Disadvantages of Outsourcing to Offshore Virtual Assistants

As an onshore Virtual Assistant and small business owner, I feel obligated to inform small business owners about the disadvantages of outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants (VAs).

When you choose to outsource offshore, you are going to encounter virtual assistants who are not familiar with our culture and language. Although, they speak English, generally, it is not their first language. This causes language barriers, communication gaps, and lack of understanding. Is the frustration worth the money you save? Keep in mind, offshore VAs’ cost of living is much lower than ours. They can afford to work for less money. If you choose to outsource confidential personal data offshore, it may not be protected. Firms in India currently are not equally subject to any extensive legislative or regulatory data-protection controls.

Offshore VAs work for an outsourcing firm and are not business owners. They do not have a vested interest in your business other than getting more projects. Most of us, onshore virtual assistants, are business owners; therefore, we understand the operations of a small business, as well as what is required to develop it. Our goals are to establish an ongoing business relationship with you in order to help you reach your goals. We want you to succeed in your business. Erin Blaskie of Business Services, ETC stated in her blog, “These companies are working day and night going through a wide variety of tasks just to get them back out the door. They aren’t spending the time to strategize and become a partner in your business. They are simply providing cheap labor.”

Another disadvantage is offshore virtual assistants can’t operate without access to the Internet. Last week on January 31, 2008, India had an Internet outage due to snapped cables in the Mediterranean Ocean. You can read the entire article here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,326988,00.html. Onshore virtual assistants’ Internet providers are their phone companies, cable companies or satellite providers. We are not at the mercy of a cable under the ocean.

There are several disadvantages to offshore outsourcing, including drastic differences in time zones. The one main advantage to outsourcing to offshore virtual assistants is saving money. The old adage is true. “You get what you pay for.”

Rita J. Cartwright, Owner
RJ’s Word Processing Services
Your Business Success Is Our Success


9 Responses to Disadvantages of Outsourcing to Offshore Virtual Assistants

  1. lbelan says:


    This is an excellent article on the topic of outsourcing overseas! I totally agree you get what you pay for. I’m actually writing a post on my blog on the same subject.

    The bidding “wars” going on at the job sites such as eLance, oDesk, and such are getting pretty ridiculous. I saw just yesterday someone from India bidding $2 per hour for a project! I can’t imagine it’s worth my time and effort to work for peanuts.

    Linda Belan
    Virtual Executive Assistant
    Your Outsource Solutions

  2. merryjhey says:

    Yes, I would agree! Though I’m a virtual assistant in an outsourcing company but make it sure to find the right one for you, make sure that your VA has the right skills and software to complete those tasks.

    Some Things to Consider When Hiring a VA:

    1. Find out what software they have available and what skills they have. Again, people can be trained, if they are willing. You can also purchase software for your assistants. You may find this more cost effective than paying a new assistant a higher rate to use the same software.

    2. Find out if they expect payment in advance of service or after service has been delivered. I prefer the latter as I have lost a bit of money by doing the former.

    3. Ask about how they like to be paid. Can you use a credit card, PayPal or check?

    4. Ask about how they like to communicate with their clients. If you are a person who likes to discuss things via telephone, make sure they are willing to spend time on the phone with you. If you prefer to communicate through email, ensure they are comfortable with that. If you are going to use a project management system (I recommend TasksPro), ensure they are okay with working that way. Communication is going to be your biggest asset in working together, so ensure you have good communication.

    5. Find out how they track their hours and how they ensure you’re aware that projects are completed. If you use a project management system, you can automate this process.

    6. Make sure they are willing to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before starting work for you. This means they will keep all the information about your business and the work they do for you, confidential.

    7. Some VA’s will give you a price break if you keep them on retainer for a certain amount of hours each month. You may want to ask about that.

    8. But before you jump in, you may want to “test out” a VA by offering him or her a small project to start and see how well you work together.

    9. Ask for and check references.

    10. Whether a VA has a certification or not probably doesn’t matter. There are a number of valuable VA organizations that certify and train virtual assistants. I have worked with VA’s who are certified and mostly with VA’s who are not certified. I don’t find it makes a difference in their work.

    Hope this will make sense.

    Source: http://theinternetmarketinglibrary.com/article/6265.html

  3. egb1 says:

    Nice article.

  4. tspd says:

    I would not totally agree with your opinion but yes, there are some flaws when you decide to outsource off-shore VAs. Philippines, for instance, is one of the most eyed countries for the possibility of putting up an outsourcing company because of its low cost of labor. The fact of the matter is that we Filipinos are very efficient, highly skilled and is globally competetive even though English is not our native language. I would just like to point out that it is not all the time a disadvantage getting a Virtual Assistant offshore.

  5. Offshore company…

    […]Disadvantages of Outsourcing to Offshore Virtual Assistants « RJ’s Virtual Assistant Services[…]…

  6. I would say that there are some disadvantages in outsourcing virtual assistant. However, there are also different online tools and resources that can help you run your business effectively and efficiently. Another is thrust and communication is the key to offshore virtual employees. In my opinion location is not a problem as long as you done you work with quality. If you’re looking to hire virtual assistant that doesn’t spend you too much cost you can try to hire in the Philippines which are very competent virtual assistant. A Philippines virtual assistant usually cost $4 per hour. Another is English is one of the universal languages of the Philippines so it won’t be hard for you to communicate with them. Filipinos are excellent workers and great work ethics. Feel free to check this blog for more information; http://www.staff.com/blog/hiring-a-virtual-assistant/

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