5 Differences Between a Temp and a Virtual Assistant

5 Differences Between a Temp and a Virtual Assistant


So you’ve decided to delegate some of your growing workloads to someone else. Well done, you’ll soon see the benefits first hand of freeing up your time to focus on generating more revenue for your business.

But now comes the tricky question: Should I hire a temp or a VA?

You understand how hiring a temp works, but other business leaders have been talking about hiring a virtual assistant (VA). What should you do?

Should I hire a temp or a VA?

Consider the following points to understand the differences between a temp and a VA to deicde which is more beneficial for your business. 

1. Consistency

Picture this – You call the temp agency you have used in the past, the consultant you prefer to deal with is on holidays. You like dealing with the same consultant to ensure she sends you staff who meet your needed skill set. Then you find out the temp you have used in the past is no longer available!

So, the agency sends you a temp you haven’t worked with before, she is capable, but just doesn’t understand how your business operates.  

You end up spending more time explaining your specific requirements to her. When you partner with a VA, you maintain the consistency. It’s always the same VA, working for you and ensuring your ‘quirks’ are remembered and considered.

2. Level of care

Like you, a VA is a business owner. Business owners understand the importance of client satisfaction to ensure their survival. For that reason, a VA will take a great deal of care to ensure their clients (YOU) remain satisfied and continue the business relationship.

Therefore, your business is just as important to them as their own business; they take additional care to ensure your expectations are exceeded.

3. Cost

Temp agency costs are high, consider how they are calculated - they include the employee’s hourly rate, superannuation, work-cover, as well as their company commission and administration charges. A VA is contracted for a set hourly rate or retainer, but you are not expected to cover addition costs such as superannuation and work-care etc. 

Now consider the ‘hidden costs’ – electricity to run the equipment your temp uses, and other office consumables, etc. As a VA works remotely to you, all consumable costs are covered by the VA! More money in your business bank account, not the temp agencies.

4. Clock watching

So the temp arrives at your office at 9am, you show her around, and get her started at the workstation. After lunch, the temp has a social chat with one of your other employees, the conversation lasts for 15 minutes. Do you realise, you are charged for the non-productive time? 

A VA will stop the clock to take another call, make a cuppa, etc. With a VA, you pay only for the task-related hours. Now let’s consider the end of the day. The temp knocks off at 5pm, most of the work is done, but a couple of items remain incomplete - a VA is focussed on completing the task.

5. Collaboration

Every VA is part of a network, some even more than one. If you need a task completed, and your current VA is unable to take on the project, chances are she will know another VA who specialises in that field. A quick phone call or email and you can be connected with a specialist in that field.

Hopefully, that helps you understand some of the differences between a temp and a VA. Don’t forget VAs are responsible for their own training and development, and it’s imperative our skills remain updated – so you always get the best service possible and the best return on your dollar!

Contact Executive Virtual Associate for more information on partnering with a VA!

Sam Spence

Owner & Virtual Assistant at

I'm the owner & founder of Executive Virtual Associate, a business supporting busy business owners & leaders gain back some of their valuable time. Prior to starting my business, I had an extensive 22 year career with Westpac. I am the first Australian VA to become EthicsCheck Certified as issued by IVAA, & Executive Virtual Associate, is the first Registered Australian Virtual Business (RAVB) as issued by AVBN (Australian Virtual Business Network).