How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Customer Service Representative?

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It’s hard to go wrong with hiring a freelance customer service representative since this professional can step in and empower your business within a matter of hours. Are your phone lines suddenly swarmed with questions or complaints? Does the sales force need someone to generate leads? Customer service reps can help with all of this work and more. This article will shed some light on what it costs to hire a freelance customer service representative and what to expect during the process.

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1. The Complexity of Your Products

The great thing about hiring a freelance CSR is that they likely have extensive experience speaking with customers on the phone and finding practical solutions that make everyone happy. Most will also be organized, efficient with their time and experienced in keeping records of customer interactions. Once you choose a CSR to step in, they’ll be able to start assisting you almost immediately. In some cases, there may be a bit of a learning curve involved if your products and services are not self explanatory. For instance, a customer service rep with a physician’s office may have to know a large amount of terminology to properly relay information to the doctors. CSRs that specialize in a particular field often charge 20-50% more than general reps, but it also eliminates the need for extensive training on your business-specific needs.

2. The Types of Work

Sometimes you may want customer service reps to handle work that is slightly outside the typical project requirements, like some light secretarial, accounting or transcription duties. A fair portion of freelancers will be able to handle these types of responsibilities but they will likely negotiate a higher hourly rate. When posting a project on Upwork, make sure you provide as much detail as possible so the freelancers know exactly what will be expected of them. This will ensure that you have more highly qualified freelancers to choose from and they will have information information to submit accurate bids.

3. The Amount of Sales Involved

If you have customer service reps speaking with your customers on a daily basis, then it is always a good idea to give them ways to suggest related products as an upsell. If the primary task is selling, however, then the CSR may want some type of incentive to close deals. This could be anything from a commission structure to a higher hourly rate or fixed price. Then again, Upwork also has thousands of world-class sales experts ad sales consultants available to help you generate more business. While they generally charge more than a typical customer service rep, it could be a very worthwhile investment.

4. The Duration of the Project

Many customer service reps work for multiple clients over the course of the month, so may have limited ability to take on new clients. However, almost half the professionals on Upwork are available to commit a large portion of time to new projects. The reason these metrics matter is because a highly experienced customer service rep will be more likely to submit a proposal if they believe the project will have a bigger scope or longer term. Some will also intentionally submit a bid lower than their typical hourly rate just to get their foot in the door of a promising opportunity.


SAMPLE CUSTOMER SERVICE JOBS (Estimated rates charged by intermediate-level, U.S. based specialists)
Project Type Average Price (per hour)
General Customer Service $10-$25
Clerical/Secretarial Duties $10-$30
Sales Assistant $15-$65
Dedicated Customer Support $10-$22

Most freelance customer service representatives prefer to work at an hourly rate, although some may consider other structures. Those with extensive experience within your field will likely bid a higher hourly rate to start, but they will also be more adept with speaking to customers on the phone and making them happy.

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Keith Koons


Keith Koons is a Top Rated freelance writer on Upwork and the owner of the digital marketing firm Upstate Synergy. Keith lives in Spartanburg, SC… more