around 15,000 pesos and this would be for an absolutely beginner SEO person, not a specialist. This is based on my experience with 45 staff mostly in the Philippines. Salaries for SEO specialists that are any good are much higher especially in Manila.

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Chris C. Ducker December 21, 2010 at 21:43

Hi Rob

It is indeed possible. I should clarify, however, and perhaps a slight change in wording is needed here… When I use the word ‘specialist’, I mean some focusing on nothing but SEO. Not necessarily someone that has been involved in SEO for countless years – yes, that would take a little more. But, the sheer essence of SEO and the work involved is VERY learnable, very quickly… So, as long as the teacher is good, after a year or so in that position, focusing, you can actually get a very good SEO-based VA on board for that type of money.

Agree in regards to Manila staffing and costs, too.

Cheers,
Chris

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John December 29, 2010 at 08:42

This is great

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shane January 25, 2011 at 17:54

Hi Chris

Excellent information from you and the other people commenting here. I hope to start hiring staff soon so i can get some sites up that actually start earning something, My current one about farmville hints is not doing all i hoped it would

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Chris C. Ducker January 25, 2011 at 20:48

Hi Shane

Sometimes working smarter is better than working harder, my man.

Let me know when you’re good to hire someone and the Virtual Staff Finder service will take good care of you, I promise.

Best,
Chris

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Isabelle Naessens February 4, 2011 at 04:12

I hope the amounts mentioned in your article are not MONTHLY salary guidelines…

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Chris C. Ducker February 4, 2011 at 06:16

Yes, they are, actually.

For overseas, home based VAs. Predominantly based in the Philippines. I’ve lived here 10 years and know the market well.

C

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Jack February 10, 2011 at 10:31

I came to this article as referred by a local Cebu SEO forum.
Its a great guideline most especially for an SEO wannabe like me.
At least, you have given me an idea of up to how much could i possibly “ask” for a VA work.

Thanks Chris.

- Jack -

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Chris C. Ducker February 10, 2011 at 14:14

Glad to be of help, Jack. One thing though – these salary guides are for ‘experienced’ people. So, I would say unless you have a couple of years under your belt as an SEO specialist, you’ll probably have to charge a little lower to begin with.

Anything for a fellow Cebuano! (even though I wasn’t born here, I class myself as one!)

Be cool. :-)

C

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Jack February 10, 2011 at 14:35

Yeah!
Kudos to you Sir.
Thanks again.

- Jack -

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jomar February 16, 2011 at 11:55

Ok, you have my VA to thank for this. She recommended this blog post to me (LOL) and I wound up reading EVERYTHING – including the comments.

Nothing to add: except that Odesk actually ranks Customer service jobs (perfect english speakers) at a higher rate (according to my VA) than SEO people.

And because of the trainings I’ve been giving to people (Filipinos only), you better expect these rates to go really higher. But not to worry, you can expect the quality to be WOW-worthy so everybody wins. :)

Jomar

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Chris C. Ducker February 16, 2011 at 12:38

Hi Jomar

I agree, salary price-points will increase, just as they have in the last couple of years.

As someone that has lived in the Philippines for the last 10 years, and been involved in the outsourcing industry pretty much that entire time, I’ve seen PLENTY of changes. I hired my first VA in 1996, before I even knew that she was a VA – to me, she was just a home-based worker! I’ve since trained and mentored THOUSANDS of outsourced Filipino workers.

The game is changing, and the Filipino contingency for home-based VA’s is getting stronger and stronger with every passing year.

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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Michelle Dale, Virtual Miss Friday February 24, 2011 at 04:51

OMG – Chris I feel like I should send you a bottle of champagne for this post – I have just caught up with it again, this could seriously go on forever!

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Chris Worner February 24, 2011 at 19:13

Hey Chris!

I admire you mate, I would have torn my hair out by now out of frustration at all the posters from western countries(I’m from Australia) who don’t seem to know how to read, namely, the caption under the header graphic, not to mention the massive amount of entitlement mentality from some.

It’s simply a matter of economics. Why would I, as a business owner, pay somebody in a western country 3-5K a month for work that can be done by somebody overseas for a 10th of that? Yeah, help the economy yadda yadda yadda, the thing is, the economy(where you live) is the reason people outsource in the first place as it can be unfeasible to hire locally under normal conditions.

As much as my business makes, if I hired locally, even as a sole trader(Aussie independent contracter) my business wouldn’t be nearly as profitable as it is, leaving me no better than before, I may as well go work a customer service job and not have to worry about managing a business.

You make your path in life and if you choose to work for somebody else, then you accept the challenges and consequences of doing so. In the case of a lot of the posters here, choosing to work as a VA, if you can’t handle the changing world economy and can’t survive overseas competition, then perhaps you are in way the wrong industry and need to serously entertain going back to school and learning a new profession.

Chris

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Chris C. Ducker February 24, 2011 at 21:17

Hi Chris

Boy – I can hear that frustration…!!! :-)

But, youre right – global economics / markets to one side – why pay more than you need to (in any aspect of your business), if you can get the ‘same’ for less elsewhere… You’re in business for yourself, and your family, first and foremost. That should be the focus.

Thanks for the great feedback, mate.

C

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Victor M. Kasatshko March 5, 2011 at 12:12

Hi Chris…great post/blog.
I sent you an email earlier with a collaboration proposal that you should find interesting. Hope to hear from you.
VictorK

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Carla March 17, 2011 at 11:47

Hello Chris,

I am going to hire a home based VA from the Philippines to work 3 hours a day -4 days a week, to respond to emails and perform phone interviews and have no idea what the going rate is for this type of task.. I was able to find numerous postings about what full time home based VAs make, but not any postings on the average hourly rate for a PART TIME home based VA.
Please help.

Thank You

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Chris C. Ducker March 17, 2011 at 18:14

Hi Carla

I dont suggest utilizing home-based workers in the Philippines for voice related work. Its not that they cant speak English – they can!!! It’s because of the instability of the residential internet lines. Bandwidth is sketchy, and business calls DEMAND professionalism – a choppy line is certainly NOT professional.

Just my opinion. If you want to go ahead and try, please feel free, of course. And thanks for the question!

C

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Tina June 23, 2011 at 23:57

Chris said it himself:

“instability of the residential internet lines”…How is that good for anyone’s ONLINE business whether doing phone work or any kind of other ONLINE work?

Caveat Emptor!

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Kartik Gupta March 28, 2011 at 19:53

I am planning for a Fixed + Variable Compensation plan on gross profit.
Do you have any idea ?

