Comparing The Costs of an In-House vs. Virtual Receptionist

Every small business owner has spent hours thinking of ways to save their business money. Have you considered what you could save by switching from an in-house receptionist to a 24/7 live answering service? The low monthly fee you’ll pay to have your phone calls answered 24/7 by a team of experts pales in comparison to the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a full-time in-house receptionist.

Saying that and showing you the numbers are two different things, though, so we’re here to do just that. Exactly how much does the average business stand to save by switching from an in-house receptionist to a 24/7 live answering service? Let’s find out.

The Cost of an In-House Receptionist

We’ll start with the biggest and most obvious cost: a receptionist’s salary. reports that the average salary for a receptionist is $34,931 as of December 2018. Just to be safe, we’ll check elsewhere: reports a slightly lower average of $32,318 based on 13,067 entries as of January 8th, 2019. To find a reasonably safe figure from which to compare, we’ll average those two averages:


That’s somewhere around what a business could expect to pay a receptionist for a year of work. Depending on the nature of your business, this average receptionist would presumably perform the expected receptionist duties like answering calls, taking messages, setting appointments, order processing, et cetera. As a full-time employee, though, they’d perform those duties for somewhere around forty hours a week. Given two weeks’ vacation time, that’s 2,000 hours of work.

This excludes a paid training period, nights, weekends, and any potential sick days. In a year comprised of about 8,736 hours, an in-house receptionist can provide about 2,000 hours of phone coverage. This means that unless there’s some other system in place, anyone who calls at night or during the weekend will be met with your voicemail and is far less likely to call back a second time. Unless your receptionist leaves and you’re left short-handed until you can hire another one, of course. This sounds fairly normal until you consider the alternative: a 24/7 live answering service.

The Cost of a 24/7 Answering Service

Answering services like PATLive usually offer different pricing packages based on minutes of usage. Let’s use PATLive’s Premium plan, which includes 350 monthly minutes, as an example. The Premium plan costs $399 a month, which adds up to $4,788 per year, compared to $33,624.50 for an in-house receptionist. Let’s do that math:


That’s about how much you can save in one year by switching from an in-house receptionist to PATLive. Along with those savings, you get the confidence that every single one of your phone calls will be answered 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. No sick days, no vacations, no missed calls.

PATLive receptionists are expertly trained and they’ll handle calls according to your customized call script, so your callers get the experience you want them to have. And of course, they can do anything your in-house receptionist can do: appointment scheduling, lead collection, message taking, order processing, and integrate with the software you already use.  

Convinced yet?

The numbers just don’t lie. Small businesses have to save money any way they can, and switching to a 24/7 answering service like PATLive offers tremendous cost savings in addition to 24/7 phone coverage and the promise of excellent customer service. Try PATLive’s 14-day free trial.

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