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The true cost of hiring admin staff

Why hiring a local VA could be your best option for admin support!

Great news! Your business is thriving, but now you realise you need help, and it’s time to hire admin staff. Before you rush out and post that job ad on Seek, let’s look at the true cost of hiring someone to help you.

Most business owners focus on the hourly rate or salary, but they often overlook additional costs. Factor in these on-costs, and they can almost double what it costs to employ someone.

  • Annual leave – ~20 days per year
  • Sick leave – ~10 days per year
  • Public holidays – most states in Australia have ~10 days off per year
  • Long service leave and parental leave entitlements
  • Workers Compensation insurance – ~2%
  • Payroll tax – ~5%
  • Training costs – it takes around 90 days for an employee to be fully trained in their role
  • Equipment costs – computers, phones, desks, chairs, stationery, uniforms
  • Office space – rent, electricity, water
  • Benefits – tea/coffee supplies, Christmas party costs, staff discounts
  • Recruitment and HR – the cost of advertising, the time taken to review applications and interview candidates, reference checking, onboarding (or alternatively hiring a Recruitment Agency to do this for you)

Let’s break down the cost of hiring a Receptionist

The average salary for an entry-level Receptionist in Australia is $55,000 per year in 2024, rising to around $72,000 for an experienced staff member. Adding estimated on-costs brings the potential cost to a whopping $95,000 in the first year 😲. Here’s the breakdown:

Bet you didn’t expect to pay an extra 72% on top of the base salary, did you?!

But what happens if business slows down and you don’t have enough work to keep your admin staff busy? Are you going to be happy paying for someone to sit around doing nothing? Could you reduce their hours to part-time or change their employment status to casual? Either way, you’re going to have to pay them for a minimum of 3-hours each time they work, which may not suit your business or your budget.

Virtual Assistants to the rescue!

When you hire a Virtual Assistant (VA) you generally only pay for the time they are actually productive. If you have quiet periods, you don’t pay anything if they are not working. Pretty awesome, right?!

The question is, should you go for an overseas VA or someone local? Obviously, we are biased toward hiring locals (Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!), so we recommend you look at what works best for YOUR business operations.

Overseas VAs:

  • Lower costs: Overseas VAs – particularly in countries like the Philippines where living costs are lower – typically charge around $18-$20 per hour. This can be a huge cost saving for small businesses.
  • Minimum hourly commitment: Many overseas agencies require you commit to a minimum number of hours each week to lock in that low rate.
  • Minimum contract term: Rigid contracts may demand a minimum term of 12 months or more. If the relationship doesn’t work out, you’re stuck paying fees until the contract ends.
  • Initiative: Overseas VAs are great for basic or repetitive tasks which are clearly documented in your Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). If you don’t have clear SOPs or you need someone who can think on their feet and problem-solve, an overseas VA may not be for you.

Australian VAs:

  • Cost flexibility: Professional Australian VAs charge $70-$120 per hour however, they usually only charge for the hours they are working. For instance, if a VA is on standby for 40 hours a week to answer calls, but they spend 5 hours actively working, the client pays only for those 5 hours. During the other 35 hours, the VA earns their income supporting other clients.
  • Easier communication: Aussie VAs understand local terminology and local business practices. This reduces misunderstandings and ensures professional communication standards.
  • Legal compliance: Australian VAs are subject to local legal and regulatory frameworks, minimising compliance risks.
  • Lower overheads: Aussie VAs hold their own insurances, pay for their own systems and training, and their own equipment. You don’t even have to worry about funding their caffeine habits!
  • Initiative: Aussie VAs always follow SOPs but excel in creative problem-solving and handling tricky tasks. Their attention to detail is generally superior too.

Cost comparison case study

For many businesses, it boils down to costs, and that’s completely understandable. Times are tough!

We looked at costs for a real estate client who needed admin support. They didn’t have enough work for in-house admin staff, so they hired an overseas VA* agency for 40 hours a week at $20 per hour to answer their calls when they couldn’t.

After a year, they weren’t happy – the overseas VAs struggled to communicate clearly and couldn’t handle tasks outside their SOPs.

Our analysis showed they were only getting about 5 hours of real work each week. They switched to Organised Empires** for call answering, paying a monthly line rental fee and for the time taken to answer and action their calls.

Choosing local talent instead of permanent staff or an overseas VA could save this client $21,000 to $101,000 a year, so to say they are happy is an understatement.

Save money and get your business organised!

At Organised Empires, we offer cost-effective solutions that allow you to pay only for the actual hours worked. With competitive rates and no minimum contract terms, you have the flexibility to choose support based on your business needs.

Whether you need someone to help with general administration, get your social media cranking, answer your phones, or streamline your business processes, our highly experienced team will make sure you get bang for your buck!

Reach out

To see how we can help YOUR business, reach out to us for a free chat.

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