So, you have realised that you need an extra pair of hands in your business. There are tasks you want to delegate and you think a Virtual Assistant might be the answer. You ask your network for recommendations and start to look at the websites and rates of a few Virtual Assistants. Then you find yourself thinking:
“How much an hour?! That seems expensive.”
You are still relatively new to business, that rate seems high and you don’t think you can justify spending that on your business.
You start to think it might be cheaper to actually employ someone. After all, the UK National Living Wage (for those aged 23 and over) is £8.91 and the average rate for a Virtual Assistant in the UK is around £27 an hour. Yes, that is right, three times as much!!
Before you start to write the job advert just think about the other costs that come with employing someone. On top of their salary, there is holiday pay, sick pay and pension contributions. You are going to need to purchase employers’ liability insurance and set up some sort of payroll system. The employee is going to need an office space to work from and a computer, phone, etc. You’ll need to pay for utilities in the office - lighting, power, heating, phone line, broadband. You want to treat your employee well, so you will provide them with regular training and CPD. And have I mentioned the cost of placing an advert for the role, the time you will be away from your business to focus on recruiting the right person, writing a contract and reference checking?
This also assumes you find the perfect employee the first time. What if further down the line you realise that this person has a great CV and interviews well, but they aren’t quite as hard-working as they made out to be?
Is that Virtual Assistant rate looking a bit more appealing now? A Virtual Assistant will only charge for the time they are actually working for your business. That is right, no comfort breaks, cups of tea, personal calls, etc. on your time. And no overheads.
There might be reasons that the time is right for you to take on staff which is exciting for you and the business. If you think you need someone for 40 hours a week then an employee is probably the right option. However, if 40 hours seems a lot or you are worried about keeping your new employee gainfully employed then maybe there is a better option for now.
This article has intentionally focussed on the cost difference of taking on an employee compared to a Virtual Assistant. However, there are many other factors to consider too. I haven’t touched on the flexibility, experience, contacts or self-motivation differences that you might notice between an employee and a Virtual Assistant.