What is the actual cost of a virtual assistant in the Philippines?
We come across this question a lot because our clients notice how dramatically rates can vary. While VA rates do vary, there is a limit to what’s reasonable.
In this post, we’re going to dive into the variations in VAs to start. Then we’ll see how that affects their rates, and what we think the acceptable ranges are.
Advantages of Hiring a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines
High Education Levels
Most Filipinos have finished high school, and many have college degrees. A good number in fact, have graduated from advanced courses. Still, many prefer virtual work because of the advantages it provides. These individuals are highly intelligent yet will often take on work that they’re over-qualified for. Again, it’s because remote work offers more than in-office jobs.
Competence in English
Most Filipinos have at least a basic ability to use the English language. Many can converse with ease. Many more are more proficient in written then spoken English. This is because English is the medium of instruction in the country. The Filipino accent is also quite clean when compared to that of other countries. Filipinos commonly speak more than one language or dialect. This makes their speech and grammar much more adaptable.
English or a variety of it is actually a native language to many Filipinos. Note that if you want near-native or native language ability in US terms, that’s different. You will be paying more because that level of ability is rare.
A good chunk of the Philippine population has experience working with foreign companies. Historically, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has thrived there. BPOs love setting up shop in the Philippines for several reasons aside from English proficiency. The population is young, and the people are accommodating and hard-working.
Since the pandemic, the number of Filipinos working with foreign companies has risen. More and more Filipinos jumped to online work when businesses closed down. Because the BPO industry opened up many doors, a lot of Filipinos have broad experience. The country hosts call centers, medical transcription centers, knowledge process outsourcing and back offices, software and game development centers, animation centers, and engineering design centers.
Time Zone Advantages
The cost of a virtual assistant in the Philippines becomes even more affordable when you think about time zone advantages. We love waking up to clean inboxes, organized calendars, and our days generally all set up for success. Not every VA we hire works while we sleep, of course. But the ability to have some working nights and some working days is fantastic. They are super flexible in this area mostly because of their experience in the BPO industry.
Work Life Balance
Filipinos generally excel at maintaining good work life balance. They value family very highly, yet pay close attention to work because work is a means to take care of family. Filipinos know when to chill and when to put their noses to the grindstone. They also know how to manage their surroundings so they can get things done. They don’t forego the activities that nourish them, but they don’t shirk responsibility, either.
Most Filipinos grow up in areas saturated with a mix of cultures. One of the most prominent is the US culture. Most often, they are surrounded by US movies and books and people who use English. The country’s own culture is actually loosely based on US culture because of their great influence. The government, entertainment and advertising industries, to name a few, are also heavily influenced by US culture. This cultural flow makes communication very easy. This means fewer chances for misunderstandings that often happen where vast cultural differences exist.
After all of the above, the direct cost of a virtual assistant in the Philippines is not the most attractive advantage. The rates that Filipino VAs charge are much lower than you would pay in any western country. If anything, the added advantages make it much more worth it for you to hire there.
Filipinos are known to be one of the most agreeable peoples. They value relationships very highly and often sacrifice to preserve them. This makes building positive workplace culture easier. Filipino culture also dictates that they make an effort to blend in. They will also take care of clients and coworkers without having to be told to. They are naturally accommodating, respectful, kind and understanding.
Where to Find Filipino Virtual Assistants
Because working with foreign companies is so common, there are a ton of places to hire Filipinos. Whether you’re hiring direct or want an intermediary, the internet is your best option. This may surprise you because that space is notorious for scams. This is true, but you have to find the gems in the rubble. From our experience, we have curated several sites that we’ve personally used. You can feel comfortable using these Filipino VA hiring companies.
What Is the Cost of a Virtual Assistant in the Philippines?
The estimated hourly rate range that we’ve come across for VAs in the Philippines is $5-$15. This covers basic skillsets and those with areas of specialization, plus a good amount of experience. If you need someone with high specialization or expertise in a field, expect to pay up to $20 per hour. This can go as high as $25 per hour if their area of expertise is rare.
