UPDATE: It appears Rent A Smile is out of business. Please consider one of these alternatives.
Rent A Smile is a virtual personal assistant and small business outsourcing company based in New York and with offshore facilities in India. The company is actually a division of Octagon, a global business process outsourcing firm that was founded in 1999.
Rent A Smile offers two levels of service: Personal and Business.
is incredibly economical, starting at just $39 a month. For that price, you can send up to 15 requests per month. Typical requests may include basic online research, restaurant reservations, appointment setting, travel plans, and other administrative tasks that would take up to 20 or 30 minutes.
For $59 a month, you can make up to 30 of these requests. If you have 30 twenty-minute tasks to unload, you could save over 10 hours a month (a full day of work!) – all for just $59. Now you have to start giving some serious thought to how much your time is worth.
Special Offer: Use Rent a Smile coupon code UIEDP for $9/month off either RAS personal plan for life!
Business Assistance from Rent A Smile offers affordable dedicated virtual assistant service.
This option is better suited for entrepreneurs looking for help with content writing, social media management, and ongoing business-related tasks. With a dedicated resource, you have a familiar person to communicate with on a daily basis, and you can train them to do whatever remote tasks you need done.
Rent A Smile has Business plans ranging from 9 hours a month for $99 ($11/hr), all the way up to full-time 160 hours for $920 a month ($5.75/hr). All of these plans are very competitive for what is essentially a virtual employee of your company.
Special Offer: Use Rent a Smile coupon code UIEDP for $9/month off a Business Assistance plan for life!
There are no start-up fees or long-term contracts. If you’re ready to give Rent A Smile a try, check out their 3-day free trial.
Rent a Smile Review
The company strives to begin work on all requests within 4 hours, but obviously response times vary depending on how many tasks they have in queue.
Additional requests beyond your allotment are accepted, and charged at a rate of $2 per task. Rent A Smile offers a three-day free trial to help customers get a feel for how they might use the service.
Rent A Smile Alternatives
If you envision having more than 30 virtual assistant tasks a month, you might consider Efficise, a new kid on the block offering 50 tasks a month for just a small amount more.
Another alternative to look into would be My Tasker. They have similar pricing, positive feedback, and have been a bit more responsive than Rent a Smile lately.
If you have worked with Rent A Smile, please share your experience using the rating form below.
These company is bad. VERY BAD STAY AWAY They were okay for a few months on tasks so I got excited and started giving them more to do.
That’s when the trouble began, my tasks are simple research and phone calls.
This weekend I gave them 4 calls to make for various personal appts. I requested them to be done by noon est
None were done as usual, I then called and my dedicated assistant Sid… I was told does not work mornings (this is est time zone).
I asked to speak with a manager I was told he was busy. I was told I would receive a call in an hour, no call back.
I then called back and Alex told me that Sid was in this am but he was on a coffee break, for two hrs I ask?
The numbers on the website are always broken technical difficulties, each time I call they give me a new number to call in.
When I finally was able to get to someone and asked why were not done .. they never gave me a clear answer only danced around the issue. Only that they would make the calls now.
I never did get to actually ever speak to my assistant Sid I am not sure he ever even existed as numerous calls over various months and not once did he ever reply someone else wound up doing the tasks.
I WOULD NEVER USE THEM AGAIN THEY ARE AWFUL !!!!!!
Agree with Kamindy–HORRIBLE i got a “three day trial” and after they told me they couldn’t do the task, never bothered to respond. I used another service (pepper VA) and they did it in an hour.
Note, they don’t tell you where they are located, their number doesn’t work, and they use fake names.
Here’s a transcript:
15:14:31 Thank you for contacting us. An operator will be with you shortly…
15:14:31 Visitor: hi, this is [ ] again, still no update on my report
15:15:32 Operator Richard joined the chat
15:17:32 Richard: we have informed the manager and he will get back with you.
15:17:52 Visitor: how long ago was that?
15:18:04 Visitor: what is your manager’s email address?
15:19:59 Richard: I have just checked and Sid has send you an email response to your request
15:20:08 Visitor: he said he couldn’t do it
15:20:12 Visitor: what is your manager’s addrss?
15:21:17 Richard: email@example.com
15:21:29 Visitor: what is your company’s phone number?
