Why are so many Virtual Assistants from the Philippines?

47 replies
This is not a knock off at all - I think it's amazing how they've developed their own network of work via the internet. I wish other countries would follow foot to this.

Anyways... what are your experiences with Virtual Assistants from the philippines?

And if you know anything about how the VA market there first developed and keeps developing do share... just interested to know more.

Are most universities pushing for work via the internet programs? Or did it start with a few people and just grew like fire?

Thanks.
#assistants #philippines #virtual
  • Profile picture of the author Dana Gaus
    Two main reasons:

    1. English is one of the official languages of the Philippines

    2. The cost of living is low

    Therefore people can find english-speaking VA's who are happy to work for much lower rates than english-speaking people from places like the US and UK.

    Actual experiences with VA's are mixed. They may learn to read and write in English from a young age but are generally not completely fluent. This means that you need to be very clear and specific in your instructions and check up on them regularly (especially when you just started working with them.
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    • Profile picture of the author fathobbitsss
      because philo girls are hot =D
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      • Profile picture of the author JB Jiles
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Michael Milken View Post

        Yes! They sure are.
        I have to ask this, because I think it every time I see a post of yours. You are not the particular Michael Milken, the picture of whom you use next to your name, correct? Maybe your real name is Michael Milken, I don't know. I just see it as odd, that if you are not, you choose to use a name and associated picture of someone who is still alive. Even if he were dead, it would still seem peculiar.
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    • Profile picture of the author GeoMasters
      Yep, cost of living is low and they speak english thus they can do work for a lot less. I heard at a seminar that they also have schools there where they train people to be virtual assistants, so maybe they're better qualified as well?
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    • Originally Posted by Dana Gaus View Post

      Two main reasons:

      1. English is one of the official languages of the Philippines

      2. The cost of living is low

      Therefore people can find english-speaking VA's who are happy to work for much lower rates than english-speaking people from places like the US and UK.
      Those are the main reason I think. I am also from ASEAN and my living cost is low enough. I can get a small burger for only $0.5
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  • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
    We have hired a number of VA's from the Philippines (and thankfully they are all OK after the horrible storm this weekend). And while we have had a few who didn't work out the majority of them have done excellent work and have a wonderful work ethic.

    Like any employee you have to expect to do some training and hand-holding in the beginning, but it has all been well worth it and has paid back in the high quality of work we receive from them.

    In fact I have a new fellow just starting tonight (there is a 13 hour time difference between the East coast and the Philippines) and in the few hours he's been on he has already proved his worth! So I'd highly recommend those in the market for a VA to look there.

    Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author Brendan Vraibel
    They have a very low cost of living so they're able to do jobs at a lower rate. I've had mixed experiences but there are some gems out there if you know how to find them.

    I'll usually have them do a screen recording with Jing for something simple like creating a gmail account just to get a gauge of what they know. Also be sure to take care of them when they do a great job - it's a nice incentive for them to continue to work hard for you.
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    • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
      Originally Posted by Brendan Vraibel View Post

      Also be sure to take care of them when they do a great job - it's a nice incentive for them to continue to work hard for you.
      I agree 100%.

      And that includes honoring the Philippines custom of the "13th month", a bonus paid at the end of the year equivalent to one months salary (prorated of course, so those who worked for you for 6 months would get 1/2 a months salary).

      Well worth the investment.

      Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author Dennisknows
    I have one from there that works very diligently. They'll gladly do whatever you ask them to do and mines even gives me advise on SEO stuff..

    One thing I will say though. Make sure you give them something to do and be specific. I didn't keep up with her and just kept on doing just what I told her to do in the beginning. LOL.. I was losing money but we worked everything out. They just want to work. They dont really care what the job calls for.

    Just have to train them. Every now and again you get one that knows the job already and all you have to do is check up on them.

