Over the past decade, the call center and outsourcing business has exploded in the Philippines.

In fact, the island nation in Southeast Asia has built a solid reputation for loyal remote workers.

Advantages of Virtual Assistants in the Philippines

The new technology combined with a young, educated, and ambitious workforce has made the Philippines a popular (and affordable) location for virtual assistants.

English is widely spoken, and I think you’ll find the culture is slightly more “Western” than that of India. Many workers are used to working with Americans from past careers in customer support call centers or other BPO operations.

Students grow up learning English in school, even though they may not use it in their home.

For these assistants, the opportunity to work with you could mean a life of greater freedom. It’s the chance to work from home, have some flexibility in terms of their hours, and probably earn more money.

Virtual or remote work is seen as a prestigious, sought-after, and maybe even envious career path.

Workers are loyal and polite, but sometimes slow to ask for help or clarification — sometimes to the point of disappearing without a trace. (Yes, it happens!)

And because of the time zone differences, you can essentially have a virtual assistant or assistants working while you sleep. Depending on your business, that could be a huge plus.

OnlineJobs.ph Okay Relax FreeeUp Task Bullet
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Established 2009 2015 2015 2012
Hourly Rate $3-8 $8-12 $5-20 $6-10
Minimum Package $69 to post a job $30 for 5 tasks Free to post a job $200 for 20 hours
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Best For Full-time hires Quick tasks Quick pre-vetted hires in e-commerce and marketing Part-time hires
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*Dedicated option available.

Drawbacks to Hiring Virtual Assistants in the Philippines

Infrastructure

As in other developing countries, infrastructure problems can come up from time to time as tropical storms and brown outs knock out electricity and Internet access.

Magical Disappearing Assistants

It’s never happened to me, but I’ve heard frequent stories of virtual assistants just “ghosting” their employers — going dark and not responding to any communication.

My understanding this is often out of an extreme cultural shyness or passiveness. It’s seen as better to avoid conflict altogether than to rock the boat.

For most Westerners, that’s incredibly frustrating and hard to comprehend. Like, if you have a question, just ask! If you’re going to be late on a project, say why! I hired you for a reason, and I’ll probably understand.

This issue underscores the importance of regular communication and insisting on an open door policy where questions and even failures are encouraged at the beginning of a relationship.

Time Zone Considerations

The Philippines is 13 hours ahead of Eastern Time and 16 hours ahead of Pacific time. That can make communication tricky if your assistant is working the day shift.

(The time zone is much closer to Australia, which makes Filipino outsourcing an even more popular choice for businesses there.)

Still, many assistants are used to working American business hours from previous outsourcing jobs.

The 13th Month

This isn’t so much a drawback is it something to be aware of, but there’s a custom in the Philippines known as the 13th month.

What that means is workers essentially expect a “Christmas bonus” equal to a month’s salary in December. If you hire a dedicated freelance VA through a service like OnlineJobs, it would be considered very polite and appropriate to pay that bonus.

If you hire through a virtual assistant company, I wouldn’t worry about it.

Education May Not Be as Strong (and Ends Earlier)

College graduates in the Philippines are often 20 years old, instead of 22 or 23. And this may be personal experience, but I don’t think the education system is as strong as in Western countries.

For example, when I was recruiting web developers, college grads with programming degrees couldn’t complete basic test tasks or answer simple coding questions. Maybe they were just overstating their qualifications, but I found that frustrating.

And that brings up a best-practice: before you hire, try a few “trial tasks” as part of your interview process.

How Much Do Virtual Assistants in the Philippines Cost?

Through a virtual job board like OnlineJobs, you’ll find full-time workers for as little as $400 a month, which equates to $3 an hour or less.

Naturally, the more skilled the hire you’re looking for, the rates go up. But let’s put it this way: it’s a country where you can live VERY well on $1000-1500 a month. That $1500 would be at the very high end of the pay spectrum for a solo freelance VA.

If you hire through a virtual assistant company, you’ll often see rates in the range of $6-15 an hour.

And as you might expect when hiring through a company, the bigger the monthly package you sign up, the better your equivalent hourly rate.

My Experience Working with Virtual Assistants in the Philippines

Like my outsourcing adventures elsewhere, I’ve found some amazing talent here — interspersed with some less-than-awesome experiences.

I’ve found workers on OnlineJobs with masters degrees in nursing and marine biology, who found it was more rewarding to work online.

One of my longest-running outsourcing relationships is with OkayRelax. I’ve been assigned several different assistants from the Philippines and they’ve all been above average.

Years ago, I used a recruiting service to try and find a full-time assistant but wasn’t impressed with the results. I was in a rush to fill the position and should have invested more time in training, but this person didn’t show much initiative in problem solving and didn’t show up to work when we’d agreed.

Now I’m testing a new design service and we’re off to a good start. My dedicated designer is fast to respond and incorporate feedback.

Which Filipino Virtual Assistant Company Should You Choose?

But despite the popularity of outsourcing to the Philippines, I don’t yet have a clear cut “favorite” company I refer people to. There are different “flavors” and different specialties depending on your needs.

The good news is that because of the robust VA economy, you have several options to choose from ranging from low-cost task-based services like OkayRelax, all the way up to full-time dedicated assistants — and everything in between.

Check out the reviews below to see which option is right for you.

