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The Better Choice: Virtual Assistant Agency vs. Freelance VA

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The Better Choice: Virtual Assistant Agency vs. Freelance VA

Virtual assistants (VA) are individuals with a set of specialized skills that help you and your company perform small tasks or projects that they can complete independently and remotely—usually in the comfort of their homes.

They are professionals who provide a wide range of virtual assistant services from administrative tasks, customer service, and even technical support.

Today, hiring virtual assistants has become a necessity for businesses since they help decrease a company’s heavy workload, thereby optimizing how a business operates. 

Considering how a virtual assistant can help propel your company to success, it is only reasonable to carefully choose the virtual assistant that you want to help your business.

You currently have two ways to hire VAs for your company: from a virtual assistant company or freelancers offering virtual assistant services.

Before discussing their advantages and disadvantages, let us first define what freelancers and virtual assistant agencies are.

freelancer is a professional who works solo and is usually self-employed. They sell their skills as independent contractors and directly engage with their employers.

On the other hand, a virtual assistant agency is a company that employs virtual assistants and acts as a middle-man between you and the virtual assistant.

Freelance vs. Agency Hires

When businesses think of outsourcing for a virtual assistant, hiring a freelancer seems like the most natural option, and here are some of the reasons why:

FREELANCE VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Pros

  • Most freelancers are temporary and cost less as compared to hiring a full-time employee.
  • You have full control over who works for you since you choose them directly.
  • You get to properly screen candidates’ credentials before hiring them—making sure that they can deliver your company’s needs and qualify your company’s standards.
  • Your company has a lot of options. Candidates offer a wide range of services for just about any task that you need. A quick search on Google will give you a seemingly endless list of freelance virtual assistants. 

And while freelance virtual assistants are favorable for many small businesses, they also have a few disadvantages. 

Cons

  • Too many options take up your time. Going through a long list of potential candidates can deter your progress instead of speeding it up. For example, your online search for a virtual assistant returns a thousand potential candidates. You can spend hours scrolling through them and still not find the candidate suitable for your company.
  • There is no assurance of the quality of candidates. You’re not assured that all of these candidates are on par with your company’s standard. Some of them may even be poor quality candidates.
  • There is an issue of limited skills. Freelance virtual assistants have limited skillsets. For example, one VA specializes in customer service while another specializes in administrative work. It isn’t easy to find the perfect virtual assistant that specializes in both.
  • There is an issue of limited availability. It isn’t easy to find a freelancer available when you need them since most freelance VAs engage in work as part-time or whenever they have free time.
  • Training your virtual assistant takes up time and resources. Freelance VAs work directly with you. So you have to take some time to train them so that they fit in your company. 
  • There is an issue of unmonitored performances since they are working remotely.

On the other hand, a reputable virtual assistant company offers your businesses with that following advantages: 

AGENCY VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Pros

  • They can help you cut down on the search and screening time. They have a whole talent pool with a wide variety of skills. It’s efficient and you know that they will get the job done. 
  • They know what to look for when hiring virtual assistants. Since it is in their best interest to source only qualified people, virtual assistant firms hire only the best people for their company and yours.
  • They provide you security. You are secured that the virtual assistant you hired doesn’t have criminal records. You’re also secured that they will not suddenly stop working for you.
  • Training is part of the deal. A virtual assistant agency ensures that whoever they send to their clients passes their rigorous screening and training processes.
  • Virtual assistants in agencies are fixed employees. They will not ghost you in the middle of a project.
  • Progress monitoring is part of the deal. Since these virtual assistants are part of a company, their works are being monitored. This is one less problem for you to be concerned about, especially if many things are going on in your business. Through task tracking, you know your virtual assistant is working, and that your money is not going to waste.
  • Round the clock availability. You are also assured that a virtual assistant is available to serve your company’s needs if you hire through a VA agency. Since they consist of big teams, you can rest assured that there are people around the clock.

However, hiring virtual assistants through an agency also has a few disadvantages:

Cons

  • You have little or no control over who to hire. VA agencies may not give you access to their pool of virtual assistants. Instead, they ask for specific qualifications you are looking for in a virtual assistant. Their reputation is on the line, so they will have to make sure that their VAs are competent for the position that you require.
  • Price. This is probably the biggest disadvantage of hiring a virtual assistant through an agency. These companies ask their clients to pay some sort of premium. Depending on your contract, payment may be monthly or annually. Compared to hiring a freelancer directly, the price of an agency freelancer may be higher. The higher cost comes from overhead costs the company incurs like payroll for its employees, utilities, office infrastructures, and administrative support, which most freelancers don’t have. However, if this is the price you pay for some positive growth and having more time spent on more important tasks instead of searching for help, you’ve already made a great investment.

Which Do You Choose?

Choosing the right virtual assistant for your company is not a one-size-fits-all matter. Furthermore, choosing between an agency’s services or a freelancer doesn’t have a predefined formula, either. Before making your choice, make sure that you have fully considered your company’s needs and if it falls within your budget.

Amazing freelancers are out there, but they can be difficult to find. And while there are a lot of virtual agencies, they can be a bit pricey. Compare what these third-party contractors can offer you and see if it fits your requirements. Then decide what’s best for you and your company.

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Roland Francis Dacillo
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