Virtual Assistant vs Dedicated Assistant

20 Replies

 I was wondering if any of you have a virtual assistant and have had moderate level of success? What type of tasks does your assistant do for you on a daily basis?

Medium jcrp logoJames Park MBA, Johns Creek Realty Partners LLC | [email protected] | 678‑865‑6250 | http://www.johnscreekrealtypartners.com | GA Agent # Broker 344981, CA Agent # Broker 01894781, GA Lender # NMLS 157229

I have worked with many VA's, and ultimately I'd rather pay someone local 3-4 times more money to do the same tasks.

At first I blamed myself, but even after laying out very specific instructions, the VA would stray from those. I would say "Fill in address, name, phone number and email address". And I have had so many that would simply not do any of these, or do one of them and go on to the next. Even after addressing they would not get it right. This is just one example, but I had this over and over so many times that what is the point of saving $10/hour when you are paying someone $3/hour to do the same thing 4 times?

Just IMHO.

Medium logo 5545John Horner, Core Developments LLC | [email protected] | 614‑664‑3174 | http://johnbuyshousesohio.com/

I think there are a few things that often get overlooked when people first hire a VA:

1. Recognizing that your business - even if it's just you - has a brand and culture. And the person you bring into your business doesn't need to be like you, but they need to jive with what you believe.

2. If you want someone long-term that will help you build your business, you have to foster a relationship that is conducive to that.

For some situations in the past, I've used one-off VA's for data entry to tasks that can be accomplished remotely. As my business is growing, I've grown more attracted to finding someone to work for me part/full-time as an assistant that helps mold my internal processes with me. I think the majority of the work would be something a one-off VA could do, but with some added "office manager" related duties.

As far as which tasks they'll do: it depends. I want someone else doing things that hinder me from focusing on what brings the most value to my business. Even though I know a great deal about SEM and SEO, it's better for me to outsource that work. Same goes with data entry, some writing, and working in a CRM. Things like faxing and mailing letters drive me crazy as well. 

Also keep in mind that a VA is a business owner like you. Very few are only dedicated to one company/person. So you're only getting a part of their attention. I would suggest if you wanted to hire and assistant and location isn't important, hire an assistant who happens to work remotely but is dedicated to you. VAs are inexpensive by comparison, but they're not dedicated to you but for a certain amount of hours per month and if a more important client has an urgent need, you'll be bumped down. They'll say this isn't true but it does happen.

Invest in a dedicated assistant. Hope this helps.

I forgot to add check out Elance or AssistU if you're looking specifically for a VA.

@James Park We got lucky, we have a VA that is an architect, an engineer and one LLB (equivalent to paralegal in US). The major setback is controlling the time, the way you keep them dedicated is give them more time. We only choose a VA that has 0-1 company, making our company #2 at max, we let them know we have a minimum of 15 hours a week. So far, they have been good, it took us 2 weeks to train them for our system, but after that, we just let them do their work and not really micro manage, they are good at that. We are very picky with who we work with, so on our ad, we let them know. Be as specific as you can and describe what you want them to do.

I have been through this many times.

I have found a company specifically focused on the commercial real estate industry I have started to use with good results so far.

The other VA's in another county are unstable due to political and climate issues. The local ones as well as overseas as mentioned load up accounts. They will be hot on your project and then you have to bug the crap out of them to do anything. I have learned to get professionals to do things for me fast and at a high level. It isn't cheap but when I negotiate it down some the gap isn't as wide and it's worth it.

If I hire someone full time I have to pay futa, fica, workmen's comp, possibly match health insurance etc. Once you bake in all of those costs it makes sense not to go that way for me right now.

Medium allworldrealtyJoel Owens, All World Realty | [email protected] | 678‑779‑2798 | http://www.AWcommercial.com | Podcast Guest on Show #47

I have two people that I worked with. I have had to learn to be flexible with what I can "demand" and get on a schedule on the other hand they are GREAT.

I truly the key is to figure out your buttons and to be flexible.

The other thing I have found is the market! The local market that I love is stay at home mom/wifes, who have great backgrounds but are transient. Those are my target, because if your willing to be flexible you can get amazon people!.

Good points from @Joel Owens . For quite a while, I have been considering an outsourced VA that can work 7-6 (3 hour break) for me, but instead of having them work at their vacant schedule, they work for full time. That way they can fix their hours and all that. I would say 1,000/month would be sufficient, the candidate needs to have a college degree and can quickly adopt. With that rate of their graveyard shift, they should be greatly motivated and you should get a qualified individual good for $20/hour normal pay here.