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication4.964.964.964.964.96
Value4.984.984.984.984.98

[Sponsored] FreeeUp

FreeeUp is a marketplace connecting pre-vetted virtual assistants, freelancers, and agencies in Amazon, eCommerce, and marketing. While their core customer base is within eCommerce and marketing, they work with many businesses outside of those spaces as well. Since launching in […]

Overall Rating4.974.974.974.974.97
Quality of Work4.934.934.934.934.93
Communication4.964.964.964.964.96
Value55555

Prialto

Prialto provides remote administrative assistants to executives, entrepreneurs, and businesses. Our virtual executive assistant services are curated and managed from our headquarters in Portland, Oregon, with creative insights from our global staff in Asia and Central America. Prialto calls itself […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work4.854.854.854.854.85
Communication55555
Value55555

VA Staffer

VA Staffer is a Digital Marketing and Virtual Assistant Company with the majority of it’s team in their Makati City (Metro Manila) office, Philippines. The marketing, project success and consulting is operated in the USA, and VA Staffer has also […]

Overall Rating4.464.464.464.464.46
Quality of Work4.414.414.414.414.41
Communication4.474.474.474.474.47
Value4.534.534.534.534.53

TaskBullet

TaskBullet was founded in 2013 and has quickly become a leader in the virtual assistant industry. The company is owned and operated in the United States with the staff based in the Philippines. TaskBullet uses a unique “Bucket System” of […]

Overall Rating4.474.474.474.474.47
Quality of Work4.444.444.444.444.44
Communication4.514.514.514.514.51
Value4.454.454.454.454.45

OkayRelax

OkayRelax is a new task-based virtual assistant company based in Tampa, Florida. The business was founded in 2015 with a mission to help busy people save some time and sanity. About Okay Relax OkayRelax operates on kind of a hybrid […]

Overall Rating4.694.694.694.694.69
Quality of Work4.624.624.624.624.62
Communication4.624.624.624.624.62
Value4.624.624.624.624.62

Virtual Staff Finder

Virtual Staff Finder is more of headhunting service than a true virtual assistant company. Founded in 2010 by entrepreneur Chris Ducker, the firm promises to match you up with qualified workers in the Philippines. In my mind, Chris is right […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

7 Virtual Assistant Services

7 Virtual Assistant Services is a virtual assistant company with offices in the US, UK, Philippines, and India. The company started operations in 2015 providing virtual assistant services to doctors and realtors. They have since added a full range of […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

Bottleneck Virtual Assistants

Bottleneck Virtual Assistants is a virtual assistant sourcing firm connecting clients to responsible VAs in the Philippines. While Bottleneck is a relatively new company, opening their virtual doors in 2016, the founder Jaime Jay has been working with VAs from […]

Overall Rating4.184.184.184.184.18
Quality of Work4.044.044.044.044.04
Communication3.963.963.963.963.96
Value4.134.134.134.134.13

OnlineJobs.ph

OnlineJobs.ph is a Filipino job board that caters exclusively to remote online work opportunities. It was created in 2009 by Utah-based entrepreneur John Jonas as a way to connect the affordable Filipino workforce with business owners in North America and […]

Overall Rating4.14.14.14.14.1
Quality of Work4.054.054.054.054.05
Communication4.054.054.054.054.05
Value3.93.93.93.93.9

123Employee

123Employee is one of the largest outsourcing firms in the world, with more than 350 virtual assistants working with clients all around the globe. The company started its operations in 2006 with just ten employees, but has seen tremendous growth […]

Overall Rating3.943.943.943.943.94
Quality of Work4.064.064.064.064.06
Communication4.24.24.24.24.2
Value4.074.074.074.074.07

Virtual Coworker

Virtual Coworker is a remote staffing agency specializing in long-term full- and part-time positions. The company was founded in 2011 in Australia by Braden Yuill, a successful entrepreneur and outsourcing expert. Virtual Coworker works exclusively with virtual employees in the […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

IdeasUnlimited

IdeasUnlimited is a unique virtual assistant company headquartered in Texas (USA), with multiple call center locations in the Philippines and remote workers all around the world. The business was founded in 2010 and has grown to more than 350 active workers. […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work44444
Communication55555
Value55555

Hire Your Virtual Assistant

Hire Your Virtual Assistant – H.Y.V.A. for short – is a virtual assistant company founded in 2009 by Owen McGab Enaohwo. Enaohwo is a Washington DC-based entrepreneur who went into the business of helping others save time. If you watch […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

WoodBows

WoodBows is a virtual assistant company based in the US. They also have offices in the UK, and their assistants are based in the US, Philippines, and India. WoodBows has been in business since 2015. About WoodBows The company was […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

Outsourced.ph

Outsourced.ph is an Australian based virtual assistant company with employees in both Australia and the Philippines. The company was founded by Mike Larcher, who has over 15 years’ experience in the digital space and also runs an award winning digital […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

SupportNinja

SupportNinja is a company that finds, recruits and onboard the perfect candidates for you and your business so you don’t have to The company is based in the Philippines and all the staff they recruit are based in their offices. […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

Zen Virtual Assistants Finder

Zen Virtual Assistants Finder, or ZVAF as they are known, is a self-titled ‘professional matchmaking service.’ Which is another way of saying they supply virtual assistant services to entrepreneurs and business owners. The company was formed in January 2013. Founder […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555

SG Solutions

SG Solutions is a virtual assistant company that connects you with a growing global network of VAs. This modern, cloud-based set up utilizes primarily home-based virtual assistants in the Philippines and India, but also some North American staff in the […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication4.54.54.54.54.5
Value55555

24Task

24Task is a virtual assistant company specializing in providing dedicated virtual assistants to small and medium-sized businesses all over the world. The company is based in the Philippines, with its headquarters located in Daet, Bicol Region. When working with 24Task’s […]

Overall Rating2.882.882.882.882.88
Quality of Work2.942.942.942.942.94
Communication2.752.752.752.752.75
Value2.752.752.752.752.75

My OutDesk

MyOutDesk is a virtual assistant provider with a reputation for providing white-glove, premium-quality virtual assistant services for small to medium-sized businesses, with a focus on administrative, inside sales, marketing & transaction coordination solutions. They pride themselves on a stringent talent-matching […]