    Try them out and I suggest you use oDesk. I haven't used any other VA service but I like how oDesk takes snap shots of the screen while they're working so you can keep an eye on them. Very good feature..

    best of luck
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  • Profile picture of the author magiclouie
    Originally Posted by Christiani View Post

    This is not a knock off at all - I think it's amazing how they've developed their own network of work via the internet. I wish other countries would follow foot to this.

    Anyways... what are your experiences with Virtual Assistants from the philippines?

    And if you know anything about how the VA market there first developed and keeps developing do share... just interested to know more.

    Are most universities pushing for work via the internet programs? Or did it start with a few people and just grew like fire?

    Thanks.
    Call center industry first boomed in our country and then the Home-based Online Job (Internet Marketing) industry follows.

    Well, for how many years now, the Philippines is recognized as one of the top and ideal countries when it comes to global outsourcing industry.

    This industry has developed speedily since it covers the elements critical to outsourcing for both service providers and customers.

    To name a few, these comprise large-scale people resources, with an estimate of half-a-million English-speaking students graduating from colleges and universities yearly, interpersonal warmth, a richly deserved reputation for excellence in communication skills, customer-service orientation, problem-solving capabilities, and cultural affinity with Western markets and customs, and an operational cost advantage, with costs competitive with any supplier country in the world.
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    • Hi,

      Why? Mindset. Here, employees and those searching for employment opportunities greatly outnumber those planning to start their own online and brick and mortar businesses instead of working for others, unlike in most Western countries. This is quite evident if you've been running a business in this industry here for more than 5 years, on top of other brick and mortar businesses for more than 8 years...

      I for one have a 5-year old ICT outsourcing company here. As of Dec 2011, our company has more than 15 executives, 28 admin staffers, 52 employees, 8 subcontractor groups each with their own employees and 18 independent subcontractors working at our English content development, Web development, graphics design, custom software development and brand marketing departments...

      In my experience, proficient English content developers of written and non-written onsite and offsite materials are easier to find here. We mostly have difficulties searching for excellent Web developers, graphics designers and custom software programmers here, so most of our resources are based in New Zealand, North America and India. Offsite and onsite SEO assistants here need to be trained more extensively than English content developers, Web developers, graphics designers and custom software programmers...

      I think more local offline and online entrepreneurs will start hiring remote assistants from other countries once this collective mindset changes...
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  • I've been pretty lucking with my Philippino workers: they're knowledgeable, they speak English, and they work hard. As long as you tell them EXACTLY what you need (you might even need to train them), it's all good.
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  • Profile picture of the author lorrainelim
    The best VA's I've ever tried out came from the University of the Philippines. But they didn't last longer than 2 mos, their services seem highly in demand. The competition for their talent is really pushing up prices. I've tried working with those with lesser qualifications. It's really hit or miss beyond the top schools. Some turned out ok, others just try to cheat you.
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    • Profile picture of the author linebelowdigital
      My best VA is actually from Pakistan so it's not all about the country, although I do have a great video editor from the Philippines. For you to find a great VA it mostly takes time and a lot of trial and error. If you're looking, I'd start with odesk and post a few simple jobs, then invite the highest rated VAs to apply. Gauge their performance based on the tasks you assigned. Then keep working with the ones who complete your tasks to your satisfaction.
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    • Hi Lorraine Lim,

      Originally Posted by lorrainelim View Post

      [SNIP]...others just try to cheat you.[/SNIP]
      How so?
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      • Profile picture of the author DGFletcher
        Where is the best place to get VAs from the Phillipines and how much do they charge?
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        • Profile picture of the author JohnWiz
          I've had both good and not-so-good experiences with them in the past. In my opinion, the best thing you can do to filter out the potentially incompetent ones is to have a chat or interview with the person you're hiring, before signing him or her up.

          Most of them, however, are a pleasure to communicate and work with.
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      • Profile picture of the author lorrainelim
        Originally Posted by Marx Vergel Melencio View Post

        Hi Lorraine Lim,

        How so?
        I know that there are a lot of scam employers online, so when the freelancer asked for upfront payment, I gave it to her. Never heard back. This was a big mistake. I am now more careful.

