Virtual assistance

46 Replies

In the latest podcast @j Scott mentioned he had lunch with another investor who uses virtual assistance extensively. I'm curious if anyone else uses virtual assistance and if so how?

They can answer phones, return routine calls, schedule meetings, schedule repair people, post ads on craigslist or postlets, create flyers, write articles, prepare mailing lists, pull comps. Just a short list. Depends on what area of investing you do, they could pull credit reports, etc.

I have 2 Virtual Assistants. One is based in India and he puts in offers for me (those that can be submitted electronically). Another one is based in the Philippines and she makes phone calls, receives calls and she also puts out ads for me to sell houses.

Account Closed

How did you find these people and how much do you pay them?

What I do:

The fee for well trained VAs is $125 a week for motivated seller leads.

The VAs contact sellers of homes and landlords for rent on over 40 websites.

They talk to the sellers-landlords and see if they want to sell on terms or for cash.

they are great at getting a warm lead and they are told their boss will be calling them in 24 hours, with best time to talk.

You need to pay VAs $500 a month up front and get 5 - 7 good leads a week, 20 - 28 leads a month.

elance.com...I pay each one of them $250-$300 a month

I have a question about this. I'm looking into this for my own business. I have found some interesting folks on odesk.com that may fit our needs.

In your experience, do they provide their own telecom solution to make calls, or do you set them up with some sort of desktop VOIP agent software so that they can do outbound calls?

That's the biggest challenge I've seen so far in terms of having someone working on our behalf from outside the US.

Curious how this as worked for you...

Thanks!

Glen

@Glen Gaidos You might be able to setup a google voice number and then forward all calls to that number to one of their phones. It may also be possible with Skype.

I've heard some work for $1 to $2 per hour but the good ones with good English are more like $5 to 10 per hour. Depends what you want them to do.

Just a followup. I decided to go with 8x8 for a telecom solution. Skype is another possibility, but I think 8x8 is more robust in terms of monitoring and integrating with your own existing solution.

Hi everyone, I know this is an old post, but I'm barely trying to wrap my brain around getting a VA. I am wanting to ramp up my direct mail to 350 postcards a week (1,400/month) and 120 YL a week (500/month), and call FSBO's and for rents on websites. The bad thing is that I work a full time job and know that with this higher volume, I will more than likely miss more calls and spend time screening on top of the higher wait time they will have from a call back from me since I can only call so many on my breaks.

I use Vumber numbers for my marketing pieces. My question is, how can I forward those calls coming in to my Vumber numbers to a VA in the Philippines, have them answer or call back? Where do I forward my Vumber number to? Skype? Also, how would they be able to call the seller back and my Vumber number show up on the person's caller ID so that they know it is my company calling back?

This may be a simple question, which is probably why I haven't found anyone else answering or asking, but bear with me! Just want to make sure I know what it takes to hire a phone answering VA.

Thanks!

There's several options that are great to use. I have been using Phone.com for my virtual office number, I have both a local and a toll free number (vanity-custom). I can set up calls to be forwarded to myself, teammates, home, cell and recently I used it to forward calls to my cell phone overseas with barely any additional costs. You can set up on line any changes any time of day or call the help desk for assistance. You can even set your customer service hours to be called. I recently was referred to Ron Legrand's REI courses and he uses Patlive.com/ronlegrand I called them and they gave me a 14 day trial before switching it to the Ron Legrand program that gives more minutes for less than their regular plan. What I loved was I can have my already existing virtual phone # forwarded to my new number at Patlive.com since I already have ads out. They are already trained on REI and have sample scripts or suggestions to use for their agents answering calls for your customers. They basically prescreen and qualify both buyers and sellers. I'm in the process of signing up for an actual VA service through FreedomSoft. Amazing package for real estate investors, seasoned or beginners!

@Wendell  What do you use so that your Philippines V.A. can make and receive calls to the U.S.?

I'd recommend google voice for all of this stuff.  The suite of services that google voice provides is incredible and you can't beat the price (FREE!).

We're looking into getting a VA especially for our property management business, but some of the tasks would require them to order postcards for us, etc. How do y'all work around not having the VA have your credit card numbers?

Do you reimburse them with receipts once they purchase things for you?  Set up things with local vendors?  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

Also, for property management, we really need somebody who knows at least something about how a houses electrical, plumbing, etc work and these things may not be the same in other countries.  Any suggestions about this?

@David Briley I am here trying to find out the exact same thing you posted here two weeks ago...

@Cal C. the best ways to use a virtual assistant no matter the source, elance, upwork, etc. Is the amount of training you are willing to provide them. Some come with training for what you want to do, others need to be held by the hand till they are ready to go. Again all about training. 

@Glen Gaidos most will use their own VOIP software ,whether it's Skype, ring central, 8x8 like some poster mentioned here. It's most important to know how good of a quality their internet connection is. I tried training someone from Manila, Philippines, but her connection was horrible and had lots of outage. So internet service is first then focus on type of software for VOIP.

@David Briley have you tried setting up a Paypal account and just using the email to pay using this. It has worked for me in the past (provided the supplier accepts Paypal). Otherwise, we have a way where the VA saves the invoice and then the owner pays for it later with a reminder task.

