You love that feeling of delivering your service and making someone’s day. And it shows: your practice is ramping up, and you’re receiving lots of bookings.

As this is happening, you realize that it’s becoming too busy for you to deliver your service while also taking calls and adding in new bookings. So you decide to look into hiring a receptionist to support you.

As you research, you discover a relatively new concept: virtual reception

You read more and, after comparing virtual reception to a full-time receptionist, you realize that some of the benefits that a virtual receptionist offers may be more ideal for your situation.

How do you confidently decide which is the right choice for you? That’s where this guide comes in.

It’s important to consider the differences between a virtual receptionist and a full-time receptionist. This guide compares both sides of the coin to help you make the choice that will work best for your business.

How does a receptionist support your business day-to-day?

There’s no denying that a trusted receptionist can help you run your business more efficiently by handling these core responsibilities:

  • Answering incoming calls
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Processing payments
  • Sorting and distributing mail
  • Assisting clients
how a receptionist works

More importantly, a trusted receptionist is there to help you manage your time better and allow you to focus on growing your business.

In the past, many people confused virtual reception with call centers. However, with the technology available today, virtual receptionists are now a trusted part of your team–just like a full-time receptionist–but at a fraction of the cost.

How much does a receptionist cost?

For many businesses, cost is the most important factor when determining whether a receptionist is worth hiring. The difference in cost between a full-time receptionist and a virtual receptionist is quite significant.

While there’s value in having a receptionist in-house, the cost of an in-house receptionist far exceeds the cost of a virtual receptionist. With the latter, you’ll see a much quicker and more attractive return on investment.

Here’s a breakdown of these costs:


Full-time receptionists are full-time employees, meaning you’ll have to pay them salaries, along with vacation pay, benefits, break pay, employee insurance, workman’s compensation, and so on.

The average receptionist salary in Canada is $38,000 and $30,000 in the US, with salaries in major cities like Toronto and New York costing $36,000 CAD and $35,375 USD, respectively.

receptionist salaries in canada
receptionist salaries in united states of america

A rule of thumb to determine the total cost of a full-time employee, including all added variables, is to multiply the average salary by 1.25–meaning that a full-time receptionist costs, on average, $43,750 per year, or $3,646 per month.

In comparison, a Smiledog virtual receptionist costs, on average, $8,748 per year, or $729 per month–saving you 80% of the cost of a full-time receptionist. You don’t have to worry about the added variable costs, and virtual receptionists are paid per minute used rather than through a salary.


Full-time receptionists will need a workspace along with supplies to perform their work. Annually, supplies alone cost on average up to $1,106 per employee.

A virtual receptionist doesn’t cut into your overhead budget and doesn’t require any supplies to be able to perform at their best.


It’s important not to discount how expensive it is to hire new employees. The average cost-per-hire is $4,129, while the average time it takes to fill a given position is 42 days, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

Virtual receptionists learn and deliver their service efficiently, cutting down the cost and time associated with turnover.

How does a receptionist bring your business value?

Hiring a receptionist is an investment–the more they can improve your workflow and productivity, the more valuable they are to your business. This is why it is essential to hire a trusted receptionist.

A full-time receptionist can improve your business and productivity by:

  • Managing time-consuming tasks like appointment setting
  • Handling day-to-day client communication
  • Improving customer service

A virtual receptionist service does this and more.

a virtual receptionist

Unless you have the budget to afford an entire team of full-time receptionists, you’re limited to a single employee handling all of the reception duties. This person will need to effectively multitask and be available to assist at all times.

You’re bound to run into a situation where a full-time receptionist isn’t paying 100% attention to your customers because of focusing on other tasks. At times, they’ll miss a customer call because they were on a lunch break or vacation.

A virtual receptionist understands how important every call is to your business; therefore, nearly all calls are answered within 30 seconds or less. They are available during all working hours, so you’ll never have to worry about them being on vacation or out-of-office.

Moreover, no multitasking is required. Virtual receptionists are devoted to one thing–the caller. They understand how important client relationships are to the reputation of your business; therefore, every call is answered with the goal of creating a human connection.

Wrapping Up

Having a trusted receptionist has never been more important than in this remote era. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that hiring a receptionist is difficult, expensive, and time-consuming.

At Smiledog, we are devoted to helping to grow your business and to keeping you and your clients happy. We make the onboarding process quick and easy while saving you lots of money in the long run.

Are you interested in learning more about how our services may be the right fit for your business? Try our virtual reception demo.