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AssistU (AssistU.com) is a virtual assistant training and certification service, that also allows prospective would-be employers to tap into their database of pre-qualified VAs. The company was founded way back in 1997 by Anastacia Brice, back when the term “virtual assistant” barely existed.
AssistU focuses on the provider side of the business, rather than the client side. You’ll notice most of the offerings are aimed toward current and prospective virtual assistants.
There are 2 primary levels of service: a self study program and an intensive 16-week Virtual Mentoring Program. Both of these culminate in a 3-day pass/fail final exam, with the VAs who pass earning the title of Certified Professional Virtual Assistant.
From the client side, the benefit of hiring through AssistU means getting paired up with someone you know takes their business seriously enough to invest in the training and certification. Their preparation in their own business readiness makes them all the more qualified to handle your business tasks.
The primary customers for AssistU are coaches, consultants, realtors, info-marketers, and other professionals and solopreneurs.
How it Works
AssistU offers two options for customers looking to hire a virtual assistant. The first option is the free DIY method, in which you fill out a detailed questionnaire of the kind of service you’re looking for, your delegation experience, and more.
You can filter by time zone, certifications, desired hours per month (it would be very rare to request more than 30 hours a month), and even computer platform. Virtual assistants who meet your criteria respond directly to you and you hire and pay them directly. AssistU has no involvement and doesn’t do any payment processing on an ongoing basis.
The second option is Registry Gold. In this option, you work one-on-one with Anastacia and she plays virtual matchmaker for you. The cost for this service is a one-time $750 fee.
If you’re looking for a long term VA, as most AssistU clients are, the recruiting cost is somewhat negligible.
Plans and Pricing
Although AssistU has VAs from all over the world — and there are more than 300 in their database at the moment — the majority hail from the US and Canada. Naturally, that means the rates are higher than you’ll find overseas, through a freelance platform, or even than through many of the US-based VA companies.
On the low end, you might expect to pay $35/hr, with $50 an hour being closer to average. For senior virtual assistants or those with super-specialized skill-sets, you might be looking at north of $100/hr.
All AssistU VAs are bound by a code of ethics agreement and can have their certification revoked if they’re found to be in violation.
The virtual assistant candidates you find elsewhere will probably not have the extensive training and certification as those found through AssistU, but that may not matter to you in your business.
If you’re looking to hire a VA in North America but are looking for a little more management oversight, I would consider eaHELP or Longer Days. For a slightly lower price point to start, you might check out Zirtual or even post your job to Elance. I’m always surprised by affordability of the bids I get back on that platform from candidates in the US and Canada.
Have you hired a VA from AssistU? Please share a quick review of your experience below to help others with their decision.