Agency cover vs Virtual Assistant

A lot of people I speak to often say ‘but I could hire a temp agency worker for a cheaper cost’. Yes, sometimes you can. However as with anything hiring a temp comes with its cons too.

Here, I am going to be discussing the pros and cons of hiring an agency temp.

  1. You hire a temp and realise you would like to actually keep them with your company for the foreseeable future – excellent BUT you have to weigh the costs of a possible contract buyout which does also mean that you are generally required to take the temp on as an employee otherwise run the risk of them being placed in another company. With a VA you don’t have the issue of contract buyouts or employing as I am here when you need me and for as long as you need – want to extend the time then fine, no added expense!
  2. Found the right temp. BUT once they have started, they have no real passion for the work they are carrying out as its just a job! With a VA I am extremely passionate not only because it is my business but I am doing work that I love!
  3. Find that a temp is doing really well in your business, but have you thought about how committed they are? Temps usually are temps because they like moving to businesses & departments to further their career. Whereas a VA has furthered their career got where they want to be and are committed to being a valuable asset to your business.
  4. Temps have a cheaper hourly rate than a VA. Ok, yes, on paper temps can be cheaper than VA’s BUT temps usually are entitled to similar benefits to that of an employee such as paid holiday, statutory sick pay, unpaid parental leave, contracted to certain amount of hours each week, use of workplace environments such as water, office space, toilets, heating etc and workplace security. With a VA you are hiring a self-employed individual so the price you have is the price you pay – no hidden extras!
  5. Does your team like your temp? This can also be a common issue with morale in a business. Often temps are not in a business long enough to build a working relationship with peers and therefore can bring some resistance to the current team. VA’s work very much as part of a team and generally on an ongoing basis which provides time to build a relationship.
  6. Temps are generally governed by their contracted hours and a minimum amount of hours are required e.g. part time or full time. BUT as a VA you can have the flexibility of required hours such as 10hrs a month – which you generally cannot get with a temp.

There are many more comparisons but these are the main points for me.

So, for me, temps should be considered but carefully dependant on the situation, taking into account that the price on the paper isn’t usually the full price like it is a VA. VA’s don’t have holiday pay, don’t have workplace security, don’t require office space etc so all in all VA’s are very low maintenance.

For a cost comparison (based these figures on current Essex based EA temp roles advertised):

Temp cost:

  • £20 per hour
  • £2000.00 Business facilities, set up with IT equipment
  • £300.00 per month IT support (taken from research of numerous companies)
  • £50 per month Internet, mobile etc (Research of business costs online)
  • £345.60 Management fees, HR etc inside the company
  • £420 per month Agency fees (taken from Reed recruitment)

= £3315.60 (based on 10hr working month) initial cost

= £1315.60 (based on 10hr working month) approximate monthly cost

VA cost:

  • £25 per hour

= £250.00 per month (based on 10hr working month) initial cost

= £250.00 per month (based on 10hr working month) monthly cost

These figures are estimates from average figures but go to show the real cost of a temp vs a VA.


Here are my other blogs that might help

What a hero VA can help me with

How much!?