Virtual assistants are beginning to gain a bit of recognition in the media. Even Good Morning America has recognized them. But in my little corner of the woods the words ‘virtual assistant’ still draw blank stares from the individuals I talk to. And when I explain what a virtual assistant is, I can almost see the wheels start turning in their heads. I’m sure the first thought in many of these business professionals heads is, “It’s impossible for someone to do the job of an in-house employee out of my office.” It’s the same mentality that occured years ago when Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were trying to tell people that every office needed a computer. Can you imagine an office without any computers now? It’s a ridiculous thought isn’t it? Someday we’re going to say that same thing about virtual assistants or virtual consultants. Don’t believe me?
As an employer, if someone told you that you could get more work out of your employees for less money, would you look into it? Of course you would. I’m telling you that the employee as we know it is becoming the most inefficient, costliest method of getting the job done there is. A competent administrative assistant gets anywhere from $12 to $25 an hour, depending on just where you live, what business you’re in and how specialized that assistant may need to be. Multiply that by 40 hours a week and 52 weeks a year and you get between $24,960 and $52,000. Additional costs such as the costs to hire (interview time, advertising, training) will add approximately another $2, 300 or more. The costs of benefits like vacation pay, sick days, health insurance, etc. add an additional $10,900. Don’t forget the cost of that office space and equipment like the aforementioned computers at approximately $10,000. You’re up to $48,160 to $75,200 and you haven’t even added taxes (approx. $2,600) or the wasted time your employee spends at breaks, chatting, going to the bathroom and surfing the internet. It’s estimated that the cost of unproductive hours costs national businesses approximately $759 billion dollars a year! So tack on a few more thousand to the total cost of that administrative assistant, will you? We’re up to $52,760 to $79,800 depending on your area and situation. Surprised?
Now let’s compare using a virtual assistant. First, you can find a virtual assistant who is skilled in exactly what you are looking to get done, you can hire them either for just a project or for a set number of hours a month. And those hours are strictly spent working on your business, whatever it may be. So you can forget about the cost of unproductive hours, because there are none. You can also forget about the office space, taxes and benefits. The only cost you’re going to have to concern yourself with is the hourly rate and any incidental costs like postage, courier, printing services, etc., which by the way you’d be paying with an in-house employee as well. Keep that in mind when you first take a peek at a virtual assistants rates. They average between $30 and $50 hr. depending on the services you’re in need of. Your first thought is going to be “That’s outrageous.” And remember, we just established that your $12 hr. administrative assistant costs you much, much more than that right? Let’s say the Virtual Assistant that you choose charges $40 hr. for what you’re in need of. You decide to hire them on retainer for 20 hours a week. Your yearly cost? $41,600. That’s a savings to your company of $11,160 to $33,600. It’s sort of like comparing the cost of a typewriter to a computer isn’t it? Sure, the computer seems to cost more initially, but when you look at everything the computer does, in a much more efficient way, it is the only way to go.
In today’s business world you can’t afford not to have computers in your office, can you afford not to seriously consider a virtual assistant?
Note: The Virtual Alternative Part 2 will address the concerns business professionals have when considering a virtual assistant vs. an in-house employee.