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 after stints in San Francisco and Las Vegas, now calls Columbus OH its home base.
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.
Note: This Zirtual review is geared toward those looking to hire an assistant. Click here to learn more about how to become a virtual assistant.
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.
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.
Plans and Pricing
The most popular option is the Entrepreneur plan priced at $398.00 per month. The Entrepreneur plan includes same-day support from your dedicated assistant and the ability to outsource tasks up to a cumulative 12 hours a month. (Slightly more than $33 per hour.)
If you have more work to outsource, Startup and Small Business-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
US VA Company Comparison Chart
|Minimum Package||$1530 for 30 hours||$270 for 10 hours||$1200 for 55 hours||$500 for 30 hours|
|Minimum VA Experience||7 years||5 years||Extensive in-house training||3 years|
|Learn More||Learn More||Learn More||Learn More|
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.
On August 10th, 2015, Zirtual “Paused All Operations” and abruptly laid off all staff via email. Later in the week, they announced the company had been acquired by Startups.co and was open for business again.
As of late-2018, the company’s social accounts haven’t been updated in months and some readers have noted that the company has been unresponsive to inbound inquiries. I’m not sure what to make of it though; I got a note from Zirtual’s COO saying they are still very much in business.
If you’re looking for a dedicated virtual assistant service as an alternative to Zirtual, two that come highly regarded are Time Etc and Boldly. You’ll find the base hourly rates slightly lower at Time Etc and slightly higher at Worldwide.
I put together this little comparison guide between Zirtual and rival Time Etc to give you a side-by-side look.
And if you’re comfortable “going direct” and hiring your own freelance VA, you may be able to find some qualified talent on FreeeUp. 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.
Have you worked with a Zirtual concierge? If so, please share your experience below!
Meh. I used Zirutal as a trial run for 1 month and got mediocre at best results. Here is the kicker…You pay for 12 hours, but if the Zirtual Assistant does not complete the 12 hours within 1 month it does NOT roll over and you will have to pay for another month for another “12 hours”. In reality you are paying for a POSSIBILITY of 12 hrs worth of work. In other words, your Zirtual Assistant could possibly only work 2 hrs that month and you would be paying a premium for it.
Side note that it is an auto-renewing subscription based model so be sure to call and cancel if you do not plan on continued use. Overall, I do NOT recommend Zirtual.
I worked for Zirtual for about a year and I was really impressed with the assistants I met and I’ve heard numerous success stories. They really paved the way for an excellent service and it’s too bad that their operations collapsed overnight…now they’re under new management and it’s not nearly as good as it was. Colin and Eric were fantastic and brilliant and I was sad to see the company go under.
In the aftermath I managed to swoop up some loose ends and tie them together and then decided to start my own matchmaking service called Legends Virtual Assistance. Check us out if you’re still in the market for a VA. All of our assistants work 100% independently, which means every dime you pay goes directly in their pockets. We find that this works out well for long-term client:VA relationships.
I tried about 4-5 other VA services, including Ask Sunday and it was all a terrible service. I’ve used my Zirtual Assistant, Rachel, who has been dedicated to me for almost 2 years. She learns about my likes & dislikes and how I like to work–which is huge. There is a huge/noticable difference between the “grouped tasks” that they used to offer on their lower plans.
Zirtual has been a pleasure, and has paid for itself in saved time and money. Assistant has been very professional and responsive throughout.
To be honest I think the negative comments are competitors’ reviews. I have a wonderful virtual assistant who feels like a friend to me. She’s absolutely fantastic and I don’t think that any other service could offer something remotely similar to someone who feels like they’re basically on my team.
The only thing is I think their billing is slightly unfair for older customers (like myself). I’ve been with them for a while and used to have 10 hours on my plan – I wanted an upgrade but had to follow the new rate system, so if I downgrade now, I lose 8 hours. It’s fairly annoying for someone who has been with them for the long haul. Hopefully they will think of revising that policy, so for that (not the service) one star off.
I began working with Sarah O about three months ago. I had tested other Virtual Assistant Services and was looking for a service that had dedicated VAs, US based, and I would be comfortable representing me. Zirtual has been a perfect fit. If cost is the number one driver of your decision, they are not for you. Sarah has helped me manage my calendar, make calls on my behalf, manage my client call rotation, book reservations, handle my expense reports, and even send my Mother a birthday gift. If you are looking for a more complete/comprehensive service then Zirtual is a great option.
