Internet Productivity Self Improvement

I Used Three Virtual Assistant Firms and This One Won

Ryan Dube 14-12-2015

Why on Earth would anyone want to hire a virtual assistant The 5 Best Websites To Find A Virtual Assistant A virtual assistant is a real person that supports you or your business remotely from their home office. They can virtually be anywhere and the services they provide range from professional administrative, technical, personal, or... Read More ? Those are for super-rich corporate executives or entrepreneurs, right?


Not quite.

Truth is: anyone can benefit from having a personal assistant. They can wipe out all of those annoying, time-wasting tasks on your to-do list so that you can focus on the really important stuff.

That may sound wonderful, but is it really true? And is it even affordable for regular, hard-working folks like you and me?

Actually, yes. I’ll show you three services that I tested myself, and the pros and cons of each. You may realize that having your own personal assistant may be the perfect thing for your own productivity.

Testing Three Virtual Personal Assistants

Before we get to the trial, let’s talk a little bit about what a virtual personal assistant can actually help you accomplish.


When you think of the term “virtual assistant”, you probably think of AI assistants like Siri 8 Things You Probably Didn’t Realize Siri Could Do Siri has become one of the iPhone’s defining features, but for many people, it’s not always the most useful. While some of this is due to the limitations of voice recognition, the oddity of using... Read More  on the iPhone or Cortana How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More on Windows 10. These aren’t that kind of assistants.

Over the course of the last couple of months, I’ve discovered there are three levels of personal assistance (as defined in the video above). They each come with a different level of cost as well. I’ll get to those in a bit.

The three types of virtual personal assistants you can hire online are as follows:

  • Task based
  • Project based
  • Virtual employee

Virtual employees are the most expensive kind of assistant you can hire, but they’re much cheaper than actually hiring a full-time employee. You could always use a service like UassistMe or WorldWide101 (which is one of the services I tried — see below) to hire an administrative employee for your company, but you might actually be better off screening one of the many freelancers PeoplePerHour: Online Freelance Marketplace Read More looking for work at places like Upworthy or Freelancer, because it’s easier to directly screen, vet, and test out a few of them with individual projects before deciding to hire them as a full time virtual employee.


However, for smaller businesses or even individuals, the task-based and project-based virtual employees are the more affordable option, and nearly as effective to boost your productivity 3 Sure Ways to Boost Your Productivity with Google Scripts It's possible to do all kinds of really cool automations with Google Scripts, and you don't even have to create them from scratch. Boost your productivity in a big way. Read More (and your bottom line).


Choosing the three VPA (Virtual Personal Assistant) services to test was not a simple task. Between the dozen or so top VPA services to choose from, there’s a bewildering array of levels of service, pricing options, and quality.

Worldwide101 falls into the level of administrative assistant. When you sign up with WorldWide101, you’ll be contacted for a phone meeting where you can share your specific needs, and they will hand-select the personal assistant with the relevant qualities and skills.  For this level of customization, you will pay a pretty penny.



For my test, I selected the 10 hour, $390 plan. This was a good starting point to determine just how much actual work “10 hours” will be. Shortly after signing up, and after sharing what kind of assistant I was looking for, I was assigned a dedicated assistant named Heather — an experienced assistant with past experience in the financial industry.

The first assignment I sent her via email was to arrange a car repair appointment, to research and set up a plumber for some home maintenance work, and to do some article topic research for my personal blog.

Just 24 hours later, Heather emailed me back to clarify some of my specific needs, and then arranged for the car repair work, including a car rental Get the Best Mileage from 9 Online Car Rental Sites It can be an overwhelming chore trying to figure out where to rent, which vehicle to rent, and which prices are the best. Some companies are ready to shake up the car rental scene. Read More for me to use during the repair. In the same day, she had organized everything over the phone, and emailed me all the details.



It was pretty clear from the start that Heather was a real pro — experienced, organized, and very responsive. She emailed me every week to ensure she was aware of all of my needs for the week, and asked any questions to make sure she understood exactly what I wanted.

WorldWide101 provides a dashboard where you can see regular updates from your personal assistant showing how much time was “charged” on your account for each task completed.


