Fire Your Secretary

Peer out of your office door, what’s your secretary doing right now? If you answered surfing the internet, taking a nap, or reading a magazine, it’s time to rethink where your money is going.  In an ideal situation, a secretary would be paid for the work they accomplish and not for watching the clock. If is my theory that small businesses can save money by hiring a secretary part time to manage office business and utilizing an answering service to manage the phones.


Let’s analyze this theory from purely a mathematical point of view using 6 variables A, B, C, D, E, & F.


  1. Variable A: Secretary gets paid $12.00 per hour.
  2. Variable B: Secretary works 8 hours per day.
  3. Variable C: Secretary spends 40% of work day managing office work.
  4. Variable D: Secretary spends 30% of work day managing inbound phone calls
  5. Variable E: Secretary spends 12% of work day on lunch
  6. Variable F: Secretary  spends 18% of work day remaining unproductive


Based on these variables, your secretary gets paid $96.00 a day.  With this figure broken down, they get paid $38.40 per day managing office work, $28.80 per day managing inbound phone calls, $12.00 for eating lunch (provided lunch is paid), and $17.28 per day for doing nothing.  For the purposes of proving this theory, lets analyze the variables based on a 1 month block (22 business days), secretaries will earn $844.80 for managing office work, $633.60 for managing inbound phone calls, $264 for lunch, and $380.16 for remaining unproductive.  


So, if only 3.2 hours per day are spent managing office business, it doesn’t make sense for business owners to hire a secretary for an entire day when most of their duties can be outsourced to a call center.  Accounting for “free time” (i.e. coffee breaks, cigarette breaks, bathroom time, etc.) lets round up the 3.2 hour figure to 4 hours ($48.00 per day – $1056 per month). Also, lets take $250.00 as an average market price for utilizing an answering service for a one month period.  Also, take into account that with a part time employee (i.e. less than 4 hours per day), a lunch break is not required.


It’s time for the grand totals you have been waiting for.  


– Case A: Using a secretary for every office duty costs a business owner $2112 per month.  

– Case B: Utilizing a secretary part time while outsourcing phone management duties to an answering service costs a business owner $1306.00 per month.  


Based on these figures, utilizing an answering service can save a business owner $816.00 per month ($9792.00 per year).  Keep in mind that this figure does not include the increase in business by having an after hours, 24/7 live operator presence managing your calls.  A live operator will strengthen customer relationships and project the image of a larger, more secure & dependable business to your customers (& potential customers). I suppose the title of this article should have been “Don’t Fire Your Secretary, Just Cut Their Hours”.


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