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Business Decisions: Should I Hire an Assistant or a Virtual Assistant?

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By Townes Haas   |    February 21, 2014   |    10:32 AM

You’re busy. You have your business to run, meetings to attend and deals to close. You don’t have time to constantly answer the phones and perform administrative tasks. This is why a receptionist or personal assistants are so important to your business. 

You have two options when hiring an assistant: you could hire a full-time employee and absorb all the costs that go along with doing so, or you could enlist the services of a virtual assistant. Unlike an employee, virtual assistants don’t directly work for you; instead they work for a staffing service. They, however, do all the tasks that a hired assistant does, such as answering phones, online appointment scheduling, sales assistance, etc.

Should You Hire an Employee?
Assistants all do the same tasks, whether virtual or an employee. The major differences are for whom the person directly works and where they work. An employee is directly employed by your company, and they work in your office. Since they’re in the office, they can quickly take care of any last-minute needs that come up, i.e. making copies for a business meeting. Basically, an employee is on-site and is deeply involved in your business. Many new employers use personal assistants as “starter employees”. They use this opportunity to learn how to interview, hire and manage other people, prepping them to deal with larger teams. You choose with whom you work, and it’s the same every day.

Depending upon the needs of your company, there can be certain drawbacks to hiring staff. As the employer, you have to do all of the interviewing and hiring and take the chance that you made the right choice and found someone who is a good fit for your growing staff. You also have to provide office space, a competitive salary and health insurance. Plus, employees get sick or have personal matters to take care of, meaning that they’ll miss work from time-to-time.

Should You Hire a Virtual Assistant?
Unlike with an employee, an employer is not involved in the hiring process, eliminating the stress and time associated with recruiting, interviewing and hiring your own staff. You engage a virtual office provider that does all the recruiting and hiring. With virtual assistants, you’ll likely have several assistants assigned to your business so that your needs are always covered; no more worrying about employee sick days leaving you to cover their workload. You never have to worry about your assistant missing a day of work or even quitting on a moment’s notice. A virtual assistant will always be available to work with you.

Virtual assistants have their own office supplies and software, and work from their own office space, reducing your overhead. You give them the work to be completed with a due date, and you only pay for the time that they’re actually working. No more paying for water cooler chats and coffee breaks. You further reduce your costs since you don’t have to pay taxes or health insurance. The staffing service takes care of it.

The Bottom Line
If you already have a tight budget, a virtual assistant will save your business money in the long-run by reducing overall costs. Virtual assistants allow you to focus on your business and not the daily issues and stresses that come with hiring and managing employees.

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