@Joel Owens , might you be willing to share which VA company you use? It's great that you've found someone that has a focus in the real estate sector. Would love it if you could share here or via private message. Thanks in advance!

I am with @John Horner

Tried and failed numerous times with VA's.

Plus, I don't have time to go over to the Philippines and train them for a couple of weeks to get it right haha

There are plenty of college kids here in town looking for a few extra bucks anyway so as John mentioned the pay difference isn't that much higher and you get someone live.

Thanks

Medium list n sell logo designEngelo Rumora, List'n Sell Realty | [email protected] | 419 740 6999 | https://agentscomefirst.com/ | Podcast Guest on Show #89

Originally posted by @Engelo Rumora :

I am with @John Horner

Tried and failed numerous times with VA's.

Plus, I don't have time to go over to the Philippines and train them for a couple of weeks to get it right haha

There are plenty of college kids here in town looking for a few extra bucks anyway so as John mentioned the pay difference isn't that much higher and you get someone live.

Thanks

Haha, I do have to agree, I like live workers, only that, architects and engineers here cost $40/hour and I am paying $6. But if it is just for admin tasks, its best to get it someone from a college/university, plus, you help them with their bills, so that's a plus also.

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The decision to hire someone to help you with routine tasks is an excellent one. Whether help comes from an employee or contractor is not necessarily the main point.  The vision you hold in your mind about the things you want accomplished can only be conveyed to another person through clear, written instructions.  It also helps to ask questions to check for understanding and mutual agreement. 

Assistants, virtual or inhouse perform their work based on direction from the owner of the business. The business owner is the leader and sets the tone and standards expected from the people in the company.  When looking to work with contractors, speak with the owner when possible and listen carefully. You can make a good decision for your business by sticking to your clearly defined goals.  

Goal setting is not difficult and it works for short term, long term and immediate goals. You can get exactly what you want providing you know what you want. 

Virtual Assistants have a great effect for some simply based on the overhead. Many real estate professionals are always on the go, some work from their home office, etc. This allows the use of a go-to assistant without the overhead. There are both U.S. based options and overseas options, depending on how you want your business represented and the type of tasks your assigning, they can be useful. If you're considering an actual member of your team, consider who you're hiring!

We use VAs heavily in our business and has worked very well for us.  However it really isn't something to go about loosely and takes planning and preparation to get long term success out of it like almost anything else.  We have six VAs with an average lifespan so far of just about two years working with us, a couple longer.  

It's about relationships with a team member and not just someone doing tasks.  Most people, virtual or not eventually lose momentum when their focus is just doing tasks vs being part of something bigger than themselves.  People are people no matter where they are.  And like anything else, it usually takes some effort to find the good ones.  There is no shortage of VAs offering services that they really aren't qualified for but again, we see that locally as well.  

Have an amazing day!

Frank

I need assistance with SEO web development and social media presence, and I also need a VA for pre-screening calls to potential motivated sellers.

My question is for those of you experienced with VA's - would you recommend two separate VA's or do you think one service can do both tasks?

I was a VA. I've worked to some US Real estate investors before, they trained me what to do as the business was so new to me until I worked to a Canadian Brokerage. Those experience as a Real Estate Virtual assistant has helped me a lot.. In my US real estate investors client, they taught me these flipping and rehabbing, buy and sell or rent it out.. In my Canadian brokerage employer, I've learned more about handling customers well, follow up, book a viewing, keep track on buyers and sellers leads. I applied those what I've learned from them and getting more interested about the real estate market. I tried to engage in real estate industry in my country, stopped my Virtual assistant job, and I enjoyed my real estate marketing, until then I earned my commissions and start real estate investing!! Not all VA's are the same with whom you worked with. It depends on how dedicated your VA to their job and how willing are they to learn more about your business by heart. =)

Originally posted by @Richard Rinehart :

I need assistance with SEO web development and social media presence, and I also need a VA for pre-screening calls to potential motivated sellers.

My question is for those of you experienced with VA's - would you recommend two separate VA's or do you think one service can do both tasks?

To avail one VA for 2 service, I find it less effective. It could be better to hire two different VAs to do those separate tasks so each of them can be focused on their respective tasks. The SEO Web development once done to his job, you can stop the contract and rehire that VA if you need him in the future.

What phone service would you recommend so that a Philippines V.A. can answer and make phone calls?