What is the most expensive small business employee that owners typically hire? Before you answer, think about the variety of factors at play in determining the true cost of an employee.

How much is their salary? How much does it cost to provide the employee with benefits? What is the nature of the work the employee does? Is their work mission-critical or unnecessary? How much downtime does the employee typically have? Does the employees’ presence require that you lease a larger office space?

There are dozens of factors involved in determining the true cost of an employee, and we’ll explore 3 of them below as we talk about the most expensive small business employee, which might surprise you. It’s not the accounting manager or the marketer. It’s not the HR guy or the production manager. It’s the receptionist. 

How could a receptionist be the most expensive small business employee? Read on to find out.

The Most Expensive Small Business Employee


Costs more than salary alone

Receptionists can be the most expensive small business employee in the office because it’s not just their salary that is being paid for – and that salary makes quite a dent at $35K/year on average. In addition to the base salary, a receptionist will also need to receive benefits if he or she is working for you full-time. You’ll also foot the bill for any parking, equipment, holidays, sick days, office space, and supply costs.

But wait – there’s more! You’ll also need to pay for:

  • Your mandatory contribution to employee Social Security and Medicare taxes
  • Your monthly and quarterly state-required unemployment compensation insurance payments on behalf of employees
  • Workers comp insurance payments on behalf of your employees

Estimates say your costs of hiring a full-time receptionist are actually about 20-30% higher than the base salary you’re paying. So instead of seeing the cost as the base salary amount of around $35,000/year, see the big picture and the realistic number of $42,000/year (20%)- $45,500/year (30%). Is a full-time receptionist really worth that amount to your small business?

The office space required

To have a full-time receptionist, you’ll need a reception area. That might mean turning office space you could use for something else into a makeshift reception area; it might mean moving to a larger office with more space or leasing an office to begin with if you’ve been working from home up to this point.

No matter what, hiring a receptionist will require more office space than not having a full-time receptionist will require. At the end of this article, you will find a resources section with tips from Salesforce on cutting overhead costs by finding smaller office space or working from home. You can also find tips there on finding the right virtual receptionist provider if you want to have the benefits of a receptionist without needing to pay a full-time salary or get additional office space.

Paying for downtime

An in-house receptionist will experience plenty of downtime in between calls and administrative work. Ask anyone in the industry – unless you’re a very large company with high call volume, working as a receptionist can leave you with a lot of downtime. That’s an issue for the small business owner because you end up paying a receptionist for time when there are no calls to take or tasks to handle.

The solution

A virtual receptionist solves all 3 of these issues – there’s no salary to pay, no office space required, and no paying for downtime. With a virtual receptionist, you only pay for the minutes actually spent on the phone. We offer 3 levels of monthly plans with packages ranging from 100 minutes per month to 500 minutes per month depending on your needs. And for a limited time, we’re offering a 30 day free trial to sweeten the deal!

Resources

Salesforce Tips: Cutting Overhead Costs