UPDATE: On August 10th, 2015, Zirtual “Paused All Operations.” Later in the week, they announced the company had been acquired by Startups.co and will be resuming business shortly. If that instability doesn’t sit well, please see below for Zirtual Alternatives.
Zirtual is a virtual assistant service that offers virtual assistant and personal concierge services to people around the world. Zirtual was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in San Francisco and Las Vegas.
Zirtual offers US-based, college-educated virtual assistants that are available to handle a wide-variety of tasks and that are designed to help people get and stay organized.
Zirtual assistants are available to perform tasks, including but not limited to sending out birthday cards, ordering flowers, making travel arrangements reservations, scheduling meetings, conducting research , making calls, coordinating plans, returning calls, sending out and responding to e-mails. The list goes on.
Plans and Pricing
The most popular option is the Entrepreneur plan priced at $399.00 per month. The Entrepreneur plan includes same-day support from your dedicated assistant and the ability to outsource tasks up to a cumulative 16 hours a month. (Slightly less than $25 per hour.)
If you have more work to outsource, Executive and VIP-level plans give you more hours of support and reduced effective hourly rates.
The company recently axed their $199 per month entry-level plan and their on-demand Zirtual Now service.
(Here’s the PowerPoint slide deck my ZA made — pretty slick, right?)
These rates make Zirtual slightly more affordable than other US-based competitors like Red Butler, which offers similar unlimited dedicated service at $495 a month.
Zirtual Founder Interview
And check out Maren pitching Barbara Corcoran and NBC’s “The Pitch”:
Not to suggest these other companies will hire just anyone off the street, but Zirtual guarantees that all of their virtual assistants are thoroughly screened, college-educated and competent to your perform tasks. When it comes to building trust with someone you’ve never met, the hiring process becomes that much more important.
Founder Maren Kate Donovan explains: “We have a seven step hiring process that includes thorough background checks, personality tests and social background checks—to ensure people haven’t lied and to get a very deep understanding of what makes them tick as people.” She goes on to note that Zirtual only hires 3% of the people who apply, and that they receive 4 weeks of traning before they handle their first client.
Your Zirtual virtual assistant service also comes with an “Epic Guarantee” — that you’ll be satisfied with their work and that your personal information will be kept safe. If you have problems with the service you can have a new virtual assistant appointed and also have the option a refund in certain circumstances.
To get started with Zirtual, there are no start-up, or initiation fees aside from your monthly subscription. In addition, there are no long or short-term contracts, individuals can choose to use Zirtual on a one-time basis or sign up for a monthly plan you can cancel at any time with no penalty.
Out of Beta
Since their founding, Zirtual was an invitation-only service — you had to know someone on the inside, or come through this website, to get in. But in January 2014, in response to strong demand, Zirtual lifted the by-invitation-only rule and opened the gates to the general public.
To fuel their growth in this rapidly expanding industry, Zirtual announced that they raised an additional $2 million in venture capital in January 2013.
If you’re looking for a dedicated virtual assistant service as an alternative to Zirtual, two that come highly regarded are eaHELP and Worldwide101. You’ll find the base hourly rates slightly higher, though Worldwide has a 10-hour a month plan that is about $100 less than Zirtual’s “Entrepreneur” plan.
In response to the unexpected Zirtual shutdown, Time Etc is offering half-off your first month of service for previous Zirtual clients.
And if you’re comfortable “going direct” and hiring your own freelance VA, you may be able to find some qualified talent on Elance. The drawback of course is you have no backup if it doesn’t work out and have to do the entire hiring process yourself start to finish.
For advanced sales support, you might consider Prialto.
Have you worked with a Zirtual concierge? If so, please share your experience below!