I didn’t really like the fact that time was charged for things like the original meeting phone call, or follow-up phone calls about the weekly schedule, which I didn’t initiate, but beside that, the time Heather charged for each task was perfectly reasonable, considering the work involved.

In the couple of weeks that I used the service, Heather accomplished five tasks for me. One of those involved a fairly complex task of filtering out certain rows out of a spreadsheet with thousands of rows. Heather was capable of handling such a complex task in just over an hour – which impressed me.

The one drawback was that after five tasks, I had already reached the 10-hour limit of the $390 plan. In two weeks, my weekly budget was gone.

Worldwide101 is what I would call a “business class” service, meaning that it’s best for people who need a dedicated, skilled professional with more intensive needs than just simple tasks. These may be data analysis or spreadsheet services, blogging or blog promotion work, client calls or customer service, and similar needs. This is basically a remote administrative assistant service — and you’ll have to pay for the dedicated service.

Other competitors who seem similar to Worldwide101 (although I haven’t tested these so can’t vouch for quality) includes:

If you can afford it, purchasing a dedicated assistant plan with one of these services will provide you with a highly-qualified administrative assistant. However, if, like me, you find all of these services a tad bit overpriced, and you’re just looking for help with those smaller daily tasks that you don’t have time for, there are more affordable alternatives.

Fancy Hands

After realizing how expensive the WorldWide101 plan was, I decided to seek out more affordable plans that regular individuals might be able to afford.

After doing a bit of research of all of the other available virtual assistant services, I settled on Fancy Hands for a few important reasons.

  • American staff offer fewer raised eyebrows when it comes to making local phone calls.
  • Cost is a mere fraction of what services like Worldwide101 or TimeEtc charge.
  • A wealth of integrated technologies to request tasks from the Internet, your smartphone, or your Chrome browser.

When I saw the prices available at Fancy Hands versus the cost I’d just experienced at Worldwide101, I was blown away.


This meant that for half the cost of having a dedicated assistant doing 5-6 tasks for me, I could have a whole team of assistants at the ready to perform up to 50 tasks for me. That’s impressive.

Expecting that these cut-throat prices came at the expense of offshoring the work to Indian staff, I was further surprised to learn that Fancy Hands employs American workers Some Cool Apps You Can Use to Work as a Virtual Assistant [PC & Android] Read More . This means nothing gets lost in translation, and when they make calls for you, it appears to your local businesses and clients that you haven’t resorted to offshoring your services (which, let’s face it, many American customers are resentful about — it’s not good for business.)

Signing up for the 15 monthly request plan, I paid $49.99 and set about issuing my first task: Extracting information from my Google Analytics account about my website performance, and researching the web for popular topics for blogging.  The requests can be made via a really simple & fast form right on your Fancy Hands account dashboard.


Or, if you prefer to send over tasks while you’re on the go, you could use the Fancy Hands smartphone app [No Longer Available].


Personally, I found the technical features offered to customers by Fancy Hands to be the most appealing aspect of any service I tried. The convenience of being able to issue task requests no matter where I am, far surpasses any other service, which typically only offers either website or email requests.

There’s even a Chrome add-on that lets you submit requests right from your web browser, with a single click on the Fancy Hands icon. I mean, how cool is that?


Integration with your favorite online services doesn’t stop there. Fancy Hands has capitalized on convenience. You’ll find integration with Google Calendar, social apps, email, Evernote and even Trello. This, to me, is the biggest selling point of Fancy Hands.


So, what was my actual experience with Fancy Hands like? One word: mediocre.

When I submitted my first few tasks, it took over twenty hours to get any sort of response whatsoever. It was only after I Tweeted about my experience and the staff seemed to realize that I was working on a review about the service, that I finally received very rapid service.

With that said, the service I experienced over the next couple of weeks with Fancy Hands was pretty impressive. Some of the tasks I issued to the folks at Fancy Hands through the various browser, website and mobile apps included things like:

  • Helping me extract data from Google Analytics into a spreadsheet
  • Provide me with a list of 10 most popular smart home topics on the web
  • Call and order home heating fuel from a local oil company
  • Research popular conspiracy theory topics on the web
  • Log into my Twitter account and share out articles from my website

I was informed that the first task (extracting Google Analytics data) was too advanced for the staff at Fancy Hands. This told me that this kind of task-based service is limited to simple things — like setting appointments, posting Twitter or Facebook posts, web research and things like that.