I’ve had a VA business myself for 3 years, so I know what it takes to be a VA, to onboard new VAs and how to get the best out of a VA or VA service.
You cannot compare Zirtual with services like Fancy Hands or TaskRabbit. It’s a totally different line of business. That said, some people expect too much of VAs. They are not mind readers.
You have to know what you need beforehand EXACTLY and describe it as clear as possible. Best is to even set up your own workflows in detail, which means you will save yourself and your VA a lot of time longterm instead of trying to figure out what needs to be done (and then complain the job wasn’t done right).
So far I’ve been very, very happy with Zirtual. I asked if by any chance they had someone who understands Dutch and coincidentally, they did. Inge does blog translations for me and takes care of my bookkeeping. No, she is not a bookkeeper, but I have a super-detailed workflow so we both know what to do, when to do it and in what order so nothing can be forgotten. She does a perfect job at this and really does go above and beyond to make sure she is doing an awesome job.
A VA will not miraculously make you an organized person. If you want to get the very best from a VA service, you will need to organize yourself first. First cut out everything that doesn’t really need to be done, then simplify, then automate, then outsource whatever is left. For that, Zirtual is definitely where you want to be.
I used Zirtual for a few months, but have since canceled. It started off alright and the ZA was good. They helped me complete some simple tasks. However, I had to change ZA’s and the new ones weren’t as good. Initially, communication with Zirtual was easy and they were very responsive. Things started to go down hill and they were not as helpful. I decided to cancel because the ZA’s weren’t responding or completing work per the company’s SLA. When I inquired about this I never got a response. I wouldn’t use them again unless I couldn’t find a better alternative.
I began using Zirtual when it was first starting out and it’s been awesome to see the growth of the company. Even though they are growing, it’s great to still see the focus on making the customers happy. Sometimes an assistant isn’t the right fit for you, but they are willing to find another one for you. No hassle. They appreciate feedback and want it get it right.
The pricing of Zirtual gives you a dedicated assistant. It may or may not fit what you are looking for. You may just need someone to do basic research or order flowers for you to mail to someone once in awhile. If so, then Zirtual maybe not be for you. However if you’re looking for an assistant that gets to know you and your needs and can help free hours from your week with tasks, then Zirtual would be a great place to go.
I had the chance to take Zirtual on a one-month test drive and was very positive on the results.
When I signed up, I completed a detailed questionnaire with a personality and business-needs assessment. After that, a Zirtual account manager emailed me for clarification to make sure I was assigned to someone who would be a good fit.
Before getting started, I also took the opportunity to go through their Zirtual University Quickstart Course on the fine art of delegation.
Ultimately I was paired up with Whitney, who turned out to be an excellent assistant. During our short time together I tasked her with some online research projects that had been collecting dust on my to-do-list, as well turn one 3000 word blog post into a PowerPoint presentation.
For that, the main work was finding beautiful high-resolution images to illustrate each slide – something that takes me FOREVER and I really don’t like doing. Whitney did an awesome job and you can check out the finished version of the slide deck she made here.
All in all, I was impressed with her professionalism and responsiveness, especially on email, which is huge for me.
The cost might be a little higher than some of the overseas companies but I felt like the quality was very strong. And if you can afford it, you’ll get the warm fuzzy feeling of keeping jobs close to home. Plus, Zirtual is actually on the less expensive side of the spectrum when compared with some other US-based VA companies.
I’ve had a stellar experience with Zirtual. I really feel like it’s helping me be much more productive. On top of that, it’s helped me reduce my stress level not having to deal with a bunch of mundane tasks. I wholeheartedly recommend.
I was an Zirtual customer for over a year. I recently discontinued the service when my assistant left the company and I was asked a bit abruptly to work with a new assistant. In a year, I have had over 3 assistants work with me and the transition has always been anything that smooth and I didn’t want to live through another of that given that I was already questioning the value of the service. I was hoping that with the $199 plan I can develop a bit of relationship with the Assistant and that they can overtime make me more productive but in my analysis it just was not coming out to be any time saving. It seems like overtime the service has made the “tasks” more canned and not much can be done effectively with this model. When I joined I was promised unlimited tasks and an assistant you can call. But over time the value and defination of both of those thing changed. I never submitted more than reasonable number of tasks (on an average 10-15/month)but at times when I needed the assistant most or i needed to be brief the “relationship” aspect of service never quite worked nor what phone explanation any beneficially. I absolutely liked couple of my ZAs and I would work with them but I’m think the service model and the productivity nurturing is never done or delivered by this company.
