One of the big questions that come to mind when trying to decide on hiring virtual assistance of any kind is whether to hire a freelance VA or utilize an agency. There are pros and cons to both, depending on what you’re looking for, how much time you have to invest in the process, and how much money your budget allows.
The bottom line is that you’re going to spend a little more going through an agency than hiring a freelance Virtual Assistant. If dollars are the biggest hurdle you’re encountering, take a minute to think about what you’re getting and what you’ll have to go through to get it. Pricing is typically the biggest hurdle in any type of purchase, whether it’s a service or good. You know the old saying, “you get what you pay for”?
I was talking to a colleague of mine who is a district manager for a cosmetics company. We were talking about wages and how the bottom line for many companies will always come down to the dollar amount they’re spending instead of the quality of work they’re getting. As an example, her company allowed her to hire a virtual assistant, but would only reimburse her for paying that VA for 8 hours a week at minimum wage. She is now working on hiring her 3rd virtual assistant, as the first 2 haven’t worked out.
She mentioned how much time she had to spend herself on finding the assistants, placing ads, interviewing and then training. The other hurdle was only being able to offer minimum wage; this didn’t bring in the experience she was looking for. Now that she is again looking for another assistant, she is feeling frustrated and has lost quite a bit of time through the process. This situation boils down to loss of wages and selling time for her, which in the end is less sales for the company. This isn’t always the case, but it is just one example of how this hiring process, coupled with the low wages can turn into a long, drawn out process.
If you tend to be a DIY type of person and have the time to handle this process yourself, the freelance option does allows you flexibility with pricing and the ability to look at a wider range of candidates. There are many different places you can look for a freelance Virtual Assistant like LinkedIn, VA forums, or even placing an ad on Craigs List.
Using an agency to hire a Virtual Assistant may come at a higher price, but it also comes with some advantages. I don’t know about you, but when I am shopping for anything, whether a service or a good, and have too many options, it makes me feel overwhelmed. Using an agency takes that overwhelming feeling and brings it down to a much more manageable level.
The big question is: What do I get for my money going through an agency? There are several benefits an agency provides, such as:
- Consulting. Most agencies will provide an initial consultation to help them place you with the right VA, help decide what types of tasks the VA can handle for maximum efficiency, and how many hours you should need on a monthly basis. At our agency (EVA) we provide ongoing consulting through the entire relationship with our clients.
- Experienced Virtual Assistants. Having experience working as a VA is important in understanding how a virtual relationship works, and the different programs and apps to use for virtual success.
- Back-Up. Life is not perfect; and neither is every virtual relationship. There are times that the relationship between a client and Virtual Assistant may not work out for whatever reason, or maybe they move on at some point to do other things. Instead of having to start from square one and begin the search, hiring and training process all over again, agencies will have other experienced VA’s that will be able to jump in as soon as the next day and get started.
- Training. Many times the agency offers training for their VA’s to keep up-to-date with the latest apps and programs.
- Contracts. You can come up with your own contract for your virtual relationship, but an agency will have a contract that is in place with both the VA and the client. This is not only to protect the VA and the agency, but also to protect the client’s information and maintain confidentiality.
- Happy VA’s. Does that sound funny? But YES, you want your VA to be happy, don’t you? Take a minute and ask yourself a question: Would you be happy making $8-10 an hour? People who are paid well for their experience and enjoy their work are productive, efficient and happy VA’s.
Agencies are a benefit not just to the client searching for a Virtual Assistant, but also for the VA’s themselves. It’s a challenging process looking for work as a Virtual Assistant, much like the process of looking for a job in a conventional office. Agencies allow VA’s an option of what clients to work with and even to choose the amount of hours they’d like to work.
If you have the time and patience to do the hiring process yourself, and your budget is the biggest thing holding you back, then using a freelance Virtual Assistant may be the better choice for you. When time is what you’re lacking, an agency can help you make the right choice in a more efficient manner.
When you’re searching for a doctor or lawyer, is your first concern if they’re the cheapest, or they’re the best? Why would you trust your business with anything less than that? Give us a call today at (440) 973-7005, or visit our website, and we can help you sort through the noise!