A Virtual Assistant (VA) is someone who works remotely from their client, often from a home office or an office building, and works as an outsourced contractor that handles tasks assigned to them. Clients can assign tasks to their VA that save them time in their personal or work life.
The best virtual assistant companies provide an account manager to help you find a VA on its staff that matches your work style, personality, and, of course, the tasks you need accomplished. These companies have learned over the years that their clients want seasoned VAs with college degrees, not someone trying to land their first job. Finally, the top providers offer affordable and flexible pricing models. Read on to find a VA service that appeals to you.
Best Overall : Time etc
For a competitive pricing model, unused hours that roll over, a broad offering of skills, and thought-leadership from the executive team, Time etc wins our best overall slot.
Assistants average 12 years' experience
Major clients include Google and Facebook
Free trial available
Companion mobile app
Geared toward an ongoing relationship rather than one-off task needs
Time etc’s wide scope of services and languages, price plan flexibility, and U.S.-based VAs with an average of 12 years' experience make them tough to beat in the U.S. market.
Started by Barnaby Lashbrooke in 2007, Time etc hires its VAs based on high standards designed by Penni Pike, Sir Richard Branson’s former personal assistant of 30 years. The company has earned exceptional reviews on all fronts (Glassdoor, Trustpilot, etc.).
Their services include administration, data input, research, social media, and marketing to name a few. The VAs are college-educated, U.S.-based, native English speakers, though you can find many who have fluency in other languages if that’s what you need.
Time etc provides a step-by-step guide that will help you decide which tasks to hand off to VAs. Their pricing model is a monthly package of hours ranging from 10 to 60, and unused hours roll over to the next month. The larger the package you buy, the lower the hourly rate you pay. You can assign unlimited tasks within your hourly plan, and you can even share your hours with someone else on your team.
- 10 hours per month for $270 ($27 per hour)
- 20 hours per month for $520 ($26 per hour)
- 40 hours per month for $1,000 ($25 per hour)
- 60 hours per month for $1,440 ($24 per hour)
Time etc’s customer manager will propose a list of VAs you can interview, so you’re in control of the selection. The norm is to work with that one primary VA for the long term, but you are able to switch at any time and even bring on additional VAs to fill specific talent needs.
They will perform your first task for free, no credit card required, to get a feel for how it works. When you hire them, you’ll have the protection of a 100% guarantee.
Best for Solopreneurs : Prialto
Prialto covers the foundations of a small business, offering sales, operations, and administrative services, making them ideal for solopreneurs.
Provides sales, operations, and admin services
No charge to client for VA software training
Expertise in many of the most widely used software programs
Membership starts at $1,200 per month
VAs do not work on federal holidays
Prialto has honed its best practices over the years to offer a complete administration package for the solopreneur who wants to focus on their core business, rather than get bogged down in administrative tasks.
Founded by Eric Taussig and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Prialto understands the fusion of talent and technology with a global staff from Asia and Central America. The company specializes in providing solopreneurs with VAs trained in many of the most popular software programs you’re probably using, such as Hubspot, Salesforce, Mailchimp, and Asana.
Prialto’s pricing plans are member-driven:
- Yourself: 55 hours of monthly support, month-to-month agreement, $1,200 per month
- Your Team: Three+ members, 165+ hours per month, $3,600 per month
- Your Organization: Eight+ members, 440+ hours per month, pricing to be quoted
If the VA is not familiar with the software you're using, Prialto’s team will train them on it at no cost to the customer. Known for its expertise in assisting growing businesses as needs change, your VA will develop with your business and learn your preferences. Backup assistants are available to ensure your success.
While there is no formal money-back guarantee, Prialto will work with you on any setbacks. Prialto’s security features include a backup assistant, a quality assurance manager, and comprehensive information security.
Best for Small Businesses : Upwork
Small businesses often have a minimal structure in place to handle the wide variety of skills demanded of them. That’s where Upwork shines. As our top choice for small businesses, Upwork has a huge marketplace where you can hire peer-reviewed assistants to perform as-needed tasks with no monthly contracts.
Wide range of skills available
International workers available
Pricing is assistant specific
Availability may be an issue
Quality can be erratic if the assistant is unverified
Showcasing the broadest offering of skills, price flexibility in the buyer’s control, and a public rating system for each VA, small business owners look to Upwork first for their short-term tasks.
Elance and oDesk merged in 2013 and then rebranded as Upwork in 2015. Upwork now boasts of over 10 million users. The Upwork marketplace provides services from design and animation to video and audio services, software and website development, marketing, and many other categories.
Upwork’s pricing is by project or hourly depending on which freelancer you hire and what is negotiated for payment. The best feature on the site is the 360-degree rating system, which allows both the VAs and their clients to rate each other and leave comments.
VAs are based globally so virtually all languages are available. CEO Hayden Brown’s focus is on having Upwork VAs build relationships with clients to earn repeat business. The downside compared to other companies on our list is that there is no manager overseeing the quality or timeliness of the job. If a VA can’t complete the work in time, or tried but didn’t meet your standards, it’s on you to find their replacement.
