For some, using a personal assistant service can seem a little daunting. How much will it cost? Will I enter into a long-term subscription? What should I ask the service to do for me? This post aims to reassure you about engaging with PA, and VPA (virtual personal assistant) services.
How do I find a good service:
Local services where you will be able to build a person-to-person relationship and gain local reviews are likely to be the safest way of finding a good PA service. There are other benefits to being local - including the delivery of tasks and outputs.
That isn't to say that virtual PA services are not safe or trustworthy (or that anything won't happen with local support!). Do your due diligence, gain reviews, explore their portfolio, pilot some smaller tasks, and practice safe online payment practice (see Action Fraud for advice). Look out for the general presentation of the website (spelling, attention to detail) and most importantly trust your instinct.
What can I ask such a service to do:
It is always worth checking the website of the PA service to understand their service offering, but these aren't likely to list each and every detail so you may wish to contact the service for more details. Services will vary and there may be different pricing structures for these (such as packages for telephone answering services).
At Thomas | Wond for instance, we offer a range of executive assistant and administrative services including: executive secretarial work, minute-taking (hand and/or word-processed), report writing, responding to client enquiries, printing, scanning, compiling clients files, binding and laminating, managing diaries, booking travel and transport (pre-released budget basis), processing expenses, research, process mapping, proof reading, project administration, designing reports and presentations, and liaising with client staff and suppliers. These are not just limited to business clients and residential clients are supported to.
Look out for some services specialising in certain things (like HR administration or research). Here at Thomas | Wond, for instance, we hold particular expertise in certain sectors (banking, construction, public sector) and activity (project management, market research and evaluation research).
How much do PA services charge?
This varies from service-to-service. Some PA services work on a retainer basis which means you might subscribe to a monthly amount (for instance, £28pm) for set services or hours provided. You may also find an hourly rate offered and this can vary. Be cautious about selecting service providers based on low cost. A good service provider is likely to have invested in reliable equipment (computers, printers etc), processes (GDPR (data protection)), and insurances. You can also find services on Peopleperhour.com but be cautious of the pricing, we've found that initial pitches seems low but when we go out as a buyer the actual quotes amount to a lot more.
Thomas | Wond provide you with the flexibility to agree a price for your work. We offer reduced rates to local charities and not-for-profits too. Check out our Services section for a fixed price list for certain items such as printing.
I'm a little anxious about using such a service:
It is useful to remember that personal assistant and administrative service businesses are set-up for many reasons ...flexibility, freedom, to offer something novel, to fulfil a dream. With this in mind, remember that behind that PA service is a hardworking human who would love to win your work - possibly just as eager to impress as you.
We would love to work with your organisation. Please don't hesitate to contact us to discuss.