How Much is a Virtual Receptionist vs. In House Receptionist?

Did you know that hiring a virtual receptionist is a cost-effective solution when you use the right platform? Read on to discover the cost of a virtual receptionist.

If you’re considering hiring administrative support staff for your business, you likely want the best option for the lowest cost. When both virtual and in-house receptionists offer varying degrees of comprehensive support, the real question becomes: how much is a virtual receptionist compared to an in-person receptionist?

Hiring a live virtual receptionist is a more cost-effective solution that brings all of the same benefits as a qualified in-person administrator.

In this guide, we’ll break down the answers to common questions, including, “What is a virtual receptionist?” and “What is the cost of implementing live virtual receptionist services?”. Here you’ll learn how to compare the potential costs of hiring an in-person live answering service vs administrative assistant—and why the former is more cost-effective than the latter. If you’re a small business owner trying to make a smart financial decision, you’ll want to consider every option available to you.

Hiring An In-Person Receptionist: A Brief Overview

The day-to-day of a receptionist varies greatly between industries and individual companies, but broadly speaking, administrative tasks can include:

  • Answering calls
  • Providing customer service
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Responding to a general email inbox (admin@, support@, or info@, for instance)

For some small businesses, these tasks constitute a full-time job. For the purposes of our cost analysis, we’ll assume that an in-person live receptionist is working 40 hours per week. 


In the United States, receptionists make an average of $14 per hour. A full-time, in-person live receptionist would gross $2,240 per month. 

While employees will forfeit some of these wages for federal withholding and other taxes, business owners ultimately pay an additional 7.65% of an employee’s wages in payroll taxes, adding an extra $171 each month to your total. 

That amounts to an average monthly cost of $2,411


So, what are the benefits of virtual receptionist services? Payroll tax is the base cost of hiring an employee, but there are many additional expenses that could increase your monthly overhead. High-quality potential employees are attracted to generous benefits packages, which can include:

  • Matching contributions to a retirement account
  • Matching contributions to (or administration of) an HSA
  • Health insurance premiums
  • Paid time off

A business owner can choose to offer all, some, or none of the above benefits. Any benefits provided will increase an employer’s administrative costs.

Opportunity Costs

Opportunity cost is the potential profit (or savings) that can be expected for each possible option in a given financial decision. 

If your business has the capital to hire an additional employee, you may choose one of two options: 

  • You can hire an in-person receptionist, adding $2,400+ to your monthly overhead costs. 
  • Or, you can hire an employee (for the same or similar pay) to provide products or services to your clients, which should hypothetically increase revenue. 

While investments in administrative or customer service efforts are wise, these employees don’t generate as much revenue as production staff. If your business is currently prioritizing revenue generation over administrative efforts, hiring an in-person, full time receptionist likely won’t help you meet your revenue goals.

Hiring Virtual Receptionists: Everything You Need to Know

The cost of hiring an in-person receptionist can vary slightly, but the cost of a virtual receptionist as a small business answering service will always be available at a more affordable price—that is, if you’re using the right platform.


The cost can range from as little as $25 to as much as $3,000 a month, but those higher-end prices are only necessary for and used by larger businesses. Most small to medium businesses can pay well under a thousand dollars a month, while still receiving quality service.

With Nexa’s virtual receptionist services, paid packages range from $200 to $900 per month and don’t come with any of the traditional expenses like payroll taxes and benefits. If you were to select the mid-range virtual receptionist package, you’d be paying $569 a month, netting a regular savings of $1,842 each month and more than $22,000 over the course of the year.

Opportunity Costs

Direct savings aside, you’ll also reap the associated benefits of having a highly qualified administrative support system powering your business. 

For a significantly lower monthly cost, virtual receptionists provide:

  • 24/7 customer service, scheduling, and administrative support
  • Omnichannel communication, via
  • Phone
  • Email
  • SMS/Text
  • Live Chat
  • Streamlined, consistent services

That means your business will enjoy built-in benefits such as:

  • 24/7 availability – With someone always available to answer the phone, you’ll never miss an opportunity to make a sale, schedule an appointment, or provide meaningful service. This earns the loyalty of your customers.
  • More robust support – Virtual receptionist services also generally include a larger receptionist team. This means that numerous representatives would be available for client support at any time. One in-person full time receptionist is just that: one person, who can only take one call at a time. A larger virtual customer support team ensures swift, efficient customer service whenever your clients reach out for help. That, again, earns loyalty and increases repeat business.
  • Sliding payment scale – On-staff receptionists are often paid to work full-time hours, though there isn’t necessarily 40 hours worth of administrative work each week. When working with a virtual receptionist company, you’re paying for a package that correlates to the number of working hours you actually need, which you can adjust as your business grows or you enter a slow season in your industry.

If you’re looking to save tens of thousands of dollars each year and provide your customers and clients with top-notch support, it may be time to step outside the traditional hiring practices and invest in a virtual receptionist vs. administrative assistant that is in-person instead.

Save Money and Increase Efficiency with Nexa

The evidence is clear: the cost of virtual receptionist services is lower than the average in-person or traditional receptionist’s wages. They provide more comprehensive services. 

At Nexa, we’re committed to providing outstanding virtual receptionist services at excellent prices. We amplify the services any in-person or traditional receptionist could provide by increasing your administrative manpower, providing 24/7 support, and integrating omnichannel customer service options that your customers will love. 

Ready to grow your business? We’re ready to help you do just that.


  1. ZipRecruiter. How Much Do Receptionist Jobs Pay Per Hour?. 
  2. ADP. Payroll Tax. 
  3. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Opportunity Cost. 
  4. Consumer Affairs. Best Virtual Receptionists and Answering Services. 

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