Guide on how to pay a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines

How To Pay Virtual Assistants From The Philippines

When you hire a freelancer or contractor, usually there is a once-off payment for the completed project. However, if you’re planning to hire a Virtual Assistant, you’ll need to set them up on a regular payment schedule just like you would for your part-time or full-time staff members. But how exactly do you pay a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines and much do they cost? Watch our latest YouTube video or keep reading to learn more about how we pay our Virtual Assistants, how to track their working hours, the steps and tools you’ll need to set up a payment schedule and the cost per hour.

Why should you pay a Virtual Assistant

One of the main reasons why people get into entrepreneurship is because they want to experience time and financial freedom. Yet, as the business expands, some business owners can easily feel trapped in the bottleneck of endless tasks. This is exactly why we’ve helped our Outsourcing Angel clients hire a Virtual Assistant to fit seamlessly into different businesses.

Hiring a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines has been one of the best outsourced staffing options for businesses in first-world markets like Australia, UK and the US because Filipino Virtual Assistants are skilled in the following areas:

  • Highly proficient in written and verbal English
  • Educated and experienced
  • Have access to technology for remote work
  • Easy to train
  • Minimal cultural and language barriersBig talent pool, in fact, the Philippines has an estimated 1.5 million remote workers too and is still growing.
  • More affordable than first-world market employees due to economies of scale

When people come to hire a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines, some of the most common questions we get are around paying virtual staff. People ask about Virtual Assistant pricing, how to track their work, how to send money, when they should pay, and so on.

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How much to pay a Virtual Assistant in the Philippines

Understanding how to price a Virtual Assistant can be confusing. In fact, there are many factors that can vary the hourly rate of a Filipino Virtual Assistant, here are the three main things to consider:

  • Work arrangement: How many hours per week is your Virtual Assistant expected to be online? A regular schedule can work out to have a more cost effective hourly rate than a project-based work schedule due to the ongoing work arrangement.
  • Method of outsourcing: You can either hire a Virtual Assistant using a company like Outsourcing Angel or hire directly yourself. If you plan on hiring your own Virtual Assistant, you’ll need to consider other costs on top of the hourly rate such as health insurance, supplies (e.g software/tools), taxes and more.

Whereas, hiring through an outsourcing company like us, we cover all those things including extra safety like free placement cover and 1 week free if you’re not happy with your Virtual Assistant or in the event that they’re suddenly not available.

  • Level of skills and experience: If you require a Virtual Assistant with technical or more specialised skills and experience to carry out your tasks (e.g Web Developer) than their salary is going to be higher than an administrative or executive role (e.g Email and Calendar Manager)

Overall, when you’re deciding how much to pay a Filipino Virtual Assistant, while it’s important to keep your costs low, it’s even more important to pay enough to provide a win-win situation to keep your outsourced staff motivated and allow them to provide for their families too. This is definitely our key to a successful on-going relationship with a Virtual Assistant (which is why we look after rewards and surprises for your Virtual Assistants too!)

Landing on a pay rate for your virtual staff may feel like a balancing act. But as difficult as it might seem to find that balance, it does exist and we can land there for sure!

Virtual Assistant cost per hour

It’s important we understand what the labor market for Virtual Assistants looks like in the Philippines. There are very lenient regulations on paying freelancers and virtual staff, but a study by salary aggregation site Payscale, the average hourly rate of Virtual Assistants in the Philippines is around ₱177.35, which is roughly about $5 AUD an hour.

For comparison, the minimum wage in Australia now is roughly $20 an hour. While we don’t devalue the work of someone in our home country, sometimes, a business doesn’t have the capacity to pay that rate. Or when they do, they would rather have their local staff focus on more important tasks like strategising while a Virtual Assistant can carry out the day-to-day tasks such as administrative, graphic design, social media scheduling, calendar and email management and more.

The cost of living in the Philippines is also much lower so due to economies of scale, hiring someone in a country like the Philippines, not only saves you significant dollars, you’re also providing work opportunities and a better life for someone too.

Virtual Assistant costs in addition to salary

Have you ever heard of the phrase “You get what you pay for?” Well, that can also be the case for Virtual Assistants too.

At Outsourcing Angel, since we have a trusted pool of candidates that have to undertake a very rigorous recruitment process (learn all about how we hire our Virtual Assistants here) we must tactually try to raise the bar and pay our Virtual Assistants at a rate that keeps the most competitive talent happy.