I would looking for someone like a Zirtual assistant but with a bit more focus on understanding my repetitive tasks (I keep a google spreadsheet of them) and picking them up without me having to explain the same thing again every time or through different ZAs. I need them to be able “learn” from my previous tasks.
I am an independent consultant and am very comfortable with virtual support, as we do this in our consulting business every day. Unfortunately, my Zirtual experience went from bad to worse. First two months with assistant were less than stellar (just simple things like when I asked her to look into an earlier plane home on an existing ticket, she gave me flights costing outrageous $$ on other airlines and missed the earlier opportunity on my existing airline). I let Zirtual know that I was not renewing after two months and they offered me a new assistant, who I tried for one day. First assignment was to check calendars and book a telecon with me, one of my employees and an external partner (multiple mistakes in simple assignment, including getting my partner’s first name wrong). Guess I had high hopes but Zirtual definitely let me know. I’ve cancelled and will look at eaHelp and a few others who may be more focused on quality than growth.
I’ve been using Zirtual for 2 months now. So far I am impressed with them. My assistant, Dana, is a new “Zirtual Assistant” but they seem to give them the required training and support/mentoring. She has been great. The first month was mostly just schedule wrangling (which in and of itself is a miracle for me!) and I ended up with her using less hours than I had paid for at the plan I went for. Now they don’t give refunds in that situation – but the folks in charge noticed that I hadn’t use that many hours and sent me a note and asked if I had a hard time with delegation in that conversation. Yes I do 🙂 well they gave me an hour or two hour delegation consultation with Joanna (I think) and that went well. She gave me some tips, asked a lot of questions and wrote up a plan of attack for me and sent that to Dana.
I’ve been slammed lately trying to finish up some client work but eventually Dana and I are going to meet and go through that plan and I imagine more work in her future.
I am at the executive level because the same day turnaround was important to me. And so far it has been good. THere were a couple very minor bumps in the road with miscommunication but those straightened out quickly and I’m getting to know Dana and feel like she is “part of my team”. By default I copy her on anything that may turn into a scheduling thing and say “Check with Dana – she knows my schedule better than I do!” I get reminders each week for a few tasks, and she pesters me to make sure I get them done. I can also do things like take a picture of a schedule printout from my physical therapists office and email it to her and she blocks the times on ALL of my calendars and blocks the right length and start time to keep me free to travel there, etc.
She has done a couple small research and documentation type tasks and no complaints there either. I’ve been more productive and invoicing better than I ever have as an independent consultant. Hopefully once I slow down a bit some more types of tasks will be heading her way and I’ll have more info on the service and will likely write a blog post or two about it – but hands down, I recommend the service. Having a good virtual assistant that I can trust has been a blessing beyond description.
I checked out Zirtual and I liked it until I found out how much their employees were paid. I actually hired a personal assistant that was fired from there and boy did Zirtual make a mistake! This girl is amazing! She is efficient and sweet and I cant live without her. When she told me about being fired during training and how much she was paid it made me ill. I will never use this service. Shame on you Zirtual!!!!
I’m a little confused… some people seem to be SUPER impressed with zirtual and others SUPER disappointed… no in between.
Competition posting fake complaints?…
I’ve had a great experience with Zirtual. My first assistant was very thorough, attentive and helped with a ton of research-based projects. When she made the difficult decision to leave Zirtual, I was really bummed but my new assistant has been great too. I appreciate the immediate response she has given me and has a strong understanding of what my needs are.
I learned about Zirtual through a friend in San Fran. I myself live in NY and have a hectic schedule. First off, it was so annoying that I was told I had to WAIT to sign up (?!!!). When I eventually got signed up, I did not feel like I had the support or attention to detail I expected from a service like this – I don’t have time to worry about this stuff, I am paying them plenty compared to other services out there to take care of my day to day tasks. In fairness, they did okay at the basic stuff (which I actually could easily have done myself) but really overhyped their “guarantee” for going above and beyond. I guess they are still figuring things out. This website is a great resource, I think I’ll try out a few more service providers. Will try and write reviews soon about my next virtual assistant experience!