I found the web research performed the two times I requested, to be very superficial compared to what Heather did for me at Worldwide101. Heather provided links to forum threads where people were discussing very, very specific topics. While I received a few of those from the Fancy Hands assistant named Johny, out of the 10 I requested there were 4 or 5 that were just very general topic suggestions like “home security” or “home theaters”. Not very helpful.


On the other hand, Fancy Hands assistant “Lila” performed research for conspiracy related topics for me with just about the same depth and thoroughness as Heather from WorldWide101 had done. So, clearly in the case of a multi-assistant task-based service like this, the quality you’ll see with your requests depend on the assistant who picks up your request.

Other examples: Fancy Hands assistant “Tiffany” handled my request to order home fuel oil delivery promptly and professionally. The oil came the next week right on time, and she followed my instructions to have them call me for credit card details. Likewise, an assistant named Angela performed my request to Tweet website posts very promptly, and her Tweets were really well written — in fact, better than anything I’ve ever posted myself, to be honest.

So, while “mediocre” sounds negative, it’s not when you consider the price you’ll be paying. For barely $50 a month, you can send 15 requests a month. For nearly $150, you can send 50. That’s a LOT of tasks — phone calls you don’t have to make, web research you don’t have to do, and even shopping research and comparisons that could save you a lot of time this holiday season.

That $150 could buy you the time you need to focus on building your business or spending time with your family – and can you really place a price on that?

Other task-related services How To Become Super-Productive By Outsourcing Your Day-To-Day Tasks Get more done in a day. By learning what you can outsource, plus a few 'best practice' tips for delegating your day-to-day chores, you too can become super-productive. Read More that are competitors for Fancy Hands include all of the following, which are in the same general price range:

TaskRabbit and DailyPA actually have very unique pricing plans, where you don’t sign up for a monthly plan, but instead pay for specific tasks as they are done.

Regardless, all of these task-based services are way more affordable than the dedicated PA solutions, but you will need to trade off personal, dedicated 1-on-1 service for the convenience and speed that a team-based, task-centered service offers.


One of the things I wanted to be sure to do as part of this review process was to actually try out one of the many India-based services out there. I was wary to use one because of communication problems I’ve had with similar companies through the years, but one service in particular — Habiliss — had such high reviews online that I just had to give it a shot.

I’m glad I did, because I was pleasantly surprised. First, the moment you arrive on the website, you’ll see a live chat pop-up offering to chat.


I thought this was probably just an automated bot, so I tried entering into a conversation, asking about the services offered and the location of the workers. “Sandra” was very helpful, giving me a rundown of the kind of tasks I could ask for using Habiliss, and admitted that all workers were located in India, but that they were all quite fluent in English.

I signed up for the 20 task plan, which cost $35 a month — i.e. $1.75 per task. This is roughly half the rate of the Fancy Hands service.

With Habiliss, there are no mobile apps, Chrome plugins, or cool integrations with other online services you may use. Basically you can phone or email your tasks into the service, or you can fill out the quick online form on your Habiliss dashboard.


I found this to be less convenient, especially after using the Fancy Hands service, but I went ahead and sent in my first request — asking the assistants to provide me with a list of the top 10 best rated free services for scheduling Tweets. My plan was to eventually use one of the services to have the assistants schedule out Tweets for me.

I submitted the request just before the weekend, so didn’t hear anything until Monday. This is to be expected, as most PA services don’t typically work on the weekends. On Monday, I received an email from an assistant named Pinky Nehra, with the research I had requested.

habiliss3The document contained an impressively researched list of 10 great free Tweet scheduling services 6 Free Ways to Schedule Tweets Using Twitter is really about the here and now. You find an interesting article, a cool picture, an awesome video, or maybe you just want to share something you’ve just realized or thought of. Either... Read More . I was really surprised to see sources quoted at the bottom. This was also followed with sourced online surveys of the most highly recommended Tweet scheduling services.

habiliss4This was definitely above-and-beyond what I had expected. Other tasks that I submitted to the Habiliss service included:

  • Popular conspiracy-related topics being discussed on the Internet
  • A list of the top-rated Tweet scheduling services
  • A breakdown of movie showtimes for the movie “Hunger Games” at three local theaters.