On top of their monthly salaries, we also provide all kinds of benefits and incentives such as:

  • Health insurance: Our Virtual Assistants receive a health voucher with $2,500 for emergency health care services. This can be used at their local hospital with no need for cash outs to cover the expenses.
  • Training and workshops: Our experienced and qualified staff also hold online or in-person workshops so that we learn and grow together.
  • Online community
  • Games and monthly prizes: Our Virtual Assistants can earn ‘Angel Points’ for completing activities such as positive client testimonials, the biggest earner for the month receives a big prize as a thank you
  • Referral bonuses: When a client sends us a successful referral, we gift both the client and their Virtual Assistant a $100 referral bonus too
  • Charity and volunteer opportunities: Since we donate 10% of our company profits to charity initiatives in the Philippines. Our Virtual Assistants and Aussie staff have the opportunity to do rewarding and hands-on volunteer work.
  • Celebrations: When our Virtual Assistants celebrate a milestone such as a birthday or anniversary, we celebrate with them by sending out gifts and having virtual parties.
    Annual company trips: To bring our Aussie and Philippines Team together, we organise an annual company trip where we can get to know each other better and just relax.
  • Monthly meet-ups: Most of our Virtual Assistants located in the same area organise monthly meet-ups in-person and online so we can bond over things outside of work too.
  • Mentorship: Each week, our Virtual Assistant teams implement an organised system of check-ins to discuss any professional or personal challenges. This type of mentorship allows us to tackle issues early and swiftly.

So if you’re thinking about hiring a virtual staff member, we also encourage you to provide as much as you can (without forgetting to pay yourself first) or outsource the work to a company like Outsourcing Angel, with the systems and processes already in place to cover these additional Virtual Assistant benefits.

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How to pay a Virtual Assistant

So how do you start the process of paying a Virtual Assistant? Here are the crucial steps to take if you plan on hiring and paying a Virtual Assistant yourself:

1. Decide on your work arrangement

The first step is to determine what work arrangement you and your Virtual Assistant will have. This will help you first fix the administrative parts of your payroll workflow that have to do with payroll schedules.

It will also help you determine what your on-going costs will be like for the foreseeable future. There are generally three types of work arrangements with virtual assistants.

  • Full-time: In a full-time arrangement, you’re getting someone to work as part of your internal team 5 days per week (an average of 40 hours per week).
  • Part-time: These arrangements work well when you don’t really have a need for someone who will take on a full load yet. In this scenario, your Virtual Assistant is only working with you 1 – 5 days per week (an average of 20 hours per week)
  • Per project or per output: If you only need a Virtual Assistant to help with temporary or ad-hoc tasks, you can also get someone to work at a per project or per output basis and pay them either per hour or per output (i.e. words written, graphics created, videos produced, etc).

In per project outputs, it’s always better to pay after the work has been delivered to avoid any financial mishaps. But as time goes by and that relationship grows with your Virtual Assistant, you can start to talk about other arrangements.

2. Decide on the payment schedule

After deciding on a work arrangement, create a payment schedule such as:

  • Monthly or Bi-monthly: Most companies follow a monthly or bi-monthly payout schedule when dealing with full-time and part-time Virtual Assistants
  • After task completion: Per project Virtual Assistants are paid immediately after the work has been completed or 50% at the start and 50% after completion.

Do your best to avoid any delays on payments. Being late with payments can breed a level of dissatisfaction or distrust that might lead to higher turnover rates. On the other hand, being religious about paying staff on time will lead to happier and more motivated workers who will love and treat your business as their own.

3. Choose a payment tool to use

The next thing you’ll need to consider is what payment tool to use to transfer money. When selecting a payment tool for you to effectively pay your Virtual Assistant in the Philippines, here are some key things to consider:
Fees: Money transferring services may have additional transfer or conversion fees. Some services charge more fees than others so do your research to avoid the shock of hidden costs.

  • Ease of use: If you aren’t the techy type, user experience will matter! So finding an easy-to-use tool with tutorial videos to explain basic functions like top-up credit, sending money, checking transit information, and so on can be an important consideration.
  • Customer support: When money transfers don’t go as planned (which shouldn’t happen very often), you’ll want to have a responsive customer support channel to help you fix the arrangements ASAP.
  • Exchange rate: Different money transferring services will use different exchange rates, so check which services use published currency rates and charge a higher amount.
  • Clearing time: Some services provide same-day or even instant clearing some scenarios, while others can take a few business days.
  • Transfer limit: Transfer limits are there to protect you from fraud, but it can also be a delimiting factor, especially when you’re hiring technical and specialised Virtual Assistants on a monthly payment basis.

Popular money transferring tools to pay a Virtual Assistant

Paypal-Payment

What are some of the most popular payment tools today and what sets them apart? Here are some online money transfer tools to consider if you decide to hire and pay your own overseas Virtual Assistant.

PayPal is one of the first and most popular payment transfer tools for many virtual businesses around the globe. They’re established, trusted and credible. However, they can be known to take out bigger fees than other services.

PayPal Fees

  • $0.30 for each US transaction + 2.9% of the amount you receive from the US
  • 4.4% for each non-US transaction + a fixed fee in the form of a percentage depending on the country it will go to

Payoneer-Payment

Another popular payment sending service is Payoneer. One of the unique things about this service is that it also allows Virtual Assistants to have physical cards made so they can withdraw money from their Payoneer account without it going through a bank, which can eliminate certain fees.

