Choosing Between a Virtual Assistant Agency and Freelance VAs

Virtual Assistants (VA) are individuals with a range of advanced skills that help you and your organization conduct small tasks or projects that can be performed individually and remotely—usually in the comfort of their homes. They are professionals who offer a wide variety of virtual assistant services, ranging from administrative duties, customer care, and even technical support. 

Why is a virtual assistant needed?

Today, recruiting virtual assistants has become a necessity for companies as they help to reduce the company’s heavy workload, thereby improving the way a business operates. Considering how a virtual assistant can help push your company to success, it is only fair to carefully select the virtual assistant that you want to help your business. You currently have two options to employ VAs for your company: from a virtual assistant company, or from freelancers providing virtual assistant services.

Both VA service providers and freelancers can be of great benefit to your business. They can handle the extra workload that’s suffocating your team when you just can’t hire a new employee. They can also take on tasks that require skills you don’t have in-house. Making the right choice between the two will depend on your needs and the specific characteristics of both categories. Let’s consider the pros and cons of working with a virtual assistant company or a freelancer.

AGENCY VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Pros:

•They will help you reduce your search and screening time. They have an entire talent pool with a wide range of skills. It’s effective, and you know they’re going to get the job done. 

•They know what to look for when they recruit virtual assistants. Since it is in their best interest to have only skilled employees, Virtual Assistant Companies only employ the best people for their business and yours. 

• They’re providing you protection. You’re told that the virtual assistant you hired doesn’t have criminal records. You’re also told that they won’t immediately stop working for you. 

•Training is part of the arrangement. The Virtual Assistant Agency ensures that whomever they submit to their clients passes through their stringent screening and training processes. 

•Virtual assistants in agencies are permanent staff. They’re not going to ghost you in the middle of a job. 

•Monitoring progress is part of the agreement. Since these virtual assistants are part of a corporation, their work is being tracked. This is one less problem for you to think about, particularly if there’s a lot going on in your company. You know, by job monitoring, that your virtual assistant is working, and that your money is not going to waste. 

•Availability of the clock. You are also guaranteed that a virtual assistant is available to support the needs of your organization if you employ a VA agency. Since they’re big teams, you can be assured that there are people around the clock. 

Cons :

•You have little to no influence over whom to recruit. VA agencies can not allow you access to their virtual assistant pool. Instead, they’re searching for the unique credentials you’re looking for in a virtual assistant. Their integrity is on the line, so they’re going to have to make sure their VAs are competent for the role you need. 

•They are costly. This is perhaps the greatest drawback of recruiting a virtual assistant through an organization. These businesses are asking their clients to pay some kind of premium. Depending on the contract, payment can be made on a monthly or annual basis. Compared to personally hiring a freelancer, the price of an agency freelancer can be higher. The higher cost comes from overhead expenses that the organization incurs including payroll for its staff, utilities, office facilities, and administrative support, which most freelancers do not have. However, if this is the price you pay for any good growth, and if you spend more time on more meaningful things instead of looking for support, you have already made a big investment.

How to choose a virtual assistant agency and pros cons of agency vs freelance VA
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

FREELANCE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Pros:

•Most freelancers are temporary and cost less than recruiting a full-time employee. 

•You have absolute power over who works for you from the moment you pick them directly. 

•You should accurately screen applicants’ qualifications before you recruit them—make sure they can fulfill your company’s requirements and qualify your company’s standards. 

•Your business has a number of options to sell. Candidates provide a wide variety of resources for just about any job you can need. A fast Google search will send you a seemingly endless list of freelance virtual assistants. 

Cons:

• So many choices will take your time. Going through a long list of possible candidates might dissuade your progress instead of speeding it up. For example, your online quest for a virtual assistant returns 1,000 possible candidates. You can spend hours browsing through them and still don’t find a suitable candidate for your company. 

•The selection of candidates is not guaranteed. You’re not sure if any of these candidates are in line with your company’s norm. Some of them might even be candidates of low quality. 

•There is a question of minimal abilities. Freelance virtual assistants have limited expertise. One VA, for example, specializes in customer care while another specializes in administrative work. It’s not easy to find the right virtual assistant that specializes in both of them. 

•There is a question of insufficient supply. It’s not easy to find a freelancer available when you need it, because most freelancers are engaged in part-time work or when they have free time.

•Training the virtual assistant requires time and money. Freelance VAs are collaborating directly with you. But you’ve got to take some time to train them to suit your business. 

•There is a question of unmonitored efficiency as they operate remotely. 

The Hybrid Approach: Hire a Specialized Agency 

These are companies that have emerged in the “produced service” sector. Usually, how it works is for a flat monthly charge, they’re going to handle one part of your business tasks. The benefit here is that the business does only ONE thing, so ideally they can do it well. They should have procedures and processes in place to deliver success to new customers and should require minimal preparation and ramp-up time.

Make a wise decision

Choosing the right virtual assistant for your organization is not a one-size-fits-all thing. Moreover, deciding between the services of an agency or a freelancer does not have a predefined formula either. Before making your decision, make sure that you have thoroughly understood the needs of your business and that it falls within your budget.  Amazing freelancers are out there, but they can be hard to locate. And while there are a lot of virtual organizations, they may be a little costly. Compare what these third-party vendors can give you to see if it suits your requirements. Then determine what is best for you and your business.

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