I see a lot of VAs in different forums who get deeply upset by other VAs who offer lower rates. It is but unfortunate for us overseas VAs that we cannot put up a higher rate because clients “expect” these rates that are offered to us as adequate compensation. Some outsourcing coaches advise that $2 per hour is what you just need to pay a reliable, English proficient virtual assistant in the Philippines.
I stand firm in my belief that we are a race worth more than that.
Just a quick run-through of my basic expenses monthly:
Php 7500 – Apartment rent (approximately $180/month)
Php 1500 – Internet & phone bill (approximately (approximately $35/month)
Php 3000 – Electricity (approximately $72/month)
Php 12000 – approximately $287
So if a client hires a Filipino VA for $2 per hour for full time work, that VA will just earn $320 monthly. The amount I’ve listed above doesn’t even include other basic expenses like food, transportation, education and other expenses.
If you are a client who thinks that rate is adequate to meet Filipinos daily needs, kindly think again.
But what is adequate?
According to Merriam Webster, adequate means sufficient for a specific requirement. Would $2 per hour or a total of $320 per month be sufficient to live off comfortably in the Philippines?
Does living in a third-world country mean that we should just earn a quarter of what our VA counterparts from the US earn?
I’m not angry at what other VAs earn. In fact, I’m envious. Given the same skill set, they earn more than I do and I can obviously do the same tasks, that other VAs can. It’s just unfortunate that I cannot earn the same rate as they can.
Outsourcing to the Philippines has been one of the secret weapons of a lot of online business entrepreneurs employ nowadays. While I am extremely overjoyed with this aspect that we get a lot of jobs here, I frown upon the the rate they’ve been wanting to pay the Filipinos. Offering $2 per hour for a virtual assistant job here in the Philippines just won’t cut it. Why?
For one, the current conversion rate is low. Well, it’s a sign that our economy in the Philippines is picking up. It used to be $1 = Php48 last year but now it has reached to $1 = Php42 now. Yes, we earn dollars but we incur a lot of charges with Paypal and bank transaction fees and what’s left of our wages is not really “adequate” to simply put it.
Frankly, I earn a lot more than that when I was working in the call center industry. I even get benefits, bonuses, paid leaves and 13th month pay. Clients should know that we don’t get those while we work at home as contractors and as such, we have to put aside money to pay them ourselves.
Clients want experts. If you want experts, or at least people knowledgeable and competent to do the job done, make sure you pay more. Not everyone has the skills or the know-how on Internet Marketing or Social Media Marketing. If you’re willing to train Filipinos at your expense, no problem with the $2 per hour. But don’t expect knowledgeable people to go for that rate. Heck, I started out as a VA for 100 pesos per hour (approximately $2.38) with no prior VA experience.
Just an advice to my fellow Filipino VAs, know you’re worth. Don’t settle for a rate below your skill set. You’ll get frustrated in the long run for accepting work that you will eventually feel exploited.
To clients, I completely understand your reasons for outsourcing your tasks here in the Philippines. We thank you for seeing the value of our hard work, skills and capabilities. However, keep in mind that we work our a$$es off to provide you great service… and if you really want to keep your Filipino VAs satisfied, raise the rates… because $2 per hour just won’t cut it.