Within these ranges, you will always get excellent value for your money if you avoid the most common hiring mistakes. We also have outsourcing strategies to help you make the best decisions when hiring overseas. We advocate hiring Filipinos because they present the above advantages on top of the actual cost being lower because of the lower cost of living in the Philippines. You get the best of both worlds with high quality skills – both hard and soft – and competitive pricing.
Factors Influencing Hiring Costs
Several factors directly influence the cost of a virtual assistant in the Philippines within these ranges. As mentioned, experience and skill set are the main factors, as well as specialized knowledge. Outside of these, you can find variations in rates based on the complexity of the tasks you will assign. The same goes for multiple skill sets. If you expect a single person to know several different tasks and do them well, expect to pay more per hour. You still come out ahead because you are saved from hiring multiple people to cover this range of tasks.
What it actually costs you monetarily to hire a VA is not always the same as the rate itself. You must consider other fees that you may need to pay. This depends on where you are hiring them from, and what your involvement is in the whole process. For example, if you work with a recruitment company, you may have to pay recruitment costs. You will also have some training expenses, even if it’s only onboarding to get them set up to work with you. Will you be paying for software subscriptions or special equipment? These costs are specific to your setup, so we encourage you to take note of them. This way, you will know in total what you are actually paying on a monthly basis.
How to Transfer Money to the Philippines
There are several options that you can use to pay VAs in the Philippines. These are our favorite because they are easy and cost less.
Payoneer is a payment platform that integrates well with payment systems in the Philippines. We prefer to use this as opposed to bigger platforms like PayPal because the fees are much more reasonable. The process is also simple and payments are made in local currencies. Freelancers tend to appreciate this because they pay less in fees and don’t have to wait for days or weeks to get access to their money.
Wise, Formerly Transferwise
Wise is a money transfer platform. Instead of having to open an account like with Payoneer, you simply so bank transfers. The difference with Wise is that they can offer you better transfer rates. This is simply because they have a wider network. Their connections allow them to offer discounted rates compared to local banks. The less money is deducted from your VA’s pay, the happier they will be with lower hourly rates.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the disadvantages of hiring VAs from the Philippines?
Wherever you hire from, you will always encounter drawbacks. That being said, we have identified a few common disadvantages when hiring from the Philippines. First, we’ve encountered issues with the stability of internet and power. Mostly this is due to poor infrastructure that requires frequent maintenance. Sometimes connectivity is sensitive to the frequent storms that pass though during the rainy season. Second, some Filipinos are keen to recommend friends and family out of obligation. Be careful because they may not necessarily recommend people based on qualifications.
Do I need to consider taxes when hiring a virtual assistant in the Philippines?
If you are hiring on a freelance basis, you don’t have to pay taxes. The VAs you hire will be responsible for paying their own taxes as business owners. If they decide not to pay their taxes, you are not liable in any way.
Can I negotiate the hourly rate with a virtual assistant in the Philippines?
You can negotiate rates with any freelance hires. We recommend that you stay within the common ranges, however. If you offer decent rates then lowball candidates during the interview, you’re headed for trouble. They may accept because they’re too shy to say no, but end up underperforming. They will feel slighted and disrespected, and that will not work out well for you. Gaining the trust and respect of hires is always more valuable to you in the long run. You may pay a few bucks more, but loyalty is priceless.
What Is Outsource School?
Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.
Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.
Free resources you might like:
- Outsource School Case Study: How We Scaled to 45+ VAs and 8 Figures in Revenue
- Free VA Calculator | See How Many VAs You Can Afford
- Free Training on 5 Keys to Working With VAs
- Learn Outsourcing 101 | Guides, Downloads, and Checklists
We have found that the cost of a virtual assistant in the Philippines is always worth it. Hiring Filipinos always brings in more benefits, both tangible and intangible. We hope that with some hiring guidance, you can reap the same numerous blessings for your business.