Payoneer Fees

  • $2.99 for local bank transfers or $15 for USD SWIFT transfers
  • $4 or 1% of the amount you receive for USD and EUR currency transfers (fees cannot exceed $10, which is a nice ceiling to have)

Remitly-Payment

Remitly was originally a service meant more for sending personal remittances like sending money overseas, some virtual businesses have also used Remitly to send money to Virtual Assistants who work overseas. The only limitation to the service is that it charges a flat fixed rate no matter what the amount of transfer is, making it less worth it when transferring smaller amounts.

Remitly Fees

  • A fixed rate of $3.99 per transaction

Xoom-Payment

Xoom is another service that business owners use a lot is Xoom, which allows Virtual Assistants to also take the money out through a remittance center. This is a better solution for virtual staff that might not have a bank, which is still a scenario among some professionals in the Philippines.

Fees

  • Bank account transactions cost between $0 and $4.99
  • The Credit and Debit Card transaction fee is a minimum of $4.99, but could also be a bit higher, depending on the amount sent and country it is sent to.

What we use at Outsourcing Angel to pay our Virtual Assistants

Wise-Payment

At Outsourcing Angel, our go-to money transfer service is a company called Wise (previously known as Transferwise), a service that one of our Virtual Assistants actually suggested to us.

Since then, we’ve used it for many years and here’s why we love Wise:

  • Same day clearing: Ideal for fast and reliable payments
  • Lower fees: 0.5 to 1% more or less depending on the amount you send.
  • Reliable customer support: Including a chat support on weekdays filled with super helpful staff that always get the issue resolved
  • Fair exchange rate: Wise follows exchange rates published on official markets at the fair and expected price.

3. Use a time-tracking tool with your Virtual Assistant

The next thing you’ll need to do is set up a time-tracking tool to help your Virtual Assistant stay accountable and report back the work done and time put into tasks. Employees— whether virtual or non-virtual— have used time trackers, bundy clocks and biometric scanners to help monitor output and performance.

Today, there are also tools that allow companies to track their Virtual Assistant’s output remotely. Here are some tools that you can check out.

  • Time Doctor: This is a more robust tracking tool that has features like keystroke logging, screenshot and internet usage tracking features. Plans start at $5 a month.
  • Hubstaff: Owned by marketing tech company Hubspot, Hubstaff is both a time tracking tool, project management tool, and a job marketplace. Starts at $14 a month for two users, but it also has a free version.
  • Clockify: Another popular time tracking tool that costs $3.99 a month and up.

What we use at Outsourcing Angel to track work hours with our Virtual Assistants

Our go-to time tracking app in Outsourcing Angel is a service called Jibble, which provides all the features we need, including a simple time tracking solution for our Virtual Assistants where they can time in and out and enter what tasks they worked on. Here are some of the reasons why we love it.

  • Easy to use: Usability is great allowing both our HR staff and our Virtual Assistants to easily use the system
  • Great data analytics and reporting: This function gives us a better glimpse at what activities take the most time and which areas we could improve.
  • Platform integrations: Internally we chat to all our staff members using Slack and Jibble has an easy integration with this platform. This allows our Virtual Assistants to clock in and out in the same place they communicate daily.

Virtual assistant cost and payment terms: Should I Pay Hourly or Fixed Per Month?

You might be tossing up between paying your Virtual Assistant an hourly rate for a fixed salary per month.

Paying your Virtual Assistant per hour

Pros Cons
  • Only pay for the hours your Virtual Assistant has worked
  • More flexible schedule for your Virtual Assistant (e.g Starting work early to finish up early)
  • Requires more time tracking and added steps for payroll
  • Usually a higher hourly cost due to fluctuating salary per month
  • Your Virtual Assistant may decide to take up more work elsewhere if they don’t have a stable amount of work hours with you

Paying your Virtual Assistant on a fixed salary basis

Pros Cons
  • Offers more job stability and peace of mind for your Virtual Assistant as they know how much they’ll get paid every month
  • Easy payroll and tracking
  • Your Virtual Assistant is more loyal to your company and turnover is much lower
  • Usually a lower hourly cost due to job stability
  • Requires more time tracking and added steps for payroll
  • Typically salary workers also receive benefits such as health insurance, this is another motivation for your Virtual Assistant (however, a cost to you)

As you can see, there are equal amounts of pros and cons for both options, choose whichever route works better for you and your Virtual Assistant as he/she may have a personal preference too. There’s really not a one-size fits all solution.

We can look after the payroll and HR for your Virtual Assistant

If you want us to look after everything and take care of your Virtual Assistant for you so you can just focus on your tasks then it’s time to book a FREE Discovery Call with our Outsourcing Specialist, Heidi.

Let’s chat about what kind of Virtual Assistant you need and find the best solution for your business.

So there you have it! With all the steps and tools we have provided you with, it’s likely that you will be more than ready to hire a Virtual Assistant and start working with them and paying them without hassle. But if you’re saying that you want someone else to execute periodic payments for you, the best solution is to get a virtual assistant agency like Outsourcing Angel to handle staff payments.

On top of payroll, we provide all kinds of other services. We give your staff health incentives, bonuses, training, team building activities, and many more to ensure that they’re happy at work and motivated to do more for your business.

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