The Virtual Assistant is an independent contractor who works online from a remote location. In recent years demand for virtual assistance services have exponentially increased as evidenced by the large number of entries into the industry. In a study by Millennial Brand, 60% of the workforce are expected to leave their full-time jobs and become freelancers.
But is a Virtual Assistant better for your business than full-time employee? Here are five (5) key benefits of hiring a Virtual Assistant over a full-time employee.
The comparative cost advantage of hiring a Virtual Assistant can be seen in two areas. First is in direct cost. Virtual Assistants are self-employed; they own their own businesses and are responsible for their own direct costs of operation. You don’t have to allocate internet bandwidth or distribute cost of utilities and rent when you hire a Virtual Assistant.
With a full-time employee, allocation and distribution of direct costs are estimated to be at 50% of their basic salary rate. In Australia, the average hourly rate of an employee is about AUD$20 per hour. That means the incremental cost of hiring a full-time employee amounts to AUD$ 10 per hour whereas, the incremental cost of a Virtual Assistant is just his or her rate per hour.
Second is in compensation. As previously discussed, a full-time employee would likely start out at AUD$ 20 per hour. On top of that, he receives government mandated benefits and standard company benefits. All told, the total cost of hiring a full-time employee is estimated to amount to 1.5 to 2 times his or her basic salary rate or AUD$ 30 to AUD$ 40 per hour.
The Virtual Assistant operates with two (2) modes of payment. First is via fixed rate per hour. The average rate for a Virtual Assistant in Australia ranges from AUD$7 to AUD$15 depending on the level of expertise, type and scope of work. Second is through fixed payment per project the release of payments of which are subject to the accomplishment of milestones.
Either way, your cost of hiring a Virtual Assistant shall be limited only to the rate you will pay him. Virtual assistants are not entitled to receive benefits and are responsible for reporting their income taxes.
According to Business Coach, Steve Pavlina, the average office worker can only render 90 minutes of productive work per day. The rest of an eight-hour work day is spent surfing the Internet, reading newspapers, water-cooler chatter and frequent toilet breaks.
By contrast, a Virtual Assistant is paid per productive hour. He or she needs to meet pre- determined milestones or benchmarks in order to be paid the amount stipulated in the contract. If a Virtual Assistant is working on a per hour schedule, you can implement a virtual workroom which has features that allow you to view their screen and log in their productive hours. It can then be argued that the focus, commitment and dedication of a Virtual Assistant is significantly higher than that of a full-time employee.
If you put the degree of productivity into its proper perspective, you are actually paying a full-time employee even for his or her unproductive hours. The AUD$ 20 you’ve invested has resulted in only 90 minutes of productive time and you’ve paid him for surfing the Internet, checking his social media accounts and for loitering in the water cooler. In terms of cost-benefit analysis, it’s not even close. The Virtual Assistant offers you greater productivity at least cost.
With a Virtual Assistant you can have increased flexibility in your operations particularly in your workflows and scheduling. The hours that a Virtual Assistant works will depend on what works best for your business. They can work with you or manage the shift after office hours so that your business will be attended to for an extended period. You can also adjust their work schedule according to the performance or scale of your business. Flexibility in work schedule minimizes the risk of missed opportunities and allows you to stay within budget. Finally, if you’re not satisfied with the performance of your Virtual Assistant you can easily terminate the contract without the inconvenience of going through due process or threat of litigation.
With full-time employees, you are mandated by law to schedule them according to the prescribed working hours per week and extensions would mean over-time pay. Terminating a full-time employee can be a complicated process and it all starts with having a strict tracking, monitoring and documentation system. Any allegation must be covered by evidence in support of the incident and the employee must be subject to due process. Despite of these, you will always be under threat of litigation and potential work stoppages.
Because virtual assistants work online, it is much easier to communicate with them compared to a full-time employee who could be outside his work station or premises.
Virtual assistants utilize the latest in online technology and are well aware of the importance of accessibility. They can be accessed via Skype, Google Hang Out, e-mail, Yahoo! Messenger, Viber and other channels because being highly accessible works both ways. There is mutual interest to get the job done. For the client, the earlier the project is completed the sooner he can move to other matters. For the Virtual Assistant, the earlier he finishes the job the sooner he gets paid.
The client can be on the move and wherever he is as long as Internet connection is stable and wi-fi is available he would be able to communicate with his Virtual Assistant when needed.
Minimal training cost
Since the 70’s, the virtual assistant tasks have changed a lot. Back then, they were hired mostly for secretarial duties or for personal assistant services. Today’s modern-day incarnation of the Virtual Assistant is much more educated, skilled and professional in their conduct of work. Distribution of work is no longer limited to just secretarial or personal assistant services but encompasses a wide range of services such as accounting, human resources, Information Technology, transcription, research, web design, professional writing and social media marketing among others.
When hiring a Virtual Assistant, there is very little training to be done. Most of it will entail only orientation work which gives them time to be familiar with your processes, industry and the type of work to be done. On the other hand, hiring a full-time employee requires the employer to pay a training fee often in the form of an allowance.
Regardless of the size and scale of your business, you will greatly benefit by hiring virtual assistants for your organization. Especially for small business owners with limited capital or tight funding, hiring a Virtual Assistant may inevitably not just be your most viable option but your only option to expand your enterprise.