When you look at the per hour cost of hiring staff, you have to remember to include taxes, possible overtime, and the cost of unproductive time at work. It does not take much for your staff costs to grow beyond what you expected. On the other hand, the base rate for virtual staff is often higher than a regular employee. There are pros and cons to either scenario, and which is best for you depends on you and your practice.
If you have steady business with routine matters, it may make sense for you to hire your own staff. If, on the other hand, your case load varies throughout the year or you need many different types of tasks done, going virtual may be more cost effective. Virtual providers tend to be experienced in their niche – whether that be billing, legal research, document drafting, or something else. Since you only use the provider when you need the service, you are not paying for downtime. Likewise, since providers tend to have expertise in their work areas, you are not paying for their learning curve.
You can research the average salary for the positions you are thinking of hiring at www.salary.com. For instance, the median salary for a legal assistant in Minneapolis is $50,160 and the median salary for an experienced paralegal in Minneapolis is $65,624. Your costs are actually higher because of your payroll tax burden. If you have more than twenty-five to thirty hours of work to be done each week within one person’s expertise, you may be better off hiring regular staff for that job. If you have less than twenty-five hours of work each week or the work requires multiple disciplines, you will likely come out ahead using virtual staff.
In the end, only you can decide what works best for your practice. Taking a realistic look at the volume of work you have, the types of tasks that need to be done, and your preference for in-house or outsourced staff will help you make the right decision.