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Chris C. Ducker March 28, 2011 at 23:08

My gut tells me it will not work. The VAs here was a solid, stable income.

That’s the best for them…

C

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Michael March 30, 2011 at 02:24

Hello Chris;

I must confess that you are doing a great job indeed; sincerely speaking, is not done the same way here in UK. Apart from that, if I had listened to my colleagues that actually start outsourcing 2009; my case would have been different , also should have in Philippines to consolidate business relationships with my partners there and continue to create new businesses here in UK.

However, I’m so delighted meeting you; whatever happened in the past is all to my good. Chris; I want to start asap! I need an intelligent VA that will help me in SEO: I practically need an SEO Specialist that will man my internet business; somebody I can expediently call my brother or sister – A fellow that I can rely up on.

I believe from here, we will grow the business to another level. Let me seize this opportunity to chip in something fast; I also need VA in article writing; I believe SEO is very important to me now. Let’s start with an SEO specialist, next month, you can arrange a VA specialist for my article stuff.

Once again Chris; you are doing a lovely job! Looking forward to work with you.

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Chris C. Ducker March 30, 2011 at 21:15

Hi Michael

Good stuff, and a fine plan for the next couple of months, too… I will have Stephanie from VSF contact you immediately, and you can go from there.

Thanks, and looking forward to ‘virtually’ working with you.

Best,
Chris

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Adam Stanecki April 10, 2011 at 06:25

As well as the days of paying peanuts being gone so are the days of outsourcing being about taking advantage.

Everyone needs to understand that outsourcing is a win/win situation. The employer gets a great service at a reduced rate (relative to their local options) and the employee gets to make more money than they could make locally.

I have only just started outsourcing and already have formed a bond with my transcriptionist from the Philippines. After only one job I upped her rate to more than she asked. I look forward to employing more VAs and specialists. I hope to meet them face-to-face one day too.

When approached with the right intention, outsourcing is an amazing solution.

[Chris, thank you again for a great post.]

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Chris C. Ducker April 11, 2011 at 22:25

No problems, Adam.

This thing just goes from strength to strength!

C

PS. When you’re ready to get a few more VAs, try out http://www.virtualstafffinder.com – we’ll hook you up with a discount on multiple VAs, too!

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Adam Stanecki September 28, 2011 at 07:35

Hey Chris,
Just wanted to tell you that my new VA – found through VSF – has started this week and SHE IS AWESOME!!
Thank you, Adam.

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Chris C. Ducker September 28, 2011 at 11:58

Hi Adam

Thats great, man. Glad to see you’re all set!!! :-)

C

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Krest May 6, 2011 at 06:15

For me, i don’t have problem paying a VA $400. But my problem is that will the VA be able to perform to that worth? I ven’t hire one before but am planning to. For a content writer, how many article can they write in a day?

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Ray Villadelgado May 8, 2011 at 21:04

Hi Chris,

Enjoyed the comments. I have a question regarding “rock star” content writers. These “rock star” writers you are referring to, how many original articles can they write on a given day? Further, what standard do you base your assessment of someone’s writing? I’m interested in pursuing a digital virtual career and I just want to have a very good sense of employer’s expectations.

Thank you.

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CJ May 19, 2011 at 04:12

I was drawn to this discussion and can’t help but participate.

I am a Filipino, living in Manila and General Santos City (yeah, I shuttle back and forth). I have been working online for about 15 months now. When I started in Feb 2010 as a writer, I was paid $5/hr. It took only one month of working as a part-time online writer for me to decide to quit my job in a high-end call center as a Team Leader and work online full time.

After juggling my time as a writer and VA for 8 employers, I was hired as a VA by an Aussie internet marketer for $10/hr. The position easily rose to Project Manager where I hired and managed people, mostly co-Filipinos. After 6 months, I became the CEO of his online business and he paid me $15/hour.

Currently, I am working full-time (8 hours, 5 days a week) for a well-known Australian internet marketer as a CEO/Project Manager/ Personal Assistant for $20/hr. Doing the maths, that is $3200… The position may be defined by others as General VA (I’m not sure)… But I do admin tasks, manage emails, communicate with clients, handle customer requests, hire and manage staff, assign and oversee projects… And yes, I talk to my employer almost daily.

What is my point here?

It really doesn’t matter where you live or what nationality you are from. Online jobs offer a wide range of opportunities for people to practice their education and skills. Entrepreneurs are willing to pay for quality, speed, trust, loyalty and confidence.

I am proud to be a Filipino. I am even prouder that all the employers I have worked for put value in what I do and are willing to do what it takes to keep me… I honestly believe that even though we are located in the opposite side of the world, we are at par with our western counterparts… Oh yes, I won’t hesitate speaking impeccable English with anyone too.

I agree that it is more practical for entrepreneurs to take someone of the same skill-set and abilities at a lower asking rate. After all, this is business, not a charitable institution.

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Diane Thomas May 25, 2011 at 15:05

Wow this is amazing it has been going forever and such different feelings running through.

CJ I was drawn to comment after watching this for a few months now and what you say is so true it doesnt matter where in the world you are. If you as a worker give the very best you can it will be reflected in your work and then that appreciation can be shown in an increase in the bottom line eg your pay packet. It is fantastic to hear that you have done so well with working for yourself, I am Australian but alas I am just starting out on my Internet Business but I cant wait for the time when my VA comments online as you have how happy they are working with me.

I am not yet at the stage of employing my 1st VA but it is only a couple months and I ant wait to start, so Chris end of June and I will knocking on your door to get going.

Thanks for all the amazing info you so freely give. Diane

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Chris C. Ducker May 25, 2011 at 21:08

Hi Diane

Yep – this post is gonna last forever, I think! :-)

Good to hear that you’ll be looking for a VA real soon, and that you’ll be coming to Virtual Staff Finder – thats awesome, and we’ll be more than happy to help you find the little superstar that you need in your business!

Thanks also in regards to the kind words on the blog. Much appreciated.

C

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Matthew September 2, 2011 at 11:01

Hi Chris

Thanks for this website and your services. I have emailed a couple of questions through to Stephanie and she has been great.

The current plan is to pay $550 a month for someone to do content addition, formatting, a bit of writing, comment submission and bookmarking – now, 550 is the top end of your suggested range and I want to pay that because I want to have someone who is decent at what they do. I want someone who is going to be really happy with what they are making and won’t be likely to sit on the internet looking for more money. Is this realistic?