The second and third tasks were completed well beyond expectations. The second task — providing a list of popular conspiracy topics — just came back as a list of random links to conspiracy website discussions. There was no description included of the topic being discussed, and in some cases the discussion that was linked was very random and meaningless.

Again, with a service like this where you’re submitting to a team of assistants, it seems that the quality of task work depends greatly on the assistant who picks up the task. That’s the price to pay for not having a dedicated assistant. Then again, the cost savings is so significant that this really is a small price to pay.

Habiliss shows you a breakdown of requested tasks as well as the total limit of tasks per your purchased plan. This is available on your dashboard, just above the request form.


The experience with Habiliss was similar to Fancy Hands in that I would rate it — mediocre.

I did not have them call any local businesses for me because, again, I was concerned that local folks would wonder why someone from India is calling them as a representative for someone local. This is a difficult cultural limitation to get through, but if you live in a location where no one would blink an eye if your personal assistant has a foreign accent, then this may not be an issue for you.

Overall, I found Habiliss to be extremely useful for small tasks that I need to get done and don’t have time for – particularly web research, shopping, social network tasks, website promotion and things like that. They are very professional and accurate, and they are faster to respond to your task requests than any other service I tried — even the most expensive ones.

Deciding On a VPA for Me

Choosing a virtual private assistant isn’t an easy task. Even the task-based services I tested above offer a dedicated virtual assistant option. However, that option is no less expensive than the high-priced services like Worldwide101 reviewed at the start of this article.

So which will I go with?

After experiencing all of these services first hand, I really can’t get over the convenience of the integrated services Fancy Hands offers. However, after doing a bit of research about the company, I discovered a large number of former disgruntled workers posting comments on a VPA review site called

One former worker posting under the name “JB” wrote:

“As a FH ‘assistant’ I am sorry you wasted your time and money. The managers are idiots and the assistants are clueless. Not the assistants fault though, because when we ask management for help (SCOTT and Mandy) they refuse to provide helpful information aside from judgmental times. Also, I have seen WAAAAY too much personal information from various clients. As a virtual assistant I cringe when I think of other UNTRAINED (training is a manual that is out dated) VA’s who also see this information.”

This concerned me a great deal. While I wanted an affordable VPA service, I did not want to support a place that is horrible to their workers, and where there could be serious privacy concerns.

I spoke with Fancy Hands CEO Joshua Boltuch and asked him specifically about “Scott” — why was there no “Scott” listed on their staff page. Joshua didn’t provide any details, but simply answered:

“Scott was formerly an Assistant Operations Manager and is no longer with the company.”

Good news! But on my other question — how Fancy Hands can compete with the low prices of foreign competitors — Joshua was a bit more verbose. Joshua explained:

[Fancy Hands assistants] decide when and where they log on, how long or short they work for, and how many requests they complete. On average, assistants are making nearly $11 per hour.

Our most popular plan by far is our basic plan where up to 20 minutes’ of work (one request) costs $6, which adds up to a rate of $18/hour. As I’m sure you have probably seen, not all requests take the full 20 min to complete[…]. Conversely, when there is a larger request that will take more than 20 min to complete, we use more than one request from the customer, and of course the assistant is paid more for completing that request.

We are able to offer our customers some of the most competitive prices for U.S. based virtual assistants, while providing quality work for thousands of Americans, because of the technology platform we have built. Without giving away our secret sauce, we do a lot before the request ever gets to the marketplace, including recognizing and categorizing the request, automating parts of it, and/or providing helpful suggestions on how best to complete it. We also segment the marketplace in order to route the request most efficiently to the best group(s) of assistants.

This all made sense — even though individual tasks with Fancy Hands are not very expensive, they represent 20 minutes worth of work. Multiply by three, and you do get a decent hourly rate.  However, the last part of Joshua’s answer regarding “the marketplace” caused me a bit of concern. In fact, Joshua’s description about the marketplace made me realize that I shouldn’t be including account information along with any of my requests — requests go out to a “marketplace” of potential assistants!

“Fancy Hands assistants are independent contractors, and as such have access to a marketplace of customer requests to choose from. They are fully able to read through the request and know exactly how much they will be paid before making the decision, in their sole discretion, to claim the request and complete the work.”

