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How to Hire Your First Employee: Costs

So, you’ve weighed all the considerations for hiring your first virtual employee. But now, it’s time to weigh the costs. The key is finding a virtual employee with just the right blend of experience and skills in order to seamlessly integrate them into your business and be as helpful as possible.

The million-dollar question: How much does it cost to hire a virtual employee?

The answer will largely depend on the depth and breadth of your needs, and the rate and expertise of the virtual employee you hire.

Here we’ll break down some of the most common costs associated with outsourcing to a virtual employee: 

Experience and Expertise.

Arguably, some of the most important qualities to look for in a virtual employee are reliability, resourcefulness, efficiency, and strong communication skills. It’s important to find someone who complements your skills, company, industry or workflow – and maybe even brings something additional to the table that you may be lacking. Once you’ve identified what you’ll need, you’ll be better able to match a potential virtual hire with the skills required.

Frequency of Work Needed.

Depending on your needs, you can hire a virtual employee on a per-project basis and pay them hourly, or go with a fixed-price structure. Let’s use an email marketing campaign as an example. If you need your virtual employee to pull contacts and enter them into a marketing platform like MailChimp, you can expect to only need a few hours of their time. However, if you have set tasks to be completed every day in an ongoing capacity, you may want a contract that sets the number of hours per week.

Type of Work Needed.

If you need more operational support and business consulting, that would likely be considered next-tier virtual employee work and would subsequently incur higher rates than more straightforward administrative tasks.

Communication Costs

Communication is the very lifeblood of a healthy organization. When you’re hiring locally, you can easily see and talk to your team in person. But when you go virtual, your company’s communication system proves paramount. Thankfully, there are a lot of inexpensive – or even free – options available, like Skype, Facebook, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, UberConference and Zoom. Further, you’ll need to consider the cost – though often nominal – of other critical applications, like cloud storage, documents sharing, tasks management platforms and more.

Level of Technical Knowledge Needed.

General office skills, email etiquette, and administrative work should be par for course for any employee, just as proficiency in Excel, PowerPoint, and the Google Suite should be, too. But if you need more specialized, technical knowledge, you’ll need to find a more skilled virtual employee who knows their way around platforms specific to your business or industry, like Magento, Photoshop, Illustrator, WordPress or Shopify, and though they’ll likely charge a little more, they will be well worth the extra cost.

Hiring Costs

Even if you’re hiring a virtual employee, there will still be some cost associated with the hiring process. From posting ads, to interviewing, to training, the process costs money. However, more and more businesses are adopting staffing automation for hiring that may very well be worth considering. (Shameless plug - if you use BELAY, we handle all of that for you. No added stress on you to post, interview, and find the person.)


When hiring a virtual employee outside of your time zone, one of the most important factors to remember is how location can affect real-time communication. Crossing time zones can extend your timelines, but can also be used to your advantage, such as round-the-clock customer support. Additionally, virtual hiring means your employees can work from anywhere, opening you up to a larger selection of potential candidates with varying rates depending on location and their local cost of living. If you are worried about how you can create a strong culture when you are 100% remote, this book is for you!

Despite a few inherent costs, the financial benefits of hiring a virtual employee still far outweigh the alternatives. Because when you add a virtual team member, you get greater results at a fraction of the cost, which means more margin for growth.

Download your free copy of the Employee Burden Cost here to see if your virtual employee dollars will make the most sense for your growing business.