Frequently Asked Questions

About Affordable Staff

How Long Have Affordable Staff Been Outsourcing?

Affordable Staff have been providing Virtual Assistant services from the Philippines for over 10 years. Our recruitment and management processes have been finely tuned over this time so that we can offer our clients the best possible outsourcing experience.

How Many Employees Does Affordable Staff Have?

Affordable Staff has account management and operational team members in Australia, who manage sales, account management and accounts.

In its Philippines operations, as of October 2023, Affordable Staff currently have over 700 team members, with most of this team assigned to clients as Virtual Assistants.

We also have a robust network of support team members in the Philippines, such as Team Leaders, HR, IT Support and Coaching Support staff.

What Are Your Company's Values?

Affordable Staffs company values are called the ‘5Be’s’:

BE With Integrity

BE Respectful

BE Reliable

BE Solutions Focused 

BE Inspiring

We celebrate and reward team members who live and breathe these values in our quarterly BeStar awards.

Why Do You Work With The Philippines?

Outsourcing companies make up the largest private industry within the Philippines and employ close to 1.5 million people across the country.

There are several reasons why the Philippines is favoured as a country of choice to outsource too. Some of these include:

  • English proficiency is very high – With most people learning English from a young age in school.
  • Lower cost of living – Meaning that salaries are lower than Australia and therefore make it a cost-effective staffing solution.
  • Proximity to Australia – The Philippines is only 2 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard time, meaning that VA’s can work to the same schedule as their Australian counterparts while still balancing their personal lives.

 

Why Do You Have An Initial Fee?

Our recruitment process can be lengthy, as we want to ensure we are attracting the best talent possible. This means that there is a substantial cost involving HR, recruitment, and training staff.

Additionally, all Virtual Assistant team members who enter our training and trial period are paid as full-time employees, so the initial fee goes towards subsidising that in part.

All VA’s are provided with a high spec PC, including dual screens for maximum efficiency, of which the initial fee covers the cost of.

Lastly, depending on your industry and the scope of the role you are looking to fill, there may be additional costs for client onboarding and set up.

If you would like to find out what your initial fee covers, please speak with your BDM, or contact us today. (https://affordablestaff.com.au/contact-us/).

Does My Team Member Speak English?

Most definitely! The Philippines has the second highest English proficiency in South-East Asia, and many people start learning from a young age in school.

Our recruitment process has rigorous testing components, including spoken and written English, to which we have minimum standards that must be met by candidates.

Does Affordable Staff Complete Background Checks?

All candidates who apply to work with Affordable Staff will be required to undertake a national criminal and police clearance, as well as reference checks from previous employers.

As all employees are hired as permanent full-time staff, they are required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement that protects Affordable Staff and its clients.

What Training Do You Provide?

The training that we provide depends greatly on the industry the team member will be allocated too. For example, all Bookkeeping and Accounts based roles will require the team member to complete Xero accreditation.

If you would like to understand what training we provide that’s relevant to your industry, speak with your Affordable Staff BDM.

How Long Does It Take To Get A VA?

This all depends on our pool of available VA’s who are waiting for placement; however, our goal is to have your team member placed and working within 4 weeks of client sign up.

What Are Your Contract Terms?

When you sign on as a client with Affordable Staff, you enter a 12-month contract, which rolls over automatically each year.  

Our contracts come with a 6-month cooling off period, and if you find that outsourcing is not for you, you can terminate your contract in that period with 30 days notice.  

What Is The Client Onboarding Process?

If you decide to join Affordable Staff as a client, we will ask you first to sign a contract and pay the initial fee.

Once that is finalised, depending on your industry we may ask you to complete personality profiling, so that we can match a VA’s personality and skills to your business needs.

Additionally, you may be invited to join our team for a process buildup and mapping process.

After this is finalised, we will forward our candidate selection to you, and once you have reviewed their CV we invite you to meet with them, along with your Australian based Account Manager and Philippines based Team Leader.

Our Customer Success and Onboarding team will assist you to establish IT access items for your new VA team member and will make sure they are all set up in anticipation of when you are ready to start.

What System Access Do I Need To Arrange?

You will need to establish logins and access to your systems just like you would any staff member.

Typically, these items required would be an email address and cloud storage access, any software of CRM’s that you use, and possibly an IP phone number depending on the scope of the tasks you would like your VA to do.

If you require a full Microsoft license which allows your VA to have full access to Office programs, then you will need to arrange this in advance, or speak to your Affordable Staff BDM to pay for an upgraded license in your regular billing.

What Is Your Recruitment Process?

Affordable Staff have a 7-step recruitment process. Once a candidate has submitted their application, our HR team review the applications and shortlist those who have skills, talents and experience that we are looking for.

Once shortlisted, candidates will be invited to come visit our recruitment centre to complete an initial interview and multistage testing.

All candidate’s complete personality profiling and extensive background and reference checks, before being invited to join our trial and training groups.

From there, our team of facilitators and trainers will identify which industry the candidate is best suited to, where they will continue with industry specific training, or become available for client placement.

Once a team member has been introduced to a client, we get them started as soon as possible.

Is There Anything I Can Prepare in Advance for My VA Starting?

If you have never had staff or established a training manual before, then we strongly recommend that you prepare a detailed task list and training plan before your VA starts.  

It is up to you to ensure that your VA has been trained in all aspects of the tasks you would like them to do. You can ask your VA to prepare process flow and training documents after you show them the tasks, but if you are able to do any of this in advance it will be much easier to start.   

You may like to use screen capture software such as Loom to create short training and process videos in advance.  

It is also strongly recommended that you prepare an onboarding session, so that your VA is aware of any expectations and details of your clients and business.  

What Happens When My Team Member Is Sick?

Each team member is entitled to a number of sick days. Should your team member be unwell, we’ll notify you the night before or early that morning. All pending tasks shall then be carried on to the next day however for urgent tasks we have floaters that can step in to ensure that everything continues as usual.

Do The Team Work From A Home Or An Office? 
All of our team members works from a commercial office that offers full time internet, power, and a professional work environment. A legitimate company in the Philippines is one where you can afford an infrastructure and this makes really good and capable talents want to apply and work for you.
Who Does My Team Member Actually Work For?
When you employ a team member through us, they actually become part of your team and you can treat them as another team member within your business. They however remains as an employee of our business to ensure that the members are enforceable to all measures to protect you. This is also for us to make arrangements of their their sick leave, annual leave, health insurance and other miscellaneous items.
Outsourcing And The Australian Economy

In a fast paced world of business, the only constant is change and growth of outsourcing is INEVITABLE as businesses find ways to survive in this constantly changing environment. Whilst outsourcing has directly impacted people on the tools building websites, it’s created another sub industry in demand.

So is the question really how I feel about ‘Destroying the Economy’ and the chances for our children or, is the question more around the fact that innovation creates change and how we can influence that change to understand the jobs we need to create for our children?

Other FAQs

The key to understanding how Outsourcing can work in your business comes down to listing the tasks your business performs on a weekly basis as well as the types of tasks you think your business would need to complete every week to take your business to where you’d like it to be.

Once you list the tasks, think of which ones take you a lot of time and don’t offer you a ROI ( return on investment ) that you still have to perform to keep your business going.

To name a few:

  • Data entry
  • Social media
  • SEO
  • Maintaining your website
  • Receiving incoming and making outbound calls
  • Email marketing
  • Mail Merging of documents
  • Creating .pdf documents
  • Creating client reports

One important point to note is with more specialized tasks you will need to upskill your staff, but our unique structure of placing a supervisor that tracks the outsource staff performance will ensure the tasks are integrated efficiently.

We actually cover this in more detail here

We actually use a number of preset methods for you to stay in touch with your outsourced staff, that also allow you to up-skill them in any custom tasks.

The key recommended areas of access  include:

  • Email
  • Local Phone Number ( local to the location of your business )
  • Skype / Zoom
  • Google Chat
  • Google Drive
  • TeamViewer
  • Remote Access
  • SMS

You have the option to fully integrate every outsourced staff member and have partnerships with advanced IT suppliers to ensure communication and integration are seamless.

Working with  Affordable Staff  makes it simple to assign, track and communicate with your outsourced team.

We offer several tools that allow you to track your Outsourced Staff’s performance.

These include:

  • Hub staff
  • Google Drive 
  • Support Staff 

Allows you to take random screen snapshots and to look at their level of interactivity ( based on a preset benchmark ).

We work with a range of clients from single Outsourcer, through to businesses that are looking at growing a team of Outsourced team.

With this in mind, our Outsourcing services are priced based on your individual requirement and the investment is usually between 1/3 to 1/4 of employing a staff member locally. If you would like specific details on the investment for your business, please contact us.

Due to our unique structure ( and the reliability of our service ) a majority of our outsourced team become a critical part of their clients business and have helped our clients businesses grow and flourish.

Pros:

  • Outsourcing can help save you time in your business. This is very true, especially if you are working more than 40 hours a week in your business. There are several ways Outsourcing can help save you time. From completing slow, painful and repetitive tasks through to touching base with existing clients and diary management.

    Consider how much time you could save if you were to have a personal assistant at your fingertips, especially when you needed them the most.

    This is the potential of Outsourcing within your business

  • Outsourcing can reduce the direct costs of my business.

    Unlike local employees, Outsourcing is a much lower investment. Dependent on the task the skill level and education of an outsourced worker are focused on adapting to overseas clients.

    This translates to a person that is integrated into your business faster.

  • Outsourcing gives you a lifestyle

    A lot of clients rely on their Outsourced staff heavily and delegate tasks that would normally keep them away from their family or actually living a life.

    It is not uncommon once you Outsource and delegate ongoing tasks to find yourself with more time to spend with your friends, sales appointments and even spending time on simple pleasures like being there at family dinner time.

    As our Outsourced staff are constantly supervised there is no need for you to feel stressed thinking if they are completing the tasks as that is the job of their supervisor.

