Onshore or offshore virtual assistants: What's the difference & why does it matter?

by
Crystal Jepsen
Published:
January 24, 2022

The benefits of onshore vs offshore virtual assistants is a hotly debated topic within the virtual assistant community. There are pros and cons to both sides, so making an informed decision is crucial. What are the key distinctions between both options and which one is better for your business? 

For us, the answer is simple—we firmly believe that keeping our Talent completely onshore provides the best value to our clients while propelling positive social impact within our communities. Here are some of the reasons why we keep our virtual assistants onshore.

Data, privacy, and fraudulence protection 

It’s more important than ever to ensure you are protecting your privacy and data amidst constant online security threats. North American companies are bound by Data & Privacy laws as well as Consumer Protection Laws. These laws are in place to safeguard your confidential data and provide you with security when transacting with any North American company. When hiring an onshore vs offshore virtual assistant you are protected from fraudulent business practices, defective products, and dangerous goods and services.

Virtual assistant services located in countries such as India or the Philippines offer little to no data privacy protection. Hiring virtual assistants from these countries could be a risky gamble, leaving your confidential information vulnerable and providing you very little recourse to take action when things go wrong. In fact, Canada responds quickly to changing trends in technology and has recently enhanced their privacy protection laws to support the digital economy with emerging AI development. 

Find quality support that offers affordable solutions onshore

Offshore virtual assistant services boast saving you 60-70% on your labour costs - so how do they do it? Reducing labor costs appear to save you money at first glance, but once you look further, you’ll see that you’re either losing the quality of service or losing your valuable time. 

Offshore virtual assistants are often hired quickly to keep up with demand and verification of their ability to perform quality services for their clients can be overlooked. This results in clients dealing with high turnover, lengthy onboarding, and training of their virtual assistant, correcting easily avoided mistakes, or having to complete the work themselves due to missing deliverables. 

Virtual assistant services in North America, such as Virtual Gurus, contract talent they have extensively pre-screened and vetted for education, experience, and dependability. Our virtual assistants are career virtual assistants - which means they’re looking for long-term commitments and to become part of their client's teams.

You’ll find that working with onshore virtual assistants provides you with the education, training and credentials representative of North American standards of achievement. Virtual assistants from the U.S. and Canada will bring the qualifications you need and expect in order to hit the ground running and start making valuable contributions to your business from day one.

Local and relevant market knowledge

When doing business with a particular audience or community, it's always advantageous to hire team members who know that market intimately. It's no different with virtual assistants; if your target customers are in North America, you'll benefit most from a North American virtual assistant who knows your markets and demographics inside out.

group of diverse people high fiving each other supporting onshore vs offshore virtual assistant hiring

The more your virtual assistant understands your audience -- whether it be cultural norms, shopping behaviour, business practices or local trends -- the more effectively they'll be able to complete projects in a way that appeals to your audience, adapt to your culture and develop successful working relationships with your team, customers, partners and vendors.

Realtors are excellent examples of clients who benefit from a local virtual assistant match. Their industry is highly dependent upon a knowledge of the local area, competitors, and customers. Realty professionals have specific platforms and tools which often require in-person verification for compliance and security reasons. By hiring a local, onshore, virtual team they can easily arrange for the verification necessary for their real estate virtual assistant to begin work.

Another great example is bookkeeping virtual assistants. Every country has its own accounting standards to adhere to. The Virtual Gurus Talent roster encompasses virtual assistants from Canada and the United States to ensure we have experienced bookkeepers available in both countries who are familiar with and will follow the standards required to keep your financial information tidy for tax season.

Hiring an onshore VA means you're less likely to spend unnecessary time editing and correcting work and mediating communication misunderstandings. It also helps you avoid having your brand tarnished by avoidable errors.

Managing deadlines - real-time communication in your time zone

Working with virtual assistants in (or close to) your time zone is imperative for managing deadlines effectively, especially for time-sensitive queries and tasks. It can be difficult to ensure deadlines are being met if the individual you’re working with is operating a full or half day ahead of you, in a completely different time zone. 

Real-time conversations via chat, phone calls, and video conferencing can have a great impact on the timeliness and quality of work. Problems can be resolved instantly or within a shorter timeframe, giving you more freedom to focus on what’s important. These conversations are much easier to arrange when your time zones are compatible.

Support fair and sustainable employment within your local community

Perhaps the most important reason Virtual Gurus works exclusively with onshore vs offshore assistants is to create a positive social impact in our local communities across Canada and the U.S. Our very purpose and mission are to lift up individuals within underrepresented and marginalized communities by providing them with meaningful income opportunities and fair wages that are sustainable and flexible. 

woman holding Buy Local sign in support of onshore vs offshore virtual assistant hiring

Not all countries have laws in place to protect worker rights and by outsourcing to an offshore company you can’t be certain you are supporting a company with unfair employment practices that could be in opposition to the human rights standards upheld in Canada and the U.S. 

Clients who seek to support their local communities and embrace diversity within their company culture can do so by partnering with virtual assistant services such as Virtual Gurus. Our Onboarding Specialists will take your DEI goals into consideration when curating your individual matches.  

Read more from our Founder and CEO, Bobbie Racette, on why Virtual Gurus works exclusively with onshore assistants here.

Original post updated on January 10, 2023.

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By working with onshore vs offshore virtual assistants, you get the highest possible value for your talent investments while helping to create sustainable employment opportunities close to home. Now that's real value.

Are you ready to work with one of our on-shore virtual assistants? Browse our Talentplace to find a virtual assistant that best fits your needs. If you need further help to find a good fit, book a consult call with our Solutions team -- they'd be happy to help!

Want to learn more about hiring a virtual assistant?

View our services page to see all the ways we can support your team.

What we do
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Crystal Jepsen

Crystal joined Virtual Gurus in 2019 where she worked as a virtual assistant providing digital marketing services. She moved into the management team as a Client Success Manager in late December 2020 and has now settled into her role as Content Manager of Virtual Gurus. She's passionate about writing, beautiful graphics, and putting it all together into a story worth reading.

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