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Chris C. Ducker September 2, 2011 at 12:50

Hi Matthew

Thanks for the comment.

Yes, absolutely realistic. As long as you’re also realistic with the level of writing. It will be good enough for bookmarking sites, article submission, etc., but at that level (and the mixed bag of tasks), this won’t be a ‘writer’ you’re hiring – so I wouldn’t rely on them to do YOUR blog posts for you, for example! :-)

Otherwise, all good, and we look forward to working with you, bud.

Welcome to the VBL Tribe, too. I believe this was your first comment!

C

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Matthew September 2, 2011 at 17:16

Hey mate

Thanks for the reply. Yeh I won’t be getting my VA to write content except for snippets to be accepted for build my rank.. I will probably hire two VAs.. one for submission and content formatting and the other for writing to build my rank

Thanks for the reply.. when I am ready I will definitely be using your services

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Chris C. Ducker September 2, 2011 at 17:47

Good stuff!

Chat soon then, I guess….. :-)

C

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Joseph October 6, 2011 at 06:35

Still going…I’ve been following this post for a while now and I think I may have chimed in before, but thought I should do so again. Just hired my first VA recently though the fantastic Virtual Staff Finder program and he’s working out great – thanks Chris and Stephanies!

My VA started only 3 days ago, so I don’t have enough experience working with him to speak authoritatively yet. However, I can already see it’s an incredible value, especially for those of us who are working in the Western world and charging Western rates for our products/services. I’m paying a full time designer/developer $600/month – it’s a great deal for both of us. He’s not a beginner and he’s not a pro who’s going to design a mind-blowing website overnight. But he’s just what I need. I was actually looking to pay more, as much as $750 per month, to get a good employee whom I didn’t have to micromanage. The VA I interviewed who was asking $750 should only have been asking $450, and I told him that. Conversely, the VA I interviewed who was asking $400 was very close to the quality of the VA I chose for $600. My POINT is that we employers have to spend time interviewing these candidates because what they ask for and what you determine that they’re worth are sometimes very different #s.

Anyway, that’s enough of a ramble. Bottom line is that, with my VA, I’ve gotten more done in 3 days than I did in the past 3 weeks by myself. Go for it!

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Chris C. Ducker October 6, 2011 at 19:17

Hi Joseph

Great stuff, buddy – and thank you for the kind words. They mean a lot.

Keep rockin’…! :-)

C

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Hugues October 12, 2011 at 19:37

Hello Chris,

Here in France, we have a problem because we dont get many French speakers to rely upon across the world.
Can you also provide French-speaking VAs ?

Hugues

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Chris C. Ducker October 13, 2011 at 19:54

It’s tough to find French speaking VA’s here in the Philippines, buddy. To be honest.

Keep searching, I’m sure you’ll come across a good team player soon.

All the best,
Chris

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Clarence R. October 21, 2011 at 21:16

Hello Chris,

I do not have time to do some back-readings of the comments here but I would like to comment on your post. This has gone through some of the employers on oDesk. Some are probably still using this “rates” no matter how hard you put in there that it is just a “guideline”. So I suggest you make some adjustments.

I am working full time at oDesk but the salary you mentioned is not just reasonable enough for me. Many of the writers and other contractors I’ve known will definitely agree with me. To make it fair for both parties I suggest you do some more research on the rates and not just the RATE/SALARY that satisfies the financial accounts of your clients.

It’s just frustrating to know that many clients/employers for that matter abuse the low labor cost here in the Phils where in fact these VA’s, SEO specialists, writers and other contractors can certainly provide qualities that are at par with the foreign employers.

I hope you could do something about this post.

Thanks,

Clarence R.
Staffing Manager
Writers of National Languages

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Chris C. Ducker October 22, 2011 at 01:19

Hi Clarence

Thanks for the comment.

For the most part, these salaries are still ‘the norm’, here in the Philippines. I agree they are increasing quite regularly, but based on industry provided data, and the experience that we have in working with hundreds and hundreds of VA’s in the country, they still stand pretty firm.

I do anticipate updating and probably re-blogging about this subject in the new year, however, where certain changes will probably be made.

May I ask, what is it you do at oDesk, by the way?

Best,
C

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Clarence R. October 22, 2011 at 01:49

Hello again,

Yes, perhaps you are right about “still the norm”. However, that aspect is only applicable for employees who are working at a local company, government offices and other private offices located here, where most of these employees are expected to do the usual 8-5 job (9-5 in the western countries) with their skills are not much of a variety. That is a given fact because they are earning from a local currency and that is the accepted “norm” in such local industry.

However, its a different story when it comes to BPO, especially in a virtual environment such as your company. Most employers can actually get high quality workers from the western countries and the pay (which is only the minimum pay) is usually 10-20x higher than the one you posted. As far as I am concerned, the minimum wage in the States now, as set by the Federal, is already $8/hr, which is basically unacceptable for western workers. Of course, that is good enough for a worker here in the Phils. The problem is that most employers are actually pressing it hard and makes it even lower. I know we (yes, I am a Filipino) are not entitled with the same “minimum wage” but it is not just fair to contractors/providers for the employers to get the same high quality of work for a relatively “cheap pay”.

The problem now is that most of these employers are joining the bandwagon. The worst part is that they themselves are unemployed in their respective localities and are outsourcing various works (which they personally got from other clients as well) for them to earn 5-10 times than what their workers are earning, where in fact, what they are actually doing is just plainly getting the contract firsthand and subcontracting to Filipino workers. On the other hand, Filipino will continue to work for this type of “environment” as they see the dollars coming, but soon enough they find a way to direct themselves into the “firsthand market”, these abusive employers will soon realize the worth of every Filipino workers.

The salaries you posted for Web dev, SEO and writers are certainly unacceptable, especially for a worker who is regarded as “specialist.” Perhaps it would be better if you can arrange the salaries into categories. I would agree that the salaries you posted are considered as “introductory or entry level rates”. That would be more reasonable and acceptable. You can easily outsource your web developer’s rate from $35-100/hr (in western rate) to a reasonable $15-20/hr here, which makes it roughly around 2000-2500/month for a f/t worker. The good thing is that you can expect the same or even higher quality compared to the higher rate. The same goes for the SEO and writer but with some differences in rates though.

In the end, it all boils down to whether the employer is willing to pay for the same quality and if the provider is willing to accept the rate.

I own a budding agency for writers and I myself is a writer at oDesk.

