Hire a receptionist or outsource a virtual one? Here are the pros and cons.

You know your business is successful when you’re getting more calls than you can handle. And although that’s a problem lots of companies would love to have, you don’t want to wait until you reach that point to find a fix.

That’s why it’s better for growth-minded businesses to plan for success. Fortunately, when it comes to call answering, there are two simple choices—hire an in-house receptionist or outsource to a virtual service provider.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Costs and payroll

In-house receptionist

There’s a built-in cost you’ll pay before even hiring a receptionist—the price of your time to write the job description, post the opening, review resumes, interview applicants, and check references. Then there’s the time spent onboarding and training your new employee, getting their payroll and insurance set up, and helping them settle into the role.

And that’s just the beginning.

Employers pay full-time receptionists an annual wage (~$30,000 per year, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics), plus pay for health insurance ($7,470 per year for single coverage; $21,342 for family coverage, per Zippia). Additional costs include paid time off, dental and vision plans, 401(k), and life insurance.

Then there are payroll taxes employers are responsible for—FICA (Social Security and Medicare) and FUTA (unemployment insurance). FUTA adds up to 6%, though most states offer back a credit. The same isn’t true for FICA, which costs employers 6.2% for Social Security and 1.45% for Medicare.

Did we mention you’ll also be paying for office supplies, including a phone and computer? How about incidental costs of breaks and lunchtime when no one is manning that reception post? It all adds up.

Outsourced virtual receptionist

Using a virtual receptionist service—like Ruby—can save employers up to several thousand dollars each year. Ruby offers a range of affordable plans that take the hassle out of onboarding and eliminate the associated costs of hiring an in-house worker.

No more paying for employee breaks, sick days, or “sitting around” time. No more payroll taxes, health or life insurance, or 401(k) matching, either.

Ruby’s virtual receptionist packages can be customized for your business, so you can scale sustainably without paying for more than you need. While some providers charge per call, we feel per-minute pricing is more cost-effective. With us, businesses only pay for the actual amount of time the receptionist spends working.


In-house receptionist

If your business is at the point where you need a receptionist, odds are you don’t have much time to train them. Training new staff adds to your burden because at least one person needs to take time away from their responsibilities to get that new hire up to speed.

Even before a worker starts, you’ll need to develop a training plan for them. A comprehensive manual will cover their daily tasks plus the slew of employee training required by state and federal laws (things like building and workplace safety).

There’ll also be an interim period where your new receptionist will need a lot of support from you and the rest of your team. That means questions, mistakes, and re-dos, all of which can be frustrating for everyone involved—including impatient customers.

Outsourced virtual receptionist

At Ruby, our virtual receptionists are fully-trained and already possess the necessary experience helping customers in a wide range of industries.

We start by hiring candidates with strong backgrounds in reception work, then enroll them in 120 hours of professional training. Our dedicated staff all receive tailored coaching to ensure they’re up-to-speed on how to provide stellar customer service. They also get refreshers on phone etiquette and brand voice guidelines related to phrasing, tone, and grammar.

Employee retention

In-house receptionist

So much effort goes into finding an in-house receptionist that when you’re finished, you have to pray they work out and stick around. However, reception jobs often have a high turnover rate. If they leave, that sends your company right back to the drawing board.

Other times, a receptionist sticks around…even if they aren’t the best fit. Then your business is faced with the tough choice of letting them go—or living with a worker you’d rather replace.

Outsourced virtual receptionist

With outsourced receptionists, retention isn’t a consideration. Ruby’s talent pool runs deep, with countless virtual professionals standing by.

You’ll never have to worry about the wasted resources spent on training someone who ends up leaving. Nor will you ever deal with a worker who isn’t cut out for your long-term needs.

With Ruby, you’ll get the highly-trained, courteous help your customers deserve, any time, every time. We serve a broad range of small and growing service-oriented businesses, including law firms, home services providers, tax professionals, and healthcare providers — just to name a few!

Control and visibility

In-house receptionist

One of the pros to having an in-house receptionist is also one of the biggest cons. Your business now has another team member working one-on-one with customers and other employees. This creates the need for someone to supervise and support that receptionist.

Sure, it’s nice to have an extra person around who can help with miscellaneous duties on occasion. But what happens when they’re having a bad day? Or a personal crisis? Or a conflict with a co-worker? The time you’ll spend managing those issues might add up to more than the value that person brings to your business.

Outsourced virtual receptionist

With Ruby, you can rest easy knowing you have someone managing your customer service—without the need to be micro-managed.

Instead of dealing with the potential problems that in-house workers can bring on board, companies can instead focus all their energy on scaling and earning profits.

Ruby receptionists don’t require supervision because we take care of that for you. Simply give us the key information your virtual receptionist needs to know (i.e., available services, rates, numbers to forward calls to), and they’ll serve as a seamless extension of your business. If there’s ever any issue, we’re just a call or email away to address it instantly!


In-house receptionist

An in-house receptionist is present to field calls only on set hours and set days. That limited availability doesn’t include when they’re away from their desks for breaks, lunch, meetings, appointments, and work-related duties where they’re needed elsewhere. It also doesn’t include sick days, holidays, vacation days…you get the picture.

Clearly, an in-house employee won’t answer calls once they leave the office, either. In fact, out of a 24-hour day, your call line will be unattended for at least 16 hours while the receptionist is off.

Outsourced virtual receptionist

Ruby’s virtual receptionist services are available 24/7, 365 days a week, to screen calls, answer general inquiries, take messages, perform call transfers, and capture leads. They do it all, whenever you need them.

Just need some after-hours phone support? Ruby’s your solution. Need help managing call overflow? Ruby’s got your back. Full-time, part-time, any time — our cost-efficient packages cover every contingency.

Our flexible features and capabilities include:

  • 24/7 live answering
  • Mobile app notifications
  • Custom voicemail
  • Bilingual English-Spanish services
  • Appointment scheduling
  • Call forwarding
  • Robocall filtering
  • Outbound calling
  • Lead capture
  • Number porting and hosting
  • HIPAA compliance
  • Answering FAQs

There will probably always be some instances where an organization needs a full-time, in-house receptionist. But as the business world evolves and shifts increasingly online, virtual receptionist services are taking their rightful place as the far more cost-effective solution for enterprises of all sizes.

To learn more, check out Ruby’s comprehensive guide to virtual receptionists and discover what option is right for you!