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Cracking the Code: How to Choose the Right Virtual Assistant Agency

We get it: you’re stressed beyond belief, drowning in an inbox with 3,000 emails, double-booking yourself left and right. Welcome to the life of a small business owner, yeah? Then someone tells you to hire a VA. You have no idea what a VA is or what they can do, so you go to Google. That’s when the problems start. You’ve got about a million pages of results and countless links to click through. How on earth are you going to decide what company to go with and how do you know they’re the best answer for your problems?

Fear not, we’re here to help. This is a big decision – one we know you’re not taking lightly. So allow us to give you some insight and ease your research. We understand how confusing it is to find a company to meet all your needs (without totally breaking the bank).

Below we’ve compiled a list of competitors, and we’re prepared to give you all the answers to your questions.

Time Etc
Virtual Assist USA
Arissa India
Trusty Oak
Starting Price$1,360 – $2,000 – 40 hours/month**$310 – 10 hours/month &
a 7-day free trial
$570 – 15 hours/month🤷🏼$449 – 10 hours/month
after a trial
In Business Since20102007200820072015
US-based VAs?
US-based Corporate Team?
Can you choose your VA?🤷🏼
Core Values?🤷🏼🤷🏼
Dedicated Client Success Guide🤷🏼🤷🏼
Can unused hours roll over?🤷🏼Not with the lowest plan –
but with higher plans
Specialized Service Offerings (Tax filing, Accountants, Cold calling/Sales Calls, Phone Answering)🤷🏼
Actual Experience Required to Be HiredBachelor’s Degree only required5 years5 years🤷🏼2 years

**As of October 2020, this pricing was accurate.

I know you’re expecting me to jump in about how much better Trusty Oak is than the competitors I’ve listed out – but I’m not going to. The truth of the matter is that maybe we aren’t the perfect solution for you – maybe you don’t care where your team is located – and that’s perfectly okay! Maybe experience level doesn’t matter – as long as someone is getting the job done right (and that someone isn’t you.) The goal is to get you supported exactly how you need it.


Price is one of the main factors in your decision. Sure, a lot of times, you’re going to have to jump on a call with some salesperson to find out the cost of using their company for your needs, but if you go to that meeting with the mindframe you’re probably going to pay somewhere between $38-$50 an hour for a VA, you won’t get sticker shock (and that’s still cheaper than hiring your own employee – not just in FICA, FUTA, and SUTA, but in software, computer, phone, office furniture, the hassle of interviewing, the cost of posting a job, the policies and procedures that have to be changed, etc.)

US-based vs. Non-US based

One of the biggest barriers to entry in the Virtual Assisting industry is the fact that sometimes people care about having a US-based company when there are so many cheaper options available from all over the world. I only pulled one competitor out to compare, but more often than not, you’re going to spend less by utilizing an offshore company. Each company offers something different and fits a different set of needs – if your needs fit with utilizing an overseas team, that’s great! 

Who Chooses Your VA?

This one may not feel like such a big deal to you – after all, if you hire an agency, shouldn’t they know who will best fit your work style and needs? Absolutely! But if you’re the type of person who wants to have a say in who you bring into your team, you may want to have that option. Either course of action is perfectly fine – maybe you’re too busy, stressed, tired, or whatever your “too” is. But if you would like to be a part of the conversation, make sure you find an agency that will allow you the opportunity to do just that. I’m sure each agency does this slightly differently – whether they’re pre-matching you or you’re helping to select the VA – but whatever agency you choose should allow you the level of autonomy you’re seeking: after all, you’re the one paying for their services.

Core Values

If you’ve got your own core values for your business or you’re in the process of creating them, you know just how important they are and how important it is that any person working within your company aligns with them. The great thing about core values is they remove the element of surprise. The hard part is finding out if core values are actually used as a guiding force or if they’re just there for show. One easy way to tell is, do they mention their core values at all – whether it’s on their website, in the initial call, or in any documentation moving forward? You can tell how important core values are to someone by how prominent they are.

But why are they important?

When core values exist and are utilized as a pillar in the decision-making process of a business, suddenly the big things don’t seem so big, suddenly your team is working more cohesively (and toward the same goal), and suddenly, the fact that you may have never met someone on your team in person doesn’t mean you don’t know how they’ll act. Like I said above, the great thing about core values is they remove the element of surprise. If a company bolsters one of its core values is transparency, but along the way of learning about their services and business practices, you see multiple instances of anything except transparency, and you may choose not to utilize their services. After all, if a company won’t even stand behind these values they claim are so important, what else won’t they stand behind? 

Related: The Big List of Frequently Asked Virtual Assistant Questions, Answered

Dedicated Client Success Guide 

You’ve probably already been ‘down the rabbit hole’ of hiring your own employee versus using a VA company versus just getting on Upwork or Fiverr. One of the best choices you can make is utilizing a VA company over Upwork or Fiverr. The age-old horror stories of how a VA has ghosted someone are never very hard to find, but you’re more likely not to end up with your own to share at the next dinner party you’re invited to with a company that has a dedicated team just for you. In general, just having an agency should reduce the risk of being ghosted or having your support interrupted because there is a built-in accountability system. A lot of times, the agency is able to get in touch with the VA and find out what’s going on (and, if necessary, take corrective action.) Even if the worst-case scenario happens (a VA really does ghost you and the agency,) there will always be another VA available to step in and pick up where the last VA left off. 

Talk to us! What other VA companies have you looked into using? What are the positives they bring to the table we missed? Any negatives you care to shed light on?

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