When thinking of hiring a virtual assistant, you basically have two choices.  You can find a freelance virtual assistant, or you can use one of several reputable virtual assistant companies.

Virtual assistant companies have an office full of professional assistants ready to help you with whatever tasks you need done.  They typically charge a monthly fee that will vary upon the number of hours of work you’ll need done.  Several virtual assistant companies will offer a free trial period, which will help you get an idea both for how well their virtual assistant will perform, and how much you will use the service.

In most cases, you’ll pay more when you use a third-party VA company than you would with a freelancer.  The reason for this is that the company incurs overhead costs like payroll processing, office infrastructure, and administrative support that freelancers do not.  Still, when a full-time virtual assistant is in the $1000 a month ballpark, there is certainly something to be said for the additional support and security a VA firm offers.

With a freelance virtual assistant, you have the advantage of being able to specify your unique requirements in advance (although several VA companies allow you to do this as well).  This means you can hire the perfect worker for your needs, not just the first available virtual assistant.  I’ve found that freelancers are great for one-time projects or quick tasks that require a specific area of expertise, but there are many full- and part-time freelance virtual assistants out there as well with a wide range of skills.

The downside of hiring a freelance virtual assistant is that if things aren’t working out, you may not have much recourse.  In contrast, many VA companies have satisfaction guarantees or can reassign your work to a new virtual assistant better able to accomplish your tasks.

To learn more about the best virtual assistant companies as well as the best places to find freelancers, please read our collection of customer reviews so you can make an informed decision.