Hiring a Freelancer vs a Virtual Assistant Service

If you’ve read our previous blog posts, I am sure you are well aware by now of what a virtual assistant is and what they do. To recap, a virtual assistant is greatly similar to your basic administrative employee but without the added costs of offices and infrastructure and with the added benefit of extra efficiency and a huge variety of various skills. Now begs the question: Whether you should hire a freelancer or a virtual assistant service?

Why outsource to a virtual assistant or freelancer?

As any busy entrepreneur or business person would explain, the amount of time spent on minuscule everyday tasks is unnecessary and can be saved by delegating. You can get help in managing your heavy workload by hiring a well-qualified virtual assistant. You might just not realize how many things they can help you with. Now there are two ways to hire a virtual assistant: Hire a freelancer directly or hire from a virtual assistant company. But what’s the difference?

What’s the difference?

Virtual assistant services hire skilled individuals who are then assigned to different clients as per their needs. The client usually only interacts with the project manager and does not themselves has to manage each virtual assistant on their case. Whereas, freelancers are usually self-employed and a one-man team. There is no intermediate company and you work directly with your hired freelancer.

Both have a common task: helping you handle your workload and prevent it from suffocating you and your creative energy. They also make available to you the skillsets you or your team might have previously lacked.

The real question that would now pop into anyone’s mind is how to choose between the two? And the answer truly depends on your needs and the specific capabilities both the teams have to offer.

How to choose?

The most important thing when picking between the two is figuring out not only who can get the job done but instead, who can get the job done BETTER. So why should you go with a virtual assistant company as opposed to an individual freelancer? Here’s why:

1. A more diverse skillset: If you choose a freelancer you’ll only have access to the specific skills they master in. However, if you instead choose a Virtual Assistant Service, you get immediate access to a wide variety of skills. Since you are no longer working with just one individual but instead have a whole pool full of talent to work with, you can use their services for tasks as diverse as accounting and blog writing. And this can all be managed under one single contract so there is no need for an enormous amount of paperwork, which would happen were you to choose different freelancers for different tasks which require different skills. So it all boils down to efficiency. I’m sure you can now grasp the concept of why a virtual assistant service would be more efficient than a freelancer if what you need is a more diverse skillset.

2. When you hire a freelancer, you only hire them for one particular task. Whereas, if you choose to go with a VA company, you get a package deal. You not only get your one specific task done but instead you get a personal assistant without the added costs and drama of an administrative assistant. Your VA will do the task but they can also manage your communication flow (no more need to reply to each and every single email yourself!). They can arrange your schedule; they can even take care of your bookkeeping. Professional virtual assistants can also assist you with partner communication, investor scouting, competitor research, content writing, social media management, and website maintenance. You name it and they can do it! And all under one payment option and one contract.

3. Support: Whenever somebody hires a VA service provider they usually get assigned a project manager. This project manager is your go-to point person and they in turn delegate all your tasks to assistants on a case-by-case basis. They manage the quality of output of these assistants leaving you hassle-free and available to manage the problems that require your attention (and probably only you can solve!). In case the quality of output concerning the task is not satisfactory or your project manager is not up to your standards, you can always ask for a replacement. Furthermore, virtual assistant companies usually offer a trial period to figure out if you truly want to commit to their company and will be able to offer backups and replacements for your VA. These are two perks that freelancers can’t offer.

If you are not happy with your freelancer and the quality of the task they provided, there is not much you can do as there is no supervisor or manager you can take the issue to.

4. Availability: Since virtual assistance is a remote job, companies hire employees from all around the globe. This means that they ALWAYS have someone on the clock and available to fulfill your needs. This means that no matter what the hour (does not matter if you’re an early riser or a night owl) you are sure to receive a quick response whenever you have a task for them.

On the other hand, since freelancers are a one-man army, their schedules are more restricting. They are more likely to have specific days and specific hours when they are available to complete your tasks. They usually juggle between clients and that means tasks get done on a basis of urgency and priority. So you might have to wait a bit before your task becomes the first in line. And sometimes, unfortunately, there might be instances when the freelancer you’re working with is unavailable in times of need.

5. Price: As I said before, virtual assistant companies offer a trial period before you can hire them. This means that you get to take it out for a test drive before actually investing the money and sealing the deal. If the work chemistry is not up to the mark during the trial period, you can always ask for replacements and different options and if it still doesn’t work then you can always say so and you won’t have any money wasted either! So it’s a win-win situation for you either way. Even if you decide to work with the company, you pay one price for monthly services or a specific number of hours. These are all options that would be unavailable with a freelancer since there are usually no guarantees, no trial period and no replacement options. And if you hire more than one freelancer (maybe due to the need for a variety in skillset), then there is the added paperwork of separate contracts and payments. Sounds like quite a hassle!

Make the right choice for YOUR business

There is no set of rules or a calculator which would tell you which is the right choice between the services of a freelancer and a virtual assistant company. What you need to do is consider your needs and make a well-informed decision. Decide what you want and need and then compare them to what both the external contractors offer. Go with the choice you think is right for your business!

We specialize in providing virtual administrative services for businesses. If you are ready to take the leap and try out what it’s like working with a virtual assistant, please feel free to fill out this consultation form or email us at hello@staffry.com.