In this article and video, we explore whether you should hire a virtual assistant agency vs hiring an individual virtual assistant.
What is a virtual assistant (VA)?
You may have heard the term “virtual assistant” before, but what exactly does that mean?
A virtual assistant is like a personal or office assistant who works remotely instead of in your office. They can help you with anything from scheduling and calendar management to taking care of your social media accounts, organizing files, sending out emails, and more.
Why do I need a VA?
Virtual assistants are the workhorses of the digital world. They’re the ones who get your email, manage your calendar, and organize your life—so if you want to get more done with less stress, it’s probably time to hire a virtual assistant.
They allow you to get work done and ramp up your business when you are busy without the commitment of hiring long-term employees and then hitting a downturn in business and having to lay off employees.
Benefits of working with an Individual VA
Here are some benefits of working with a good quality individual virtual assistant:
- Lower price: Individual VAs usually charge less than agency VAs because they do not have to pay for overhead and other resources associated with running an agency.
- Always working with the same VA: If you hire an individual, you are working with a single person that you and your clients can get to know over time.
- May be more flexible and may not have minimum-hour requirements: An individual may be willing to work in shorter blocks than agencies require.
Drawbacks of an Individual VA
When you hire an individual virtual assistant, you’re basically putting all your eggs in one basket. If they get sick or go on vacation, you’re out of luck. And if they don’t know how to do something or need training, who are they going to go to? You!
It’s also tough when you work with someone who isn’t accountable. They might not always follow through on what they’ve agreed to do, or they may need a lot of micromanaging.
It’s also difficult for a single virtual assistant to have ALL the skills you need in your business such as research, customer service, marketing, SEO, content creation, graphic design, website updates, booking, and others.
And if they’re not familiar with certain areas of your business that aren’t their specialty, then you’ll have to train them yourself—and that takes time and energy away from other things that need doing.
Benefits of a Virtual Assistant Agency
Virtual Assistant Agencies have a number of benefits over hiring an individual virtual assistant.
Access to training, templates, checklists, and systems for success
Agency VAs have access to and are trained to use standard tools and processes which makes it easier for you to get the help you need quickly. An agency can afford powerful marketing tools that an individual VA may not be able to afford.
Many agencies provide training libraries, checklists, and templates for their VAs that they can use to more quickly process your work.
Backups for illness, vacation
When you hire an individual VA, you are solely responsible for finding a replacement if that person is sick or on vacation. However, with an agency, there will be backups available to step in when necessary. This means your business doesn’t have to take a hit just because one person is out!
Wider range of services and skills
Agencies have more than one VA so they can offer a wider range of services and skills than most individuals who work alone. An agency will often have people who specialize in social media marketing or SEO. This saves time in putting together a team of experts rather than hiring one person at a time.
Accountability & Training
Usually, an agency account manager holds VAs accountable to do work so you don’t have to micromanage. And the agency trains its virtual assistants to a higher standard.
Drawbacks of a Virtual Assistant Agency
A virtual assistant agency can be a great option for a lot of people, but there are some drawbacks.
The first is that they’re generally higher priced than an individual virtual assistant. This is because they have to pay people to manage and train the virtual assistants, create and maintain templates, and so on.
Another drawback is that you may not always work with the same VA. This can be a benefit as you have backups for illness or vacation, but it can also be frustrating if the agency keeps changing who you work with. Good agencies will usually provide a dedicated VA so you usually work with the same one other than for absences.
The Answer Depends on You
The choice between a virtual assistant agency and an individual VA can be a tough one. There are pros and cons to each, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide which is best for your needs. Here are some guidelines to help you decide which option is best in your personal situation.
Hire an individual VA if:
- you only need a certain skill rather than a wide range of skills
- you have the time to provide training, guidance, and supervision
- you have well-defined task checklists, procedure manuals, and training materials
- you can handle backup in the event of VA absences such as illness or vacation
Consider hiring a virtual assistant agency if:
- you need backup in the event of VA absences
- you don’t have time to manage your VA
- you don’t have checklists, procedure manuals, and training materials in place
- you need access to a wide range of skills and don’t want to hire multiple people yourself
Check out our virtual assistant agency with a free consultation today.