8 best virtual assistant companies to get work done
Most new business owners will find themselves with a handful of random tasks on their to-do lists. While too minor to merit a full-time position, these tasks usually fall between the cracks. They might be delegated to team members with free time, or the startup's founders might try to squeeze them in at the end of the day.
These are the types of tasks perfect for a virtual assistant—simple, sporadic, but still essential to your business process and project management.
Virtual assistants, or VAs, are a type of independent contractor. While typically hired for administrative services and clerical work, some VAs also offer specialized services like bookkeeping, copywriting, or web design.
This guide reviews everything you need to know about hiring a VA and how to find the best one for your startup's needs. It also includes a list of the top VA companies to help you get started.
Why you should hire a virtual assistant
A virtual assistant can do almost anything a traditional staff member does, but from a completely remote location. They can schedule appointments, arrange travel plans, prepare reports, or even order coffee for Monday morning meetings.
Thanks to online connectivity and platforms, such as Zoom, Slack, or Asana, VAs have become a viable way to complete important yet time-consuming tasks. While most VAs work as freelancers on a per-project basis, others can be a dedicated virtual assistant for a particular company over a longer span of time.
There are many benefits to contracting a VA for your startup. Even if you can do everything yourself, you may end up exhausted and unable to tend to more important matters.
Spending time on routine tasks (e.g., storing files, answering support questions) has been shown to waste as much as 70% of the average CEO’s time. By hiring a VA, you’ll be free to put your skills and work hours to better use. Not only does it save you from having to hire and train a full-time employee, but this remote work environment has also been proven to increase work productivity and overall satisfaction.
While you can probably find a VA for almost anything you want to outsource, some tasks naturally lend themselves to this mode of work. Below are the most common types of virtual assistant services in the market:
Since most files and systems are already online, most administrative work can easily be done from any location. Common tasks include data entry, email management, calendar management, and other administrative support duties.
Customer service and support are the primary assignments for VAs. Most initial customer interaction is based on protocol and can easily be administered using a manual. Anything outside a VA’s scope can be assigned to a company employee.
If you need any writing, graphic design, or other creative work performed, this is ideal for remote work. Unless central to your company services, it may be more practical to contract VA freelancers to fulfill occasional creative services. You can also outsource for specific needs, such as image sourcing, video editing, or blog uploading. Improving your website’s SEO to improve your Google rankings might fall under this category (MyTasker is one service that specializes in this).
While it’s best not to hire a VA to do accounting or tax filing, they can help with small finance tasks. A VA can help track expenses and oversee budgets, which can make it easier for more important accounting during tax season.
Social media management
Social media has become a crucial part of any business, whether it’s LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or another platform. However, it can also be an extra task that doesn’t fall into any current department, especially if your company is just starting out. Many VAs offer social media, ecommerce support, and digital marketing services, including creating content, scheduling posts, managing campaigns, or even engaging with followers.
Research is a time-consuming job that can be done by someone who’s not a full-time employee. With the right instructions, a VA will be able to gather and analyze data or trends and provide any requested research to help inform your operations.
You can even hire a VA to help with things in your personal life. This may be beneficial for founders who are just realizing how much time and effort goes into growing a business. Personal assistants can easily organize schedules, book out-of-town weekend trips, arrange cleaning or maintenance services, or purchase gifts.
These days, there are many virtual assistant companies with different industry specialties and pricing structures. We’ve rounded up a few of the best ones to help you get started hiring your first VA.
Prialto focuses primarily on providing virtual administrative assistants to industry executives. Based in Portland, Oregon, Prialto’s executive assistants are specifically trained to work for business owners, high-growth startups, and professionals in the sales, service, and real estate industry. Prices are noted by month, starting at $1,200 for at least 55 hours of support from a dedicated productivity assistant. For another viable, U.S.-based virtual assistant company, check out Time etc.
MyOutDesk, or MOD Virtual, allows businesses to scale by contracting their specialty VA services. Catering to real estate, mortgage and lending, technology, human resources, and healthcare, the company has operated for over 10 years and serviced over 5,000 clients. Furthermore, they administer an FBI-grade background check on all their VAs and DISC personality matching to guarantee the best VA-to-business fit.
A MOD Virtual plan is about $874 for basic services, and a MOD Plus plan is approximately $998, which includes talent onboarding and an online customer portal. Once your startup has significantly scaled in size, MOD Enterprise can be customized to a company’s specific needs.
One of the most popular VA providers, WoodBows claims to hire only the top 1% of all VA applicants. It also boasts a 98% return customer rate and even offers a 200% money-back guarantee. The company offers a range of remote services, from basic VA duties to more complex software and mobile app development. With VAs based in the United States, India, and the Philippines, WoodBows’ services start at an hourly rate of $8.99 (or $25 for US-based VAs).
Virtual Assistant Talent
With an A+ rating and accreditation by the Better Business Bureau, Virtual Assistant Talent has provided VAs to different industries since 2009. They’ve developed a unique Attendance Monitoring and Screen Capture Program, which conducts daily check-ins to ensure VAs work according to the client’s schedule. They also provide a VA Replacement Guarantee, which will replace any VA below your expectations at no additional charge.
Virtual Assistant Talent offers several plans for non-technical and technical VAs, starting at $8.20 an hour for non-technicals VA, or $11.20 an hour for technical VAs. There’s also a $99 one-time set-up fee, which covers the time-tracking software and monitoring services.
Belay offers three main business services: virtual assistance, virtual bookkeeping, and Wordpress maintenance. Focusing on these strong suits, Belay has become one of the top VA companies since it began in 2010. The company also provides an assigned relationship manager to streamline its client services. Belay doesn’t list any prices online, but you can reach out for a quote.
24/7 Virtual Assistant
If you need to delegate a range of tasks to outsourcing services, 24/7 Virtual Assistant can help with word processing, data mining, mailing list developing, and recruiting. You can even contract its VAs to provide live support through phone, chat, or message boards. 24/7 divides its pricing according to USA plans, starting at $359 for 20 hours a month, and offshore plans, starting at $299 for 30 hours a month.
Based in the UK, Virtalent was created for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Its VAs have an average of 15 years of experience, with many having worked for notable companies, such as BBC, Nike, and IBM. Virtalent offers four plans: Entrepreneur, Small Business, Executive, and Ultimate. Prices for the starting Entrepreneur plan begin at $333 (£260) per month for 10 hours, with any unused hours rolling over to the next month.
In 2015, Magic started rising in popularity after being backed by seed accelerator Y Combinator. It has since built an on-demand, text-based service that connects users with a team of skilled human assistants. Available 24/7, 365 days a year from any time zone, Magic enables you to pay by the minute. Handling everything from booking doctor’s appointments to ordering house supplies, the app charges 50 cents per minute and sends you a bill at the end of the week.
Virtual assistant reality
Using a VA has a number of benefits for those who have recently started their own business, including saving valuable time and effort. Out-of-office work has also proven to be a solid option for employees, which helps explain VA’s remarkable industry growth.
With so many VA companies offering a low barrier to entry and no commitment to try, using VAs in everyday business life is becoming increasingly popular. If you’re constantly bogged down with small tasks, putting together an event, or have a sudden onslaught of work, a VA can help get the job done.