Overpaying for Virtual Assistants? How Direct Hiring Can Save Your Budget

Marina Svitlyk
Talent Acquisition Manager, RemotelyTalents


Have you noticed how more and more US businesses are hiring Virtual Assistants (VAs) these days? It’s a smart move – VAs can do a lot, from managing emails to handling social media, all from miles away.

But here's something you might not know: many companies are actually overpaying for these services.


Because they hire through offshore recruiting agencies that charge huge markups, sometimes up to 150%. It's a big extra cost that many don't even realize they're paying.

Let's take a closer look at why this is happening and how hiring VAs directly could be a much better deal for your business.

The Cost of Middle-Men in VA Hiring

A lot of businesses choose offshore recruiting agencies for hiring Virtual Assistants (VAs). These agencies seem like a good deal because they say they'll take care of finding and managing the VAs for you. But, there's often a hidden cost that gets overlooked.

Here's the thing: when you hire a VA through these agencies, you're not just paying for the VA's work. The agencies often hike up the price, adding anywhere from a 50% to 150% markup on what the VA should normally earn.

These agencies sometimes justify the high markups by claiming they provide specialized training to VAs based on your needs. But, more often than not, this "training" is just a quick, basic rundown – nothing that justifies such a steep price increase.

The downside?

The VAs get only a slice of what you're actually paying. This can lead to less motivation and a lack of drive to go above and beyond in their work. You end up in a situation where you're shelling out more money but potentially getting lower quality service and commitment in return.

In short, the extra costs involved in hiring VAs through middle-men don't just hit your wallet. They can also impact how effective and efficient the support you're receiving really is.

The Direct Hiring Advantage

Switching gears from the traditional method, let's talk about direct hiring of Virtual Assistants (VAs). This approach is pretty straightforward: you bypass the recruiting agencies and hire VAs directly. And it comes with some significant benefits.

First off, cost savings. When you remove the middle-man, you're cutting out those hefty markups. This means you can either save that extra cash or use it to pay your VA a higher salary. And speaking of higher salaries, this is where another big advantage comes in. When VAs are paid better directly by you, their motivation and performance can see a real boost. They're likely to be more committed, knowing they're valued and fairly compensated for their efforts.

Then there's the aspect of building a relationship. Direct hiring fosters a closer, more transparent connection with your VA. You're not just another client on an agency's list; you're their direct employer. This can lead to better communication, trust, and understanding between you and your VA. It's a more personal approach, and in the world of remote work, that personal touch can make a big difference in how smoothly and effectively things run.

In essence, direct hiring not only potentially saves you money but also can improve the quality of the work you receive and strengthen the working relationship.

Overcoming Challenges of Direct Hiring

Direct hiring of Virtual Assistants (VAs) is a smart move, but it comes with its own set of challenges. Let's break down these hurdles and explore how you can smoothly navigate them.

Finding the Right Talent: The foremost challenge in direct hiring is locating a VA who is not just skilled but also aligns with your business's ethos and work style. It's crucial to have a clear understanding of your needs and expectations. To streamline this process, consider partnering with a remote talent recruiting agency like RemotelyTalents. They specialize in matching businesses with top-tier remote professionals. With their expertise, you can find the perfect VA while still enjoying the benefits of direct hiring.

Managing International Payments: Dealing with cross-border payments can be complex, involving currency exchanges and international banking regulations. Utilize established online payment platforms like PayPal, Wise, or Payoneer to simplify these transactions. These platforms offer secure, efficient, and user-friendly options to ensure your VA is paid promptly and without unnecessary fees.

Navigating Tax Compliance (W-8BEN Forms): Understanding tax obligations for international hires can be daunting. The W-8BEN form, required for non-U.S. workers, is a case in point. To ensure you're handling these correctly, it's wise to seek guidance from experienced agencies, offering expertise in tax compliance and paperwork associated with international hiring.

In summary, while direct hiring has its challenges, they are not insurmountable. With the right approach and resources, such as leveraging the expertise of agencies like RemotelyTalents, you can successfully navigate these obstacles and build a strong, international remote team.


As we’ve explored, the traditional route of hiring Virtual Assistants (VAs) through offshore agencies comes with hidden costs and limitations. It's time for business owners to rethink their VA hiring strategies. Direct hiring not only offers a more cost-effective approach but also paves the way for a fairer, more equitable work environment for the VAs themselves.

By choosing direct hiring, you're not just saving on unnecessary agency markups; you're also empowering the VAs with better compensation and a more personal connection to your business. This approach fosters a sense of value and respect, which can translate into higher motivation, better performance, and a stronger commitment to your company's success.

Remember, while direct hiring might seem daunting at first, the challenges are manageable with the right resources and guidance. Agencies like RemotelyTalents can support you in this transition, ensuring a smooth and successful shift to a more direct, transparent, and efficient hiring process.

Read some success stories of how US based companies have hired virtual assistants through us:

Marina Svitlyk
Talent Acquisition Manager, RemotelyTalents

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