Sorry to hear you didn’t enjoy your experience with Zirtual or with Lizzy.
We do have a bit of a waiting process and that is because we rely on human capital to run our business. If there is too much demand, then we can’t meet it and we’d unfortunately have to turn people away. Instead, we operate on an invite model while we are scaling to help control our growth.
I did notice that at one point you sent Lizzy quite a positive message, thanking her for her “prompt, professional, and thorough” work. It’s too bad that this experience wasn’t maintained. I know you’re no longer with us, but had you mentioned you were having a bad experience, we would’ve happily moved you to another assistant or worked with you to find a better solution.
Either way, I hope you’ve found a suitable new provider to help you same some time.
This is a review I initially posted on http://www.wallstreetoasis.com
A few months ago I got sick of all the tasks accumulated on my to-do list and decided I needed a change. I googled “virtual assistant” and hired one in India to help me out. It was a disaster because he was always saying “ok I get it” and then 10 minutes before the deadline he sent me an email “sorry, I have no idea how I can do it”.
After 2 weeks I canceled and tried to find a better match. I wanted someone based in the US, to reduce the communication challenge. I found what I wanted and now I couldn’t be any happier about the service. Here’s why you need to do the same:
The skills: US/UK based assistant are more expensive but the skills they have is so different. My assistant helps me with the SEO and marketing for my website and even do some research for the book I’m writing. It’s probably useless for the majority of you guys but that says a lot about what they can do!
The peace of mind: I’m planning a week-end abroad in Budapest. I just sent an email to my assistant asking for a list of hotels in my price range in a nice district. She sent back 4 options, I made a choice and told her to book it for me! I could have done it myself but I’d rather be doing something else…
The bragging: having an assistant is pretty cool I must admit. You can make him/her book your sessions with your tennis coach for instance or call your friends to set-up meetings.
So if you have a few projects outside of work or if you travel a lot I can only recommend that you get an assistant. I personally use Zirtual and have had a very good experience with them so far.
Zirtual is an amazing service for dedicated assistants. It’s great for the average user who may not know all of the wonderful ways you can outsource things in our life.
Sorry to hear you weren’t happy with Chloe Augustus. Her track record has been pretty stellar, but it is a human capital business and sometimes not everyone is a perfect match. Like I mentioned to Heather, we’d be more than happy to move you to another assistant if you felt like the one you had wasn’t living up to your expectations—all you have to do is ask.
I know what you mean! Disappointed customer here as well. In fact, it’s weird that their ads feature this Chloe girl. She was the worst! She missed tasks and even went on holiday halfway through with no recommendation for a replacement!
@Heather Fiona, who is your ZA? I’m not seeing you as an active(or past client), but we do have our Epic Guarantee and would gladly place you with another assistant if you’re unhappy—just let us know.
Zirtual has put together a top notch service! All around A+ — from the turnaround time, to accuracy, to making you feel like you’re their highest priority, I’d recommend — and already have — to may close friends and business associates.
Well worth the value!
Zirtual.com has disappointed me because they are so slow. The Z.A they gave me didn’t even made sure that I was ok with the service he gave me. I would not recommend this to anyone!
Zirtual.com changed my life in one week flat! My ZA “Kyle B.” is a total rockstar, and I am grateful to Maren Kate and her team for coming up with such a needed business for busy “innovative poverty elite” entrepreneurs like myself! For $197/month I get much more than my money’s worth…I get sanity and peace of mind.
So far Zirtual has helped me research products to buy and also with minor editing tasks. They’re really efficient with concierge type services – making bookings, doing small bits of product related research. They struggle with more complex assignments – but they usually manage to find someone appropriate to complete the task.
I’m on their light plan which offers me 15 – fifteen minute requests in a month, and have been a member for about 3 months.
Overall, I would recommend Zirtual because they sure make life easier. 🙂
I’ve been using Zirtual for 6 months, and it is AWESOME. My assistant is friendly, capable, and saves me many hours every week. Highly recommend.