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Virtual assistants (VAs) in Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, and other countries in Latin America are gaining popularity among businesses worldwide. They are becoming close competitors to the Philippines and India, the world’s major players in staff outsourcing services.
Latin American (LatAm) VAs are third-party contractors offering different administrative services. They are work-from-home (WFH) professionals operating remotely with access to client data and documents online. LatAm VAs provide their services through agencies, service providers, or independently.
So why should you hire a virtual assistant from this region?
This article discusses the benefits of hiring LatAm VAs. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Hire a Virtual Assistant from Latin America?
The following are reasons why companies should consider hiring virtual assistants from this predominantly Spanish-speaking region spanning three continents: Central America, South America, and North America (represented by Mexico).
Economical but Effective Remote Workers
Companies hire virtual assistants because of the readily available, first-rate third-party talent. Many LatAm VAs earn college degrees, demonstrate above-average communication skills, and possess technical qualifications on par with VAs from first-world countries. Their main advantage over their competitors in developed economies is their cost-effective services.
Here are the average rates of VAs in certain LatAm countries, the U.S., and Canada:
|Hourly Rate Range
(in U.S. Dollars)
|Average Hourly Rate
|$5 – $15
|$5 – $35
|$3 – $20
|$5 – $27
|$5 – $50
|$8 – $56
|$31 – $175
The hourly rate range is sourced from Upwork. The Google search keywords used were: “Upwork hires the best virtual assistants in [name of country] (e.g., Argentina).” We excluded from the table VAs with only one job and/or no review.
Note: For a simple illustration, the average hourly rate of each country is derived by adding the two figures and then dividing by the count of those numbers. For example, Argentina’s hourly rate ranges between $5 and $15. Therefore, $10 is the result of dividing $20 by 2.
Based on the figures above, the average hourly rate of a VA in Argentina is $10. In the U.S., a VA’s hourly fee is $103. So, you can save $93 ($103 less $10) hourly when outsourcing administrative talent from Argentina. Note that the amounts are estimates. Directly contacting freelancers or business process outsourcing (BPO) providers can give you accurate pricing.
The affordable wages in Latin America are due to its modest standard of living compared to the U.S. Statista reports that the minimum monthly cost of living in the region ranges from $546 to $1,143.
Similar Culture to the U.S.
One reason why businesses hire virtual assistants from Latin America is that countries in this region have cultural similarities with the U.S. Many Americans travel to these nations for business and leisure purposes, while many Hispanics have relatives living in the U.S. after migrating there.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that the Hispanic or Latino population in the U.S. was around 62.1 million in 2020, accounting for 18.9% of the population. They make up the second-biggest ethnic group after non-Hispanic whites.
These nations are similar in the following ways:
- History. LatAm countries and the U.S. were European colonies. Each celebrates its freedom from foreign rule. Argentina commemorates its independence every July 9, Brazil every September 7, Chile every September 18, Colombia every July 20, Mexico every September 16, and the U.S. every July 4.
- Geography. These countries have vast areas, extensive coastlines, and ethnically diverse inhabitants. Climates vary, ranging from wilderness heat to mountain-cold conditions.
- Government system. LatAm countries and the U.S. adopt the federal and presidential systems, with the president as the head of state and commander in chief. The constitution is the principal law governing these nations.
- Food. Many Americans enjoy LatAm foods (e.g., empanadas, burritos, and pastels). Similarly, Latinos often eat hot dogs, burgers, and other U.S.-made food.
Cultural affinity is a reason why companies hire virtual assistants from Latin America. These VAs are confident, knowledgeable, and assertive when communicating with Americans and Westerners. Latino VAs can converse about interesting topics that build and strengthen client relations. These give them an edge in back-office outsourcing over their rivals.
Better Customer Experience (CX)
Among the reasons why numerous companies hire virtual assistants from Latin America is that they specialize in providing excellent customer service regularly. High CX is important because it helps your business build a loyal and satisfied customer base. A VA improves CX at every touchpoint, from the customer’s first purchase to after-sales support.
Consider the perks of better CX for your company:
- More favorable comments. Why hire a virtual assistant? The professional VA can bring positive customer experiences that solidify loyalty to your product or service. Satisfied buyers tend to support the brand. They return to buy more or additional products, improving sales while reducing advertising costs.
- Boosted brand image. Great CX results in more brand supporters and better competitiveness. Your VA team’s expertise in customer support can help you beat competitors or get close to them. A good brand image can also lead to a bigger market share.
- Higher return on investment (ROI). Another reason business owners hire virtual assistants focusing on customer experience is that consistently high satisfaction increases ROI. Better experiences mean customers shop more. Loyal buyers will likely invite or convince others to patronize your products and services, raising sales.
- Better information about customers. CX provides insights into consumer behavior, purchase attitude, and service or product preferences. The VA team organizes and reviews this information to help create strategies for a better experience.
- Reduced operating costs. Another reason you should hire a virtual assistant is that higher CX brings in more sales and minimizes operating expenses. You no longer need to pay more to advertise to new markets.
Abundant Capable Personnel
One good reason why companies might hire virtual assistants from Latin America is that the continents abound with competent, young, and dynamic workers who have college degrees.
The World Bank reports that the higher education system in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) has dramatically increased since the early 2000s. From 2000 to 2018, college enrollment rates in the region doubled, from 21% to 52%. To date, LAC’s colleges and universities have enrolled 28 million students.
The region’s educational institutions have modified their programs to deliver better access to higher education. It is home to famous universities, such as Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico), Universidade de São Paulo (Brazil), Universidad de Chile (Chile), and Universidad de Buenos Aires (Argentina).
Another reason why people hire virtual assistants from this region is that its large workforce comes mostly from the millennial and Generation Z generations. They are skilled in using computer systems, social networks, digital devices, and online software. These young professionals also know about the American work culture and how to do tasks effectively.
LatAm VAs have the required technical competencies, soft skills, and educational level for outsourced tasks. They have acquired the necessary skills through years of freelancing or working at BPO companies. One reason to hire virtual assistants is that they are equipped with various skill sets to meet specific business requirements and processes, including:
- Administrative support
- Basic bookkeeping
- Basic information technology (IT) knowledge
- Data entry
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Graphic design
- Back-office support
- Digital marketing
- Email management
- Web development
- Social media management
- Customer service or support
Compatibility with U.S. Time Zones
Companies hire virtual assistants from Latin America because the region’s time zone discrepancies with the U.S. are small. The Philippines is 12 hours ahead of U.S. time, and India is 10 hours ahead. So when you are based in California and begin to work at 8 a.m., your VA in the Philippines should clock in at 9 p.m.
Conversely, a minimal to zero time zone gap is why you should hire a virtual assistant from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, or Mexico. Some states in the U.S. have similar time zones as Mexico, while others differ from LatAm countries by one to three hours.
So, when your employees in California start working at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., your VA team in Colombia should begin at 7 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. The U.S. is one hour ahead of Colombia. You and the third-party team will work almost at the same time.
Below are some benefits of working in similar time zones:
- Quicker meeting scheduling. A valid reason why businesses should consider hiring a virtual assistant in the same time zone is that organizing online sessions is more convenient. It is a hassle to schedule meetings when the VA is in a different time zone.
- Steadier work-life balance. VAs will likely experience fewer health concerns or mental risks, such as burnout, isolation, and loneliness since they work during normal operating hours. Remote offshore teams working graveyard shifts are more susceptible to sickness and mental fatigue.
- More fluid communication and collaboration. You and your nearshore team can interact and work together more smoothly. A small time difference means fewer lag times or delays in responding to customer or buyer requests, questions, or issues.
A significant reason a company should hire virtual assistants from Latin America is that they can speak well in English, the region’s most popular foreign language. Millions of LatAm citizens can speak English at various fluency levels. Many Americans and Westerners go to these nations to do business, study, or tour.
Higher-than-average English communication skills make interacting and working with LatAm VAs easier. Americans, Britons, and other English-speaking clients and customers can clearly understand them. Your VA team can discuss tasks with you and help your consumers with minimal language issues.
Additionally, many nearshoring teams speak formal and conversational English with a neutral tone. As a native English speaker, you can recognize their accent through word stress and elevated speech, which is typical among Spanish speakers. Their English is generally more understandable despite the accent than that of English speakers in other regions.
