As always I like to keep my eye out for new legitimate work at home opportunities so you can meet your goal of making a living at home. I know a lot of you are actively taking advantage of the little opportunities I’ve recommended to bring in a bit of extra money. I’m happy to say many of you have been successful with it. However there are still a large number of you are looking to make a living at this. With this in mind, this week I find myself going back to one of the tried and true work at home opportunities out there, “virtual call centers”. That’s just a fancy way of saying customer service reps or those friendly folks on the line when you call any 800 number on your bills or websites.
Before I tell you something about Working Solutions, I have to take the time to remind you all that this is a home business, and not a work at home job. I know we have harped on this before, but in case you forgot, this means you are an Independent contractor, which means you’re responsible for your own taxes but also have the advantages of being able to write off things that you couldn’t as an employee such as your home office supplies, equipment, internet, phone, etc.
As always speak to your tax professional regarding all this. You can also read my work at home and taxes article here.
Hopefully you’re still interested in this legit opportunity, if so read on.
What are Working Solutions Agents OnDemand?
Working Solutions, a company that has been around since 1996. They hire skilled, educated, and motivated people to be the person on the end of the phone line, who responds to emails or the online chat rep that are there to help folks with sales, service and technical support.
They call their work “projects” which will mainly be customer sales and service, tech support, and some data entry and editing projects. A sales and service project would be things like enrollments, retail sales, reservations, and dealing with your account. They also have agents who give technical assistance on electronics, website usage and software.
Each project you work on is different, and you are trained each time you are chosen to do something new to you. So that means you probably won’t get stuck only dealing with the complaints about bills, or answering the same customer service questions over and over.
Are there any fees involved?
There are no fees to apply or for training, which in that past has been a con for other virtual call center jobs I have reviewed such as Arise. In fact, from what I can tell, you get paid for your training that you go through for specific projects.
With all that said there are some equipment needs, and for many folks these are things you already have. For example, you need an up to date computer with Vista or Windows 7 along with Internet Explorer 8. You must have a land line and a high speed Internet connection. You will also need some good headphones that filter out sound. (Remember you are at home and the customers don’t need to hear the TV, your dog or child yapping away!) For those who may be really interested here is the link that explains in detail their equipment requirements. Now if you lack the equipment above then there is obviously the costs of getting that stuff.
How do you apply to be an Agent on demand?
First of all I must tell you that this field is one of the more popular work from home businesses and they get tons of applications. All of these kinds of companies do. So don’t expect that you just ‘sign up” one day and work the next.
There is a two step online application process. When you finish Part 1, they have instructions for completing Part 2 which can be done another day if needed. When both parts are finished it goes to the database with all the other applications and they will screen it when they get to it, which could be months from the day you submit. You get contacted by email with the results of this testing and if you meet their standards. Unfortunately this is a one time chance, you cannot retake the test or re-apply later on. Some of the things will be concerning your set up and you work and computer experience, others will be to show a basic understanding of writing and grammar.
Once you have been accepted, your application is put in a pending pool and you wait for opportunities that are a match for your skills. You are low man on the totem pole and everyone else before you gets first dibs. Some people have waited six months before getting their first job. A couple folks had to wait so long they forgot they had even applied! Since it often does take awhile, it is a good idea to be sure to keep you contact details up to date, like a change in email addresses for example. It is easy to forget to notify everyone.
You can start the online application process by clicking here.
What happens when I am selected for for a project?
When they find a good match between a project and your skill-set, they send you a Project Notification email. This gives you the the specifics about this project. An agreement is drafted once you accept the terms. This is the legal stuff that spells out things like you are an independent contractor for Working Solutions, outlines the scope of the project and the requirements and objectives. I would assume that is where the pay scale is set up as well.
Once all of that stuff is taken care of and out of the way, you go through a virtual preparation session, which is your paid training, to get you ready to get working on the project.
What about people who live outside of the United States?
They do hire outside the US for many projects as all you need is to be connected to the Internet, but due to telecommunications expenses, some companies will restrict their hires to US residents.
How much can I earn with Working Solutions?
Each project will have its own payment plan. It depends on the company that hires Working Solutions to find them agents. Some companies pay by the record or entry, while others pay by “talk minutes”, sales, or a combination of both. Some may even pay by the project. The website claims that people have made from $7.50/ hour to $30/hour. From my experience with these things, I’d expect the lower amount, most of the jobs will be minimum wages kind of thing.
Of course once you get into the system on a regular basis it will all depend on your success ratings, how much work they have, and how many hours you work.
They do not advertise or recommend this to be a replacement job, they look at it as temporary work for supplemental income, so you can do other things in the multiple streams of income opportunities we talk about here along with this.
How do you get paid?
You get paid every other week via direct deposit, or if you prefer a hands on approach, they will send you a check in the mail. You must however, keep your work invoices updated, as payments only are made when it says, “work completed.”
One thing I liked when I was reading about this is that you can work on more than one project at a time, depending on the project. So if you are an email responder on one project you can do that while waiting for customer service calls on another one assuming you’re competent at multi-tasking.
In general, this seems to be a straightforward company in the virtual call center field, but I can't just let this go by without pointing out the downside of things. Nothing is perfect, as I always say, so better to go in knowing the good, the bad and the ugly. so lets get to it.
I've covered most of the basics here. But if you have more questions, be sure to hit up their FAQ page here.
- Patience is a virtue…
The long wait between applying and getting a job is a con particularly for those of you who need the extra income sooner, rather than later. This is not a criticism of Working Solutions, it is the way it is with many legitimate online jobs. With the job market the way it is, there are many people looking for work these days. So, if this is something you want to do, you have to look at it as down the line, and also look into other things in the meantime.
- Administrative stuff…
For some people the ins and outs of being a self-employed person and dealing with the taxes, bookkeeping and lack of benefits is just too much and I totally get that. When I first started it was one of the headaches I had to learn to deal with. Lucky for me I now have an accountant that can do most of that for me, but when I fist got into this I was on my own. I have a whole thing I wrote up on this kind of thing which you can read here.
- Technical difficulties
I think most everyone will already have most of the equipment except the headphones, so that will be an expense as you need really really good ones. However, if you do not have Vista or Windows 7, you will have to upgrade. Yeah I’m a Mac guy and it pisses me off when things only are set for windows machine. So this would be a major con for Mac lovers. However geeks like me know how to run virtualization software like Bootcamp or Parallels so that we can run Windows on our Mac. But not every Mac user knows how to do all of that. (Now you do. lol)
They don’t always tell you this, but even with good headphones you will need a quiet spot you can put your phone and computer to work without a lot of distractions. So it’s not like clicking on ads or doing surveys or many of the other opportunities we talk about here. This is definitely a con for people with small children or annoying dogs that bark at squirrel fart like my dog does.
- Show me the money…
This really is a minimum wage thing and many of the projects you get will only pay for the time you actually are with a customer and not the full amount of time you are sitting on call, and that is a real bummer. That is definitely something to keep in mind as you look at projects that are offered to you.
Is Working Solutions legitimate?
Yes It is a solid, legitimate work at home business that has proven over time to be a reliable way to bring in some extra cash. It’s often one of the few work at home companies that is highly recommended in this industry by the media and other sites. You just need to be willing to wait and put in the time until your name gets pushed up the priority list. As usual I am always interested in hearing from my loyal subscribers and their experiences with this company as there was not a lot of online chatter about it. By the way if there were things about working solutions you liked or didn’t like, you might also want to check out some of their competitors VIP Desk, Alpine Access and Arise.
I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts.