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With the advances in technology many companies are moving away from large call centers, and outsourcing their call centers…to home. There are many legitimate opportunities to work from home as a call center rep. Most call center representatives answer calls from customers wanting to place an order. If you have technical skills you might be placed as a technical support person, where you will be helping customers with support issues. There are also opportunities for people with financial and insurance backgrounds.
Like all work from home positions you have the benefit of no commute costs. Because you will never need to meet with clients in person you will also not need to spend any money on special clothing or dry cleaning. With most call center companies you have the flexibility to choose when you want to work. Also, many call center companies will hire you as an employee, not an independent contractor, so you have a guaranteed hourly wage, no matter how many calls you take.
You must provide all your own equipment. Including a computer with high speed internet access, a dedicated corded phone, (No cell phones or portable phones)and a hands free headset with noise canceling microphone. This is not a good position for parents who need to take care of children, because you are required to have a work space that is quiet with no noise from children or pets. The companies don’t want their customers to know that you are working from home!
What to Look For
Before you are hired make sure you know whether you will be working as an employee, or as an independent contractor. As an employee, you will be guaranteed a minimum hourly wage, and taxes will be withheld from your paychecks. Some companies also offer benefits for their work from home employees.
As an independent contractor you will be paid based on the number of calls that you take. It is possible that you will commit to a shift and recieve very few calls. You will be responsible for paying your own taxes. However, as an independent contractor you have your own business, and it is easier to deduct the expenses of working from home. Depending on the number of hours you work you may be able to deduct some or all of your internet and computer costs. Please consult with a tax advisor about your particular situation.
The companies I looked at all had the following requirements:
- You need to be a United States legal resident and speak English
- You need to be at least 18 years old
- You need to have a high school diploma or GED
- You will need a tax ID number
- You will need to pass a background check
The companies I looked at did not require any fees to apply for a position. However, all of them required you to pay for a background check after you were offered a position. The cost for the background check varied widely, anywhere from $35 to over $100, depending on the type of calls you will be taking.
How Much Can You Make as a Call Center Rep?
Working as an employee, it looked like the starting pay was anywhere from $8 to $12 per hour, with opportunities for bonuses for working during certain hours, or for exceptional performance. The companies that hired independent contractors reported around the same potential income.
Working from home as a call center representative looks like a opportunity for someone who can dedicate a block of time with no distractions. This may make it difficult for parents with small children, as you would need to arrange for childcare. The pay is actually pretty good for this type of work, and without the costs of working outside the home makes it a very attractive work at home opportunity.
Here are a few companies that I found.
With Convergys you are hired as an employee. They offer paid training and a full range of benefits.
Live Ops hires independent contractors. You are paid per minute of call time. They do not offer paid training.
Alpine Access hires reps as employees. They state their average rate of pay is $9 per hour. Certain jobs will pay more. They offer paid training and limited benefits after 3 months of working an average of at least 20 hours per week.