Does an Answering Service Cost More Than a Receptionist?

Answering Services Cost

Efficiently running a business is a top priority for every business owner in today’s economy. Business owners must contend with ensuring that their customers receive professional, quality service, without missing calls, while simultaneously protecting the profitability of their business. One key area of modern businesses where this dichotomy is most obvious is the need to have a friendly, professional voice answering every single phone call. There are typically two ways this can be accomplished: hire an in-house receptionist or hire a third-party live call answering/virtual receptionist company. 

In this article, we will explore the average cost to hire an in-house receptionist, the answering service cost, and dive into why it is not always a one-or-the-other choice. 

Average Cost of an Answering Service

The average AnswerHero customer uses between 250 and 500 answering service minutes per month which costs between $249 and $449, on average. This represents, at an average call duration of 1.5 minutes, between 166 and 333 calls per month. Or, put another way, between 8 and 17 calls per day. This typically covers the number of calls many small businesses receive on a daily basis. In addition, the cost of an answering service is limited to the cost of the answering service. You’ll never have to pay, or even think about, things like insurance, worker’s comp, 401k, payroll taxes, and the like (oh, and we’re available 24/7/365!) 

Average Cost of a Full-Time Receptionist

According to, the median salary for a receptionist in the United States in 2021 is $37,850 per year or $18.20 per hour before taxes, insurance, benefits, and overhead – which is going to be well north of $20 per hour when all additional costs are included. This cost also excludes the cost, borne by the small business, of recruiting, screening, hiring, and training. In addition to these costs, a business must absorb the risk of employee turnover. According to (or Society for Human Resource Management), turnover, directly and indirectly, costs a business approximately 1/3 of the employee’s annual salary. In addition to the lost productivity there are direct costs such as sourcing, screening, and training someone new, having to pay temporary employees, and (typically) the new employee is going to earn more than the old employee. 

In today’s labor market, with wages rising and a constant drumbeat of news stories about inflation and wage increases, this is one place where the average small business can save money while still providing fantastic customer service to its clients.  

At its simplest, on average hiring an answering service cost between $249 – $449 per month and a full-time receptionist cost $3,154 per month. For that kind of money, you can use 3,800 minutes with AnswerHero (nearly 65 hours of phone time!) and still spend less than you would with a full-time receptionist. 

Hidden Costs and Hidden Savings

And it is not just the immediate cost savings that is a benefit to hiring an answering service. There are several other ways hiring an answering service will not only save a business money but will also drive revenue growth. 

A full-time receptionist will cost a business money by: 

  • being unable to answer the phone 24/7/365 (without paying a LOT of overtime!) 
  • require up to two weeks of training 
  • taking up to two weeks of paid vacation per year, where they will not be answering your phone 
  • may not always have positive interactions with your clients 


An answering service will save a business money by: 

  • being available 24/7/365 so you’ll never miss that off-hours new business call 
  • being ready on your very first day to answer your calls in a polite, professional manner 
  • being available after-hours, on weekends, and during holidays 
  • are experienced customer service professionals who receive extensive and ongoing training 

Providing the best professional 24/7 answering service available, AnswerHero allows you to focus on your business without having to worry about missing calls. Check out our answering service today.


Have Questions? Give us a call