So that’s the rub when you opt to save money by going for a “team” VPA approach rather than a dedicated one. You’re not only getting a different VPA every time — someone who knows little to nothing about you or your business – but it’s also a new random person you’re trusting with some very personal, sensitive information at times.

With that said, the Fancy Hands technology is the balancing factor, and a very tempting one at that. There are simply no other virtual assistant services out there that integrate with all of your favorite online services as well as Fancy Hands.


In fact, Joshua explained that the next step for the company is what he called an “Enterprise API” to allow businesses to tap into the assistant service with a program or app.

Enterprise APIs that allow businesses to tap into our technology platform and build customized solutions for their businesses. We are seeing rapid growth with businesses large and small taking advantage of us opening up the platform via these APIs.

Are these useful enough features to overlook the privacy concerns? For me, it is — I will likely continue using Fancy Hands moving forward, but with each request will remind myself that what I write in that text box will be viewed potentially by a large number of random strangers.

What VPA Would You Choose?

Which kind of service is up your alley?

Are you looking for a dedicated, highly-organized executive assistant who can perform more complex tasks for you, or would you like the convenience of having a team of assistants ready to do those small, menial tasks so that you can get on with the important matters of your day?

Picking a virtual assistant

Bottom line is that you get what you pay for. If you have a business or are an entrepreneur and can afford a dedicated assistant for $300 to $1000 a month, a virtual assistant is actually very effective (based on my experience with Heather). On the other hand, if you can only afford $40 to $100 a month, you can still have the help of a personal assistant, but you need to be willing to accept a few drawbacks, like the privacy concerns and not having a dedicated person for every task.

Either way, using someone to call on to make appointments or do some web research at a moment’s notice is really, really nice. And if you’re like me, and every second of the day has a dollar value attached to it, then signing up for one of these services will let you be more focused and productive by letting other people worry about the minor things, while you tackle the big ones.

If you’d rather help someone else for cash, check out the best TaskRabbit jobs The 10 Best TaskRabbit Jobs to Make Money or Free Up Time Don't have any specialized skills? You can still make money as a TaskRabbit Tasker and also help people free up their time.  Read More you can take now.

Image Credit: Business Man via Gustavo Frazao (Shutterstock)

Explore more about: Freelance, Longform Feature, Time Management, Virtual Assistant.

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  1. Smith
    July 22, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    Using WERVAS for a long time - 2 Years running. Best team! Good to see them here.

  2. Robert
    February 25, 2019 at 8:32 pm

    Great article! My experience has been great, I hired my VA from Uassist.ME . My assistant does all of my administrative tasks, and she also handles my social media, schedules my meetings, etc.

  3. Alex Tatlor
    February 13, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    You could use a service like Remplo to hire a virtual assistant for your company.

  4. Odo A
    August 8, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I used Fancyhands for over a year. The poor quality of service you received before complaining of social media is typical. It only got worsd over time. I had to cancel. I am now looking for an alternative, even pay more for consistency.

  5. Lane
    July 31, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I’ve been using 5-6 virtual assistants on a daily basis for over 2 years now and overall I have been quite happy with the service Remplo provides.

  6. Gonzalo
    April 30, 2018 at 6:00 pm

    Hi, i would like to know, is it possible to include another Virtual Assistant Provider? i know a company call Virtual Assistant Today and has an excellent price and service.

  7. Michael Kong
    January 4, 2018 at 1:00 am

    I just signed up with Habiliss' new year offer at just half the price and got a dedicated assistant assigned to me. The guy does a brilliant job by managing my emails, schedules, appointments and my calendar so effectively. So I have more free time for myself now and I can delegate my daily tasks to my VA and concentrate on more creative aspects of my life.

