Fractional Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Kamyar Shah
4 min readJan 1, 2022

With so many job titles being used today, it’s hard to know who does what. Therefore, it makes sense to start by hiring a fractional chief operating officer (COO) who can help in this area for a fraction of the pay rate. But, what’s the difference between a COO and a fractional COO?

What Is a COO?

A COO is an executive position at the top of a company’s hierarchy.

What Is a Fractional COO?

A fractional COO is an outsourced professional COO who works part-time, temporarily, or when needed.

Responsibilities of a COO

These professionals oversee and work to improve the organization’s business functions related to products and services while ensuring daily operations run smoothly and efficiently. They do this by organizing and analyzing the company’s resources and processes.

Responsibilities of a Fractional COO

These executives have the same responsibilities as a COO but may work remotely and/or come in once a week, biweekly, or monthly when they are needed for processing improvements, strategic planning, or operations-related projects.

How Much Does a COO Earn?

The average base salary for a full-time COO is $456,082; however, the salary may range from $354,725 to $591,154. As with any job, pay rates can vary significantly depending on…

  • The business you work for
  • Your prior work experience
  • Certifications you may hold
  • Your educational background
  • Additional skills

How Much Does a Fractional COO Earn?

Because a fractional COO only works part-time or on a contractual basis, they don’t receive a full-time salary or company benefits. However, As of November 2021, a COO in the U.S. earns an average hourly wage of $219, but pay may range from $171 to $284, depending on various factors contributing to the pay scale.

Benefits of Hiring a Fractional COO Over a COO

There are numerous benefits of hiring a fractional chief operations officer over a full-time chief operations officer. The most important benefits include the following:

Keep Costs Down

Fractional COOs are valuable budget-friendly assets to your organization that bring the same skillsets and experience of a senior-level veteran in the industry at a fraction of the cost. This is because you can hire these professionals on a month-to-month retainer or on an as-needed basis for a set fee or an hourly wage.

Gives You a Break

Running a business takes a lot out of you as it can be extremely hectic at times. Outsourcing a fractional COO can take some of the burdens off you so you can get the long-overdue rest you need from time to time-and come back stronger.

Bring Different Skillsets to the Table

Depending on your organization’s operational needs, fractional COOs can occasionally come in to fulfill specific purposes and temporary projects. This can include:

  • Creating effective roadmaps
  • Tweaking sales funnels
  • Streamlining the bookkeeping process
  • Bringing other skillsets required

Avoid the Hiring and Firing Process

Staffing a new COO full-time requires a long, drawn-out onboarding process, and if they don’t work out, you will have to go through a firing process and then do it all over again to hire someone new. However, outsourcing a fractional COO is like a trial that allows you to avoid all that.

A Business Consultant and Advisor

A fractional COO can also act as a lead consultant and a business advisor to help your business thrive. These professionals not only have many years of experience under their belt, but they also have the skillset and knowledge to do great things for your organization.

Trustworthy and Reliable

When it comes to helping to put your business on the right path, you can always rely on someone who has put years of service into the same industry. Because of the experience they have, you know that many others have put their trust in these experts and they have always come through for them.

Whether you are a new startup or have been in business for a while, a fractional COO might be a good option for you. This is especially true for new entrepreneurs that don’t have the budget to bring on a full-time COO to help grow their business and take things to a new level.


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Kamyar Shah

Experienced Senior Executive providing Fractional COO/CMO services, Business Consulting/Strategy, and Executive Coaching. Grounded, practical, and unassuming.