        I understand what BIG Mike is saying that dishonest contractors are not a Philippine-specific issue but I was just talking of experience because I mostly hire them for admin tasks.
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  • Profile picture of the author imsirigiri
    The cost of living in Phil. is considerably low when compared to US and UK.

    So a few people might be even living off earning a couple of dollars a day.

    All in all, they work hard and have a very positive attitude which brings out the quality work.
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  • Profile picture of the author ryuchi
    Most Filipino Virtual Assistants are pleasure to work with. They are quite consistent with the level of work they do. I don't like it when they forget to email me their daily report, however not a big issue.

    I like to use Odesk when looking for my contractors, agree that you still have to have an interview, see work samples before you hire anybody though.

    Ryuchi
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  • Profile picture of the author nicelife
    I agree,

    the VA's from the Philippines also have a mentality that makes
    them easy to work with.

    I find people from e.g India to be harder to work with.

    Just my 2 cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tadresources
    They are the best

    I have never had a bad experience with workers that are from the philippines but I have had bad experiences with uk workers, aussie workers, many bad ones with indians and don't get me started on the chinese workers.

    They come to work - they do a great job they are very friendly and chatting to them through training its hard to believe that english is a second language.

    If you are sat here reading this considering outsourcing the filipinos are the best to have.
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  • Profile picture of the author mariapbonner
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    • Profile picture of the author magiclouie
      Originally Posted by BIG Mike View Post

      As well it should - but if you're looking for a deal in how much you pay per hour/day/month then you're completely missing the bigger picture. What matters is how much that person directly or indirectly contributes to your bottom line.

      When I started working with online freelancers 10 years ago or so, I just carried on taking care of the good ones the same way I would with my employees offline. Better than average pay, regular bonuses based on performance and incentives to stick around.

      Short-term, yes it might seem costly, but the long-term benefits/ROI make that expense worthwhile. Just the time/headaches saved over constantly sourcing and training new people, makes it worth paying a bit more for retention purposes.

      That's not a Philippines-specific issue...it's human nature and endemic in online freelancing, regardless of nationality.
      Hey BIG Mike, I just love how clearly you stated everything.

      Originally Posted by Tadresources View Post

      They are the best

      I have never had a bad experience with workers that are from the philippines but I have had bad experiences with uk workers, aussie workers, many bad ones with indians and don't get me started on the chinese workers.

      They come to work - they do a great job they are very friendly and chatting to them through training its hard to believe that english is a second language.

      If you are sat here reading this considering outsourcing the filipinos are the best to have.
      Thanks a lot for your kind words and recommending my fellow Filipinos to be their VA's.

      Originally Posted by mariapbonner View Post

      Yes, because most the filipino's speak fluently in English. So, there would no problem when it comes to communicating with them. They are one of the hard workers who can work for you with a not so expensive rate but still with quality.
      Thanks to you.

      Although, not all of us are really hardworking but at least many of us are doing our best to provide quality output to our clients and employers.

      L. Tugas
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  • Profile picture of the author philiptrav
    I have been there 3 times now in the last 4 years and have lived there for a total of 1 year and I love the place, it's beautiful and less regulated than western countries, it's different but if you can adapt it's enjoyable and I'm dying to go back soon as my girlfriend lives there.

    The cost of living there is cheaper (to locals) but the main thing is the wages there are so low on average. Foreigners often live there for similar costs to the USA etc as the normal things are harder to find. Locals can live cheap yes. Many people only make 100 pesos a day (around $2) and often most of that is spent on transport and food at work. This is from what I have seen anyway and they often work for 12 or more hours a day. Many people there live mainly on rice as it's cheap and if you are only making 100 pesos then that is all you can afford and remember only the lucky or fortunate ones get work. So you can see why the smart ones get online and find work.
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  • Profile picture of the author Patrick Kelly
    Hi,

    I have had experience with two Americans who live in the Phillipines and also worked in JV's with a Phillipine gentleman. Based on the cost of living being relatively cheap and the ready availability of reasonably well-skilled (and or willing to learn) individuals, outsourcing from the talent pool there is a viable (and valuable) option!