15:22:02 Richard: The number is given in the website. 201-338-6189
15:22:08 Visitor: that number is dead
15:22:11 Visitor: it doesn’t ring
15:22:15 Visitor: can you haveyour manager call me
15:22:49 Richard: ok I will pass on the request to the manager
15:24:47 Visitor: when will he be calling?
15:25:55 Visitor: also i just emailed Sid back with further instructions, can you confirm that he got them and that he will complete the project
15:27:34 Visitor: hello?
15:27:45 Richard: I have informed the manager and he will call you.
15:28:18 Richard: Yes he has received the email
15:28:29 Visitor: And is he working on the request?
15:28:45 Visitor: I don’t have time to make sure that he actually does the report I asked him to
15:29:08 Visitor: I literally asked for his assistance more than 24 hours ago and he still hasn’t sent me anything
15:30:17 Richard: Sid will send a response to the request
15:30:26 Visitor: when?
15:30:41 Visitor: also, where is Clark based and where is Sid based?
15:32:16 Richard: Currently he is on another task and will get back to you.
15:33:08 Visitor: Please answer these questions: a.) when is the manager calling me, b.) where is Clark based, c.) where is Sid based
15:35:11 Richard: The manager will call you now
15:37:09 Visitor: And these: b.) where is Clark based, c.) where is Sid based
15:37:17 Visitor: Also my phone is not ringing, are you sure he is calling
15:37:42 Richard: we are calling you on the number that you have provided
15:38:00 Visitor: b.) where is Clark based, c.) where is Sid based
15:38:09 Richard: [ ]
15:38:38 Visitor: call this number as i’m traveling: [ ]
15:40:17 Richard: We will not be able to call you on this number. we can call you only on the number you have provided in your account
15:40:25 Visitor: why?
15:40:35 Visitor: why?
15:41:50 Richard: on the free-trial We call the customer only on the number provided in his account
15:41:58 Visitor: that is absurd
15:42:08 Visitor: OK, give me your direct number, I will call you
15:42:23 Visitor: (not the US number as it doesn’t work)
15:42:56 Richard: I do not have any direct number since I am on chat
15:43:08 Visitor: your manager’s number
15:43:19 Visitor: if he can’t call me, then can your manager email me??
15:43:33 Richard: yes he will email you
15:43:38 Visitor: when?
15:43:44 Visitor: what is his number?
15:43:51 Richard: by end of the day
15:44:03 Visitor: it is end of day
15:44:11 Visitor: what is his number, then
15:45:31 Richard: I will not be able to give the direct number of the manager without his approval.
15:45:37 Visitor: can you ask him for approval
15:45:41 Visitor: or have him call my cell
15:46:03 Richard: Ok I will forward the request to the manager
15:46:17 Visitor: where is the manager based?
15:48:30 Richard: The manager will give you all the answers within a couple of hours
15:48:39 Visitor: where is the manager based?
15:50:54 Visitor: hello?
15:53:54 Visitor: are you still there?
16:05:31 Thank you for contacting us. An operator will be with you shortly…
16:05:37 Operator Gary joined the chat
16:05:57 Visitor: Gary, please have your manager call me
16:06:06 Gary: who are you
16:06:37 Visitor:[ ]
16:06:38 Visitor: [ ]
16:06:44 Gary: regarding?
16:06:59 Visitor: a task I sent to Sid.
16:07:03 Visitor: he keeps on saying he can’t do it
16:07:16 Visitor: i literally had to do half of it for him
16:07:18 Gary: ok, i will send your info to sid
16:07:27 Visitor: Not to sid, to your manager
16:07:31 Visitor: i want your manager to call me now
16:07:36 Visitor: your 210 number doesn’t work
16:07:46 Gary: i will forward your request to him
16:07:53 Visitor: please ask him to call now
16:07:56 Visitor: when will he call back?
16:08:03 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:08:18 Visitor: when will he call me?
16:08:24 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:08:36 Visitor: look, i’m going to be honest, i’m a trial customer, and our newspaper is doing a review on VA’s.
16:08:44 Gary: ok
16:08:49 Visitor: this gives a really, really bad impression of your service
16:08:53 Gary: ok
16:09:01 Visitor: for example, this transcript will be a part of the online review.