For financial security, payments are held in escrow until the work is completed. With funds in escrow, the VA can see the funds committed to the job are real, and the client has the relief of knowing that the payment won’t be released until the work is approved.
Best for On-Demand Tasks : Fancy Hands
Fancy Hands provides businesses with the best in on-demand, single tasks that last a maximum of 20 minutes. You can work with a different VA every time or choose a long-term relationship; both options give you administrative control, usage tracking, with pay-as-you-go pricing.
Available for personal as well as professional assistance
Pride themselves on being the fastest responders in the industry
Leverage Fancy Hands’ size to benefit from discounts
Longer projects may be costly because they will use up several of your 20-minute task credits
Client does not automatically receive the same VA twice
Fancy Hands, our pick for the best provider of on-demand tasks in the VA industry, has built their business around responsive communication and fast service for short tasks with flexible pricing.
Founded in 2010 by Ted Roden, Fancy Hands offers virtual assistants for both personal and professional needs. Pricing for Fancy Hands is based on the number of requests required rather than an hourly paid assistant.
- Small: Three requests per month, $17.99 per month
- Medium: Five requests per month, $29.99 per month
- Large: 15 requests per month, $74.99 per month
- XL: 30 requests per month, $149.99 per month
Tasks are assigned based on availability so it’s unlikely you’ll work with the same VA twice in a row unless you negotiate for a dedicated assistant. As a standout feature that competitors don’t offer, Fancy Hands can integrate into your Asana and Trello accounts. This enables you to assign tasks in those programs and follow their progress.
There is no formal guarantee for work performed, but the company will work with you to a fair resolution.
Best for Specialized VAs : Belay
With an acceptance rate lower than Harvard’s, Belay hires world-class assistants specializing in bookkeeping, social media strategy, website design, and general virtual assistance.
Strives to find you the best VA nationwide
INC. 5000-listed six years in a row
Long-term relationship with the same person
Prices tend to start at $34 per hour
Pricing isn’t published; need to complete an online form to get a callback for quote
Belay prides itself on providing its clients with a seasoned, U.S.-based, college-educated VA, not only offering generalists, but also people who are experts at bookkeeping, social media, and web design.
Founded by Bryan and Shannon Miles in 2010, Belay now has over 1,200 remote workforce team members. The company provides its clients with a specialized personal assistant that is overseen by a relationship manager to ensure success.
Pricing is done on a quote basis linked to the experience of the VA, however, the structure is based on 10 hours per week moving up in increments of five hours. You need to complete the company’s brief online form to get a call back to discuss needs and pricing.
The company is a U.S.-based firm but offers services in a variety of languages. If Belay doesn’t have a VA that knows your specific software, the company will train the VA at no cost to you. Your client success consultant will schedule interviews for you to meet your candidates and ask questions. The company commits itself to finding you an ideal match that you’ll be pleased with.
Best for Rush Projects : Magic
Magic puts college-educated virtual assistants at your fingertips, with 24/7 availability and productivity and quality assurance software that prevents missed deadlines, making them our clear winner for rush projects.
Finds you a VA in 48 hours
Flat rate of $10 an hour
No contracts for repeat use
Price increase if dedicated service is needed
Magic started as a text-based concierge service that began in 2015 and has since grown into the best provider for rush-job services in the VA industry. The company focuses on providing weekly support, billing at $35 per hour.
VAs are based in the U.S. and provide services solely in English. The company provides 24/7 support and signup is free so that you can start right away.
- Dedicated: $10 per hour, unmanaged
- Consumer: $35 per hour, managed, for personal use
- Business: $2,000 per month, comes with an account manager to help manage your VAs at Magic
Like other virtual assistant companies we’ve reviewed, Magic will match you with a dedicated assistant that has the skills you need and uses the tools of your choice. If you use Trello, Magic can integrate with you for even more efficiency.
The Consumer hourly plan gives you two levels of management to ensure quality, 24/7 attention, and works with the Magic mobile app and web app. The business plan is a great fit for small businesses ready to scale. It comes with an account manager that will make sure Magic adapts to your growing needs.
There is no money-back guarantee, but Magic will work with you to make sure your challenges are resolved fairly.
Best Service Guarantee : Wood Bows
Wood Bows' commitment to quality includes a promise that if you are not satisfied, they will double the hours you paid for and have an expert take over your tasks. This is the best service guarantee we found from any virtual personal assistant company.
Excellent service guarantee
98% client retention
If you are unsatisfied with a task, Wood Bows will give you double the hours back for free
Rates vary with quality and location
The entry-level monthly plan requires a two-month minimum commitment
Wood Bows is a market leader in the VA industry, with 98 out of every 100 clients returning, no hidden fees, more than 300 positive online reviews, and almost 20 service excellence awards. These strong attributes, along with their 200% satisfaction guarantee, make Wood Bows the strongest service guarantee in the industry.