Thanks again,

Clarence

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Chris C. Ducker October 22, 2011 at 01:54

Excellent further insights, buddy. Thanks for commenting again – and you bring up a great point. These are ‘starting’ salaries and over sliding salaries, too. As example $350-$500 for a General VA. This sliding scale is what it is, and changes for each position type, as you can see. Obviously, after an employee has been with an employer for a while, they will increase. I make it clear to mention that when I do consultation calls with clients on this subject.

As I said, a newer, updated version of these guidelines will be produced in January, so, if you’d like to help put it together with me at the time, that would be great! If so, drop me an email after Christmas and we can talk on it a little. Thanks again for the support…

C

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Glee November 10, 2011 at 18:39

Well, this must be a great post, was written in 2010, and here I am 2011 putting my 2 cents in. First, I live in the US, so like most US people who have commented here, I think the salary outline is absolutely ridiculous! But anyways, the truth is I have no idea about wages, lifestyle etc… in the Phillipines.

Just one question though… Where do your profits come from? Very curious about that. Obviously, you are not doing this for free. So do you take a chunk out of the already ridiculous salary? or Do you charge the clients for finding someone for them?

Also, I’m sorry but Virtual Miss Friday, Michelle Dale is a total hypocrite. @ Michelle if you are graciously living in a country where the cost of living is much less than the US, than perhaps you can lower the price on your Virtual Assistant Apprentice Training from $ 3,582.00 (ridiculous, with all the free information available on the internet regarding starting a virtual assistant business). Maybe you can charge something like $5.00 after all, it’s not about the skills that you bring to the table, it’s about what country you live in and the cost of life there :)

Glee

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Chris C. Ducker November 11, 2011 at 05:26

Hi Glee

Thank you for your comment.

There will be a bit of an update to this post in the early part of 2011 – times have changed, and so have the salaries, too. But, they are pretty solid, still, in regards to salaries in the Philippines, for hom-ebased VA’s. My profits? Well, I own several companies, but in regards to virtual assistants, I own and operate the Virtual Staff Finder service, where we charge our clients a finders fee, for hooking them up with the VA’s.

In regards to your comment on Michelle being a hypocrite, I’m not sure how you get to this opinion, to be honest? Obviously, yes, there is plenty of free information online (on ANY topic), however, having someone such as Michelle put together a training program might (and I believe, does) add helpfulness to some people when learning. Surely, then, after all the years of experience, learning and hard work on putting the program together, its up to HER how much she charges for it..?! I mean, its her product / program.

These are your opinions, and I respect them. But, ultimately, its up to every entrepreneur to make money the way they want / see fit to. After all, isnt that what being an entrepreneur is all about…? Writing your own paycheck…

Thanks for dropping by.

C

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Uncle Bob November 30, 2011 at 03:27

I read in the earlier posts that these rates still stand firm now.

From my personal experience of hiring on a regular basis from Odesk mainly for VA’s, SEO specialists and Web Design these rates seems on the low side.

The hourly rate Im paying for a VA is $3.89/hr who is working 20 hours/week on a part time basis. This person took me several hours to find after a number of interviews, questions and researching their previous work

My main question is with regards to the training side of things. There are several courses on backlinking, adsense and advanced SEO techniques that I would like to pass on to my VA. The time taken to fully train this person is these new skills is very time consuming and sort of contradicts the point of outsourcing initially especially if the employee feels he now is super-skilled and can command a higher rate.

In the long run its obvious, fully trained personal is the way to go it just would be nice to find someone who is well versed in all these techniques for an equally low rate.

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Chris C. Ducker November 30, 2011 at 09:33

Hi Bob

Actually, they are now out of date – I will be updating them in January… They are not too far off, but a little low.

Personally speaking, I doubt you’ll find someone that can genuinely do all those things and will need little or no training from the ‘job sites’ out there. The REALLY good VA’s either have their own websites, or go through a service like my Virtual Staff Finder (link in sidebar).

I hear you on the training side of things. I will be launching http://www.outsourcetothephilippines.com soon, and a big chunk will be on ‘training’ staff, so stand by!

C

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cme December 9, 2011 at 23:34

I live in the Philippines and I am a housewife. I would like to become a homebased Virtual Assistant, can you recommend any website or seminars on how to be a good virtual assistant. What skills should I enhance before I can apply as a new VA. Thank you.

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Aissa Mae de Guia January 17, 2012 at 08:39

Hi,

I am from the Philippines and I am interested to build a career as a General Virtual Assistant. I had been working for a Canadian client in my previous job, but I want to try it home based, to have better control and management of my time. Any suggestions on how can I find a client? Thanks.

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Chris C. Ducker January 17, 2012 at 13:55

Aissa

Contact my team at the http://www.virtualstafffinder.com company I have!

careers @ virtualstafffinder .com

Perhaps we can help you in some way. :-)

C

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Sheyi February 19, 2012 at 23:42

Chris, this is a great guide. I was about mailing you as regards this before I saw this article on your blog. Nice you covered it up before my question came.

My questions are, how easy is it setting up an Internet Marketing coy in Philippines as a foreigner plus are these fees meant if those VAs work from home? What will the fees be if they are hired to come to office to work full time per month?

What about those IT guys? Those that works on apps? I’m thinking of hiring 2-4 full time guys to work on different apps as well.

Sheyi

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Sheryl March 3, 2012 at 11:14

I know this article was written few years back but I’d like to add that during that time, a government employee at a provincial head level earns roughly $500 – $600 monthly while a clerk earns $250… these people work 40 hours per week, full-time.

I’m not saying that people from the overseas should be paid less but before having some violent reactions, people should understand that they shouldn’t compare apples with bananas.

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Robert Dayton April 4, 2012 at 19:15

I guess I got lucky. I pay more for my VA’s, I have 2 CRMs, a CSR and 2 programmers from the Philippines. I could get them less expensively. Much less expensively, but I wouldn’t get that kind of fanatical work anywhere. I’m paying $1600+/month for one – she runs my business and my life. $800/month for another who is also a few cuts above her USA counterparts and the programmers get $1K/month and $800/month (but I’ll be boosting this 2nd programmer to $1K/month soon) and the other CSR gets $800/month soon to be $1K/month. I am well aware that I pay much more than I have to. I do that on purpose. Have a look at what I get by spending a few extra dollars instead of being a greedy bean counter:

1) The all happily work more than 9 hours a day if they need to. Usually its more like 11-12 hours. I have to force them to take days off.

