What's the Payroll Cost of a Full-Time Employee?:
Any attempt to nail this down to a narrow range is complicated by local wage rates and other factors. However, let's do a quick set of calculations to get an idea (using an overhead cost of 30%** of hourly or salary rate):
($12/hour wage x 40 x 52) / 0.70 = $35,657 annual cost
$24,000 salary / 0.70 = $34,286 annual cost
$15/hour wage x 40 x 52) / 0.70 = $44,571 annual cost
$30,000 salary / 0.70 = $42,857 annual cost
**The US Chamber of Commerce has placed the cost at more like 40%. To get the cost from the net wage, we divide by the reciprocal of 0.30, or 0.70.
Other Employee Costs Need to Be Considered:
Be sure to consider other costs that aren't as obvious or as easy to quantify. Your time to train an employee, costs to advertise and acquire them, non-productive time costs, re-training and other costs when they leave, etc. There's also the issue of training your future competition.
What's the Cost of a Real Estate Virtual Assistant?:
Hourly rates for real estate virtual assistants with the required expertise generally run between $30 and $70. Many further discount their rates if you place them on some kind of guaranteed retainer or purchase blocks of time in advance. Using $45/hour and $40,000 in the middle of our employee cost examples, how much time will we get from a VA?:
$40,000 / $45 = 889 hours
889 hours / 52 weeks = 17 hours per week
From here, it's just a decision as to whether you can get everything you want done in the time you're purchasing and if you believe you'll have the control and quality you desire.
Be Realistic in Your Comparison:
Most of the Virtual Assistant companies will make the employee-to-assistant comparison and show the same work output with significantly less cost. It is assumed that, not only can the VA work faster and more efficiently due to their expertise, but also that there is non-productive or "make-work" time involved with in-house personnel.
This is probably true in many cases. However, be sure that your time involved in coordination and information transfer to and from the VA is not just taking the place of the wasted employee time. In other words, it shouldn't increase your management time to hire a virtual assistant.