Questions About Virtual Assistants or VA's (follow-up post)

Services for Real Estate Pros

Mary Jo Quay (Keller Williams Integrity ) had a few questions about virtual assistants or VA's from my post Giving Credit, Where Credit is Due - My VA Jonha Revesencio

As usual, my quick reply turned into a long-winded mini post, so I just decided to turn it into a post.

Jonha (my VA for the last 2 years) is from the Philippines -- so you do have a 8 hour or so time difference, but a lot of the workers already work around that. Some of the larger employers are call centers for major corps, so many have good English skills. If you don't want to go with that route, there are several online companies that offer VA's that are from the US, but expect to pay more.

I'll do a post on finding a VA, and other details, as that would be more appropriate, but in a nutshell...

Hiring - Start off giving a VA a specific "job" task, like write 5 articles. Then give them another "job" of posting them to several article sites and to your blog. (whatever you need done) That way, you can find out at what level they function at. Then you would just pay them for the "job". Agree on the price for the "job" up front, and what and when you want it delivered. If, for example, the job is writing 5 articles, ask for samples they have done and tell them to include draft re-writes and corrections in their price. Expect to go through 5 or more "job only" VA's to find one really good VA that you want to hire full-time. You will pay more for a "job" only VA, but your dollars at risk are less until you develop a trust relationship. If you let them know you are looking for a part-time or full-time worker, that helps them plan better. I have had up to 20 full time VA's working for me, and settled on 5-6 solid full-time workers.

Pay - the going rate for VA's in the Philippines varies. Part-time VA workers (20 hours a week) usually are paid around $200 per month, full-time workers are paid around $300+ per month. Some people pay less, some more, depending on their job skill set, spoken English quality, etc. I have always given bonuses on a monthly basis when the work was good. Some monthly bonuses I have given were equal to their monthly wage, but that is just me. Some of the call centers pay only $65 - $200+ per month for full-time work, so a good full time VA job is very coveted by Filipino workers.

Payment is fairly easy -- you can pay through PayPal or use a service like I have used Xoom for all of my money transfers -- either direct to their account or to a local cash pickup location. The transfer fee is about $3 and can take 1 week for a new person (the first time), then it takes 1-3 days after that. Bank-to-bank transfers take the longest, bank-to-pickup centers are the quickest.

Training - Depending on what needs to be done, you might have to provide training materials for new workers. Some have advanced skills - For example, you could hire an English teacher in the Philippines and get excellent written materials. I have usually set up a website that has specific training materials that they can read, listen to, or video's that they can watch. If something is complicated, I will do a quick Camtasia video, that takes them step-by-step through the operation. I have usually had specific tasks that were given to different workers, depending on their skill set.

The same motto goes here -- Hire slow, fire fast.

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As a Real Estate Agent, my main focus is helping others learn how to market themselves and their properties using online and offline methods, thus increasing sales.

Comments (1)

Mary Jo Quay
EXP Realty - Minneapolis, MN
I Move You Home

Just what I was looking for, thanks for the info.  It will take me a little time to get it going, but I think it has major advantages.

A few months back I received emails from an outsource group offering MBAs to do virtual work for $6 per house.  I almost fell over.  They are probably a lot smarter than I am, and I trying to think of what I can have them do.  Thanks a bunch.

Nov 17, 2010 06:22 AM