Making the decision of hiring a virtual assistant is one that can benefit your business greatly. It not only helps you to save on the outgoings of your business and improve your profit margins, but it can save you a lot of time and increase the productivity of your operations.
Hiring a virtual assistant is very easy. There are numerous platforms, sites, and business websites (Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and LinkedIn) where you can avail yourself and your business of the support and help of a virtual assistant.
However, just because something is easy to do, it doesn’t mean it is easy to do properly. One particular aspect you will probably be most concerned about with regards to hiring this kind of individual is the cost.
This is one area of hiring virtual assistants that many business owners and companies experience problems with because they have an unrealistic budget and usually want to pay the lowest price possible.
Before we go any further, let’s consider what and why virtual assistants charge clients what they do.
How Many Hours Does a Virtual Assistant Work?
The hours a virtual assistant works are important to understand when you are figuring out whether you are getting a good deal or not. You will often find that virtual assistants charge either an hourly rate or a per-project fee.
Contrary to popular misconceptions, virtual assistants generally work during business office hours. Since some of their work could involve liaising with other team members, subcontracted and outsourced professionals, suppliers, clients, and customers.
So, although their job description demands a degree of flexibility, and that they will often be available when they are needed, they tend to work a maximum of 8 hours a day.
What do Virtual Assistants Charge?
On average, low-end virtual assistants based in third world countries can have an hourly rate as low as £3 per hour, with mid-range VA services rising to between £12-£25 per hour and the more premium virtual assistants charging a rate up to £65 per hour.
That may sound quite surprising. However, you need to understand that for an employed executive assistant the average salary for London based individuals starts from around £35,000 all the way to the £100,000+ mark.
If they are fully employed by you and part of your on-site team, their annual salary is not all you will need to pay. You would also be paying the payroll admin costs, insurance, office equipment, staff benefits, and National Insurance contributions.
Depending on the size of the business you run, you may also pay the cost of recruitment and training, car parking and pension.
On top of all that you need to factor in that they won’t be working 8 solid hours for you. Therefore, you will likely be paying for their lunch and tea breaks, holiday, and sick pay.
While they are under your employment, your money will also be spent on the time they access personal email addresses, browse and shop on the web and use their personal social media accounts.
This is why so many people hire virtual assistants.They charge you only for the time they spend working for you, whether this be a per hour rate or project rate.
This means you only need to pay for their services when you actually need them, but you still get better continuity than you would get if you hired a temp. You are not expected to pay for the time they spend using email, shopping online, eating lunch, or are sick or on holiday.
Depending on what works best for you, you will only need to make one simple payment to them, usually on a monthly basis. Many offer clients the option to pay a retainer that gives your business, project, and task priority over others.
Why Spend More to Hire a Premium Rate Virtual Assistant Rather Than a Cheap One?
While there is nothing wrong with watching the bottom line and trying to keep the cost as low as possible, you need to find the sweet spot between affordability and hiring a virtual assistant that’s an effective problem solver and is capable of handling all the assistant services you need.
Although the virtual assistant services that different companies need vary, the job description of a VA involves tasks such as simple calendar management and data entry, they can also include:
- Project Management
- Social Media Management
- Travel Management
- Event Management
- Lifestyle Management
When hiring in the virtual assistant sector, you need to look beyond just the rates and consider what you are actually getting for certain price points.
To help you understand this better, we are going to look at how virtual assistant costs vary and how they are reflective of the type of service you get.
The main focus of which will be showing how cheaping out and going for the lowest prices is not a shrewd business decision for clients, but a decision that could actually cost more in the long run.
|Low Cost||Mid-range||UK Expert|
|PRICE||as low as £3||£12-£24||£25-£60+|
|SKILL||Low skill taks such as data entry||Mid-range tasks such as research, booking meetings or travel||Email/diary management, event management, project management. Organising/creating processes.|
|RELIABILITY||Varies wildly. Luck of the draw||UK based, entry level. Just giving it a go.||High. Experienced in their field and can work autonomously. Very little hand-holding required and work effectively and efficiently.|
When you look to cut corners and save money, by say investing in the services of a cheap VA who may be based outside of the UK or somewhere abroad, there are a number of potential communication issues you may face.
If English is not their first language, as is the case with many cheap VAs working internationally, things are bound to be lost in translation.
Unless you have the patience of an angel, having problems and successfully explaining what you need your VA to do will make your job even harder.
The whole idea of hiring a VA in the first place is to free up more of your time and energy.
Even if they can communicate fluently in English, if they live overseas, you are faced with the other problem of having to schedule your work around them, unless they can be available whenever you need them to be. Time zones can be a huge organisational nightmare.
It is better, therefore, to hire a local UK-based VA who will have similar working hours to yourself and who speaks the same language, even if their rates are higher.
This ties in with the above point but is worth highlighting separately. As we’ve discussed, the virtual assistants based in the east, like African and Asian countries, for example, are unlikely to always be available when you need them due to the time difference.
Aside from that very obvious problem, there is also the real issue of not being familiar with the British way of working too. Every country has its own unique customs, but while many work-related traditions are similar throughout the UK and even into continental Europe and the USA, in some Asian and African nations, there are huge differences. For example
- In the Philippines it is expected that pay in December is doubled
- In India being 15 minutes late for a meeting is still considered on time
- In France workers are protected by a Right to Disconnect Law, this means that they don’t have to reply to emails / calls after hours
- UAE and Israeli work weeks are Sunday to Thursday
- Public holidays differ in each country, this is something to keep in mind if you have deadlines to meet.
To avoid the problems that come with time differences and alternative attitudes to work, it is worth paying out a little more to hire a virtual assistant based in the UK.
When you are looking to hire any professional, you should always be keenly interested in their experience. When it comes to virtual assistants, it’s the kind of job, in theory, that anyone can do. However, there is a huge difference between being able to do something and to do something to a high standard.
The average virtual assistant who you can hire for bargain basement prices whether abroad or in the UK is unlikely to have the same level of professional experience. And even less likely, a proven record of achievements that a high-end virtual assistant is likely to have.
At The Elite Virtual Assistant, for example, you get the benefit of a VA that has over 10 years working for executive-level professionals. Whereas anyone who is just “giving it a go”can’t claim that.
Registration With the ICO and GDPR Complaint
In these days where identity fraud and cybercrime are rife, the safety of clients personal details and sensitive information is crucial.
When you hire a virtual assistant for a cheap hourly rate, there is a very real chance that they are not even registered with the ICO or know how to perform their tasks while adhering to the latest GDPR regulations.
On the other hand, when you hire a high-end VA like The Elite Virtual ssistant, you can have the guarantee that not only is their work and practices compliant with the GDPR rulings but also that they are fully registered with the ICO.
The ICO or Information Commissioner’s Office is the organisation that oversees and regulates data protection for the United Kingdom.
In order to qualify for registration with the ICO, individuals and organisations need to comply fully with their strict rules.
Hopefully, the takeaway from this page is that you understand that the benefit of saving a bit of money when hiring a cheap virtual assistant is nothing to the many great benefits you get from spending out on a high-end service.
The Elite Virtual Assistant is a UK-based virtual assistant with more than 10 years experience working as an EA to executive-level professionals such as CEOs. For more information about the services provided, check out the prices page or contact us directly via telephone or email.