Top 5 Reasons to Use a Virtual Assistant Company Instead of a Freelancer
Max 15min read
You’ve likely considered many options when looking to bring some additional support to your company, ultimately deciding to hire someone virtual instead of a full-time, in-office employee. A freelancer is an option that many people consider – it seems like a less expensive, more reliable option… or is it? If something sounds too good to be true, it’s usually because it is too good to be true.
Don’t let your rose-colored glasses stop you from considering all the things that could go wrong. A freelancer really starts off as a stranger, and it takes a lot of trust and time to bring someone new into a business that you’ve worked so hard on. A more reliable option is to instead hire a virtual assistant through a vetted agency. Let’s dive into the top five reasons why you shouldn’t hire a freelancer, and why you should hire through a virtual assistant agency instead.
1. You’re relying on the freelancer’s word.
A freelancer runs their own business. This means that they can do or say whatever they want without some larger entity watching over them to ensure they’re meeting the expectations they say they will. Even with a portfolio and some buyer reviews, you can never be sure that they are being truthful about their experience, expertise, or skillset. They may lie about their skills to get more clients or to appear as the perfect fit for your project so you book them. It’s difficult for you as a client to trust that someone is telling the truth, especially when their job function is virtual. Building trust virtually takes effort, and it’s not something you’ll be able to do on a quick phone call with a stranger.
An agency provides security.
Working with an agency gives you the opposite experience. Any virtual assistants who are associated with an agency have been screened, and even trained, by the agency. For example, there might be a test or exercise the virtual assistant must complete in order to prove they have the skills they say they do. This ensures that their work aligns with certain standards and verifies their skillsets. All of this vetting work is completed before the virtual assistant is allowed to interact with clients, so you never have to worry if a candidate is being truthful. The virtual assistant agency will do all this hard work for you and only present you with the best of the best.
2. Freelancers are expensive.
Since freelancers are individual people, they also have to pay for things individually. Everything from their computer, insurance, taxes, tools, and more are costs they have to consider when pricing their services. This can cause them to have higher rates, over $20 per hour, as they’re covering these expenses themselves. What may seem like a cost-effective option in comparison to a full-time employee may still be more costly to you – especially when you could be getting the same level of support at an even lower price.
An agency is cost-effective.
On the other hand, agencies are able to take on some of these costs. This means they can pass along those savings to you. With some virtual assistants costing under $10 an hour, you’re able to get the assistance you need and maintain your profits so you can reinvest in your business. The add-on costs that come with a freelancer are already included in the price of a virtual assistant through a specialized agency. Additionally, you get more support for your money since virtual assistant agencies will do the management of the virtual assistant for you, saving you even more time.
3. Freelancers lock you in.
What if the freelancer you hire doesn’t execute to your standards? Personalities can clash, expectations may not be met, and overall they might not be a good fit for your business or team. Often times there’s nothing more you can do – you’ve already spent so much time interviewing to find someone who you thought would be the best. On top of this, you’re required to pay for services with no guarantee that you’ll be satisfied in the end. You’ll have to have those difficult, uncomfortable conversations if you’re not happy with the result, and freelancers also often require additional compensation if you want edits or changes to anything they produce. You might waste your money paying someone a higher rate without a successfully completed project to show for it.
Agencies guarantee good work.
Virtual assistant agencies will deal with any potential issues for you. You will have a dedicated person at the virtual assistant agency that you can work directly with, and they will address any of your issues or concerns. Many times, issues don’t even come up because someone is monitoring the performance of your virtual assistant, so you don’t have to worry about project status or the quality of the work. If there are serious issues that arise, the virtual assistant agency will have someone ready to replace them without missing a beat. You can be confident that this person will also be vetted and managed by the agency. This allows your projects to continue without delay. You won’t have to worry about things going wrong since agencies often have a service guarantee to ensure you’re happy with your experience. Agencies truly work for you and want to do everything they can to support your business.
4. Freelancers take time to onboard.
Think of your first day on a job. Someone was probably there to train you and get you up to speed on how the job works. With a freelancer, you’re likely the person that will be responsible for onboarding, teaching, overseeing, and guiding them. You’ll have to teach them your tools, processes, and more. This requires a lot more time on your part – time that could be better spent on more important company initiatives that actually drive the success of your business.
Agencies are prepared.
You aren’t starting from the beginning if you work with a virtual assistant from an agency. The agency will train virtual assistants in specific best practices and tools widely used across your industry. A virtual assistant agency will likely be able to pair you with a vetted candidate and will ensure your virtual assistant is the best match for your company. For example, if you use a specific project management tool, the agency can assign a virtual assistant with extensive experience in the tool to your company. This saves you time in onboarding and allows your virtual assistant to start making an impact sooner.
5. Freelancers have strict schedules.
With a freelancer, you’re relying on a single person’s schedule with very little flexibility. If the freelancer happens to plan a vacation during the launch of a big project, you’re left with no support and no other option. Freelancers also often work with multiple clients, and they manage their schedules themselves. There’s no guarantee that your projects will take priority when there are competing deadlines or asks. Since they’re just one person, they also may be more prone to scheduling mistakes if they take on too much without realizing it. It can be difficult to coordinate working hours and deadlines with so many moving parts.
Agencies provide flexibility.
While an agency provides the best fit for your individual project, they can also provide a lot more options depending on your needs. If you need a freelancer proficient in a certain tool for one project, but a different tool for your next project, you can switch without having to go through the process of interviewing all over again. Similarly, if more work comes up and you need to bring on an additional set of hands, you have a trusted place you can turn to for a qualified candidate. You’re not stuck with a single person. Virtual assistant agencies can be as flexible as your business needs them to be, without sacrificing time or quality.
If you’re still considering hiring a freelancer instead of a vetted virtual assistant agency, proceed with caution. Make sure that you fully understand the risks. Confirm you’re comfortable with the potential impact on your business and think about the value of your time. Consider the ideal outcome, the unideal outcome, and if you’re okay with the potential results.
Virtual assistant agencies are the safer, more reliable option in most cases. You have a lot more stability, flexibility, and support via an agency. You can rely on them when things go wrong or if you need something – they’re true business partners. Be sure to really think through your options and make your decision based on what’s best for your overall success.