What’s the difference between a Personal Assistant and Virtual Assistant?


Virtual Assistants have been around for years but it’s still predominately new and unheard of. It’s a trendsetting business model that has caught the eye of business owners resulting in a great ROI. PwC uses Virtual Assistants to provide secretarial support to Partners and Directors and Ernst & Young have followed suit. With the rise of Virtual Assistants, does this mean that Personal Assistants are to be phased out? Or is there still a need for Personal Assistants? Here are the pros and cons to consider.



When recruiting a Personal Assistant, you need to advertise and at times go through a recruitment agency where fees are applied. You would need to complete HR paperwork, conduct several interviews and conversations etc.

With a Virtual Assistant, you can conduct interviews over the phone or by Skype (video call), review their recommendations and if they are the right fit for your business and goals you can start working together within 24 hours. You also save money as you do not need to arrange insurance, employee taxes, payroll, employee benefits, office space and equipment etc.


2.      LOCATION

A Personal Assistant is located in the office of the employer and works solely on tasks assigned by the employer. A PA can work for a team or for a specific staff member with 1:1 support.

A Virtual Assistant is self-employed and works remotely for multiple clients; individuals and corporate clients. A VA reports results of the job separately to each client.


3.      HOURS

A Personal Assistant traditionally works office hours 9-5pm Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime depending on the company and responsibilities. A full-time PA would be contracted to on average 37.5 hours per week and is on a fixed income. You need to consider when your Personal Assistant is on holiday or sick – who covers the role so your business doesn’t stop or hinder?

Virtual Assistants working hours are not fixed and offer flexibility should there be an urgent job outside of office hours. Retainers packages are offered with no minimum hour commitment. You pay for 100% productive work and only pay for the hours worked. You can select the hours you need based on your requirements for example 10, 20, 40, 60, 80 or 100 hours per month. If your VA is on holiday – an associate is assigned to you temporarily without disruption to your business.


4.      TASKS

Virtual Assistants can produce many duties a Personal Assistant would as most of the tasks requires access to a computer and the internet. There are many free project management tools readily available to keep communication and updates on tasks accessible.


5.      RATES

A Personal Assistant is a long-term commitment, whereas with a VA they are typically pay-as-you-go. If you only need support on Tuesday, that’s fine. They work as and when they are needed and paid by the hour.

Virtual Assistants are likely to charge a lower rate to a Personal Assistant as they have less overhead, one economic reason being they do not need to commute.


Virtual Assistant and Personal Assistant

Knowing why you need an assistant can be a helpful step in determining which assistant is best suited to your needs.  Both are accountable and loyal to your company. They offer different solutions for your business.


Have you ever hired a Personal Assistant or Virtual Assistant?

Please share your experiences in the comment section below. I’d love to hear about it


My name is Selina Johnson and I provide Virtual Business Support to small to medium businesses, consultants and entrepreneurs. My clients outsource necessary but time-consuming tasks to me so they can have more free time to focus on the revenue-generating activities that will make their business more profitable.



Contact me today, to discuss how I can help you.

+44 7939725327