Another reason why companies hire virtual assistants from nearby nations is that these VAs have a solid grasp of American English grammar and expressions due to their proximity and common histories. Thus, they can quickly identify the subtle differences in meaning between phrases and words used by American customers.
Moreover, third-party LatAm teams being bilingual speakers (fluent in English and Spanish) is a primary reason you should hire virtual assistants from this region. Their language skills can help build, enhance, and broaden client relations. Many U.S. companies seek Spanish-speaking workers for data entry services, customer support, and other outsourcing tasks.
Lower Operating Costs
Another reason why companies hire virtual assistants rather than putting together an in-house staff is reduced operating expenses.
Check the cost savings when outsourcing back-office and administrative operations to third-party teams:
- Hiring. Minimal recruitment costs can be attained when tapping the services of a BPO provider, which deals with all the hiring processes to acquire the right staff. You can avoid time-consuming, tedious, and costly activities, such as job advertisements, applicant screening, testing, onboarding, and training.
- Remunerations. Another reason you should hire virtual assistants from Latin America is that you will incur minimal or zero salary expenses. Enlisting full-time employees entails paying them regular monthly salaries, even during slow periods. You also shoulder other staff-related costs, including health insurance and sick leaves.
- Re-training and upskilling. The BPO provider pays for employee re-training and upskilling to be updated with the latest work methods and best practices. VAs’ skills and technical knowledge must be upgraded to address unfamiliar work challenges. You need a bigger budget when sending them to workshops for further training.
- Equipment, office supplies, and workspace. Decreased capital or investment expenditure is one reason you should hire virtual assistants. Delegating outsourcing activities, such as customer support, contact center as a service (CCaaS), or the help desk, means the service provider will use its physical infrastructure.
Adaptable Workforce and Processes
One top reason companies hire virtual assistants from Latin America through a nearshoring third-party provider is cost optimization. The service provider can scale outsourced activities up or down according to your needs or business status.
The BPO company can increase or reduce the number of VAs, processes, or functionalities without disrupting or adversely affecting your current operations. Scalability helps you get the right cost, not necessarily the lowest while maximizing business value.
Look at the other advantages of scalable operations:
- Flexibility. The third-party provider can quickly and smoothly modify your current processes when delegating back-office activities, such as technical support outsourcing and administrative functions. Better flexibility means better competitiveness.
- Cost efficiency. Another reason you should hire virtual assistants from Latin America and via service providers is that you can save on operating costs by obtaining the exact number of third-party workers you need. The BPO company also assists in identifying the particular activities required to improve efficiency and productivity.
- Agility. The BPO provider aids you in handling unforeseen situations without interrupting customer support, help desk, and administrative processes. The more agile your business, the better you are positioned to weather the storm.
Low Legal and Management Liabilities
One primary reason you should consider hiring virtual assistants from Latin America with the help of a BPO company is that it can reduce your legal and management accountabilities. Setting up new branches overseas and hiring full-time local employees involves tracking and following various tax, labor, and government policies.
Getting VA services from a LatAm BPO provider reduces the potential risks or legal impact of direct employee recruitment, including labor strikes, lockdowns, and staff lawsuits. The outsourcing company will deal with personnel-related issues and challenges when delegating administrative and back-office functions.
The other perks of outsourcing VA services include
- Broad access to the talent pool. Another reason why companies hire virtual assistants through a third-party provider is its extensive connection to human resources (HR). It can quickly field you with qualified workers.
- Expert HR professionals. The service provider has experienced HR professionals to manage staff-related processes and concerns. The HR team fosters work and employee harmony to help improve productivity, morale, and performance.
One leading reason businesses hire virtual assistants from Latin America and through a BPO company is the seamless connection. The service provider can offer communication services, such as audio, video, and text, and combine them into a single network for holistic interaction.
This means you, the team of VAs, and customers enjoy flawless communications despite switching channels (e.g., from phone calls to social media to live chats) during the engagement.
The following are the common modes of multichannel communication:
- Standard phones are traditional and durable fixed-line phones to call clients, end users, and third-party contractors.
- Email allows existing and prospective customers to send electronic messages to the third-party team. Senders can privately and securely attach images, notes, and files to their emails. This is ideal for non-urgent but complex or lengthy requests and issues.
