VA vs Temp - What's the difference?


Comparing a Temp to a VA

If I was to compare an apple to an orange, I can see that both are fruit, both are sometimes sweet, tasty, and grow on trees however they are from different fruit families!

Much like that of a virtual assistant and a temp worker (temp) that is hired through a job recruitment agency.

While they are both types of contractors, they are both different.


Before I had my two girls, I was contracting for approximately 3 years as a temp. I just left a corporate job after 5 years and needed a change, so thought I'd take up some temping to see what was out there and worked for different companies in different roles.

Temping is a great way to test the waters with a company before joining them officially, and depending on the hours you work can be very rewarding! At the end of the day, you get to leave the work at the workplace.

At the time, I was employed by a job recruitment agency to work full-time within a company. A contract detailed the assigned tasks or project I was hired for, as well as the number of hours and my hourly rate (minus the recruitment agency fees charged to the company)

It was the agency that would pay me on receipt of a completed timesheet. As a temp I did not accrue sick or annual leave, but was paid superannuation.

A recruitment agency is likely to charge a company a fee for hiring a temp through their agency.

Virtual Assistant (VA)

As VA is a business owner and not an employee of a client.

Operating as a sole trader, I choose the type of clients, tasks, and hours I want to work and that fits with my work/life balance, and business needs.

I have to purchase my own equipment, pay for subscriptions, insurance, superannuation, annual & sick leave, consumables, marketing/advertising, website hosting, mobile phone bills, travel expenses, conference fees etc etc.

I work for a client for a fixed price, hourly rate or pre-paid package.

Some people can be surprised when they receive a quote or invoice, as they don’t understand how a VA charges for their time.

What you should know:

A VA charges for the hours worked and tasks that are essential to complete your job.

If your task is estimated to take 5 hours they will charge you for that amount of time, but they may also charge you for other things like: regular phone calls (longer than 5 minutes), reading & responding to emails requests, research, sourcing photographs, or travelling to your office to work on-site etc.

Urgent work - if a request is received out of business hours or needs to be completed in a short timeframe, a VA may charge an urgent fee or surcharge on the amount they originally quoted.

Understanding the difference between a VA and Temp will help you decide whether outsourcing is right for you.

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