The company started in 2015 and now has offices in the Philippines, India, and the U.S. In addition to generalized virtual assistance, the company specializes in real estate, graphics and web design, digital marketing, customer support, app development, software development, content writing, and data entry.
Beginning with a free personal interview, they then make an offer for the best plan for your needs. Within 24 hours of your enrollment, they promise to have a VA on the phone speaking with you.
Wood Bows has four pricing plans and four payment plans, including monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, and annually.
The semi-annual pricing plans are:
- $191.60 per month for 20 hours
- $341.50 per month for 40 hours
- $583.20 per month for 80 hours
- $1,066.50 per month for 160 hours
Wood Bows VAs are based overseas, speak fluent English, and have at least 10 years of experience in their field. Offering 200% refunds is not the practice of a company in the habit of making mistakes.
Virtual personal assistants can handle your personal and work tasks in order to free up your time to focus on things that are more important to you. There are virtual assistant companies headquartered in the U.S. that are staffed entirely with U.S.-based VAs, and others that draw from the talent pool in every other continent except Antarctica.
While each company offers well-qualified VAs, the choice will ultimately be dependent on your needs. For short-term projects and tasks, take a look at Magic, Fancy Hands, and Upwork. If you prefer a long-term relationship with a single VA, Time etc and Wood Bows offer well-qualified VAs at competitive and flexible price plans.
|Virtual Assistant Company||Why We Chose It||Key Benefits|
|Time etc||Best Overall||Low entry price; hours rollover; unlimited tasks within the hourly plan you choose; U.S.-based assistant|
|Prialto||Best for Solopreneurs||Scales easily; internal quality assurance; trained back-up assistants|
|Upwork||Best for Small Businesses||Wide range of skills and services offered by contractors with visible performance ratings and pricing to fit even the smallest budget|
|Fancy Hands||Best for On-Demand Task||Text a one-off task to get it done, or schedule repeat requests|
|Belay||Best for Specialized VAs||Deep expertise in virtual assistants, bookkeepers, website specialists, and social media strategists|
|Magic||Best for Rush Projects||Starts on your task within minutes; 24/7 access to your team of assistants; order a task by text|
|Wood Bows||Best Service Guarantee||200% satisfaction guarantee|
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Virtual Personal Assistants Do?
Virtual personal assistants do almost anything you want them to do, from purely administrative tasks all the way to website design, social media management, and booking your rental car. A virtual personal assistant is able to provide the same assistance you’d expect from an in-person executive assistant you would hire in the traditional manner, but quite often, a VA can actually offer more because they may bring more skills to the table. What any individual VA does for clients can vary tremendously, depending on their individual skillset and expertise.
How Do You Choose the Right Virtual Personal Assistant Services?
If you’re starting to look at the many VA service companies out there, always take the time to actually speak to a representative. Talk to them about the sorts of tasks you want to offload to a VA to make sure that the service has assistants who can help you. Ask how the company guarantees its work, and if unused time rolls over into the following month.
Other things to consider are how much time you’re going to need on a monthly basis, the availability of the service’s assistants in terms of your time zone and your business hours, and your budget.
How Much Should You Pay for Virtual Personal Assistant Services?
Some services base your fee on the type of work required, with simple administrative tasks costing less than tasks like website design. Other services charge a flat fee, no matter what the work is. There are companies that focus only on administrative tasks and get their support from India and Asia. The hourly range you should look for if these are the type of services you want is around $6 to $10 per hour.
For a long-term, U.S.-based, college-educated personal virtual assistant who has five or more years of experience, prices range from $26 to $45 per hour. Many companies will offer you a discount if you pay for hours upfront or annually instead of monthly. Always check with the service to make sure that any unused paid hours roll over to subsequent months.
Are Virtual Personal Assistants Worth It?
Absolutely. Stop and think about how much time you spend on tasks that aren’t helping you grow your business. Every minute you spend scheduling meetings and juggling email and social media is time you aren’t generating revenue. Delegating tasks that are preventing you from working on high-level strategy and business planning is costing you money. An assistant is not a luxury, it’s nearly essential.
Using a VA gives you the same quality and quantity of work as a direct hire without the associated taxes and health insurance issues. Plus, you don’t have to provide office space or any office equipment.
How We Chose the Best Virtual Personal Assistant Services
We investigated 14 virtual personal assistant companies in order to find these best seven. The companies that made it to our list mostly touted college-educated professionals who live in the U.S. A few were headquartered here but relied on talent from other areas of the world. In any case, they emphasized responsiveness, flexibility, and expertise in using a broad range of software to best integrate into how you like to work.
We also preferred companies that proved to us that they had measures baked into their process to ensure success, and some even have formal money-back guarantees. Personal virtual assistants today can offer so much more than managing your calendar and email inbox. Finally, we considered cost and sought companies that had reasonable pricing structures.