    I agree with others in this thread that it is important to supervise those that you have brought on board to work for you. Also it may be important to work with an organization that offers access to employees as opposed to directly contacting said individuals (at least in your initial instances of outsourcing). This being to protect you from falling into the trap of hiring someone that talks the talk, but not....


    cheers, Patrick
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  • Profile picture of the author lacraiger
    My VA from Philippines has been assisting me for over 3 years and she makes my life easier. I pay her well because I can trust her and she gets the job done right.
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  • Profile picture of the author savvybizbuilder
    My team is from Philippines, and they help me a lot from my online marketing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Amy Harrop
    I work with several va's in the Philippines, and I find them easy to work with. I find it helps if directions are very clear, and I use a lot of video training. I've also had better luck with Va's that I've hired myself through job sites as opposed to going through a company that has a team.
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  • Profile picture of the author nshadab
    myself hire VAs for some of my project from PH.

    there are two major reason
    1. English, that's one of the official languages of the Philippines
    2. The cost of living is low

    but still i face issue with them, they're not tech savvy as some of my indian VAs.
    thats a truth which i have experienced in my last 5 years of va outsourcing history.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Chicas
    Thanks for all the great answers, learned a lot. This thread is worth saving.
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  • Profile picture of the author t0mmy
    My 2 VAs are actually in India, my friend runs an office there full of VAs so its really handy for me as in I just communicate with him which i do every day anyway as we run a project together, he then relays anything i want my VAs to do back to them

    I guess you could say he sort of manages them for me its great because it saves a lot of hassle on the communication front, hes a strict boss to and has my VAs working at a very high standard which is great for everyone
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  • Profile picture of the author netguy12
    How does everyone find these virtual assistants?
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    • Profile picture of the author lorrainelim
      Originally Posted by netguy12 View Post

      How does everyone find these virtual assistants?
      Bestjobs.ph is a good resource for full-time VAs. If you're looking for part-timers, oDesk.com is also quite good. But be careful in using the hourly system of oDesk.

      When I was in the process of hiring an infographic artist, I asked a quote from 5-6 people. Their rates ranged from $8-$24/hr. The one with the $8/hr didn't have the experience I was looking for. The $12 freelancer told me it would take her 12-15hrs to complete one concept. I interviewed several others and they said it will take 8-12hrs.

      Finally, I received the quote from the guy with the highest hourly rate. He said he could finish in 4hrs! The work was excellent and I have no doubt that it is far better than what other freelancers could do. And he had the cheapest rate in total despite having the highest hourly one! So be careful on oDesk. A lot of people who fluff up their time there.
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    • Profile picture of the author Chris Chicas
      Originally Posted by netguy12 View Post

      How does everyone find these virtual assistants?
      I am also looking to hire some VA's and I think I great place to start is within this thread. Dig through the messages and I"m sure you'll find some great info from experienced folks.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Originally Posted by Christiani View Post

    This is not a knock off at all - I think it's amazing how they've developed their own network of work via the internet. I wish other countries would follow foot to this.

    Anyways... what are your experiences with Virtual Assistants from the philippines?

    And if you know anything about how the VA market there first developed and keeps developing do share... just interested to know more.

    Are most universities pushing for work via the internet programs? Or did it start with a few people and just grew like fire?

