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How Much Does a Virtual Receptionist Cost?
Peter DeHaan

By: Peter DeHaan on May 26th, 2017

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How Much Does a Virtual Receptionist Cost?

How Answering Services Work

When you hire a full-time in-house receptionist, the cost of your new hire adds up quickly. And it’s not just the hourly rate, which inches steadily higher each year.

Next you must cover breaks and lunches; offer vacations, sick days, holidays, and personal days; and pay overtime for extra work beyond eight hours a day or forty hours a week. Then add benefits on top of that, of which healthcare becomes a significant factor and looms as an increasing worry.

Your onsite receptionist can easily have a total compensation package exceeding $30,000 a year or more.

How does that compare to a virtual receptionist? The good news is a virtual answering service receptionist only costs a small fraction of this five-figure paycheck. Here’s why:

Stop Paying for Idle Time

When you have a receptionist on your payroll, they’re paid regardless of the work they do. If they’re on a call or sitting idle, waiting for the phone to ring, they receive the same pay.

Sometimes they’re busy. Sometimes they’re not. But you pay them the same no matter how much work they do.

Not so with a virtual receptionist, who is only paid for time spent actually handling your calls. No calls mean no cost. It can’t get any better. Check out a full pricing comparison here.

Skip the Extra Compensation Expectations

A staff receptionist expects a vacation, so may you offer two weeks to start. And more later if they stick around. They also want paid time off for holidays. Certainly, this includes the main six holidays and maybe a few more. The costs for them not working adds up.

Next is the reality that they will occasionally call in sick. You pay them to stay home and then you pay someone to cover for them. And because you’re a considerate employer you also give them a few personal days off to attend to personal issues—and to not work.

Although vacation and sick days also occur with virtual receptionists, you don’t have to cover those costs. You just pay for the actual time their replacement works for you.

Avoid Paying a Premium Rate for Overtime

When you ask your office receptionist to come in early or stay late, this may trigger an overtime condition. As a result, the cost to do the same type of work jumps 50 percent. Ouch!

Although a virtual answering service receptionist may sometimes work overtime, you don’t pay a premium price for it. You pay your normal rate. And again, this is only for the time actually worked processing your phone calls.

Save Big Time on Benefits

Though once a minor consideration, the cost of benefits has ballooned over the past couple of decades, with skyrocketing healthcare costs leading the way. This can add several thousand dollars to your staff receptionist’s total compensation package. These are fixed costs regardless of how much your onsite staff receptionist works or doesn’t work.

In contrast, your virtual answering service receptionist is only paid a low fixed rate for the time actually worked for you. When it comes to the bill you receive for your virtual answering service receptionist, you only pay for the actual time worked. No benefits, overtime, or other perks. 

So what does a virtual receptionist cost? Though it depends on the number of phone calls they answer each month, it will be a small fraction of what it would cost to handle that same work in-house.

With a virtual receptionist, you can’t lose.

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About Peter DeHaan