- Social media is a popular internet-based communication platform that lets users post comments, suggestions, and feedback. Examples are LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telephony allows you to contact someone with a VoIP-enabled phone and a high-speed internet connection. While the units are more expensive than standard phones, VoIP phones have higher call quality.
- Short message service (SMS) enables you to deliver short text messages to VAs and clients using mobile phones. Inquire through SMS and get answers immediately.
- Chatbots permit you to chat with and ask common questions from a smart program using text or voice instructions.
- Live chat is the same as chatbot, but customers chat with a live agent. They send questions through a small panel on your website. VAs answer them right away.
- A self-service portal is an online resource customers can access to fix product or service problems without VA assistance. Frequently asked questions (FAQs), tutorials, and articles can be found on this site.
Efficient Remote VA Teams
Another major reason to hire virtual assistants from Latin America (or other regions) using a BPO provider is enhanced productivity. A service provider assigns tasks to remote VA teams operating on a WFH or hybrid work setup with flexible shifts.
Remote workers tend to show high performance and productivity over time. They save energy when they no longer need to perform time-intensive tasks, such as allotting at least an hour for pre-work arrangements and traveling to and from the on-site office.
Regularly reporting to the office is no longer necessary during COVID-19, so the remote VA team can attend to more customers and meet their needs faster than on-site staff. The WFH employees also use a secure network to safeguard sensitive and confidential information and data.
Providing faster service and being more productive are reasons businesses hire virtual assistants from a BPO company. Here are the factors leading to better remote work productivity:
- Strict data security. WFH VAs utilize virtual private networks (VPNs) and the latest antivirus software to protect critical company, client, and customer information from unauthorized users and threat actors.
- Constant communication app usage. The third-party team heavily uses collaboration software for synchronous and continuous interaction. They commonly depend on Google Meet, Slack, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Skype.
- Organized remote work. Another reason businesses hire virtual assistants from the service provider is its stringent and impartial WFH protocols. It implements these policies to maintain high staff teamwork and productivity.
- Well-equipped VA team. The service provider supplies the VA teams with needed hardware and software systems to help complete tasks efficiently.
- Frequent web meetings. The third-party team meets regularly to monitor work progress, task status, and member well-being.
Excellent Alternative to Meet Labor Shortage in the U.S.
An important reason why companies hire virtual assistants from Latin America is to address the current U.S. labor shortage caused by the Great Resignation (or the Big Quit), in which many Americans willingly left their jobs during the pandemic. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 71.6 million workers resigned from April 2021 to April 2022.
Most American industries bear the brunt of the exodus, causing high attrition rates and disrupting staff productivity, performance, and morale. The worker shortage also impacts the production of goods and customer service, lowering sales and revenue.
American businesses hire virtual assistants from other regions because of the challenge of hiring domestic workers. A recent study reveals that three in four (73%) employers in North America will find hiring and keeping employees three times harder in 2021 than in 2020.
BPO companies can provide VAs and other third-party workers to help resolve American companies’ persisting labor shortage.
High Degree of Data Compliance and Security
Another reason you should hire virtual assistants through a service provider is lower costs. The BPO provider helps you adhere to federal laws and industry standards. Noncompliance can result in litigation, fines, reputational damage, and other legal and financial repercussions.
Below are some industry-specific and general regulations the third-party provider tracks:
- The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) requires the healthcare industry (medical companies, providers, and practitioners) to protect patient data from unauthorized access.
- The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is another reason companies hire virtual assistants from a reputable BPO provider. The European law is the world’s strictest data privacy law. Many big companies received heavy penalties due to GDPR violations.
- The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) obliges businesses to process credit card data securely. It enforces stringent cardholder information handling to limit credit card scams, fraud, and theft.
The Bottom Line
Acquiring outsourcing services from Latin America can bring various benefits. Aside from the preceding reasons to hire virtual assistants from this region, you can secure third-party LatAm teams available to work anytime.
LatAm VAs are willing to work on any schedule. They can report on holidays, weekends, and late nights to serve employers, customers, and clients wherever they are. You will likely enjoy this advantage when you connect with and work with the right BPO provider.
Let’s connect if you want to learn more about why you should hire a virtual assistant from Latin America.