Frequently Asked Questions
Learn how to work with us…
…and get the best out of your VA team. Did we miss anything? Let’s chat.
Where are you located in the Philippines?
Our office is in the city of Cebu. We’re in the heart of Cebu’s IT park business district alongside large companies like Telstra, QBE and Google.
Why Cebu City?
There are lots of reasons our office is located in Cebu. One of the top reasons is the people. Cebuanos are famous for being friendly, talented, intelligent, skillful, and happy. These qualities attracted us to build and grow our business in Cebu. We’re in good company – Cebu has become a favourite investment spot for businesses over the highly congested hubs of Metro Manila thanks to its modern technology, educated workforce and living costs.
How do you choose your staff?
Our number one priority is to look for people who are a good cultural fit with VA Platinum. We want people who will look forward to coming to work each morning and grow their careers alongside a team that feels like family. How do we do it? We have refined two very specific methods: our Gold Standard for Recruitment and our 6 Steps Recruitment Process.
Will my staff speak English fluently?
Absolutely. In fact, they speak better than many Aussies 🙂 English language proficiency is a top requirement for the VAs that we hire. So, you can be confident they will communicate brilliantly whether in emails, blogs, or the phone to your customers. Get to know some of our staff.
Is there a term for your contracts?
No, we do not believe in locking you into a contract. Think of working with VA Platinum as an ongoing, evolving partnership. Our mission is to become an integral component of your growth plans. We simply have a notice period to terminate our services – just as you would for any staff hires.
Our notice periods depend on your staff numbers:
- 1-2 staff: One-week notice
- 3-4 staff: Three-week notice
- 5+ staff: Six-week notice
What tasks can virtual assistants do?
Virtual assistants can do a range of tasks, depending on what you have hired them for. If you want to effectively use virtual assistants to grow your business, the best approach is to hire for the role – not the task. For example, you can have an Executive Assistant who takes care of day-to-day admin, calendar tasks and bookings, or a digital marketing VA who takes care of your SEO, content, and video editing. We have staff who work for businesses in financial planning, mortgage broking, technology and systems, real estate, accounting & bookkeeping, digital and content marketing, and more.
Who manages my staff?
We manage your staff together. The staff are hired for your business, so they are effectively your staff. Our role at VA Platinum is to create the office environment and culture in the Philippines for your staff to thrive. We manage the day-to-day HR, such as paying salaries, sick leave, and annual leave. We also provide a range of staff benefits including gym membership, breakfasts and health insurance. You manage the work your staff do. That means you choose how you want to communicate with your offshore staff, whether on Zoom, Skype, email, phone or on-site visits.
Do you train my staff?
It depends. Role-specific training is best performed by you – after all, you’re the expert in your business! To help, we offer a range of services to support staff training and development. We deliver onboarding training for staff and provide a comprehensive knowledge base with 200 systems, templates and glossary of terms. Your team members will also be added to specific knowledge groups for their specific role and can be seated in an area with other staff using the same software and performing similar tasks. This gives them access to other experienced staff and promotes knowledge-sharing. We can also organise for your team member to shadow other experienced staff for as many hours as you like. We also provide optional coaching for you and your staff – book a chat with Brian Jones for details.
Will my staff work for multiple clients?
Your staff are hired to be fully dedicated to your business. The only exception is when two businesses have agreed to share a resource and have approached us with this prior arrangement.
Is there a minimum number of staff that I can hire?
We set NO minimum number of staff you can hire.
How do I communicate with my staff?
Communicating with your staff in Cebu is as easy as if they were in Australia. We assign an Australian phone number for you to ring, as well as emails, and video conferencing tools like Teams, Google Hangouts, Skype and Zoom.
Can I set my staff up with a local Australian phone number?
Yes, absolutely! All our staff are set up with a local Australian phone number for the main office they work for, e.g. 03 for VIC, 02 for NSW, followed by the actual number This is included in the service price.
Does my VA work from home?
Over 95% of our VAs work from our office. The only exception is during very rare circumstances, such as COVID-19, where most staff are working either from their homes or from our back-up office location. We prefer staff to work from our office. It ensures they become part of our VA family and thrive within our culture. With staff working in the office, we are able to closely monitor their welfare, guide and support them with the work they do for you. and cater to their immediate needs as they crop up.
Who do I go to if I have any concerns with my staff?
Your staff have an assigned Team Leader in the Philippines office. The Team Leader is your number one point of contact to communicate any issues or concerns with your staff. To better understand how our Team Leader can help you with staff management, watch this video.
What happens if my staff decides to resign?
If an employee resigns, we will work closely with you to select a new staff member and support you during the transition. We make the transition easy by training staff to document processes and systems throughout their time with us. These videos and documents are extremely helpful if they resign, because their replacement can be brought up to speed rapidly and your business is not interrupted.
What benefits do staff get?
We are proud to offer the best benefits available to our staff in the Philippines. Our perks range from generous health insurance and annual leave through to a full cooked breakfast every morning.
What happens when my team member is sick?
Just as with staff in Australia, your VA staff are entitled to sick leave. We help you manage your staff’s sick leave allocation. We also provide employee health insurance to help keep your staff healthy and productive.
What are the initial costs involved when hiring a VA?
