So, you’ve made the decision to delegate and take on some help.
You’re looking into using a virtual assistant. Are you thinking that you can’t afford one as their hourly rate looks too high or you have only just started in business and it’s maybe not an investment you feel ready for?
What are your options?
You need help, are looking for support to help you grow your business so taking on an employed member of staff may seem like the first possibility.
The average national salary in the UK (In the Oxford area) for a Personal Assistant salary would likely cost £15..07¹ per hour and an administrative assistant has an average of £11.33 ph.² A recruitment agency used to source likely candidates will charge a fee so you could be outlaying £500-1000 before they even start work!
Will you want to have a probationary period? The time taken by yourself or your staff for interviews, reference checking, drafting letters and the contract, before the employment even starts may be wasted if you decide that the person isn’t the right fit for you.
Factor in the hourly cost of the time spent by yourself or your staff for these processes, any induction training and HR procedures.
Employment brings responsibilities
A full-time employee will require statutory PAYE responsibilities. If you’re employing them for more than 20 hours a week, National Insurance contributions at 13% would increase the figure. There’s also a workplace pension to take into consideration which would be at least another 3% of their annual salary.
Do you have a payroll or HR department that you are utilising to process this monthly? If you’re a sole trader can you find the time and learn how to do this yourself otherwise?
Time for a coffee?
An employee will stop for a coffee, need a lunch break, a couple of bathroom visits and a few water cooler chats and a discussion with the delivery man. Enough that you could end up paying for an hour or more per day of work that’s not actually productive.
And there’s more
An employee would also incur holiday pay, pay to cover sick leave, and you can also factor in providing computer equipment, printer, photocopier, desk & chair, phone, stationery, a phone, software licenses, and training to get up to speed with your systems.
The cost of these direct and indirect costs could amount to at least the same, bringing the rate up to £25 per hour.
Do you actually need a full or part-time employee? Will you have enough regular work to keep them busy? Maybe not if your business is seasonal or it’s more project-based.
A temporary solution
You need some help just to help you over a busy period or to provide holiday cover. Hiring temp staff from an agency may help you out with short-term cover. Nat Ins and tax are included in the rate so you don’t need to running PAYE.
Will you be able to find someone who is the right fit for your business and the necessary skills to jump right in?
A temp may often be between jobs, so maybe not as motivated to complete tasks swiftly, and depending on location a minimum ½ days commitment would be needed. At an hourly rate by an agency of £15ph, a need to be onsite to talk through tasks and provide seating and equipment, a morning’s tasks of 2 hours could end up costing you more than £100, considering your time.
Using temps would give you the flexibility to call one in when needed, but will it always be the same person. Repeatedly running through the work before they start could be losing you valuable time and money.
A Virtual Possibility
Bringing in help is an expense but not necessarily an extravagance.
A Virtual Assistant enjoys having continuous clients, so you’ll be able to build up a long-standing working relationship, as they get to know you, your business and how you like to work. A VA wants to work well, quickly and efficiently so you use them again and make recommendations.
The national UK average Virtual Assistant hourly rate is £27.01ᶾ and they can work for as few or as many hours as you need. Depending on your needs a more experienced VA or one with a specialist tech skillset may be more expensive than one for everyday office admin.
Flexibility to use support as and when you need it. Just want a quarterly mailshot or 2 hours weekly to clear emails, a VA charges by the minute or project for the work completed. That 2-hour job will be a 2-hour job.
In capable hands
If you can no longer manage all the spinning plates and need another pair of hands, then a virtual assistant could be the solution.
When you begin to assess the true cost of employed or agency staff, think about all the added components. Evaluate the time spent and whether this could be spent on income-generating work or strengthening relationships with your network.
My blog When’s the right time to use a Virtual Assistant may be useful.
If you think you might be someone who needs a virtual assistant or would like to learn more about our virtual assistant services you can call 01608 612223 or use our contact form.
Sources of information
¹ Source www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/ March 2021 for Personal Assistant
² Source www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salaries/ March 2021 for Administration Assistant
ᶾ UK Virtual Assistant National Survey ( 2019)
Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash