When assigning your workload to a virtual employee, it is always a choice between hiring someone from an agency or an independent freelance worker. There are different kinds of virtual assistance service providers out there, and even many independents (freelancers). This article is meant to help you narrow down your search. In this article we shall try to weigh the pros and cons of an assistant from an agency versus an independent freelancer.
Commitment – It is generally seen that employees from agencies are more committed to their clients as they are answerable to their companies. While freelancers are not much committed as they manage it themselves and is not liable to anyone.
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) – Companies are generally seen working safe when it is confidential data of clients. All companies mostly sign a NDA with the clients to keep the work confidential between the client and the company. While, when it comes to the independents, no such arrangements or assurances are made.
Cost Versus Quality – It can be disputed that agencies come off as expensive when it comes to pricing. However, if you compare to independents, the kind of quality which an agency delivers is quite high.
Scalability – If you want to execute a larger than the usual project and need more hands to complete, a company can provide you with all the necessary help with extra hands. Likewise, if your business starts growing real quick and your requirement for human resources shoots up, a company will be more than willing to suffice your staff requirements. In the case of freelancers there is not enough scope for scalability and you would not be able to go beyond a single individual’s capacity. Even if you want to expand beyond the present capacity, you would have to start your recruitment process from the start.
Experts in Varied Areas – In a company, you would find many experts supporting a varied number of skill-sets like accounting, digital marketing, and website development. But among independents it is difficult to find a single person who is an expert in different domains.
Replacing an assistant – In case your regular one is not keeping well or has gone for a vacation, companies’ generally have enough hands for a replacement. In case of a freelancer, if such a situation arises, you would have to strive extra hard yourself to bridge the gap to finish the work. Or you would have to ask your assistant to train someone to function as a backup.
Even in a situation, where your virtual assistant quits the company to join elsewhere, companies would quickly find a replacement and seamless transition would be in place. In case of a independent, such a situation would set you back to square one and you would have to start again at finding a new assistant.
Urgent Tasks – Suppose you need to get something done immediately, companies like GetFriday would get it done. While in the case of a freelancer you would have to hold back and wait till the person is available during your time. In case he/she is filled with any other work, he/she may not take it up immediately also.
Trial Period – Most agencies that are into personal assistance give some kind of trial period for the client. This ensures that the client gets to judge the services, without committing any capital upfront. This is kind of a set-up is unheard of, when it comes to independents.
Feedback Giving – When your task is not completed as per your guidelines, you can always escalate within the company to a manager and you would find your concerns addressed. In an independent’s case, you would have to give the negative feedback directly to the assistant.
Recently outsourcing to a freelancer has become a trend since the prices are low, but in real scenarios majority of the clients are dissatisfied with the freelancer’s efforts and get the same work redone by the agencies. We later realize that outsourcing to an individual had been an unnecessary expense.
With the major points mentioned above, hope you would agree that outsourcing to an agency/company is more advantageous than going with an independent.
GetFriday (earlier YMII or YourManInIndia) is a service that was featured and used in the NYTimes best-selling productivity and lifestyle design book ‘The 4-Hour-Workweek’ by Timothy Ferris. Sign up now!