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full time employee or virtual office assistant

Hi I’m Stacey Normandy, Founder and CEO of Miracle Assistant; MA has provided businesses with complete virtual office services since 2001. Before founding Miracle Assistant I had 20 years’ experience as an executive assistant to some of the top names in the film and entertainment industry. Senior executives rely on my organizational skills, knowledge of business process and people skills. Admin tasks aren’t splashy but they are essential. I hope you enjoy my tips and tools for small businesses.

 small business hiringShould I hire a full-time employee or a virtual office assistant?

Including a free tool to compare the cost of hiring a direct employee or a virtual office assistant


Your business is growing and but you feel bogged down trying to complete all of the administrative tasks in a day and still have time to focus on the things that actually make your business grow. That your business is growing is a good thing. But what should you do hire a full time employee or a virtual executive assistant? Your decision can have an impact on your bottom line.

In the not so distant past businesses had a choice between hiring full time or part time employees. The virtual world did not exist. Today the virtual assistant services industry offers businesses a third choice that can save money and make your business more efficient. With a virtual office assistant you pay for only the time you use.

There is a handy tool below to help you compare the cost of hiring a direct employee or a virtual office assistant. Before you do that you should answer a few questions

The First Step

In trying to decide what to do is to create a ‘job description’ for this ‘position’. List all of the repetitive simple tasks that would be easy to delegate. Things like calendar management, Email management, social media posting, compiling reports and doing research are all tasks that could be easily delegated.

Delegating is one of the things that entrepreneurs struggle with but that’s another topic. You may find that you don’t have enough work to hire a full time person so hiring a virtual assistant makes perfect sense. But even if you have enough work for a full time position you need to consider the cost of hiring a new employee

How much does it cost to hire an employee?

Much more than the salary for sure. There are other costs associated with hiring besides the salary.

Here are some of them;

  • Recruiting
  • Training
  • Rent
  • Equipment
  • Payroll Taxes
  • Benefits
  • Insurance
  • Paid Time Off

The cost of hiring a new direct employee can be as much as 1.25-1.4 times the base salary, even for administrative hires. That means someone with a 50,000 base salary actually costs your business $60-$70,000 according to the Boston Business Journal.

How long does it take to train a new employee?

When you hire a new person they don’t walk in the door and know what to do. It takes time to train new people so they can do their jobs properly. It’s estimated that when a new employee starts they are at 25% of their total productivity for the first few weeks. It can take as much as 5 months for a new employee to reach full productivity. How much does this lost productivity actually cost? Even a minimum wage worker can cost $3-$4,000 to train.

Hiring a new employee is a big commitment especially for a small business. But there are factors other than cost to consider. How well this person works with you and your associates is important. It is impossible to know this during the interview and vetting process.

Can a virtual office assistant help?

You may be better off outsourcing the work to a virtual office services company. However, not just any virtual office company. Not all are created equal. There has been a huge increase in the number of virtual assistants in the past few years. Many lack experience and business knowledge. You need an experienced, professional virtual office assistant. Your virtual office assistant should be trained on the latest technology and have experience working with many different businesses.

Many virtual office assistants  are based off shore. And while they may be inexpensive to use, they do not have the training, knowledge or expertise that a professional U.S. based virtual office assistant does. It does make a difference. A few years ago I tried using an Asia based company for content development. You could tell it was not written by someone with command of colloquialisms and business language. I gave up on that idea quickly.

Virtual Office Assistants have other advantages

One of the mantra’s for small businesses is to try to avoid fixed overhead expenses. Those are expenses that do not change month to month. Your rent is a fixed overhead expense. Payroll is also a fixed overhead expense. A full time employee gets the same salary no matter how your business did that month.

When you hire a virtual office assistant your monthly expense depends on the hours that you use. If you need to reduce expenses during a month you can do so and if you need to ramp up quickly a virtual assistant can do that quicker than a direct hire.

Make Sure You Use an Experienced Professional Virtual Assistant Company

It’s important to choose a Virtual Office Assistant Company that will give you personal attention. Some of the larger virtual assistant companies are unable to provide that. They can’t develop a relationship and gain an understanding of your business and goals.


Still not sure the best path for you? Try This Free Tool to calculate the the difference in cost of hiring a full time employee or virtual office assistant. Download Now

If you would like to speak to an experienced virtual assistant before you do anything

Please get in touch. I’ve been in the VA business for 15 years and I’d be happy to help you figure out which path is right for you. Click here so we can schedule a conference.


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