What Does It Cost to Outsource in 2024?

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cost to outsource

Are you worried about what it will cost to outsource work in 2024? Let us ease your minds. Yes, virtual assistants do expect raises and freelancers do update their rates from time to time. However, at the industry level, there is no hard and fast rule about rates. This means that you are not necessarily facing an increased outsourcing cost. 

That’s great news! But wait, there’s more… You, as the business owner, can actually manage your costs and therefore control spending. In this post, we’ll show you just how to do that!

Factors That Affect Outsourcing Costs in 2024

Before we dive into how your cost to outsource work is manageable, let’s establish some basics. These factors exist for every person looking to hire from overseas. 

1. Location and Geographic Considerations

Where you are hiring from and where you are sourcing hires from matters. Below are the two major areas to think over when looking at the cost to outsource.

First, you need to know about the cost of living in the country you want to hire from. This is the biggest factor that affects rate ranges when outsourcing. If you are looking within the Americas, Europe, and other first-world nations, you will pay much higher rates. Hiring from less developed nations will allow you to pay less while not low-balling prospects. This gets you off on the right foot with candidates. This is especially true for those who aren’t hurting for work because they have the best qualifications. And, frankly, these are the ones you want.

Second, consider your partner options. Hiring through a BPO or an agency will cost more upfront than hiring direct. However, if you have little experience, having a partner can make it worthwhile. Hiring direct leaves you completely unprotected. So, if you’re not savvy with interviewing freelancers and VAs, collaborate with a team that is. This way, you can avoid getting duped because they know how to spot the red flags. Your partner will have contact in the area you’re hiring from. This means that they will have systems in place to screen candidates to ensure quality and performance. 

If you want to check out more information on geographic considerations, we have the following resources:

2. Type of Services Outsourced

All things being equal in the above areas, the actual work you need done will affect costs. Different types of skills are priced differently, mainly based on scarcity and cost to acquire. 

First, certain innate skills, soft skills, and character traits can be hard to find. And since you can’t teach them, they will come at a higher cost. For instance, artistic talent, high-level communication, and friendliness. This is why you would pay a higher rate for a talented t-shirt designer.

Moreover, they’d be well worth the cost with a good reporting routing and an easy-going personality. This is in contrast to someone who uses software and templates to create infographics. If you constantly have to follow up with them, that’s not good. Let’s not even talk about how little you want to hire someone who comes to work in a bad mood half the time. You would not pay well for that kind of performance. 

Second, some hard skills and knowledge-based skills are in high demand. Although teachable, some of these skills can be expensive and difficult to acquire, and then, master. This raises the rate that you can expect to pay for someone who has this skill. Note that the expense and difficulty can also make this skill rare, which supports the high price tag. 

cost to outsource

3. Skill Level and Expertise

Take a close look at the skill levels and years of experience that you need and want. These two factors can mean a significant bump in qualified candidates’ rates. Most hiring parties ignore this, and it’s a huge turn-off to the most qualified candidates. If you don’t require that much background or know-how for the job, you can hire entry-level. Consider, however, how much virtual assistant training will cost you. They still do, after all, need to get up to speed on everything.

4. Cultures and Time Zones 

Most of the time, a person’s time zone would be cause for concern. This can raise the cost to outsource if you want specific work hours. However, in today’s outsourcing world, most freelancers and virtual assistants are willing to adjust. The best of the best may not want to work crazy hours like nurses and emergency personnel. But they generally will agree to work when necessary. Odd hours can be concerning over the long term, even when VAs agree initially. Be sure you check in with hires regularly. This way, you can make sure they’re getting enough quality rest and not hurting their health.

When we talk about culture, it can be a sort of hidden cost under certain conditions. If you are insensitive to hires with different holidays than you, for instance, it can cause tension. For example, people in India and the Philippines have certain annual observances that are non-negotiable. Other people have certain days when they will refuse to work because of their faith. 

You must know these cultural nuances before you hire so you can make an informed decision. We encourage you not to push people in these areas if they tell you that it’s not flexible. Work around their special days, or consider other candidates. If you are working with inexperienced people, they will not even know what to inform you about. They simply will not know what is normal for them is not normal for you. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with these matters and start the conversation.

Common Pay Structures in Outsourcing

You have the freedom to choose from any of these pay models when you outsource. This is the foundation for how you will control your outsourcing cost.

cost to outsource

Difference Between Project-Based vs. Dedicated In-House VA

The cost to outsource can change based on the term and stability of the job. Whether you go for project-based or long-term structures, you can still save. The key is choosing the system that’s best for the type of work you need done.

For repetitive work, the obvious choice is to a dedicated person who can stay on for the long haul. This reduces your training costs and gives both you and the hire the benefits of stability. Then you can work out a scheme for when that hire can expect a raise, and what the conditions are. For instance, you can present a set of metrics to meet. Then, schedule check-ins and evaluations so they know where they are on the scale. This sets a clear expectation and goals to work towards. 

When you have work that is one-off or periodic, we recommend that you hire on a per-project basis. It makes no sense to hire someone long-term if they will have nothing much to do most of the time. You may want to lock in that person because they’re good. You can, of course, give them other things to do while waiting for the next project. However, note that if they are not happy with the other work, their performance will drop. They are also not likely to stay on with you anyway of they don’t like the job.

Sometimes, you’ll have in-between work. There’s no issue with hiring a part-time VA. You may not get the same availability because they’re part time. But you can still encourage a high level of loyalty based on how you treat them. Respect and appreciation go a very long way. 

Hidden Costs to Consider When Outsourcing

Most of the time, you are not going to need to think about hidden costs. Freelancers and VAs pay for their own basic equipment, internet connections, power consumption, workspace rent, and the like. This is one thing that makes the cost to outsource so low! All you need to pay for in most cases is their rate. Maybe you purchase special software tools that you require them to use. That is, if they did not specify that it’s included with the rate. 

So, what are the hidden charges you need to look out for?

This usually refers to the cost that you face for being careless. 

One way to get into trouble here is not having clear agreements with hires or with hiring partners like BPOs and agencies. You have to specify everything and get written consent as much as possible. This will save you from future battles – some of them legal.

Another hidden cost comes to bite you unexpectedly. This one is what you get for low-balling candidates. You may think you got away with paying a lower rate than a prospect asked for. Unless you make up for it, and quick, you will most likely find yourself holding the short end of the stick. No one likes to be stiffed, and no matter how much a candidate agrees and smiles, they aren’t dumb. If you mistreat them by being cheap, they will usually find a way to get back at you. Here are a few common ways you’ll pay for it:

  • Underperforming whenever they can get away with it
  • Stealing (clients, goods, subscriptions, etc.)
  • Dropping you as soon as a better offer comes along
  • Reporting you and your business to inner circles so no one decent in the online community will want to work with you

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 


When you count the cost to outsource, you are planning for success. We all know that failing to plan is planning to fail, and cost analysis is vital. We are confident, however, that choosing the right combination of factors will spell success for your outsourcing journey. The right location, skills and experience, and payment structure can keep costs down and productivity high.


Want help outsourcing & hiring virtual assistants? We make it easy! Learn More, Speak w/ an Expert, or Request a Callback



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