by Devon Higgins
Virtual assistants are shaking up real estate for the better. Find out how much you should be paying and what factors weigh into the cost of a VA.
The real estate virtual assistant (VA) industry is taking off all around the world, as more and more realtors and real estate agents begin to understand the very real benefits of hiring a skilled professional who understands their business, and can make a real, immediate impact on operations.
There is no standardized pricing system for real estate virtual assistants. Naturally, costs vary depending on where the VA lives and what role they play in your company, but typically real estate virtual assistants from the Philippines are extremely skilled and competitive in their pricing.
Usually, we see that virtual assistants from the Philippines, India and Vietnam are priced in the same range, which is anywhere from $6 to $12 per hour. But when you consider the high levels of education, the fluency in English, and experience with the US real estate, it’s no surprise that many US-based real estate professionals are opting to work with agencies who represent VA’s in the Philippines.
An agency with a strong presence on the ground in a large city like Manila or Cebu (the first and second-largest cities in the Philippines, respectively) makes a massive difference to the relationship. Finding virtual assistants in larger cities is a positive for many reasons including:
- Large number of qualified applicants
- Access to education
- Solid infrastructure (internet, computers, public transportation, etc.)
While there are obviously benefits to hiring a local, US-based virtual assistant (for example, time differences and cultural familiarity) those come at a heavy cost. In 2021, we see that American VA’s often charge in the region of $2000 – $4000 per month. Bear in mind that employees in the Philippines are used to working through the night (what they call the graveyard shift), to compensate for the difference in time zones. The truth is that after a while, most employees simply forget that their VA’s are living in a different time zone.
There are four factors that contribute to the cost of hiring a virtual assistant:
- What work they are doing
- How much experience they have
- Where they are located
- Onboarding and training
Types of Virtual Assistant Work
The more skilled and technical the work, the higher the pay expected. For example, a VA in charge of bookkeeping (typically around $1,750 – $2,000/month) will be more expensive than a VA performing basic data capture (typically around ($1,000 – $1,500/month). You should be very clear about the tasks they will be performing when you hire a VA, as it will determine your price point and how satisfied you are with the job done.
Experienced Virtual Assistants
It also stands to reason that more experienced virtual assistants tend to be more expensive than beginners. Before you hire a virtual assistant, try to understand how much work your VA has done in your particular field. There is great value in working with an experienced virtual assistant. Not only will they make fewer errors but they will be able to make suggestions from other projects they have done that you may not have thought of.
Due diligence is vital, and there are a few ways to ensure you hire the right virtual assistant:
- Hold an interview via Zoom or Skype
- Get a resume and ask for a few references
- Ask for a trial period before signing a long term contract
PhotoUp has paired hundreds of Filipino virtual assistants with employers around the world. We have seen, time and again, how these three simple methods usually lead to a very successful virtual assistant relationship.
Where is your Virtual Assistant located?
Thanks to the global quality of high-speed internet services, the location of your VA no longer matters when it comes to the kind of service you receive. But it does make a big difference in terms of cost. VA’s from outside the United States are substantially more affordable; their cost of living is lower, they are less constrained by tight labour regulations, and the strength of the US dollar means that the exchange rate works in your favour.
Bottom line is you can hire world-class virtual assistants at a fraction of the cost if you hire outside the US, specifically in countries like the Philippines.
Training your Virtual Assistant
Another cost you should factor in is the time that you need to dedicate for training. It’s very important to get your virtual assistant up to speed quickly and make sure that he/she understands the industry and the particulars of your organisation.
Costs will vary depending on whether your VA is charging an hourly or a monthly rate. Either way, there is no benefit in taking shortcuts during the training process, as they will cost you in mistakes and missed opportunities further down the line.
Naturally there are costs involved in hiring a virtual assistant, but at the end of the day it’s a sound business decision that can have countless benefits to you as a real estate professional. Real estate VAs are shaking up the business model of many realtors and providing a competitive advantage to individuals who find value in leveraging their time.
Find out more about what a real estate virtual assistant can do for you in our blog post Do I Need To Hire A Real Estate Transaction Coordinator?