It seems you're not the only one who becomes frustrated when calling a customer-service number and getting a rep who's obviously based overseas and barely speaks English. Major U.S. corporations are finally feeling our pain, and are contracting companies like Arise Virtual Solutions, Inc. to bring those jobs back home.
As a result, Arise has just announced that over the next several months, it plans to hire an additional 5,000 work-at-home reps in the United States to strengthen its network of 12,000 Arise certified professionals (ACPs).
"As your own boss, working from home, located anywhere in the U.S., ACPs choose the brands they support and the hours they work, including nights and weekends," says Jared Fletcher, VP of VSC Operations. "Commutes consist of turning on the computer, logging onto secure networks and answering questions via phone, e-mail and chat."
"Wait just a minute here," you might be saying to yourself. "Haven't I seen spammers -- some of them right here on AOL -- promise juicy work from home in customer-service jobs with big-name corporations; then you go to their websites and find that it costs a fortune to get involved and there's no guarantee of income? How do I know these guys are legitimate?"
Says Fletcher: "The business was founded in 1997 and originally set up to help individuals who are disabled to work from home. We now have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, and our CEO was one of 150 invited to the White House to participate in President Obama's jobs summit." But, he adds, "the best way to verify our legitimacy is to see the interaction between agents on their Facebook Page."
What's in it for me?
Fletcher says that agents work a minimum of 15 hours per week and there is no maximum. "Agents may work as many hours as they like, and can schedule their own time," he says. That means any day of the week, any time of the day or night. Many of their clients, however, do require that their agents work at least five hours on the weekend. Agents can earn $8-$20 per hour, and they can choose the company they wish to work for -- major corporations in industries such as telecommunications, cruise lines, electronics manufacturers, home improvement, roadside assistance and travel. Agents may live anywhere in the Unites States.
But there ARE requirements to start.
Fletcher is quite upfront about the start-up costs, which he describes as minimal. Necessary equipment includes:
- A computer with broadband Internet access
- An analogue phone, or "land line"
- A voice over IP head set, which according to Fletcher, costs around $15-$20.
- Then there are the costs of registering:
- Background Check: You're responsible for your own background check, which costs about $10.95 if you use one of the online services they recommend.
- Basic Certification Course: It's free right now and for the next three weeks, but the price could go up to $99.
- Certification Course with the client you chose: This runs anywhere from $25 to $225.
And now for the really tough requirement:
"All our agents are independent contractors, and we require that they set up as an LLC or an S-Corp.," according to Fletcher. "But Arise provides assistance to help with incorporation if the agents need it," he says.
Isn't that rather intimidating for many people? "It does require a more sophisticated individual," he says, explaining that higher standards insure a more qualified agent. He says that it's not uncommon for one family member to already be incorporated -- a freelance photographer, for example, whose spouse wants to become an agent. There are many other examples of facilitated incorporation, such as a mother who incorporates and works with her daughter under that incorporation, or even neighbors incorporating and working together.
He says it's an ideal situation for a stay-at home-mom, for example, because she can work anytime she chooses, in increments for as short as a half an hour at a time -- while the baby is napping, while the kids are at school, or after they've gone to bed.
Fletcher says that they find many people are in a position to have a friend or family member who is already incorporated back them. Still, it's true that these positions seem to be best suited to a situation where at least one family member works outside of the home and preferably has benefits; as an independent contractor, the company does not pay for them, and you must provide your own.
This type of "homeshoring" or bringing outsourced jobs back to America, is becoming more and more popular as the economy sifts to accommodate rapid changes. It's not for everyone, but those who can qualify see it as an extremely viable option. See arise.com for more details.