2) The one that I pay $1600+ to is executive quality. She’d be getting over $100K here in USA. She can do anything. And she does. I make sure I trust and empower her implicitly, then I sit back and watch her run things. Honestly, I’m jealous. I can’t run my business as good as she can. She is also a much better writer than I am. Then again, she has an English degree and I flunked out of high school. Degrees don’t mean anything in a result-oriented workplace though. It didn’t take me long to see what she was capable of and make sure I put her in a position where she can use her potential.

3) The programmers are proteges. They’d be getting $60-$80K plus here in USA, with the emphasis on the +. Far better than anyone I’ve found in India or anywhere else, these two are self motivated and lightning fast. I was a prodigy too and I know what it looks like. I can’t believe I have two of them. I can thank the girl in #2 for that, no surprise that one fanatical hard worker knows others too.

4) The fanatical way they work is priceless. I’m telling you I couldn’t buy this in this country at any price. Here in USA, we lost something. We turned into a bunch of unfocused, disloyal video game playing obese versions of ourselves. We do not have the work ethic of our parents and our grandparents. Sorry, that’s the truth.

In 2 days, I’m heading over there to help start a VA company that provides cream-of-the-crop people to other businesses. I’m not doing it solely for the money, my software company is finally doing just fine. After expenses and salaries that are twice the going rate, there will be some $$ left over, but not enough to get rich off of. I’m doing it because my people have changed my life and transformed my business in a very short period of time. I know that people like this can do the same for others too. Some of my customers have seen their hard work and want that in their businesses.

These people can change your life. It’s not even about the money anymore, it’s about what my business can do with people like this working in it.

It is true that you can get people there for $4-$500/month that are home based, but I bet you can’t get people like I have for that price. Not for long anyway. You have to take care of your people else you will lose them when a client like me comes along. Also, you need people that can think on their own, take initiative, take ownership and take charge. You don’t even know how bad you need that until you have it.

That type of personality is not easily found overseas. I can’t find it here in America either! Until very recently, all I found were task-oriented people who did what they were told.

If you really want the best people, you need to pay them enough money and make sure they have health care, retirement, late model equipment and child care. These are stable people people what are married and have families, not fresh grads with only call center experience. You have to take an interest in them and help them with their goals. Don’t try to get by with the least bit you can pay. Like anywhere else, you get what you pay for. You will get out of your VA exactly what you put into them.

You wouldn’t believe the quality of people at are available to you for a few dollars more over there. Really, its like anything else, if you empower and enable your people, they will move mountains for you.

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Gniy September 23, 2012 at 22:28

Amen to all that, Mr. Robert Dayton. I have been working as a home-based VA from the Philippines since 2005 and I would say that the best clients I have had are those who have your mindset. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts here. I have worked with clients who do not mind paying me a minimum of $800 per month as a VA for as long as I apply my skills and experience to their advantage. My range of skills vary from technical (setting up and maintaining websites) to basic admin skills (emailing, data entry,etc.). And yup, I do not mind working beyond 8 hours a day. VA’s give their all and more when they know that their efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. And bonuses wouldn’t hurt! :)

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Wayne Edward Clarke April 17, 2012 at 01:33

Some of those who have commented here are VAs who live in The US or The UK. I don’t understand why anyone who can work online or run their business online would continue living in an expensive country. When I move from Canada to the Philippines it’ll have the same effect as doubling or tripling my income.

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Chris C. Ducker April 17, 2012 at 16:24

Amen, Wayne.

I couldn’t agree more.

Well said.

C

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Martin May 1, 2012 at 12:32

Greetings all. I’m a bit new to VA’s. I’ve used VA’s on odesk in the past only to disappointment.

I understand the rates you have posted but for my needs I’m looking for just a link builder who may or may not know how to use a tool like SEO link robot. I’m estimating 40 hours a month is all I need a VA for to do a thousand links using an SEO software along with about 20 manual posts per month. Something like that should only cost about $250, correct.

You’re rates are seem to focus on a more well rounded SEO expert. Is possible to find more focused VA’s here for cost efficiency?

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Rovie May 17, 2012 at 04:42

Hi Chris…

Reading this post and going through the interesting “debate” makes me want to try working as a VA. With the salary guide provided, a VA working in the Philippines can actually have a decent living. Not to mention, the resources that can be saved like travel time and clothing expenses. :-)

Thanks so much for this interesting post. :-)

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Arnie June 9, 2012 at 11:24

Hi Guys,

I find this whole forum very interesting. If done in a right way it seems to work out well for both parties. I have a small company in the Netherlands where we successfully publish a couple of national industrial websites for the last 3,5 years. Last year we took the format international (English).

Now I already tried to find some students in India through a VA, but no success. Maybe someone from the Philippines is interested in working for us as a VA. It’s mainly browsing the internet, some e-mailing and news publishing. It’s an easy job, but must be done correctly.

If somebody could help me out, I would really appreciate it.

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Chris C. Ducker June 9, 2012 at 14:59

Hi Arnie

We’ll take care of you at http://www.virtualstafffinder.com.

Let me know if you have questions!

C

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Bunny Ray June 13, 2012 at 18:28

Hi, I submitted a long post a while back around June, and was wondering how come it was never published?

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Chris C. Ducker June 13, 2012 at 19:03

Hi Bunny

Around June? Do you mean last year?

Sometimes our spam filter works too well. You can always try submitting again. It’ll probably go through this time, if this comment did.

C

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Lesley October 19, 2012 at 20:10

This is a great post and I learned a lot from the comments. I am a startup with a small budget but a lot to get accomplished. I cannot afford a US-based VAs for the services I need at this point so I’m going to seriously consider Chris’ service (which I just learned about on the ‘The Great Business Project’ podcast). Because of the 12 hour time difference, they would always be working throughout the night in the US so I will eventually need help here during our business hours but to get me started, I don’t feel badly for exploring options I can afford that add value to my business and help me grow. I appreciate everyone’s opinions but but we all have the right to make choices that work best for us. Criticism of this service that I’ve read (through 2 years of comments) seem more emotional than factual. I’m grateful for this option even if it’s only temporary. Thanks for educating me Chris.

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Chris C. Ducker October 21, 2012 at 09:23

Thanks for the comment, Lesley!

Glad you came over from GBP. Love you’re outlook on outsourcing in general…

Appreciate you stopping by.

Cheers,
C

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Lesley October 19, 2012 at 20:16

I would also like to ask if one of your VAs did this website? It’s done extremely well and I’d love to know at what rate a VA with this skill set would go for at this time. Thank you!

