The Trusty Oak Blog

Are Virtual Assistants More Affordable Than Traditional Employees?

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One of the main questions any business owner asks themselves before making a decision is “Will this save me money?” 

Staffing is one of the largest expenses a company can incur, and many entrepreneurs wonder whether there’s an option other than hiring traditional employees. A virtual assistant can be the affordable solution when you have staffing needs but aren’t ready for traditional employees. 

The Cost of Traditional Employees

Hiring an employee is a difficult task and arguably one of the things that affects your business the most. You spend your valuable time searching—posting jobs, reviewing resumes, performing background checks and interviewing. If you are a solo entrepreneur or operate with a small staff, this is a daunting task that steals time from your networking, customer service and other business-building activities.  

1. Hiring and Onboarding

You finally have your ideal candidate and they accepted the job offer. The work is only half finished! You must onboard the employee and familiarize them with the business, take care of equipment needs and detailed training Q&A. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average cost-per-hire is $4,129. This includes tangible things such as recruitment or relocation fees. However, there are other costs that cannot be easily calculated—disruption to incomplete projects, negative impact on team performance and loss of morale. Hopefully all of this effort leads your business to a wonderful addition to the team. Great!

3. Benefits and Office Space

But your cost analysis still is incomplete. This new employee was likely enticed to your company by a benefits package—health insurance, vacation or other paid-time off structures. And, if you expect them to get any work done, they will need a computer, a phone, office supplies and a place to keep it all. But wait, you can’t expect them to work ALL of the time! Even the most dedicated employees need a lunch break, time to chat with co-workers and will likely use the internet or their phone to check social media a few times per day. All of these intangible costs add up and inevitably affect their productivity…and your bottom line.  

3. Turnover: Wash, Rinse and Repeat

Even after you’ve invested all of this time, there are no guarantees—the employee may turn out to be unqualified, may not end up liking the work, or just won’t be a good fit for your office culture. If this happens, you are back to square one and you spend more valuable time —and even more valuable capital—repeating the entire process. At this point, you may find yourself in desperate need for help, with a growing burden on existing employees who are picking up the slack of the vacant position. There is now an increased pressure to hire someone else quickly, not only to fill the job but also to maintain office morale.

The Virtual Assistant Advantage

Thankfully, there is another way! Leaps in technology and connectivity have brought about an extremely viable alternative to traditional staffing.

1. Your Ideal Candidate is Already Waiting

Virtual assistants can do all of the things an on-site employee can do for you at a much-reduced cost. The savings begin when you start your job search. A reputable virtual assistant service, such as Trusty Oak, already has a highly qualified, pre-screened pool of people ready to present to employers. It is also likely that the VAs have a very diverse skill set so no matter what is needed, there will probably be someone who can do it!  While you are making calls to potential clients and networking, someone else is sorting through the bank of available VAs, assessing their qualifications and talking to them about the position.

Related Video: How We Select Virtual Assistants for Trusty Oak

2. Onboarding is Simple

In addition, onboarding is streamlined by efficient communication between the client and their customer relations contact so the VA already knows what to expect, task priorities and all of the little details such as passwords and which programs you use. Your VA already has their own computer and will not need a dedicated phone line or an ergonomic office chair. And since they are considered 1099 independent contractors, the business owner won’t need to provide health benefits, paid vacation or overtime. You only pay for income-producing hours.

3. Grow as You Go 

Virtual assistants also easily grow with your company. When you are just getting started, you may only need 5-10 hours of help per week. It would be extremely difficult to find a traditional employee who would be willing to do that. With a virtual assistant, you can easily be matched up with someone with the exact availability to meet your needs. Once your business expands and you take on more clients, more work and more responsibility, you can increase the hours of your virtual assistant. Even if the worst case scenario occurs and the VA turns out to be a bad fit, there are several other possible candidates ready and waiting to jump right in where the last VA left off. Productivity continues with the least amount of disruption.

A Virtual Assistant is an easy and cost-effective way to staff and run your business. Spend less time hiring and firing; more time connecting and building. 


Emily Fisk

Emily Fisk began her career in marketing after graduating from Boise State University with her B.A. in English, Rhetoric and Composition. Emily started freelancing as a writer and found Trusty Oak in 2016. Emily spent three years as a virtual assistant, helping clients build their digital marketing efforts, while taking on more responsibility as an account manager and marketing manager as Trusty Oak grew. In 2019, Emily took on the role of Marketing Director, and in 2020, she began serving as Trusty Oak's Vice President of Operations. Emily’s passion for clear communication, vibrant teamwork, and helping others find meaningful careers has made her a key part of Trusty Oak’s growth. She gets a kick out bringing Trusty Oak’s story alive and watching clients succeed. Under her leadership, the Trusty Oak marketing team has accomplished large-scale projects and numerous successful campaigns, undertaken new brand identity initiatives and launched innovative content. When she’s not working, Emily loves digging into a good book, cooking a delicious meal, and getting outside with her two daughters and husband. She lives in beautiful Boise, Idaho and is a founding member of a (totally cool, not at all nerdy) writing group.