Our goal is to make our fees 100% transparent and simple to understand. To start, we only require a commitment fee when you sign your offshore service agreement. This is to ensure your commitment to us and our commitment to you to go through the recruitment process, which includes advertising, interviewing and allocating staff. This fee is NOT an additional cost to you – it will be reimbursed when your employee starts.
How much does a VA cost?
Just like when you hire staff in Australia, the cost of a VA depends on the level of their skills and role. However, we can tell you how we calculate the cost for our clients. Here at VA Platinum, we use a pricing model based on a flat fee plus exchange rate variance. This means we set a benchmark fee that covers the staff base wage, staff additional benefits, and operational/overhead costs, while the exchange rate variance allows us to retain the same level of profit regardless of the increase or decrease of the exchange rate.
For example, a staff with a base wage of Php 27,000 has a flat fee of AUD$2,285.00 plus GST. This is based on our benchmark exchange rate of AUD$1.00 to PHP38.00.
When are monthly invoices sent and when are they due?
Invoices are sent by the 20th of each month and are due by the 25th. The first invoice is usually sent a week from the onboarding call.
Do I get reminders?
Yes. Automatic reminders are sent on the 2nd and 5th day after the due date. Finance will send an email or reach you by phone as the 3rd reminder.
Can I change my due date?
No. We batch process all invoices automatically so that it is the most efficient use of our time and the lowest cost for clients The more efficient we are, the lower the cost to you.
Do you charge for late payments?
We do not charge for late payments. However, if the invoice is unpaid after the third reminder, our VAP management team will call and email you on the 1st day of the next month to let you know that staff will cease working and will be available for hire by new or existing clients. Therefore, you will need to restart with a new untrained team, unless we hear back within 24 hours. This is the most effective penalty we can think of to ensure you treat your valued team as though they are employees in your own office. We encourage you to speak to us about your circumstances so we can work together on a solution.
Why is our billing cycle fixed for all clients?
The main reason is business efficiency. We batch both the creation of invoices and then the checking of invoice payments shortly after. We teach our team that some business processes must remain flexible, whilst others need to be fixed to avoid confusion and uncertainty, as well as keep all operations staff focused on serving our client-facing staff and clients. Billing is an item that can be controlled and made hyper-efficient if we keep all clients on the same billing cycle. This way the finance team can divert their energy to servicing the staff at all other times.
In the past, we did allow a few clients to move their due date as a trial, and those clients promised to pay by their new due date (which was the 7th of the next month), but for various reasons such as forgetting, bookkeepers, accountants, etc., meant that those invoices were further delayed. This caused cash flow issues and more importantly, time and energy by the finance team which adds to the overall cost of the business and a distraction away from serving the staff.
When we allowed the trial to occur with a few clients, more clients found out and then started asking why they can’t have their billing dates delayed which goes against our item #1 and #2 above.
A good portion of our own invoices are due shortly after the fixed due date of 25th such as office supplies like coffee and water, cooked breakfasts via our 4 staff, office rent, etc. We are happy to accommodate one-off late payments for clients that have cash flow issues in a given month for a few months as needed.
Why do invoices need to be paid on time?
The invoices are not fully one month in advance because 35% of the expenses need to be paid by us one month in advance such as rent, computers, private health insurance, food, etc.
No matter what assurances clients have given us in the past, those that decided to leave, just don’t tell us and expect us to pay for their staff and costs until we finally just tell the staff to stop working because their bosses have not paid and not responded.
To ensure the exchange rate doesn’t fluctuate too far from when we invoice clients, we need clients to pay on time. This could work for or against us, but we prefer the risk is removed by clients paying on time.
What are the risks to data security?
The reason why many Australian businesses use our service is because our data security measures are far more robust than any Australian business would implement. Check out our comparison table.
How do you manage breach of data?
We have a strict policy that staff and management follow in the event that we experience a data breach or suspect that a data breach has occurred. Read the full policy here.
How do you ensure the security of client data?
We have dedicated and proven security measures to safeguard client data. This includes the use of a password protection tool, staff monitoring software, office security, privacy and data breach policies, and more.
See how our office security works.
In the exceptional circumstances that staff must work from home or in our back-up office location, we triple our implementation of these security measures.
Learn about our enhanced security procedures.
"Offshoring had sounded like a good idea for some time, but where to start? I'd put off any real consideration for years before I became a client of VA Platinum. At the time, I felt I was taking a leap of faith in Brian, through previous business dealings he'd earned some trust, so I was willing to 'give it a go'. Since that day I have never looked back...."
"I've been working with Brian and VA Platinum as a client of his Philippines offshore staff... the virtual assistant he has provided me has been a wonderful addition to my team and I am consistently blown away by their professionalism and work ethic."
"...You quickly get a sense of a positive environment and a hard-working team at VA Platinum. Brian has built great rapport with the staff. I have been very happy with the output to date."
"As the cliche goes, 'there's always a rainbow after the rain.' VAP is that colorful arc in the sky for me. Working here for 2 years with amazing people and a management that cares has been splendid! The secret as to why most of us chose and stayed with VAP is because we can sleep soundly at night. Especially weekends."
"VA Platinum is a company that not only provides assistance to clients who need it but also puts their employees' welfare beore anything else. I am grateful to be part of a company employeses' mental health, especially during the pandemic"