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Fancy Hands: Virtual Assistants Take Care of The Tasks You Keep Putting Off

The cure for the common to-do list?

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Fancy Hands

Fancy Hands

Fancy Hands

Fancy Hands is your virtual assistant on the web. You don't need to be a CEO to need Fancy Hand's services; you just need to have tasks you would rather someone else do. Basically that means that everyone could use Fancy Hands.

The service charges you a flat monthly fee for a number of requests. If you have a job that could be done virtually, such as researching a company, setting up meetings, or finding the cheapest hotel for a given timeframe and destination, Fancy Hands is your utterly useful, time-saving tool. Enlist Fancy Hands for your personal or work tasks and you'll find you're not only more productive, the stress of nagging tasks (the terrible Zeigarnik Effect) quickly melts away. ~ October 1, 2012

What Is Fancy Hands?

Fancy Hands offers virtual assistants for everyone in the US. If you have a task that could be done online or with a phone call, Fancy Hands can take care of it for you, for a low monthly fee per bucket of requests. Here are some things I've had Fancy Hands do: find top-rated doctors in my area and make sure they take my insurance, research government programs for homeowners, find the best apps in a given category, gather links to articles about cutting the cable cord, and make dinner reservations. Try this: Take a look at your to-do list or "next" or "someday/maybe" list and see if there are any tasks on there you'd rather hand off to someone else to do. That's what Fancy Hands is for.

In short, Fancy Hands outsources all those little or just annoying tasks you've never gotten around to doing. Or, if you just have too many tasks to take care of, it helps you delegate all the ones possible so you can concentrate on being more productive on the bigger things.

Delegating Tasks

Yes, delegate. It's hard to let go of control, but if you have a long to-do list (a.k.a., you're ambitious), you'll need to delegate in order to get things done.

Delegating tasks to Fancy Hands is easy. Simply email your request to the requests@fancyhands.com email address with the details or call their request line, and your task will be put into the queue. You'll get a confirmation of your task and notes from your assistant, if there are any, along the way. (E.g., the office they tried to reach for you was closed at the time and they'll try to call again later.)

You can't designate a specific assistant or recurring tasks, but otherwise, using your virtual assistant to get your tasks done is simple.

Note: If you submit a time-consuming task (i.e., one that would take the Fancy Hands worker more than 15 minutes to complete), the task may need to be broken up into sub-tasks or revised. I found that out when I gave Fancy Hands a ridiculous assignment.

The Good and The Bad

Pricing: Fancy Hands is a great deal, because unlike other virtual assistant services (e.g., Ask Sunday), pricing is on a flat, rather than per-hour rate. You get 5 requests for $25 per month, 15 requests for $45 monthly, or 25 requests for $65 per month. There are no hourly fees. Also notable: scheduling appointments are free (don't count towards your tasks allotment).

However, as noted above, Fancy Hands has a limit in its terms of agreement (not obvious elsewhere on its website) that tasks shouldn't take more than about 15 minutes. That means that essentially the base plan is $5 per 15 minutes or $20 per hour--more than getting your own dedicated assistant on Ask Sunday for $119 for 10 hours/month ($12 per hour). At the $45 plan, the 15 Fancy Hand requests end up being $12 per hour, though--comparable to other services.

Features: Fancy Hands has a few interesting features. If you share your calendar with the service, you assistant can add events to it. They can also make purchases on your behalf )though I haven't tried that yet), connect you with exclusive discounts, and use Basecamp for task assignments. A neat new fancy feature is having Fancy Hands set up conference calls for you (no dial-in numbers!).

Quality: For most of the tasks, Fancy Hands comes through with flying colors. Tasks are usually done very promptly and if there's an issue, the assistant keeps you updated. When tasks are completed, you get a list of what the assistant did in the notification email. (There's also a dashboard where you can see all the tasks you've requested and their status.)

However, in a couple of cases--most obviously, research tasks, Fancy Hands fell short. I asked for a roundup of the security features of a few password managers, and the assistant copied only a few lines from each app's website, missing quite a few features and in one case saying that one password app didn't say anything about security. In another case, I asked for a list of nearby boating docks and their prices for keeping a boat there, but the assistant missed quite a few that I knew of. For in-depth research tasks, you might be better off doing the legwork yourself.

The Bottom Line

Other than the few issues with research quality, I've been a very happy user of the service and think you should try Fancy Hands too. The assistants (all based in the US) are so friendly and seem to work tirelessly to get the task done (in some cases, they've had to track down hard-to-find information and make multiple calls for me).

You can sign up with the link below and get 50% off your first month:

Fancy Hands

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