Payment Options Virtual Staff

How Do I Pay My Filipino Virtual Assistant?

10/07/ 2015   |   USource  |   Outsourcing

A comprehensive guide to payment rates, options and methods when you outsource work to digital staff located in the Philippines.

Filipino virtual assistants are gaining a reputation of excellence worldwide. They speak English, aim to please with a dedicated work ethic and a warm sense of humour, and are well-versed in Western culture. The BPO industry keeps growing in this country. More and more businesses, small and large-scale, are catching up to the value for money when they choose to outsource to Filipino freelancers.


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Chris Ducker’s guide mentioned an unbelievably low rate of $250, or roughly 10,000 in Philippine peso. That’s a whole month’s salary for a full-time virtual assistant. But that’s in the past. A distant past. Today, demand and skills have both skyrocketed. So has the Filipino VA’s rate, though still comparatively cheap.

You know what you want and need your VA to do. You have a plan, a layout of taskflow. Now you want to factor your salary budget. Here’s our own definitive guide.

What’s the average rate for Filipino virtual assistants? How much do I pay?

Upwork (formerly oDesk) set the standards recently when it made $3 the minimum hourly rate for all freelancers. Before this, entry-level (beginners) data entry positions were snapped up for as little as $1.50 per hour.

Considering inflation, the current entry level rate is very low at $3.33 per hour. This is a VA you’ll have to train and supervise, or whose tasks doesn’t require expertise and experience.

For a veteran virtual assistant with years of experience, technical know-how and a well-rounded skill set, the “average” rate is $5 to $10.

Fixed rates. Some writers and graphic designers prefer charging a fixed price for every project, depending on the word count and complexity of the task. Average rates: $20 to $50 for a short blog post or a graphic.

How do I make my payment to my Filipino virtual assistant?

Payment methods and options depend entirely on you and your virtual assistant. You want the smallest fees and the least hassle in transferring and receiving the money.

Remit straight to their local bank. You need your freelancer’s bank code, bank name and bank account number. Inquire with your own bank, or sign up with various money transfer services. Australia has plenty because outsourcing is popular there and some Filipino expats have established money transfer as a business, like iRemit. Other options are Currency Online and Paymate.

Paypal. Widely used in the Philippines. The money is instantly transferred to your virtual assistant’s own PayPal account. They can use this instantly, or withdraw it to their own bank accounts. This takes 2-5 banking days. Fees depend on the location (cheapest from the US) and the transaction–lower for ‘personal’ transactions, or the ‘business’ mass payment method if you have to pay more than 2-3 freelancers.

“Payment for services or goods” removes a 5% chunk on your VA’s money after you transfer funds, and many are not fond of that.

Paypal Alternatives

Skrill Formerly Moneybookers. Great if you’re based in Western Europe.

Payoneer pretty much with the same rates as PayPal, with the added functionality of a Mastercard debit/ATM card, which your virtual assistant can instantly use, either to withdraw funds via ATM or as payment on point-of-sale/purchase. Look out for annual fees and withdrawal fees.

Payza Similar to Payoneer, but with a Visa debit/ATM card.

Through payment terms with the agency or the platform. Upwork, Elance, Freelancer, USource, Zirtual, Fancy Hands and many other freelancer hubs have payment terms and options you can easily fund with your credit card.

Freelancer protection has been improved greatly over the years. Upwork now has an escrow to guarantee payment for fixed price projects. Hourly jobs are automatically billed, but a history of forgotten or abandoned payments happen for fixed price jobs. These are now ‘funded’ as soon as the contract starts. Payment happens when you release or approve the ‘milestone’ upon your freelancer’s completion of the task.

When do I pay my virtual assistant?

If you’re on a fixed rate project, pay as soon as the project is completed. Approve the milestone.

(Should you withhold payment in case you want the task edited/redone? No. Redoing the work until you’re happy is an unspoken part of every contract.)

For monthly salaries, the staggered pay for the 15th and 30th of the month is not necessary. Many freelancers are happy with a salary at the end of the month.

At Upwork, even when funds are ready, freelancers often withdraw at fixed times as a form of discipline, to accumulate funds, and to reduce or completely do away with the fees. Paypal has no fees for withdrawals of more than Php7000, while Upwork has a $0.99 withdrawal fee regardless of amount. That dollar seems big when subtracted from $20, but it’s nothing when removed from $200.

Extras for Your Virtual Assistant: Internet, equipment, health benefits…

Do I pay for their internet connection and their equipment? That’s entirely up to you. Many freelancers consider these essential investments for their career and gladly upgrade their subscription and tech when funds allow.

Granted, “when funds allow” have different definitions for every freelancer. Many are the sole breadwinners in their family, and always allocate money for the family first and foremost.

What about bonuses? Again, entirely up to you. Filipino virtual assistants will love you and brag about you if you remember their birthdays and, of course, Christmas.