In the business of construction, typical “office” roles often get overlooked. Why hire a receptionist, after all, when you can just field all the calls and messages from your own smartphone in between jobs, meetings, and other tasks? Well, for starters, you’re not superhuman. You don’t have endless time and you’re only one person—your eagerness to do it all yourself could cost you a lot of customers.
Imagine how long people have to wait to hear back from you. Think about how many messages you have to return in a day. And what’s the average time that it takes you to respond if you don’t answer immediately? You might not be thinking about these things, but your customers (and other callers) definitely are.
The solution is simple: hire someone to handle those tasks specifically. Yes, we’re talking about a receptionist, but we’re not just talking about the traditional role that has been filled in decades past. Today’s business needs a modern receptionist that can handle all kinds of tasks and duties throughout the day, all while being able to adapt and switch gears without missing a beat. It might seem like a tall order, but it’s doable when you go about it properly.
The average receptionist in the United States earns between $10 and $14 per hour, with some earning more or less based on their exact position, skills, experience, and area of work. That’s just the first number to consider here, because you are paying more than a wage when you hire someone to work for you. You’ll also have to consider how much it will cost to onboard and train them, both in terms of resources and the time that will be taken away from the rest of your work.
If you need a more specialized receptionist, expect to spend closer to $18 to $20 per hour, but you’ll get the enhanced services and improved expertise that you pay for. If you factor in benefits, onboarding, and other expenses, in either case, you’re going to end up investing about $4,000 to onboard someone with your company, within the first six to eight weeks.
The real cost of hiring employees is often staggering, and it’s not something that a lot of people consider. Therefore, you have to break down the numbers to decide what’s going to be best and to ensure that you’re ready for this investment.
Every business needs a dedicated receptionist (or team of them). They can do several different things for your construction business, from welcoming visitors and directing calls to helping manage schedules, workflows, and other operations on a day-to-day basis. Receptionists can:
This is just a glimpse of all the solutions that you can gain when you hire a proper receptionist for your construction business. Remember, they don’t necessarily have to have expertise in the construction field, so long as they’re able to meet the qualifications of being a good receptionist.
Which leads to the next question: what are the qualities of a good receptionist?
We’ll talk about that in a minute—after all, it’s important that you find the right person for the job. And if you decide that you don’t want to hire someone in-house that is a part of your staff (AKA part of your already-tight budget), outsourcing is also an option. Before we talk about what to look for, let’s discuss the case for hiring someone versus outsourcing to a receptionist service.
The next great debate that many business owners come to is whether to hire someone that is part of their payroll or to outsource to a third party, such as an independent contractor or a virtual receptionist service like Smith.ai (more on us later).
This is indeed an important decision to make, and although no one can tell you exactly what is right for your business, there are some considerations to keep in mind:
Again, the solution is different for every business, but these are a few considerations to keep in mind. Now, let’s discuss what you should be looking for when you hire a receptionist, whether they’re outsourced or on your payroll.
When it comes to getting the best receptionist, “best” means something different to everyone. The good news is that although every business has slightly different needs, there are again certain things that you can (and should) be looking for. You can do a simple Internet search to see what a “typical” receptionist offers. You could also just consider what your construction business needs in terms of a receptionist.
The general soft skills that you want people to have include organization, time management, multitasking and priority management, strong communication skills (verbal and written), and the ability to independently manage and delegate tasks as needed. Of course, these would be ideal qualities to have in any employee. Communication is big here, obviously, because that will be their primary role. You should also make sure that they are:
This is the person that will be the face of your construction business. You should make sure they reflect that appropriately. And as far as education goes, it’s best to hire someone who at least has a high school diploma or GED. There’s not usually a lot of higher education sought in this field but if candidates are certified in software programs or have administrative training at the college level, that could come in handy.
Don’t be afraid to hire someone with limited experience if you feel that they’ll be a good fit for your company. You can often tell more about the working relationship that you’ll have with someone by getting to know them than by focusing on their resume. You can also offer someone a trial run or take advantage of a free trial period from an outsourced receptionist service to make sure that you’re getting the right solution the first time.
If you’re new to the world of staffing a business, it can seem like a lot to take on. However, there are some basics that everyone should know. These are usually found in the form of frequently asked questions like those below.
Ultimately, you should hire a receptionist whenever your construction company needs the assistance with phone calls and in-person assistance or greetings. There is no “right” or “wrong” time, but it’s actually better to invest in some type of receptionist sooner than later.
Today, technology affords the opportunity for you to hire remote employees, contractors, and teams that come from anywhere in the world—location no longer limits your search. If you are looking for the best talent at a more affordable price, hiring remotely is the way to go. Even if you keep them on staff or hire a contractor rather than outsourcing, you’ll have fewer overhead expenses than if you have a physical employee in a physical office.
A receptionist doesn’t necessarily have to be skilled in the field of construction. Any experience they do have can benefit them, but they will be handling general calls and queries, as well as greeting and directing clients to you or your contractors, who can provide the construction-specific answers. Their interpersonal skills and their administrative and delegating abilities are far more valuable than any construction knowledge they may have.
You can find several online job boards that allow freelancers and contract employees to post their services. There are also companies that provide virtual receptionist services (like the team at Smith.ai), and you can find most of them with a simple Internet search. Ultimately, you should look in every possible place to find the ideal person or team for the job. Social media is also a great place to source candidates for various roles, including receptionists.
As we say with most of the important facets of your business, you really can’t afford not to hire a receptionist these days. You’re busy handling projects and working with clients, and the last thing you need is more on your to-do list. If you think you can’t afford to hire a receptionist, consider outsourcing to a freelancer or third-party service that offers virtual receptionist services.
When you’re busy juggling your building projects, you’ll enjoy knowing that someone else is handling the calls, chats, and other inquiries that come to your firm when you add a receptionist. Of course, if you’re not quite ready for a full-time staff member, you might want to consider outsourcing instead. For a fraction of a receptionist’s salary, you can get a team of dedicated agents to field phone calls, live website chat, Facebook and SMS messages, and more.
Plus, our agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure that your business never sleeps, even when you’re not available. We’ll integrate with your CRM and other tools, and make sure that you’re the first to know if there’s anything we can’t handle. And to top it off, we’ll help you craft a winning strategy to manage it all.
To learn more, schedule a consultation to find out how the 24/7 virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can deliver the service your clients and other visitors deserve, from calls to chats and even scheduling, and so much more. You can also reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (650) 727-6484.
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Contact us at (650) 727-6484 or schedule a call.