16:09:05 Gary: ok
16:09:09 Visitor: now, please tell me, when is he going to respond
16:09:13 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:09:18 Visitor: when is he going to respond?
16:09:23 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:09:31 Visitor: where is he based?
16:09:35 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:09:40 Visitor: where is he based?
16:09:43 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:09:53 Visitor: where is he based?
16:09:57 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:10:00 Visitor: where is he based?
16:10:04 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:10:13 Visitor: haha you guys are a really bad service.
16:10:18 Gary: ok
16:10:20 Visitor: what is his number?
16:10:26 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:10:33 Visitor: what do you mean?
16:10:38 Gary: i will forward ur request
16:10:42 Visitor: huh?
16:10:46 Gary: ok
16:10:51 Visitor: i don’t understand
16:10:55 Gary: ok
You sir are an idiot.Your comments are off target in that you did not review any work they did for you. actually, i sense a bit of hostility towards the staff on the phone. you seem quite unreasonable towards their policies. I am sure that the staff you spoke with on the phone did not make the office policies and yet you grilled them endlessly about them. some of your unreasonable comments that struck me? As to where they are located? Where do you think they are located? and what difference does it make? You know they are Virt Assistants, and can be located wherever in the world they want. whats the big deal? If you want US people, in usa, then pay for it…tightwad. you knew or should have known this is not a pvt. personal secretary service. If you want this, pay for it with someone else. Also, if you use your head, you could see why they have a restriction on using the phone you signed up with. What if the phone was for someone else to use for cheating the system, or some nefarious persons might want to hijack your acct. You do not know them, and they do not know you. they have to have some safeguards? you know… if you wanted to use your mobile when on the road, then you should have listed it, and they would call you as you wish. And with only a three day trial, change the phone number after three days, what is the big deal. weirdo? As this was only the trial…you sure did ask a lot of irrevelent questions, again, what difference does it make it they do indeed use another nikck name. I maybe william, but some call me Bill, ohmygod, i’m using a nickname!, In thailand, you would not even at times be able to even say the name, hence the nickname. I’m not sure about india names, but cut them some slack. You said you wanted to speak with a manager, perhaps he was offsite? and not able to get right on the phone. I think that you would be unhappy regardless of any service that they provide. If it were me, i think that they would be very happy to have to NOT deal with you as a regular customer. you seem unreasonable, and i see no good to deal with your likes, they will find reasonable customers happy with the service without the hassles that seemingly would never end with you….
Total scam. They whined that my job request for the free trial (FOUR MEASLY PHONE CALLS) was “ohh too much to complete”, so I said “Fine, just do what you can in two hours”‘ and they didn’t do ANYTHING AT ALL! They just ignored it! Sorry buddy, you can’t pick and choose when you’re a virtual assistant!
I began using Rent A Smile last month (June 2012) and have found them quick and efficient in getting me the information I want. There have been a couple of server problems, and due to this one of my initial tasks could not be completed. No problem though, as no charge was made and the same task, assigned at a later date, was completed this morning with an update sent to my e-mail address.
This is an incredibly convenient service and I look forward to using the business services when the time is right.
I have used Rent a Smile for the last few weeks and I am simply a happy happy customer. I was up against about 20 hours of data entry and I would never have been able to get it done without Sid and Clark. They helped me so much and comunication was surprising espeically with Clark and I could easily understand him. I am really smilling so big my face hurts!!!
I have been getting assistance from Rent-a-smile for the past 3-4 months now. They have been helping me with daily routine jobs (updating my calendar, listing items on Ebay, sending emails), as well as some online research and grammatical corrections.
I have their 20hr monthly business plan. They get things done, and quite often it is very fast. For certain jobs they work faster than I would have, even though there have been one or two occasions they couldn’t help me or were slower than expected. One of these was a task requiring knowledge in a technical field, which is understandable.
However, now that I got a better understanding of what they can and can’t do, things are working out very smoothly. Just like any employee there is a little bit of getting used to each other, but I would recommend them to anyone who is falling behind in their tasks and needs a little assistance.
Before deciding to go with Rent-a-Smile, I read all the descriptions on virtualassistantassistant.com and other pages. I have not worked with any other online assistance services, but I think Rent-a-Smile is up to the challenge of meeting the needs of any small business or professional individual that’s looking for such a service.
With regards to Peter above, let me take the opportunity to clarify our position.
