When you decide to augment your business team with the services of a freelance virtual assistant or a VA company, you have a few different options available to you.
A freelancer will, of course, be dedicated to serving your business while contracted, but when it comes to companies that provide VA services, there are a number of business models, all of which have their pros and cons.
Which Model Will Suit You Best?
Some companies employ virtual assistants who work from home. Others (like Virtual Done Well) locate their staff in a central office facility.
Providers using either of these models may offer you a single dedicated virtual assistant, who (barring sickness or holidays) will work full-time (or part-time if you prefer) for your business. Alternatively, your service-fulfilment might be assigned to multiple VAs, so your tasks will be pooled together with those of other clients.
To help you decide whether the pooled approach or a dedicated virtual assistant will suit you better, we’ve decided to explain what we believe are the pros and cons of each option.
Getting the Jobs Done
Let’s begin by considering how well the two types of virtual assistant services fare when it comes to covering all the tasks you need completing.
Team Approach – Pros: If you choose a company that distributes your tasks among a VA team, you may receive the advantage of multiple skills and specialisations, since your provider can cover a wide range of tasks, assigning each one to a VA with the right strengths.
Team Approach – Cons: On the other hand, the right skills don’t always mean the right VA. What we mean by this is that you don’t get to know the Virtual assistant who’s performing a task for you. While he or she may possess exactly the right skill-set, you may not like the VA’s attitude or approach.
If that’s the case, you have the added hassle of discussing the issue with the VAs’ manager and trying to get a different VA assigned—and what if you don’t like the replacement either?
Dedicated VA – Pros: When you are assigned a single, dedicated VA, the process usually begins with some interviews, enabling you to speak to a number of VA-candidates and select the one you wish to work with. This typically provides a better foundation for the ongoing relationship between you and your virtual assistant.
Dedicated VA – Cons: The only drawback with a dedicated virtual assistant is that unless you are very lucky, your chosen VA will be more competent at some tasks than at others, meaning you may need to have more than one virtual assistant on hand, especially if some tasks require very specific skills. This could well increase your costs, because you’ll be billed for each of the VAs that you work with.
Virtual Assistant Availability
Aside from having access to the right skills, you need to know your virtual assistant will be available when needed. Again, the two approaches we’re exploring here each have their availability advantages and drawbacks.
Team Approach – Pros: The good thing about the team approach is that there are more resources available to get your tasks completed. Your provider may even be able to get multiple jobs completed for you concurrently, by assigning a number of VAs to your tasks when necessary. If the provider runs a 24-hour service, you can even get tasks done overnight.
Team Approach – Cons: Of course you won’t have control over who gets assigned to your tasks and especially during busy times, your tasks aren’t guaranteed to be assigned to VAs with the most appropriate skills.
Dedicated VA – Pros: When you work with a dedicated virtual assistant you can agree an availability schedule in advance. Aside from unforeseen emergencies or sickness, you will always know when your VA is available and have enough warning to arrange a stand-in when necessary.
Dedicated VA – Cons: The only problem with having a regular virtual assistant, is that you really notice the difference when he or she has to take time off work. During those periods when he or she is unavailable, it can be quite unsettling to work with a stand-in, who probably won’t have the same affinity with you and your business.
A Matter of Quality vs Volume?
Even when taking all factors into account, there’s really no definitive answer as to whether a dedicated VA is better than having your work assigned to a VA team—or vice versa. Your choice will come down to what suits your business best and which of the pros and cons matter the most to you.
It may be a question of quality versus volume in terms of the work you plan to outsource. For example, if your business is growing fast and you want to outsource a diverse range of tasks, the team approach might be a good idea, as you’ll get access to VAs with a range of skill-sets.
On the other hand, if you want a virtual assistant who will become integrated with your business and you have certain tasks that you really want to prioritise for outsourcing, a dedicated Virtual assistant (or more than one for higher workloads) might be a better fit.
Dedicated Virtual Assistants at Virtual Done Well
Here at Virtual Done Well, we prefer to match our clients with a dedicated virtual assistant, but we typically recruit specifically for each client. That approach allows us to find VAs with skills closely matched to client-requirements. It’s just the way we like to do things because we’re focused on generating long-term client/VA relationships.
If that sounds like the type of arrangement that would fit well with your business, why not get in touch and let us know your needs?