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Chris C. Ducker October 21, 2012 at 09:22

This site was actually put together by a friend of mine in the USA. So, no, not one of my VA’s – but, that doesn’t mean we don’t have great Filipino VA’s that cant build great looking sites – all my other sites, such as http://www.virtualstafffinder.com have been built by my VA’s here in the Philippines.

C

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Keith December 4, 2012 at 03:59

Hi Chris,

What about Sales people, what would they make? I assume less base, but good potential on commission? I am thinking for my Real Estate, and Lead Generation for cold calling and setting appointments.

How would the phone thing work?

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Chris C. Ducker December 4, 2012 at 09:17

Hi Keith

Phone work is a little tougher, working with home-based VA’s, as a lot of the time the internet connection, although perfectly fine for web work, isn’t reliable enough for long-term phone work – although the odd Skype call is totally do-able.

For things like telemarketing and customer service, it’s best to try and search for a company, with premises and redundancy in place.

Hope that helps.

C

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John January 14, 2013 at 12:44

Hey Chris,

First, thanks for all the incredibly useful info on your blog. I found you through Pat Flynn (he’s awesome).

Second, my question is more on task than on price. I’m a first time VA… boss. Looking to hire my first VA. The tasks that I need help with fall in between two of the categories you have in the article. I need someone to split full time between doing my article spinning and back-linking, and the other half of the time doing research and a little social media management.

Do I hire two specialists to work part time (20hrs each) in the different areas? Can I find one person skilled enough to split their time between the two tasks? Is that person going to charge more?

It’s make or break time for me and budget is tight. Tough decisions to make as an entrepreneur. I’d love to hire two full timers but I don’t think I can swing it right now. Further down the line if money starts coming in absolutely.

Thanks for your time Chris. Again, great site. Feel free to plug VSF if you need to in your answer. “Well if you call virtual staff finder we can answer these questions and find you the person you need.”

Cheers,

John

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Chris C. Ducker January 14, 2013 at 13:15

Hi John

We (Virtual Staff Finder) might be able to find a hybrid for you. It’s not everyday that it’s doable, but I have seen it happening more and more recently.

Contact Stephanie (steph @ virtualstafffinder .com) and she’ll take care of you.

Cheers, and thanks for the kind words.

C

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@vainchick February 19, 2013 at 17:19

Hey Chris, do you have twitter? Would love to follow you! Used to live in Manila, and still go back once or twice a year.

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Chris C. Ducker February 19, 2013 at 17:25

Yes, I do – there’s a link in the footer of this site.

Cheers,

C

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Jason February 21, 2013 at 12:58

Chris,
Do you know of any good summaries of overseas employer’s legal responsibilities; regular employer-employee relationship, not independent contractor?
Like minimum wage, minimum salary, paperwork etc. – the formalities…

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Chris C. Ducker February 21, 2013 at 13:53

Hi Jason

I go into these things a little in the eBook you can grab for free HERE.

It’s a touchy subject because of the distance, and the international aspect of every different relationship.

But, that guide will help you I’m sure.

C

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Shaqir Hussyin March 19, 2013 at 08:37

Chris – this was a fantastic post, and the comments were amazing, i just signed up for your virtual staff finder service :-)

looking forward to it.

Shaqs

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Chris C. Ducker March 20, 2013 at 11:50

Thanks, Shaqs!

Glad you liked it – and appreciate the business, too.

C

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Meena May 6, 2013 at 04:04

Question Chris… I do need and have the work for all the 4 type of VAs you mentioned, but I neither have so much of a budget to be able to afford all the 4 types full time, nor so much work right now to keep them busy full time. I do know I could afford upto 33% F/T for each of the 4 types. Is it possible to share such VA services with two other companies of similar or non-similar industry. Could you or VSF help put such a “shared” resource team together? Thanks.

Meena

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Chris C. Ducker May 6, 2013 at 17:28

Hi Meena

‘Sharing’, or ‘Mixing’ roles is not a good idea, and not something that VSF does. I suggest you check out some of the job posting sites for more options, and for hiring on a project basis. Will give you more options, for sure.

Cheers,
C

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Shawn P June 11, 2013 at 09:56

One thing I haven’t seen mentioned is tax considerations for US-based companies that employ Filipino VAs. Are they considered independent contractors performing work outside of the US with non-US sourced income? If a tax treaty exists between the US and the Philippines, then I would assume that in the case above, the VAs would be exempt from any 30% withholding and would not be required to fill in any W8-BEN forms; and then only thing the US company would need to do is fill out the 1042 and 1042S at the end of the year. Is that correct?

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Vanessa Sanchez July 11, 2013 at 00:09

Hi Chris we wrote an article on our virtual assistant site which in some cases compliments this article and goes into paying your VA’s and other aspects of how to create a nice package for the workers that help you out in your business. The main thing we look at first and foremost when hiring people on our team is if they have the right attitude, a positive attitude towards learning, towards wanting to satisfy our customers. A person with the right attitude is far more valuable to us than a diva who has all the skills in the world, we can train for skills but attitude you can’t do it. The sky is really the limit on what you should pay your virtual assistant it depends on their value to your business and with that it does not matter if their from the Philippines or US, etc.

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Chrissy July 23, 2013 at 07:38

Hi Chris,

Last Saturday, I was one of VSF Boot Campers in Manila and just wanna thank you for everything. I have a personal blog and as one Filipino VA who admires and adores you and your Besty Pat Flynn, thank you.

All the Best,
ChrissY

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Bobby Velev @ BobbyVelev.com August 2, 2013 at 01:57

Hi Chris,

I wanted to ask you something:

You said that $400-$600 a month is good salary for Article / Content Writer and my question is – how many quality articles (1500 words and more ) do you think the writer should be able to produce for the month ?

Thanks in advance!

Take care!

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Chris C. Ducker August 2, 2013 at 08:07

You’d be looking at around 4 good quality articles a day, including research, keyword embedding, writing and editing.

Hope that helps!

C

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Bobby Velev @ BobbyVelev.com August 4, 2013 at 15:45

Sure it does.

Thank you very much!

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Mark C. August 5, 2013 at 02:23

Which of the four types would a help desk role fall under? I am about to launch an “entry level websites for small businesses” venture for local businesses in my area and am wanting to outsource the help desk.

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Karina August 5, 2013 at 06:28

Hi Chris!

I was simply gobsmacked at the rates you posted for Filipino workers particularly that of an article writer. I had to read your post again! I realized you’ve written this back in 2010 and I can see why you update this post regularly.