    Thanks.
    I think it has to do with the awareness, china for example is slow taking over the world because they embraced industrialization wholeheartedly mainly because it is just the order of the day there.
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris Thompson
    I am very impressed with the skills i can find in the Philippines. I have full timers, but i also have a few freelancers i use. Example: just this weekend i found a guy go doaudio editing for me. I needed someone with knowledge of Adobe Audition. The guy wants $2 per hour which is lower than I plan to pay him. He did a test project for me and the results were OK. I showed him exactly what to do to bring the quality up to my standards. He understood. It isn't rocket science and I'm sure he will grt the job done for far less than my own time would "cost" me.
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  • Profile picture of the author CDawson
    Banned
    I think that virual assistant jobs are landed all over the world. Especially in places that people don't have a lot of experience in a trade or other job.
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  • Profile picture of the author Padou
    thinking of going to the phils myself , how much does it cost to pay a va for a year ?
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  • Profile picture of the author TheTruth2011
    I would be careful because it can be a hit or miss with them. Sometimes you get a very good one for $3.90/hr and other are not very good for the same rates. Its all about screening I guess.
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    • Profile picture of the author mywebwork
      Originally Posted by TheTruth2011 View Post

      I would be careful because it can be a hit or miss with them. Sometimes you get a very good one for $3.90/hr and other are not very good for the same rates. Its all about screening I guess.
      And how is this unique to the Philippines? Aside from the low wage this statement would apply to workers in ANY country!

      Bill
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  • Profile picture of the author myeanne
    Aside from lower cost, Filipino workers are known for being hardworkers. We also have a good grasp of the English language and culture. But I suggest to hire an outsourcing firm rather than a freelancer. Outsourcing companies have supervisors who manage your staff to ensure high quality of work. Every staff hired by a company go through an extensive screening process. Freelancers do not have employers so they do as they please and sometimes cannot be contacted for various reasons.



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    • Profile picture of the author magiclouie
      Originally Posted by myeanne View Post

      Aside from lower cost, Filipino workers are known for being hardworkers. We also have a good grasp of the English language and culture. But I suggest to hire an outsourcing firm rather than a freelancer. Outsourcing companies have supervisors who manage your staff to ensure high quality of work. Every staff hired by a company go through an extensive screening process. Freelancers do not have employers so they do as they please and sometimes cannot be contacted for various reasons.



      Wow, you somehow contradict the teaching of John Jonas of ReplaceMyself.com

      I bet you are working in a company.

      Well, I have been working with my employer and friend for almost 2 years now and so far, he's satisfied with my outputs.

      As what John Jonas has been telling, if you are going to hire a personal VA, that person will eventually treat your business as his own. Your VA will be very much concern with your business.

      I know you mentioned freelancer and I understand that this is quite different to Virtual Assistant.

      Just my 2 cents!

      Sincerely,
      Louie Tugas
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  • Profile picture of the author Padou
    @ $2/hr its worth a try free up your time and do more
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  • Most VAs are from the Philippines because of great work ethics and dedication.

    But I would give a warning though. Treat your VAs well and don't abuse them. Just because some people say that the cost of living is low doesn't mean you can
    keep working with them for $2 per hour for a long time.

    Some of them will accept the $2 but will get other employers to keep up with living expenses..So pay them a little more and ask for their loyalty.

    And most of all, don't discuss money problems with them. If you're having trouble with your finances, don't tell them that. They are hard working and expect to get what is due them during the pay period. If you give them doubts about receiving their wages, you better start looking for a new one.
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    • Profile picture of the author magiclouie
      Originally Posted by Dominis Marketing View Post

      Most VAs are from the Philippines because of great work ethics and dedication.

      But I would give a warning though. Treat your VAs well and don't abuse them. Just because some people say that the cost of living is low doesn't mean you can
      keep working with them for $2 per hour for a long time.

      Some of them will accept the $2 but will get other employers to keep up with living expenses..So pay them a little more and ask for their loyalty.

      And most of all, don't discuss money problems with them. If you're having trouble with your finances, don't tell them that. They are hard working and expect to get what is due them during the pay period. If you give them doubts about receiving their wages, you better start looking for a new one.
      I couldn't agree more!
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  • Profile picture of the author twentyone
    Because Virtual Assistants from the Philippines works hard and Speaks better english compared to other asians
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