The Case for Virtual Assistants

There are those who argue that hiring help from outside the U.S. is unamerican, as it takes jobs away from Americans on the home turf. And to a certain extent, they’re right. But if we look at things with a broader lens, I think that we’ll find a slightly different story. Whether we like it or not, we’re part of an ever-growing global economy, and it’s not as simple as “One more job in China is one less job in America.” The ideas I share below are shared in depth in the book The World is Flat, by Thomas L Friedman. Here are a couple examples to illustrate:

           Let’s talk about Dave. Dave is running his one-person appraisal business, working 60-hour weeks, and is just getting by. He needs some help. So, Dave hires Julie, who lives in the Philippines. Due to the cost of living and other circumstances in the Philippines, Dave can pay Julie a fair wage that is still substantially less than what he would pay an American worker. By doing so, Dave frees up some time and starts getting more done, thus creating a need for yet more help. So, he hires Sandra locally. A job would probably never have opened up for Sandra if Dave hadn’t hired Julie in the first place. As his business grows, Dave will have more jobs available for local people. Thus, American citizens benefited from his hiring help outside the U.S.

           As another example, let’s examine a hypothetical call center in India. Although all the workers are Indian, they work with software that is developed and managed in the U.S. Their building is cooled by systems that are made in America. They keep themselves awake with soda and snacks from vending machines that are stocked by American companies. While this call center doesn’t necessarily employ Americans directly, it is providing business to American companies with American employees. As business grows, such corporations have to hire more people to keep up with demand, and the potential for more American jobs is created. 

The next time you are hesitant to “give one more American job away to foreigners,” take a step back and realize there is another perspective to have.  I have hired, trained, and managed individuals in countries around the world.  It is great to be a part of their culture and lives in a way that was not possible even a few years ago. 

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

7 Comments on “The Case for Virtual Assistants”

  1. Your example is rife with “suppose this happened” sceneries. Creating more jobs through vending machines? The appraiser saving so much time and money he hires someone else?
    This does not sell me on the concept? Saving time is possible but retention is always a problem as you have mentioned in years past.

  2. Hello
    Do you have a company you would recommend for these services. I have the same issue as Dave, I actually have a potential trainee that I’m willing to hire (ive even offered to pay for qualifying ed classes, fees etc), however, I’m receiving over 100 to 125 requests per month and spend half my time accepting/declining assignments, updating clients and working 14 hours per day. Until I can get admin assistance I’m unable to hire a trainee..
    thank you

  3. Jeff, I run a company, AVA, that offers virtual assistants for residential real estate appraisers, 100% in the US. We handle all of the administration/office management work for our appraisers. I’ve never “marketed” in the comments before but this speaks about us and what we do. While this is on overseas help, all of our employees are in the US and over 80% of our employees have previous experience at an AMC so we are up and running on Day 1. We help our appraisers have the best possible customer service and free them up to inspect more properties and complete more appraisals with much less frustration.

    Dale, retention is not an issue with us.

    I encourage you both to check us out.

  4. If in this profession and these times Dave is working 60 hours a week and just getting by, it would seem Dave has issues and chose the wrong career path.

    Considering Dustin lost his appraisal business with help from virtual assistants, what hope is there for Dave.

    Work on yourself first Dave, before you lose your business like Dustin.

    Seek the truth.

  5. Dustin must have pissed in “Bills” locker in middle school. No one takes you serious. Embarrassing to keep seeing the venom.

    1. Seriously Robert, if Dave hasn’t been able to cut it over the past two years with extremely favorable appraiser terms, why would looking internally not be the first thing to do? Is adding more moving parts, cost, liability the correct move for Dave? If Dave doesn’t fix his solo problem first, he he will only fail faster with other moves. Secondly, if your savior Dustin lost his appraisal business running a similar system, why would anyone not question the snake oil they are being sold on this site?

      Keep following Dustin over at his new corporate gig where your current half of a half (AMC split), will soon be a half of a half by a half by way of the hybrid work there’re pushing.

      They’re hiring in almost every state Robert, go join his new team.

      Seek the truth or ignore at your own peril.

  6. Bill some months ago I was wondering why you bother to follow Dustin and put inflammatory posts every time Dustin does something. The above comment about VAs running him out of business is laughable at first but then when you sign off with a Seek the Truth slogan that you’ve had for how many years, wow it really makes you look kind of stupid. An idiot who doesn’t even have a serious point to make. I’ll continue to listen to what Dusin says, usually agree and sometimes disagree. But you’re putting yourself in danger of going from comic relief after each post to just a waste of internet space. Step up your game and try to be a little more truthful

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