Cost comparison: In-house vs. virtual receptionists

Most small businesses need someone to answer phones, respond to customer questions, take messages, and route calls, as needed. However, they don’t necessarily need to hire a full-time, in-house receptionist to do these tasks.

In fact, many businesses can derive far more benefits from outsourcing to a virtual receptionist service provider. Let’s review the costs of each to find out which is right for your business and budget!

The cost of an in-house receptionist

In-house receptionists are typically full-time employees pulling normal eight-hour shifts (plus a lunch break).

They’re part of your team, sitting at a desk in the lobby so they can greet walk-in customers in addition to answering phones. They may also tackle general administrative support duties. In-house receptionists require all of the human resources considerations as any other employee, which means you’ll need to pay payroll taxes and offer other potential benefits such as health coverage, paid time off, etc.

Paying your in-house receptionist a living wage

It costs an average of $38,500 to employ an in-house receptionist, per

But the “true employer cost for an employee is between 1.25 and 1.4 times the worker’s base salary,” according to ConnectTeam. That brings the average up to as high as $53,900—or $4,491 a month!

Of course, wages vary by state—but no matter where your business operates, adding an in-house receptionist is clearly no small expense.

Employee equipment costs

In addition to paying a receptionist’s salary, employers must shell out for office equipment.

Procuring and setting up an office space can run as much as $5,000 for just the technology (i.e., a computer, monitor, keyboard, speakers, camera, headset, multi-function printer/photocopier, phone, and software licenses). Budget-friendly options are available but wear out faster, requiring more frequent replacements.

Add another several hundred dollars for a decent desk and office chair. Then, there are recurring expenses, such as phone lines, office supplies, water, toiletries, hand sanitizer, etc. It doesn’t take long for these expenses to add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

Turnover & cost of hiring

It takes time and money to advertise an open position, screen applications, schedule and conduct interviews, check personal references, and make an offer to hire.

Once hired, you’ve then got to set the new employee up with payroll and get them trained on their duties. suggests the cost of lost revenue for the time spent introducing a new team member can cost over $1,000.

Meanwhile, according to Zippia, the average receptionist only stays with an employer for 1 or 2 years, which means you’ll probably have to go through this costly process again many times!

The benefits of virtual receptionists

Using a virtual receptionist, through a reputable service provider, comes with many benefits. Here are just a handful!

Save on staff costs

The majority of small businesses don’t really have enough work to keep a full-time in-house receptionist busy. As a result, they end up paying someone to just “be there.”

When you’re spending an average true employer cost of $4,491 a month (not including recurring expenses) for an in-house worker, the virtual receptionist model starts to look pretty attractive!

With virtual receptionists, businesses can select from a range of affordable plans. For example, at Ruby, we offer 24/7 plans starting at just a fraction of that cost. Customers can also bundle their receptionist plan with a live chat agent to handle any online support!

Improve customer experience

Ruby virtual receptionists can enable your business to offer elevated customer experiences.

How? For starters, our agents are highly-trained customer service experts. They know exactly how to make a strong first impression which inspires trust and lays the foundation for a lasting relationship.

Ruby also offers bilingual call support agents to enhance customer satisfaction even further.

Deep knowledge of your business

Using our high-tech call handling system, any Ruby agent who answers your incoming calls—day or night—integrates seamlessly as a knowledgeable member of your team.

With instant access to the information you provide us, they can respond to everything from FAQs to inquiries about your business’s products, services, staff roster, location, hours of operation…and even parking and local weather conditions!

Try Ruby and experience these savings for yourself!

At Ruby, we’ve been in business for over 20 years, with more than 14,000 small businesses served in every industry imaginable!

Our flexible, affordable virtual receptionist plans are built for small businesses of all sizes and specialties—providing full-time, part-time, and on-demand support depending on your needs. Best of all, we do it for a fraction of the cost of an in-house hire.

In need of a little backup? Check out this in-depth overview of our pricing, or reach out directly to have a customized plan built around your budget!