If you have never used a Virtual Assistant before, you might be worried about how to go about finding the right one for you or you may feel it is a bit on the pricey side. Would you be better off employing an in-house PA?
Here are some points to consider:
If you were to employ an assistant who was physically in your office, would this be easier and less expensive? Not necessarily. Firstly, you would have to find the time and money to recruit someone. If you have ever been involved with recruitment you will know it is time-consuming and difficult to choose the right person. Once you have employed that person, if they turn out not to be what you expected, it is not always easy to let them go.
Secondly, the basic hourly rate might be lower than for a VA, but think of all the other overheads, including desk space, office equipment, electricity, internet and telephone bills. Not to mention holiday and sick pay, maternity leave, pension schemes and medical benefits. You also have to manage your staff and deal with any complaints, personal issues, family problems etc., and whilst you are paying for 8 hours a day, it’s doubtful that every minute of that time is productive. Obviously, there are break times, gossiping by the water cooler times and who knows what else. Now, I’m not saying all staff will be like this, I am fully aware that many are diligent and easy to manage – however, this does not apply to everyone.
On the other hand, imagine if you could email, Skype or call someone to give them a list of tasks, and these just get done. You don’t have to micro-manage them. Work is recorded on a timer and paused for breaks. You only pay for work that gets done. You do NOT pay for breaks and chats. The hours are much more flexible: for example, you may just need someone for one hour per day to manage your diary or your required hours may increase and decrease depending on how busy you are. VA’s can usually accommodate this, as they have other clients and will work it into their schedules. With an in-house PA, you can’t keep changing the hours and it would be very difficult to find someone to travel in just for a few hours a week.
Also, you do not have to fork out for all the above-mentioned overheads. When you add up all those extra costs, paying a slightly higher hourly rate to a VA actually seems like much more of a bargain! You need to bear in mind that VA’s cover all of their own costs and have to make a living.
I’m not saying all VA’s are perfect, however, if you don’t get on with yours, you are not tied into a contract. You can say your polite goodbyes and move onto the next one until you find your ideal ‘right-hand man/woman.’
There are still some instances where you will need an in-house PA, depending on the volume and type of work needing to be done. However, what if you have more work than your PA can handle, but not enough extra to warrant employing another one? A few flexible hours from a VA will cover this additional need. In this day-and-age, with such amazing collaboration tools and connectivity available, most tasks can be carried out on a remote basis. This is the way forward for a lot of businesses and entrepreneurs. It saves everyone money and makes for more flexible working, getting the job done.