Cost of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant vs. an Employee

What's the Payroll Cost of a Full-Time Employee?:

Any attempt to nail this down to a narrow range is complicated by local wage rates and other factors. However, let's do a quick set of calculations to get an idea (using an overhead cost of 30%** of hourly or salary rate): 

  • ($12/hour wage x 40 x 52) / 0.70 = $35,657 annual cost
  • $24,000 salary / 0.70 = $34,286 annual cost
  • $15/hour wage x 40 x 52) / 0.70 = $44,571 annual cost
  • $30,000 salary / 0.70 = $42,857 annual cost

**The US Chamber of Commerce has placed the cost at more like 40%. To get the cost from the net wage, we divide by the reciprocal of 0.30, or 0.70.

Other Employee Costs Need to Be Considered:

Be sure to consider other costs that aren't as obvious or as easy to quantify. Your time to train an employee, costs to advertise and acquire them, non-productive time costs, re-training and other costs when they leave, etc. There's also the issue of training your future competition.

What's the Cost of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant?:

Hourly rates for real estate virtual assistants with the required expertise generally run between $30 and $70. Many further discount their rates if you place them on some kind of guaranteed retainer or purchase blocks of time in advance. Using $45/hour and $40,000 in the middle of our employee cost examples, how much time will we get from a VA?: 

  • $40,000 / $45 = 889 hours
  • 889 hours / 52 weeks = 17 hours per week

From here, it's just a decision as to whether you can get everything you want done in the time you're purchasing and if you believe you'll have the control and quality you desire.

Be Realistic in Your Comparison:

Most of the Virtual Assistant companies will make the employee-to-assistant comparison and show the same work output with significantly less cost. It is assumed that, not only can the VA work faster and more efficiently due to their expertise, but also that there is non-productive or "make-work" time involved with in-house personnel.

This is probably true in many cases. However, be sure that your time involved in coordination and information transfer to and from the VA is not just taking the place of the wasted employee time. In other words, it shouldn't increase your management time to hire a virtual assistant.

It's Not Just About Cost Though

How much control do you want over the work hours and performance of this person? Virtual Assistants are typically hired as independent contractors and you pretty much just tell them what you need and they are free to deliver their services and product as they see fit. This can be just fine for you. However, if you're wanting responses or response materials delivered directly to clients or contacts when they want them, it could create a problem.

Write down the things you want and need from a virtual assistant and see how many items on the list may suffer if you can't control their actions. If their duties are mostly marketing, you should be fine. However, if they're responding to clients, be sure you're going to provide quality and timely service.