Cost Comparison – Outsource Vs Inhouse

compare cost of live chat customer service

In this post we will look at the cost of setting up your own 24/7 customer service operation and a business hours only 9-5 customer service operation.

This analysis includes the front line staff costs only, and assumes that virtual staff from the Philippines, or comparable market are to be employed on your team.

You will also have to factor in associated costs such as software, payroll, tech. support, training and management into your overall budget.


Salary Rates

Salary rates used for calculations are based on market rates for virtual staff, as recommended by Virtual Staff Finder. You can download their free salary guide here.

  • $450 per month ($2.5962 per hour)
  • 20% loading for Night shifts and Sunday shifts.

You can find staff willing to work for lower rates than specified here. You may need to compromise on language skills, or experience though. For such an important representative of your business this probably isn’t a good idea.

The shift loading is also not necessary for your virtual staff if you do not want to pay it. Keep in mind that working Sunday night is not the most fun thing to do and if it is not worthwhile you may not have people keep it up long term.

Shifts required to cover support hours:

  • All shifts will be eight hours long.
  • Your business hours support staff will work one standard 9am-5pm shift, Monday to Friday.
  • The 24/7 team have 21 shifts to cover over the full week. With four different pay rates to consider.

outsource live chat cost comparison

Business hours – Staff Cost Summary

  • Very straightforward calculation for the business hours team.
  • Yes, we just land back at the $450 a month with a rounding error (duh!)

full time va salary comparison 

24/7 staffing cost summary

  • Slightly more complex for the 24/7 team with the various shift times and pay rates.

24 hour customer support staffing cost


Resourcing considerations

I want to keep this post to purely numbers for simplicity, but it is worth noting the number of staff required to run each team. This is a useful indicator of how much other work is required to run the team that is not captured in the above numbers.

  • Business Hours – One full time staff member
  • 24/7 – Three full time + two part time staff members


Comparison to Live Chatify Plans

When lining the cost up against the Live Chatify fixed monthly plans you can see that you really pay for the privilege of having an in-house team. In isolation, it looks like a no brainer on cost to outsource. When you also factor in the work required to run your customer service team then it is an even less appealing option. But there are trade offs to make.

If you are building up an organization then the expertise that your customer service team will acquire can be of huge value to your business long term. Your customer support team can be an incubator for new talent to learn your business inside and out, and prove that they are capable of taking on higher levels of responsibility. This is true for a remote team, as well as a more traditional on-shore team (which would require three or four times the cost below). When you outsource you will not build up that long term human capital.

For an up and coming business that is not yet at this scale, outsourcing makes more sense. Time and capital both need to be deployed for the highest ROI possible. By investing heavily in your customer service you are potentially passing on opportunities for growth. While your customer service can certainly contribute to growth long term, it is more of a maintenance task in the short term to ensure the customers stay happy and the business healthy.


live chat support cost comparison chart

Here at Live Chatify it is our goal to make top quality and comprehensive customer support attainable for all e-commerce sellers. No matter how big or small. Our entry level plans are affordable and a big money saver for small to medium e-commerce stores. Book a consultation today! 



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