Back in 2009 I started out as a content writer and started with $400/month, writing 5/500 word articles daily.

It was a quarter of what I earned. I felt let down but it was better than nothing. A brief work history: I came from the corporate workplace armed to the teeth with a masters in marketing and management, years of experience handling campaigns and operations, achievements and awards. It was a competitive, stressful but a financially rewarding life, until I fell ill.

I was advised to take it easy. It was frustrating. I felt a huge burden was placed on my family. I had to find a way to get work at home that’s stress free. A friend introduced me to writing. The only writing I did before were corporate correspondence, reports, and presentations but I was willing to hack the stuff.

After a week of training, I was churning out articles like a good article mill. I did it for over 6 months. The best thing about it? I was learning all the time.

Today, I freelance as a webcopy writer. My years as a Marketing specialist and my training as a writer has merged beautifully and has brought me more fulfilling work. I’m back, but slightly off- track and from home.

$400/month was peanuts, true. But monkeys? What most people don’t know is that many Filipino work-from-home professionals are highly educated, trainable, and efficient.

It’s a matter of sifting through tons of applications and finding that diamond in the rough, but then diamonds, when polished, cut, and faceted, become stars in their own right and command their equivalent weight in $$$.

Best regards,

Karina

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Elizabeth September 3, 2013 at 09:37

Hi, I am a VA from the Philippines and I help start ups and small to medium business owners.

I have experience during my early days being a VA wherein, clients do not offer high hourly rate just because English is not my major language. Considering the fact that I work with any kind of tasks from social media, seo, research, lead generation and more. What is the difference when I use English as my second language and can still be better than the others who speak English as their major language?

Are we not allowed to rate higher the $10 (in fact, still a low rate) just because we are from the Philippines?

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Patricia September 12, 2013 at 03:29

We are looking for a part time general VA to do data entry, social media etc.. At what rates do you offer part time? Thanks for the article!

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Chris C. Ducker September 12, 2013 at 14:47

No problems, Patricia.

I’ll have my GM from Virtual Staff Finder drop you an email with more info! :-)

Thanks,
C

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Supastar Johnny October 24, 2013 at 18:16

Hey Bud,

Now here’s an interesting question: what would you pay, per month, to an expat writer (who speaks English as a first language, grew up in America) living in Philippines? You can’t hire her for bread crumbs nor treat her as a slave.

thanks bud

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Chris C. Ducker October 24, 2013 at 19:28

Hi Johnny

I wouldn’t hire her, as I don’t need anyone in that role.

But, I would advise that she should hop on Elance and get paid what she’s worth, based on her experience in writing services – regardless of where she’s living… that’s the great thing about working online! :-)

C

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Ellen October 25, 2013 at 05:17

I hire Philippine workers and have a couple working for me. I unlike most, think there are a lot of drawbacks. Sure you get inexpensive help, BUT……
1. They always have holidays and vacations and have off for one reason or another.
2. Heaven forbid that you need them for extra hours or on a Saturday/Sunday. Many won’t work more than 6 hours per day. And you won’t know. And some will try and have another job at the same time.
3. They work COMPLETELY different hours, almost 180, depending where you live. By the time you get their work, they are in bed…and if you need changes, you wait another day.
4. Their electricity and internet are continuously going off and on. And you get excuses…probably valid, but it sure doesn’t help when you need their work.
5. Philippines are not overly creative. Even the best are very, very structured and if they go out of their comfort zone, they do a poor job, they don’t do the job (and you pay them for the day) or they quit.
6. It takes about 5 ‘tries’ to hire a Philippine that will stay with you and do good work. And in my experience, these are the ones that are $1,000+, so you do alot of hiring/training to get a good person.
7. There is a real language and customs barrier that you need to take into consideration. You may mean one thing, and they do something else. Another wasted day.
8. Most will stop completely, if they don’t like, understand, or can’t do a task. They don’t go on to other tasks. Another wasted day.
9. Skype or emails are the normal communication method. It again leads to communication gaps.
10. Philippines will quit and leave you hanging, if they get ‘grass is greener’ syndrome.
11. Americans work ethic is much more focused and productive.
12. Personally, I think most Philippines are very defensive when held accountable for their work or actions, and immediately jump to the conclusion you don’t like or appreciate their work, rather than focusing on getting the job done. You spend alot of time listening to excuses. If you’re busy, this grows old very, very quickly.
13. The Philippine custom is to be paid in December for 13th month + bonus. So, when you add, holidays, 13th month, bonus(es), and other time off….a salary isn’t as economical as you would expect. 1,000/month, with 1-4 days (in our experience/unproductive), +13th month and bonuses + holidays (about 20) is about $8.00/hour.
So, while the economic implications sound great, be aware, there are drawbacks and major adjustments. I’m the first to believe someone should be paid what they are worth….but when you add up all the above…. You can get an excellent American assistant working side by side, or in your office, 1/2-3/4 of the time and be more productive with your and their time.
It also eliminates having to be around 1st thing in the morning or last thing at night. Believe me, that gets old night after night, coming in on Sunday, waking up early, coming in on your holidays and waiting extra days for work to be delivered.

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Jie November 25, 2013 at 02:03

Except for the time difference, all of what you have mentioned applies to every other VA out there Ellen. It is sad that you have singled out VAs in the Philippines when VAs are everywhere in the world. As far as being specific is concerned, the author, specified the Philippines because that’s where his VAs are but you my dear are referring to just one to lambast. Are you speaking from experience? Because you totally lost me in item # 13. I’ve been a VA for several years now and I want to let you know that we don’t have an employer-employee relationship w/ our overseas bosses as far as the Philippine’s Labor Code is concerned. This means, you are not obligated to pay us 13th month pay, holidays and leaves. Even if we’d love to receive these kind of compensation, it will be up to our bosses, not ours to dictate and not even by our laws. Bonuses I’m afraid you lost context about because this is something you choose to give somebody.

So I hope you could reflect on what you commented because you are not being consistent. I don’t get why you still have your VAs when you are rallying for something else? No offense meant to our American counterparts but this message goes to you specifically.

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Claire November 26, 2013 at 04:01

Hi Chris,

I just wanna ask about the rates, since this article was written in 2010, does these rates still apply for 2013?

I have General VA , app developer, and graphics designer here in Ph, so I am wondering if the rates you’ve written still applies these days?