1) Mr. Braam had subscribed to the $200 Business plan, to be charged by Paypal every 30 days till he unsubscribes.
2) Accordingly, Paypal charged his account for $200 on 26th Dec.
3) After the charge went through, Peter Braam claimed he had downgraded his plan to $100, and asked for a refund of $100.
4) We informed him, any ‘Change Of Plan’ had to be completed before a charge, and was only effective from the next billing date, and if he had actually downgraded it would be recorded by Paypal and he would have been charged accordingly.
5) Peter Braam escalated the issue to Paypal, claiming we had charged $200 without his knowledge, and wanting a refund of the full $200 now.
6) Paypal rejected his claim, and ruled in our favor after reviewing all evidence. Paypal did not agree to refund any charge back to Peter Braam.
7) But since we believe in customer satisfaction, we still called Peter Braam and offered to refund $100 to him, though we were under no obligation to do so.
8.) Peter Braam was rude on the call, and refused to entertain us.
9) We are still willing to refund $100 to Peter Braam if he agrees.
I have had 3 most unfortunate experiences with this company:
1. Their website said “you only pay for what you use” – this is not true, it only applies after exceeding a minimum amount.
2. Upon enquiring where they are based, no answers are forthcoming. Some guy “Gary” said “USA” but there are no Pvt Ltd companies in the USA.
3. I changed my plan – because of point 1 above. They claim they never received the change.
Very awkward, trust is the most important issue with a company like this, and they’ve completely blown their trust with me. I’ve worked with dozens of outsourcing companies in my life (as an executive a publicly traded software companies) – this experience is unique in its lack of transparency.
It is also worth mentioning that:
– At the time Clark advised to subscribe to a new account, there was no option on the website for doing this other than to sign up for another free trial. The direct paid subscription option was only added later.
– After I signed up the second time, my account was active for 3 days without any action on my requests or communication about my subscription. Then I just received an email saying my account had been cancelled . . . after I’d waited patiently assuming that they were working on my requests . . .
@Rent a Smile
In response to each of Clark’s points above:
1. I cancelled the automatic payment on the same day as I signed up because I discovered it had been scheduled to occur BEFORE the free trial was even complete, as explained in my original review. I had intended to continue using the paid service if it proved during the trial to be worthwhile, but was not prepared to pay for a whole month of the service before I’d even had the chance to evaluate it.
2 and 3: Here is a direct copy of the e-mail I received from Clark:
“You had subscribed to a 3-day Free Trial account with Rent A Smile on 9th Nov, with a roll-over to the paid Personal Assistance plan after the 3 days of the trial period.
However, on the same day 9th Nov, you cancelled the Paypal payment making your account as Unsubscribed.
You have been sending us requests(tasks) after that, which we could not work on since your account was unsubscribed.
You may subscribe to a new account with us to enable us to respond to your requests.”
So I subscribed to a new account as directed. The system would not let me use the same e-mail or phone number, so I used different ones for the new account. However, all the other details (such as my name) were as per my first account, so I didn’t make any attempt to hide the fact that it was me again. I’m disappointed that Rent A Smile would consider this “trying to use our services free of charge through dubious means”.
4. Of course – why would I write anything other than a negative review after such a bad experience?
I should also mention that Clark was the person who did not reply to my e-mail (in response to his e-mail above). I received a reply from another person at Rent A Smile only after following up an entire week later.
I am happy with Rent-A-Smile. They are courteous & prompt. The technical software skills may not be as good what I am used to and the tasks should not be too complicated but they do save me loads of time. If we don’t understand eachother they ask for clarification. I would prefer a dedicated assistant to build up a relationship and that they use their real names. Overall to save you time on tasks that do not require in-depth expertise, I recommend them. I also agree with Steve that individual decision making could increase, and this would be possible if you would always work with the same person so you train each other up but on the other hand they do exactly as you spell it out.
I just started with Rent-A-Smile this week, so not a lot of history to evaluate. But so far so good. They are very responsive, eager to please. The first task I gave my assistant — re-organizing material drawn from a text file and creating web pages with that content — was done expeditiously and has definitely saved me time. The one thing I am hoping for in the future is a little more confidence on their part in making decisions and taking care of unanticipated problems, especially in situations where incorrect choices can simply be fixed. I suspect that this will happen over time. You have to expect some initial inefficiency as you learn how to talk to them (I haven’t a virtual assistant before) and they learn how to interpret you.
