How to Hire the Best Receptionist for Your Graphic Design Firm

2023-02-14

You’re in the business of design, but part of that includes designing the right front office for your firm. Whether that’s physical or virtual, it needs to include solutions for communications and admin tasks—that’s where a receptionist comes into play. Finding the “best” receptionist is going to mean something different to every firm. Fortunately, we’ve gathered some information and resources to help everyone better choose their ideal fit. 

For starters, we’ll talk about what receptionists can offer your graphic design firm, as well as what they’ll cost, what you should be looking for, and whether you’ll want to hire someone to work for you or outsource the job to an individual or virtual receptionist service. If it sounds like a lot, don’t worry—it’s a lot simpler than you think. 

The important thing is that you do find the right people for the job. Right now, having the best support for your clients and other visitors is a paramount concern for your graphic design firm. After all, when you need someone to field website chats and handle messages when you’re busy, you want to make sure that you have the ideal person covering everything so that your business never misses a beat. 

Today, the competition is so fierce that many companies have gotten to a point that they are merely competing with service. They are working to revamp and ramp up their efforts regarding customer service and support, including with receptionists and other professional additions, to ensure that everyone gets the dedicated attention that they desire when interacting with companies online today. 

Whether you’ve already got a receptionist and you’re just looking for a better solution, or you’re just starting, we have you covered. Read on to learn all about it and grab a pen or pencil because you’ll probably want to take some notes along the way. 


What can graphic design receptionists do?


Receptionists in a graphic design firm can do pretty much anything you ask related to administrative and communications tasks. They can greet your clients, take care of sending messages, make copies and prepare design plan presentations, and so forth. They can even schedule meetings, manage your schedule, and handle things like taking deposits and payments on projects. 

Got an important client with a question at two in the morning? You no longer have to worry about not being there—there are receptionist solutions that include after-hours answering and other premium services to help improve your communications and client service. You can even use a receptionist service to cover temporary staffing needs, such as if your receptionist takes leave and you don’t need to hire a replacement, but you need to cover the gap. 

And in terms of tasks and duties, receptionists can do a lot for your graphic design firm:

  • Answer and route phone calls, including answering basic questions about design, your services, contracts, and so forth. They will also know when to escalate the call to you for further assistance if they can’t answer it themselves. 
  • Handle emails and other virtual or digital communications, including newsletters, website content, social media, and more.
  • Coordinate and manage relationships with clients, vendors, partners, and others.
  • Maintain and manage the physical and/or virtual office space in several ways, including filing, presentation/cleanliness, and more. 
  • Greet clients and others and confirm their details or concerns before routing them to the correct designer or another employee in your firm. 

This is just a glimpse of the solutions that can be provided by the right receptionist or professional service. The important question here is: what do you need a receptionist to handle?

Figure that out, and then you’ll have little trouble finding it. 


How much will a receptionist cost me?


Here’s the big question on everyone’s mind: what’s it going to cost? The short answer is that there is no single dollar amount we can list that encompasses all the potential variables and options. The longer answer starts with these facts:

  1. Salary.com states that the average hourly rate for a receptionist in a professional setting like a graphic design firm is between $13 and $18 per hour, with higher rates for those who also hold degrees or have more experience in their background. 
  2. You can spend a fraction of this cost on outsourcing receptionist services, which usually include monthly or other subscription-based pricing models, as opposed to hiring someone in-house. If you’d rather get more for your money, or you just can’t afford a salary and benefits, it may be the way to go. 
  3. $4,000 is the average cost of hiring a single employee, across all industries, in the current U.S. economy. Some companies are ready to make this investment. Others, not so much. Therefore, you’ll have to consider this in your own decision. 

So, if you want to know how much a receptionist will cost your graphic design firm, get more specific about what you want, what your business needs, and which type of service will deliver that. Then, you can get a better estimate of what it’ll cost you. 


What should I look for in my receptionist?


When it comes time to hire someone for the job, it’s going to be up to you to decide exactly where you find the right fit. However, there are some features that you’ll want to make sure that you find in anyone that you hire. A receptionist should, of course, be friendly and have a personable demeanor. You’ll also want to hire someone with other soft skills, including:

  • Confidence and take-charge attitude
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • Quick thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Communication skills
  • Ability to resolve conflicts
  • Positive attitude
  • Motivated, driven personality
  • Organized and able to multitask


A lot of people pause here and ask about hard skills. Yes, you need a receptionist that can work the phones and use the software that your firm uses. However, those are things that you can teach. You can’t teach the skills listed above, which is why they should be at the top of your list when hiring a professional receptionist for your graphic design business. 