Mobile App Developer VA’s – $800 – $1,400
General Virtual Assistant (GVA) – $450-$750 a month
Graphic Designers – $700 – $1,200 a month

I am wondering if it has increased or decreased.

-Claire

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Chris C. Ducker November 26, 2013 at 12:16

Hi Claire

As it states at the top of the article, it is updated regularly, and was last done so in September this year.

:-)

C

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Joel Tabon December 21, 2013 at 11:11

Hello Chris,

You are right, with the right compensation, clients can definitely keep a good VA. As a VA from the Philippines, I don’t expect my clients to give me bonuses, it’s not a requirement and it’s up to them. Being able to work and being able to keep my contracts with clients are enough:)

Clients can also do things to motivate their VA but it is VA’s responsibility to motivate themselves to be a good VA and this goes to all VAs from all over the world.

Thank you for this good post.

Joel

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Robert January 25, 2014 at 01:41

How do you keep VA employees of any type (assistant to a lawyer)?? Meaning how do you keep them engaged to show up every day for work etc.??

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Fenix March 3, 2014 at 16:11

Just read the thread and I am very happy to hear that you love how Filipinos work. :)

Anyways, this maybe out of the topic but I am interested to apply for a Virtual Assistant should you need any. I have been working with Odesk for 6 years already as Virtual Assistant and a Team Lead for 7 years on one of the Screening Company here in the Philippines.

Please let me know if you are interested because the company where I used to work will shutdown this month. :(

Many thanks!

Fenix S

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Paula March 12, 2014 at 23:53

I’ve used getfriday for outsourcing customer calls. They called here to the US for me without charging me for the international call

Unfortunately had issues with the heavy accent
I dont see that service mentioned above, is there a philipine source where I can outsource customer calls? The VA on odesk only have skype, but cannot call here without charging me..

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Toni Hogan April 2, 2014 at 01:10

I know this post is uber old (but updated), but I can always count on finding what I need here. With Ko-Card, do I pay the fees? I was getting ready to pay my VA via PayPal, but realized fees would be deducted from his pay. I want to pay any fees associated with paying his salary.

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Margarita June 1, 2014 at 23:03

Hello Chris,

I am actually looking for a homebased job as a Spanish speaking VA although I speak very good English. I have been a call center agent now for about two years servicing Latin America and Spain. Do you have any leads or employers I can work for who need someone with my skills? And what would be the rate per month if that would be the case?

Thank you.

Margarita

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Iya June 23, 2014 at 04:00

Hello Chris,
I came across your article about a year and ago and my reaction now is still the same as my reaction before. You are completely generalizing Filipino online workers, to the point that I think you’re being a racist. I have been an online worker for 3 years, and I never had a rate lower than $10 per hour. Now I earn about $15 to $25 per hour. That said, I need to emphasize that yes, thee are those Filipinos that really don’t do their jobs, but I have encountered other people not only Filipinos but online workers from everywhere who’s like that, and even worst! I strongly suggest that you dot turn article to something more reasonable. At the end of the day, you can have the cheapest, online Filipino worker but I will assure you, you will get what you paid for, which is also cheap work quality. For me it don’t matter if the worker Filipino, Indian, Pakistani, etc., if they excel in their job and tasks, they deserve whatever pay they should deserve. The suggested rate you have given are rats that employer should give to an “entry”/ not so good online worker, but not for long term trusted well skilled online worker. I strongly urge you to edit your article because seriously, the message that your article is sending is “Filipino’s are only worth THIS, just this, just because it’s just okay to give them this because it’s cheaper to live there.” And what I say to that’s is, “screw that noise”. I noticed you never reply to those who have the same sentiment or argument as I have. The main reason I am now replying because quite honestly his discourage well skilled Filipino workers to move to online working because they know the moment they move online, they would even earn less to what they are already earning, and yes, I have friends who actually read your article and felt that. Anyway, I hope you reply to my comment.

Regards,

Iya

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Chris C. Ducker June 24, 2014 at 13:24

Thanks for your comment, Iya.

I’ve not replied to a comment on this post since the end of 2013, as I decided to simply focus on my newer content. However, you bring up a couple of points that I want to react to:

1. I’m a racist – That’s just a stupid thing to say, considering my wife is Filipina and my three children prefer eating Chicken Adobo, compared to fried chicken wings!!! Not to mention the fact that I currently employ over 200 full-time Filipino staff, too.

2. If you’re earning $15 an hour… good for you. There are many virtual workers that are, indeed, making great money like that – but, they are few and far between in the Philippines. The rates I quote in this article are ‘average’ rates, as the post states, and of course there are many making below those averages, as well as above those averages.

3. I believe I’ve done more than any other entrepreneur on the planet in helping to promote the talent of Filipino workers. Through Virtual Staff Finder I’ve helped thousands of Filipinos find good quality work with good quality virtual bosses. To say that I don’t think Filipino’s are worth their true employee ‘weight in gold’ is completely off target – I’ve built my businesses, all of them (even this blog!) because of the talent and skill sets of Filipino staff.

I do, however, agree with you when you say that you get what you pay for when hiring people.

There’s your reply. Continued good luck to you in your career.

C

PS. I’ve just updated the average salary rates a little, here and there – I appreciate the nudge, as they have increased slightly over the last year or so.

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Iya June 27, 2014 at 09:17

I sincerely apologize for calling you a racist. I hope yours kids and wife are doing okay. I too love chicken adobo. Anyway, thank you for replying and again apologies.

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Cindy June 29, 2014 at 12:35

Question:

Is it normal for an employer who has 6 VAs, 5 Account Managers, 3 Writers to implement a Vacation Policy, stating that we are not entitled to any vacation days if we don’t work more than 20 hours a week. Is it fair for my boss to require us to work 25 days to gain 1 day of vacation leave? Is it ok to limit us of 5 unpaid sick leave and 90 days unpaid maternity leave?

I am a VA, working for the company by the minute. No benefits or incentives. Just a typical VA getting paid by the hour.

I’m asking because I’m confused. I might be wrong with the belief that I am my own boss being a Virtual Assistant. Because with this Vacation Policy, this takes away my freedom to take a vacation when and how long I want to.

Please kindly enlighten me.

Thanks in advance.

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Chris C. Ducker June 30, 2014 at 02:26

Hi Cindy

It’s up to the employer to implement any SOPs he/she deems necessary for their business to run and grow in a profitable way.

And, likewise… it’s up to you to either stay and carry on working for them, or if you’re not happy – leave and pursue a different path with another employer.

It’s really that simple.

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