  8. L.L.
    June 25, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I wish to correct a few things with "FancyHands". First, as a long-time assistant with the company for over 3 years, I have seen my share of tasks. The marketplace is somewhat like
    "Ebay's" list. there is a long list of available tasks on a board with a "first line" heading.
    And there is no information noted until I choose to take the task. At this point, I am now your assistant, and I have access to the task information. Then when completing the task, It is sent to a manager for inspection. If everything meets the requirements of FH then the task is sent back to the client and I am off to another task. At no time is your information in compromised. And the assistants are screened regularly and background checked.
    Additionally, before the task ever reaches the Task Queue, it is screened and checked to see that it meets the requirements (no personal information such as [creditcard, bank account, private] information is sent. If you need to send that information to your assistant you can do that after your task has been picked up for work and you are comfortable to give that over to your assistant. As an assistant, I can say that rarely is this information ever needed, most of the time I can have the client send that information directly to the other party involved without me needing to be involved.

    As for the pay, it is great for the work done, and as for the managers, there is a steep learning curve and many assistants get overwhelmed leading to frustration on the assistants part.
    The key is NOT to pick up tasks that are not in your "wheel house". Example: I am very comfortable working with graphics, audio, and video tasks. so I try and grab every task related to this. Other assistants have very hard time working on these tasks and so they don't take them.] I do not like blog, Twitter, and other social media tasks, so I skip over them.

  9. Dustin Paola
    April 5, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    I think (an Indian company) could do better than what FH and other did. I have used them twice for different small projects and got good results. worth trying.

  10. Josh
    January 17, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Just signed up for Habiliss after my free trial.
    Great response times and really great results for the two tasks I have set so far (not perfect, but very impressive considering how quickly it was done) and flexible and affordable plans, especially considering you get a dedicated assistant. So far so good!

  11. Bianca
    October 10, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    I have signed up for the dedicated assistant service from Habiliss. One thing, I am not occupied with petty operation issues anymore. But the important thing is, this has given me more time to read up on things I like! They definitely do help take a load off your back, lets you work on things that matter most.

  12. Farrha Hyman
    September 15, 2016 at 3:04 am

    This was very helpful, thank you.

    September 7, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    Hi Ryan Dube,
    Indeed a great list of virtual assist companies.

    I hired a virtual ecommerce assistant from Acelerartech for the listing of my products on Amazon. She really did a great job. I think you should include this company in your list of VAs. This company offers a free trial and money back guarantee. I would like you to give it a shot.


  14. suze
    August 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Great post! The fact that you were speaking from experience was the factor that made me want to read it. I am looking to hire one , so you're reviews were really insightful! Since I am looking for something low budget, I feel that Habiliss is the one for me. Your praise with regards to its professionalism, quick and accurate response in addition to the good reviews i found online and the fact that it is one of the high ranked companies based in India is really encouraging and so i am ready to overlook the cultural limitations which i think wont amount to much.

  15. Monica
    August 22, 2016 at 5:10 am

    Wow, am so glad I found this article, I am looking to see if I need to change my VA (currently with Habiliss for last few yrs and pretty content) - but wanted to check if anything better has come up newly in the market. Looks like I will stick to Habiliss for the kind of tasks that I delegate esp internet based research and social media, email management, and some personal tasks too. I do not have much small tasks as you have recommended fancy hands for. I definitely cant survive with a dedicated assistant such as one Habiliss provides. Btw, they do have voice / accent trained professionals who help out in calling clients / prospects, I have used them for that too and been comfortable with it. In fact, they maintain my business CRM and are actively involved in my lead generation process.

  16. Stephanie
    July 8, 2016 at 5:52 pm


    I just wanted to take a moment to clear up the question about pay. Joshua is completely wrong about assistants making $11 plus dollars an hour at Fancy Hands. Those "20 minute" tasks always amount to more than that. I just started work with them yesterday. The managers give the assistants too much trouble, and the system is broken. I had two tasks taken away from me for which I had finished and received excellent feedback from the clients. After 8 hours of work with Fancy Hands, I made less than $3.00 an hour. I don't think I will be working there anymore.

  17. Heather
    July 8, 2016 at 5:11 am

    I wouldn't recommend Fancy Hands to anyone, considering their treatment of the employees and the ACTUAL pay received. Check out the reviews from their assistants on Glassdoor. They are expected to handle massive tasks in those 20 minutes -- rarely does the task get approved for more time as it might "upset" the client and discourage future use of the service. This means these US based assistants, some incredibly educated or with an amazing background, end up making $2.50/hour. This is why their turnover is so massive -- their company is a mess organizationally, client confidentiality is clearly not of utmost importance, and they pay their employees sweatshop wages. I refuse to support a company who does this. To top it all off, their assistants know this, so you'll usually be getting minimum work for that minimum pay. Go with a higher paying service -- you'll get what you pay for.