How to choose between outsourcing and hiring someone in-house


Do you need someone to be present at the front desk in your graphic design firm, or are you simply seeking someone to handle the receptionist-type duties, no matter where they may be located? This is a big factor to consider, and a lot of firms haven’t even considered it before. 

However, as we mentioned in the section on the cost of a receptionist, it can be prohibitive for some companies to invest in someone in-house because of the investment required. You’ll have to take a good look at things and determine what’s going to be right for your graphic design firm. 

Consider things like:

  • Do you need someone who is dedicated to your firm 24 hours a day, seven days a week? If so, a regular 40-hour-per-week employee isn’t going to do the job. They will need time off for work-life balance and you’ll rarely find receptionists that want to man the phones at midnight in the professional world unless you outsource. 
  • Can you afford to hire someone for your firm? You can at least afford to look into an outsourcing service that takes care of your major needs (simply because you can’t afford not to at this point). However, you might not have the budget to hire someone full-time when you factor in their salary, benefits, and training and onboarding costs. That’s another time when outsourcing can be the better choice. 
  • Perhaps you’re looking for better talent at a lower cost. When you outsource, thanks to the Internet, you’ll have access to receptionists and services around the country (and the world) that have all kinds of services and solutions. You can get everything that you want (and sometimes more than you expect), and you can get it for a fraction of hiring a receptionist as part of your payroll. 
  • Do you have the time to delegate tasks and manage people? If not, an in-house receptionist isn’t a good idea in most cases. They may not need to be micromanaged, but they will need your guidance. If you’re too busy, choosing a self-managed virtual receptionist service may be the better option. 

This might inspire you to add a few of your own consideration factors to the list; feel free. However, as long as you keep these things in mind as a general guideline, you should be good to go. 

Now, let’s wrap up with a few FAQs to drive home the rest of the details. 


FAQs for hiring a receptionist

Before we close, we want to discuss a few of the most commonly asked questions regarding receptionists for graphic design (and other industries). This will hopefully provide additional insight to point you on the path to success in your search for a receptionist, no matter what you have in mind. 


When should I hire a receptionist?

If you’re asking this question, it’s probably time to hire someone, or at least consider it. If you find that you’re missing calls and messages, that people complain about getting in touch with your firm, or that your admin and organizational tasks are a mess, it’s probably time to delegate someone to them specifically. There’s no “right” or “wrong” time to hire a receptionist—if you notice you need one, sooner is always better. 


What will a receptionist cost me?

We discussed this in the cost section—while you can’t put an exact number on this investment, you should be able to make the right decision knowing that you’ll spend $13-$18 per hour to hire someone as an employee, and probably a fraction of that if they’re working on a contract basis. Receptionist services often cost even less and offer more dynamic solutions, but you’ll have to see what’s best for your firm. 


What if I’m a one-person operation? I can’t afford a receptionist, can I?

This is all the more reason to invest in a receptionist or third-party service to handle your various admin and communication needs. You can’t handle every call, every message, and every client at all times. You’d never sleep. Although you might lack the resources to hire someone as a full-time staff member, you should be able to swing outsourcing some receptionist services to help you streamline operations and keep customers satisfied. 


What can a 24-hour receptionist do for my graphic design firm?

Although some people overlook the value here, there is a lot to gain when you partner with a 24-hour receptionist service. These solutions can deliver an array of receptionist and admin duties at a fraction of the price of hiring someone full-time, and they’re available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, instead of just during office hours. That way, if clients have needs in the middle of the night or even if there’s someone interested and inquiring on your website in the early morning hours before your firm is staffed, they will be greeted and assisted immediately. 


Choose a better solution when you partner with the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai


If you want to design a better way of handling your business communications and admin tasks, hiring a virtual receptionist service like the team of agents at Smith.ai has a lot to offer. Not only will you have a team of agents taking care of your every need, but they’ll be doing it 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure that nothing gets missed. 

Whether you need a little extra support or a full-service solution, Smith.ai can assist with everything from after-hours call answering to live chat, and even scheduling, and plenty more. We’ll also help you create a solid strategy to manage everything and keep it streamlined so that you’re never out of the loop. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss how the 24/7 virtual receptionists from Smith.ai can change the way your business handles receptionist duties. You can also reach us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484. 


Tags:
Business Education
Graphic Design
Written by Sean Lund-Brown
Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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