Originally posted by @Edgar U. :

@Cal C. the best ways to use a virtual assistant no matter the source, elance, upwork, etc. Is the amount of training you are willing to provide them. Some come with training for what you want to do, others need to be held by the hand till they are ready to go. Again all about training. 

@Glen Gaidos most will use their own VOIP software ,whether it's Skype, ring central, 8x8 like some poster mentioned here. It's most important to know how good of a quality their internet connection is. I tried training someone from Manila, Philippines, but her connection was horrible and had lots of outage. So internet service is first then focus on type of software for VOIP.

@David Briley have you tried setting up a Paypal account and just using the email to pay using this. It has worked for me in the past (provided the supplier accepts Paypal). Otherwise, we have a way where the VA saves the invoice and then the owner pays for it later with a reminder task.

Exactly correct! Thank you for pointing this out, Edgar. It really depends on what your needs are, and if the VA has experience in doing what you need. If not, be prepared for lots of training. It can take a VA up to a few months to get acclimated to perform the job up to the level you need them performing at.

Reliable technology and reliability in the VA's character are essential.

@Edgar U. Thanks so much for the idea. How do you get VA's to be willing to pay for something out of pocket for you to be reimbursed later?

@David Briley sorry for the confusion, I meant, If you ask them to buy for something. Have the VA's save the item in the shopping cart then you just pay using your credit card, or have the credit card saved on file.

I just hired a VA company who said they had experienced VAs who post ads all the time, I talked to one of the top people in the VA company for an hour before I went ahead with them...I've gone through 2 "experienced" VAs who made such rookie mistakes, and this is *after* I gave them my MLS listing with all the details, and all the jpg's for them to post, mistakes such as posting my rental by agent as a for sale by owner, in the CITY of chicago not the suburbs, selected "furnished" even when the pictures show a vacant unit, listed as an apartment not a house, and with no way for anyone looking at the ad to contact me...I got the VA's time credited back, but not mine. But...there is another VA there who has been fielding the millions of emails, texts, and calls we get on the rental and asking them the initial screening questions and putting the info in a google sheets worksheet, so I can just contant the pre-qualified ones.

Good thread @Cal C.

Another vote for training, like @Edgar U. and @Carrie Anderson talked about. A helpful hint here is to record a video of your training on your computer so you can not only show your VA what you're referencing or wanting them to do but you start to build a library of training videos for future VAs. VAs love this as well because if they forget a detail they can go back to the video to quickly review instead of asking you again (or worse, guessing and getting it wrong).

I've used my VA to analyze deals, update my website and help me keeping track of accounting and balancing/verifying my bank statement against expenses each month (or at the end of the year). IMO, VAs are great for anything repetitive that you've been doing - especially if it seems like a waste of your time/ability or it's something you hate! :) Don't forget to check their work however - it's easy for mistakes to creep in.

I got my VA through Odesk (now called Upwork) and pay her about $4.50 per hour. She's based in the Phillipines. I don't use her full time and the number of hours varies each week.

Don't forget to come back to this thread and give everyone an update once you start using a VA (or decide against it).

Originally posted by @Kimberly H. :

I just hired a VA company who said they had experienced VAs who post ads all the time, I talked to one of the top people in the VA company for an hour before I went ahead with them...I've gone through 2 "experienced" VAs who made such rookie mistakes, and this is *after* I gave them my MLS listing with all the details, and all the jpg's for them to post, mistakes such as posting my rental by agent as a for sale by owner, in the CITY of chicago not the suburbs, selected "furnished" even when the pictures show a vacant unit, listed as an apartment not a house, and with no way for anyone looking at the ad to contact me...I got the VA's time credited back, but not mine. But...there is another VA there who has been fielding the millions of emails, texts, and calls we get on the rental and asking them the initial screening questions and putting the info in a google sheets worksheet, so I can just contant the pre-qualified ones.

Wow @Kimberly, I'm sorry that happened! Do you mind if I ask if it was an overseas VA/firm?

I hired a VA a couple of months ago. She is located in my state, but not local in the sense that we don't meet and she's over an hour drive. Luckily, I am not bound by giving her a minimum number of hours per week for work. Before hiring her, I envisioned her doing my marketing for selling properties (that I have under contract to sell or are listing), run comps for offers and pulling lists from the MLS for mailings, among other things. I'm finding all of this really hard to hand off to someone who has no knowledge of my market. I'm finding a lot of the things she can do, I can just send off to my cheaper VA in India. I'm curious to know whether folks on here who have virtual assistants, have been successful in using VA's to do things that require market knowledge or if those tasks should be saved for a live assistant who is local. I know there's Skype, but I definitely don't think someone can learn about a market without driving through it and seeing it with your own eyes. I could be totally wrong, but just wondering what your experiences are. Thanks!

@Beverly Buella I have my own VA that calls all my seller leads and she has ZERO market knowledge about my city and as of today 3/31/16 I will be going to 7 SELLER APPOINTMENTS this weekend! For the most part, if the person is motivated to sell, the least you will end up talking about is their local market, rather they want a solution to their problem. The great thing about your VA is that she is local like you mentioned so having market knowledge is always a plus.

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