In response to the negative review from ALAN JOHN above, I would like to highlight the facts :
1) He signed-up for the Free Trial, but cancelled the automatic payment immediately, making his account Unsubscribed. (We have the Free Trial to enable a customer to evaluate our services, and if happy, to continue with the paid plan. They have the option to unsubscribe before the payment is through after 3 days. Alan John cancelled the payment on the same day as the sign-up, clearly indicating there was no intention to evaluate our services, but just to use our services free of charge.)
2) He then sent 2 projects, but since his account was unsubscribed, we informed him so, and also told him to sign-up directly for the paid plan since we cannot offer another Free Trial a/c.
3) Alan John then signed-up for another Free Trial a/c using a different email and different phone number, which is trying to use our services free of charge through dubious means.
4) When we informed him politely that we had to unsubscibe his 2nd Free account since as per policy we could not offer a 2nd Trial offer, he has written this negative review.
I originally tried Rent a Smile after seeing the positive reviews above. My experience couldn’t have been more different.
I signed up for a free 3-day trial, only to find in my PayPal account that my credit card was due to be billed automatically after only 2 days. Extremely dishonest and misleading conduct by Rent a Smile (which they never denied in my communication with them about this).
I cancelled the automatic payment in PayPal, which also cancelled my subscription (I didn’t realise this would happen). This occurred before any of my requests were actioned.
A representative from Rent a Smile contacted me about the cancellation and recommended that I sign up for a new account to try again. I tried to do so, but there were problems with the system at the time and I couldn’t complete the sign up after entering my credit card details.
So I contacted the representative about this, but did not get any response. I only heard back from someone else more than a week later after I sent another message to follow up. This person responded quickly to my queries, but was unhelpful.
I later tried to sign up again for the free trial, and this time the system was working. I submitted a couple of requests.
Only after more than two days of waiting for my requests to be actioned, I received an e-mail (from the original representative who contacted me and recommended I sign up again) saying that my account has been unsubsubscribed. The reason given was that I had already used my free trial, when they were well aware that I did not get any use of it last time.
However, Rent a Smile did not cancel my automatic payment in PayPal (nor did they advise that it was still active), which I then needed to do myself. I assume they were hoping I would overlook this so they could charge me for services that I was not using.
So I am very disappointed with Rent a Smile’s dishonesty, untrustworthiness and complete unhelpfulness. I could not possibly recommend them to anyone.
I can’t say enough good things about this Rent-A-Smile. Always reliable, friendly and thorough, I would personally recommend them to anyone wanting to save time and headaches doing day-to-day tasks.
Rent A Smile has been amazing in the few months since we’ve started working with them. Initially we asked them to handle our member services/customer service email. We were so impressed with the way it was handled, we have since started handing over new processes nearly every month and everything we’ve handed over has been knocked straight out of the park.
They’re always a joy to trade email with, eager to ask questions if something’s confusing, and just plain amazingly nice.
The entire experience has been so extraordinary that we’ve recently upgraded our Business Assistance monthly retainer from 20 to 40 hours and haven’t looked back.
Great work with, what else, a virtual smile.
Rent A Smile has been a LIFESAVER for me. I’ve used other services such as AskSunday and for the price and quality I would only use Rent A Smile.
When I was with AskSunday I think I had to go back and forth a few times to really get the answer I was looking for. With Rent A Smile they get exactly what I want on the first try and in a timely manner.
The Rent A Smile crew is always courteous over email and if a task I ask them to do will push me over my limit they notify me before any action is taken and asks me how I would like to adjust the task I asked them to do. I really appreciate that from them.
It’s been a pleasure working with Rent A Smile and I do see this relationship going on for a while.
Keep up the GREAT WORK Rent A Smile!
Rent A Smile has been a wonderful asset to our small business. They are precise, concise, accurate, prompt and amiable. We have found their assistance to be very helpful in terms of time management. I have been able to travel and focus on other aspects of my business and life with their help answering inquiries and managing emails. The only difficulty I have had is with their web site. More often that not, I am not able to log in and the only payment that they accept is through pay pal, which can be problematic. Overall, great virtual assistance!