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.

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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
Communication55555
Value55555
ClearDesk

Clear Desk is a US-based virtual assistant company that provides virtual assistants to entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized businesses all over the world. The company is headquartered in California, US. Their assistants work remotely from locations based all over the […]

Overall Rating4.44.44.44.44.4
Quality of Work4.44.44.44.44.4
Communication4.44.44.44.44.4
Value4.44.44.44.44.4
Remote CoWorker

Remote CoWorker is a virtual assistant company specializing in providing virtual assistants at competitive rates to entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes all over the world. The company’s headquarters is located in Florida, U.S. All of their virtual staff work […]

Overall Rating4.974.974.974.974.97
Quality of Work4.914.914.914.914.91
Communication4.974.974.974.974.97
Value55555
Prialto

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

Overall Rating4.214.214.214.214.21
Quality of Work4.084.084.084.084.08
Communication4.044.044.044.044.04
Value4.24.24.24.24.2
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 Rating3.43.43.43.43.4
Quality of Work3.333.333.333.333.33
Communication3.443.443.443.443.44
Value3.63.63.63.63.6
Fiverr

Fiverr.com is one of the most popular outsourcing destinations online. Built around a very simple concept – what people will do for $5 – Fiverr has grown into a large global community of freelance workers and people who hire them. […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication4.964.964.964.964.96
Value4.984.984.984.984.98
FreeUp

FreeUp 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 Rating4.264.264.264.264.26
Quality of Work4.294.294.294.294.29
Communication4.264.264.264.264.26
Value4.264.264.264.264.26
OkayRelax

OkayRelax is a 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 model […]

Overall Rating4.94.94.94.94.9
Quality of Work4.94.94.94.94.9
Communication4.94.94.94.94.9
Value4.94.94.94.94.9
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. VAA Exclusive! Woodbows is offering […]

Overall Rating4.494.494.494.494.49
Quality of Work4.444.444.444.444.44
Communication4.54.54.54.54.5
Value4.564.564.564.564.56
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 RatingNo Ratings
Quality of WorkNo Ratings
CommunicationNo Ratings
ValueNo Ratings
Dynamite Jobs

Dynamite Jobs is an online platform aggregating and sharing the best remote jobs from hundreds of sources, posting over 300 new remote jobs each week.  If you’re looking for a position where you can work remotely or if you’re a […]

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
MyOutDesk, LLC (MOD)

MyOutDesk (or MOD) 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 […]

Overall RatingNo Ratings
Quality of WorkNo Ratings
CommunicationNo Ratings
ValueNo Ratings
TayStone BPO

UPDATE: It appears TayStone BPO is offline and no longer operating. Please see below for some Time Etc, OnlineJobs.ph,  or Task Bullet as alternatives. TayStone BPO is a business-class virtual assistant company, providing virtual assistants for entrepreneurs and small businesses […]

Overall RatingNo Ratings
Quality of WorkNo Ratings
CommunicationNo Ratings
ValueNo Ratings
TaskDesk

UPDATE: It appears TaskDesk is out of business. Please consider one of these alternatives or see below. If you own this listing or this information is incorrect, contact me here. TaskDesk is a virtual assistant company with their headquarters based in Houston, […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555
Sigrid.AI

Sigrid.AI is a remote managed executive assistant service. The Singapore-based technology company provides on-demand personal process outsourcing solutions designed to support the way people live and work today. Aside from Singapore, the company also has offices in Denmark and the […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value44444
20four7VA

20four7VA (EconMobile LLC dba 20four7VA) is an American-owned virtual staffing agency licensed and insured in Maryland, USA. Their staff and virtual assistants (VAs) are based all over the world and work remotely. 20four7VA was established as a subsidiary of EconMobile […]

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 RatingNo Ratings
Quality of WorkNo Ratings
CommunicationNo Ratings
ValueNo Ratings
Extend Your Team

Extend Your Team is a virtual assistant company specializing in providing experienced virtual assistants to small and medium-sized companies all over the world. The company is headquartered in the US, and all of their assistants are based in the Philippines. […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555
Online VA Team

Online VA Team is a virtual assistant company based in Michigan, US, with their virtual assistants being based in their remote offices in the Philippines. The business was founded in 2014 to serve a client base of entrepreneurs and small […]

Overall Rating55555
Quality of Work55555
Communication55555
Value55555
Bottleneck Distant Assistants (formerly Bottleneck Virtual Assistants)

Bottleneck Distant Assistants sources executive and administrative assistants who work remotely in the Philippines. Jaime Jay, the founder, started sourcing Virtual Assistants in the Philippines in 2006 — before it was cool! After helping peers and clients find talented VAs […]

Overall RatingNo Ratings
Quality of WorkNo Ratings
CommunicationNo Ratings
ValueNo Ratings
EasyOutsource

UPDATE: EasyOutsource is now a dead site and has transferred to OnlineJobs.ph. Please check our their page here. EasyOutsource is a virtual assistant job board based in the Philippines; they have a large database of Filipino virtual assistants and provide a […]

Overall RatingNo Ratings
Quality of WorkNo Ratings
CommunicationNo Ratings
ValueNo Ratings
Sidekicks

UPDATE: Sidekicks has pivoted to a “different type of business model.” Please consider one of these alternatives. Sidekicks enables entrepreneurs and business owners to quickly hire and build their own virtual teams. The company does this by connecting clients with hand-picked […]