  18. Rosie
    June 21, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Thank you! just the information I need today.

  19. Charlene
    May 6, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Very comprehensive and handy article, just what I was looking for on time. I totally agree with your review on Habiliss (thats the only one I have used), they are on-time for delivery, sometimes ahead of the deadline and surprise me! Also, the quality of work is very good, in fact if you choose the right expert to do the right kind of task, its consistent. I have a dedicated assistant at Habiliss, so I guess this person knows me too well by now and makes sure my tasks are done to my expectations (probably they give to the expert internally for specific tasks). Anyways, I am looking for something in the US now (ur right dont want clients to wonder why someones calling from India!), but looks like I will stick to Habiliss after reading your writeup, wise enough to get more professional work done at merely half the cost. About the local calls, I think they have some VAs here too to work that out, I will check it out and update on how they perform, I am now confident though!

    • Ryan Dube
      May 6, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      Thank you Charlene. Yes, there are SO many virtual PAs to choose from. If you do go with a firm from India, just based on my experiences with Habiliss you can't go wrong. I based my choice to review them on reviews from past customers - they are one of the higher ranked companies based in India. You will definitely get slightly better service and communication from a U.S. based firm, but it'll definitely cost a little more. You have to balance what's more important to you.

  20. Earl
    December 16, 2015 at 5:51 am

    This was an awesome article, and by far one of the best that i have read on Make Use Of this month.
    I attended a conference recently where they 'sprung' a sales pitch from one of the speakers on us about using Virtual Assistants. I hated the idea about off-shoring the service.
    But after reading this I'm begining to change my mind.
    Thankyou for a great, solid and comprehensive review.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 6, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Hey Earl - definitely. Off shore companies will end up costing less and there will inevitably communication and quality issues (possibly), but those companies seem to be working very, very hard to improve those issues all the time. They work very hard and really believe in their business - so if cost is important to you it's a good way to go.

  21. Cat
    December 15, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Compliments on the quality of the article. Hugely informative and most helpful, thank you.
    I've been on the Mailing List for MUO for yonks (years) now and just recently noticed a distinct improvement in Long Form posts. I'm going to have to start noting authors names!
    In this instance, thank you Ryan!
    (Also read your Twitter piece too - interesting!)

  22. JM Bonthous
    December 15, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    Great article
    But why would you tweet and disclose the name of the company that you are testing it while you are doing it
    This invalidates everything you find out about their performance after they find out that you are reviewing them
    As you acknowledge they read your tweet and they must have assigned to you at that time, since you were not an ordinary client, their only good assistant ... Or for all I know the founder himself may have performed these assistant services herself in order to get a good review

    • Ryan Dube
      December 15, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      No you're absolutely right. I have an old habit of complaining about companies on Twitter, and maybe slipped up there. With that said, service wasn't really what set this one ahead - Habiliss replied to requests just as fast, but I just couldn't overcome the cultural limitations.

      Also, in all fairness, Heather and WorldWide101 knew from the start of my role with MakeUseOf, so it's not like Fancy Hands really had an unfair advantage or anything. The deciding factor here really came down more to the technology and the efficiency of making requests (and lower costs), as opposed to level of service.

  23. Sandra
    December 14, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Ryan, this is awesome! Thanks so much for including Worldwide101 - and it's so great to hear your praise of Heather’s work! Your description of Worldwide101’s premium service is spot on. It’s definitely geared towards businesses and founders who need dedicated, highly skilled professionals with more complex requirements, and who are looking for a long-term solution. Thanks again.

  24. Kris
    December 14, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I wouldn't call it click baitey at all! It is a thorough explanation about what you will get in the article.

    Interesting take on these 3, @Ryan. Thanks!

  25. Ryan Dube
    December 14, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    But I actually used three of them and one actually won! Clickbait is bait that doesn't deliver. If this article didn't deliver on the title in some way, I'd be interested to know how.

  26. Anonymous
    December 14, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Wow, is the title clickbaity enough? Or could a virtual assistant have helped in making it more clickbaity?