  • Outsourcing is a tax deduction

    That’s right, unlike local employees, Outsourcing is a business expense and as a result, is deductible.

    This may seem odd and is a massive relief if you’re familiar with managing staff, including tax & super (which at times can be a headache)

  • Outsourced staff are constantly monitored

    There are several ways we keep an eye on Outsourced staff, all of which are designed to ensure you are getting the maximum result with the least amount of risk.

    These include: 

    • Random screen snapshots 
    • Software that manages interactions 
    • Access to our own methods that allow you to watch your outsourced staff work live 
    • Daily records of how long tasks to complete 
    • A full time allocated supervisor that monitors their performance and addresses any issues 

Cons:

  • The 2 key differences when you outsource overseas are often the reliability of Power and the Internet.

    As many of our outsourced staff are a critical part of our client's businesses we overcome this with backup generators and backup internet connections.

  • It’s very common for people that outsource to have difficulty in understanding if their Outsourced staff are doing the right job.

    Whilst it’s important to manage any new team member, affordable staff go the extra step by assigning supervisors that track staff performance on your behalf and offer a fully transparent model you can use to understand for yourself how well they are performing

  • You do have to invest the time to train Outsourced Staff  in the smaller details on how your business operates and any special tasks.

    In any business Change Requires Commitment, and if you are looking outsourcing (just as you would a local employee) you need to invest the time to ensure they fit inline with your business.

  • You will have to invest ongoing time to continue to upskill and mould your Staff.

    This again is the same as employing a person locally as you really do need to ensure they are aligned with your current and future business objectives.

    We find it’s very, very common for an Affordable Staff team member to become a critical part of our clients businesses and as a result, upskilling of new and existing outsourced staff is a natural progression of the growth of a business. However, as your team grows you can use existing outsourced staff to upskill new staff.

  • Perfect execution doesn’t exist.

    This means you may come across teething issues and you may need to adjust components of your business model.

    If you are considering Outsourcing in your business then like any new change it’s important to acknowledge it may take time for a person to integrate into your business. Rather than waiting for the perfect execution, it may simply be the time to take the plunge. 

The tasks business owners needed to perform 10 years ago are very different than those of today.

While the internet has allowed an amazing transformation in the ways we do business, it has also placed an additional load on businesses to ensure they are keeping their potential leads and customers happy.

The biggest issue is these new tasks you need to perform take a lot of time and as many of them don’t offer a direct ROI ( return on investment ). Outsourcing gives you the ability for you to perform these tasks at a much more affordable rate.

Outsourcing these tasks will free up the time of local team members to focus on tasks that offer a direct ROI. In many instances, the employment of Outsourced staff have allowed businesses to continue to grow and employ additional local skilled people.

This has a direct benefit to the local economy, supporting the education of skilled & trained workers and allowing businesses to grow and flourish.

When you employ a Outsourced staff member they are assigned a supervisor that oversees their performance and activity, to ensure you are getting the most from them at all times. This model is very unique as we offer a strong level of support. With this in mind, it is STRONGLY encouraged for you to communicate, guide and engage your outsourced staff as much as you would local any team member.

There are also many standardized online marketing tasks that outsourced staff are up-skilled and trained which translates to you are getting the maximum result with less effort.

Concerns with Security and loss of IP are very serious and can be a real problem if not addressed properly.

This can happen if you employ people locally or outsource overseas. In many way when you employ a VA using our services you are more covered than employing a person in your own country.

First of all, our VA’s sign legally binding NDA ( Non disclosure agreement ) meaning they can be prosecuted legally if we were to discover the theft of any knowledge or property.

We also use a fairly strict recruitment process designed to highlight and identify any of these issues in the future.

Finally any sensitive information remains as cloud based and not on a VA’s individual computer, further reducing any risk.

Whilst we have never had any issues, we understand the importance of establishing a secure foundation and our approach is with a focus of prevention.

The work times of your Outsourced Staff are totally flexible with a majority of staff currently working Monday to Friday day shift hours.

Your staff can start anytime that suits you individual needs, based on your individual situation.

Where required, Outsourced staff generally can work through public holidays (additional rates may apply).

Contact to find out more information on how outsourcing can fit within your business.

We have over 275,000 hours of outsourcing experience and have employed well in excess of 350 people and have made many mistakes along the way.

As a result we have created a unique methods of managing Outsourcers which has proven to work in every business and allowed clients to benefit and grow their businesses.

Key benefits of employing a VA through us include:

  • Every VA is assigned a supervisor that tracks their performance on your behalf and ensures all tasks are completed in a timely manner
  • Our model includes performance management of your VA so you can maintain a light and friendly relationship with your VA and will will ensure they are performing on your behalf
  • All VA’s sign an NDA meaning they are legally bound to the confidentiality of your business and your intellectual property
  • We are an Australian based business and understand the cultural differences of our great country. Our team are constantly monitored to ensure any communication or messages fit inline with our culture and any other interaction follows our set guidelines
  • Our team are constantly upskilled in key changes in the online marketing to ensure they are upto date. This means any online marketing performed is relevant and yields the best results for our clients

 

 

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