To find a home call center job (aka virtual call center), start by researching potential companies carefully. Though there are many legitimate companies hiring work at home call center agents, call center jobs (as well as data entry jobs) are often used at the bait in work-at-home scams.
Most legitimate jobs at virtual call centers require an investment in home office equipment, and some do charge fees. So before you spend any money to get set up as a work-at-home call center agent, ask some questions.
What type of work does the company offer home call center agents?
First, find out if the company you’re considering contracts with clients to provide call center service or if the company utilize these services itself. And then, what kind of call center jobs does it offer? The most common types are:
- Sales or telemarketing
- Customer service
- Technical support
- Quality assurance
Does the company hire where I live?
Even though it seems like home call center work can be done from anywhere, many companies only hire from certain locations.
What type of home office equipment is required?
As a general rule, employers pay workers–not the other way around. Work-at-home scams try to collect bogus fees, so beware of any company that charges anything. That said, a few legitimate companies do require potential workers to pay a one-time fee for a background and credit check. This is often around $50, but you should not have to pay for this until a position is offered (conditioned on a satisfactory background check).
Fees to beware of:
- Application fees
- Testing costs
- Specialize equipment and software
- Any fee that recurs
What skills are needed to become a work at home call center agent?
Skills vary depending on the type of work. Most require workers be age 18 with a high school diploma or GED and have previous customer service experience. Though telephone customer service experience is preferred, some will accept experience in retail or other non-phone positions. Qualities employers are seeking:
- Professional phone presence (good grammar)
- Basic math and writing skills
- Knowledge of word processing systems
There are also a lot of opportunities for bilingual call center agents.
On what basis will I be paid?
Work-at-home call center agents are often paid a per minute, per call or per hour rate. Agents compensated on a per call or per minute are paid only for time spent on the phone, not for time waiting for calls to come in. For those paid per call, obviously moving quickly through calls means more money.
If the job is a sales position, be sure you understand all the details of the sales incentive pay plan. What is the commission? Is there a minimum base pay? Will the company provide sales leads?
Are home call center agents employees or independent contractors?
Companies hire home call center agents both as employees and as independent contractors.
Whether you are an independent contractor or an employee makes a difference in your taxes. Typically for independent contractors, companies do not withhold payroll taxes. However, they do report income to the IRS, who will expect you to pay taxes on it.
Independent contractors are less likely to be paid an hourly rate than employees, although employees are not always paid an hourly wage. Keep in mind that employers should guarantee minimum wage. For instance, if an employee is paid at per-call rate and no calls come in, the employee should at least be paid minimum wage. Independent contractors are not subject minimum wage or overtime laws.
How much will I be paid?
How many hours are available/required?
Again, this is as complicated as figuring out how much you will be paid. Some companies require a minimum commitment of time, while others require no minimum number of hours nor promise any. Some may require that you work weekends or nights, while others may not offer hours at those times.
Those that hire independent contractors may offer work on a project basis for individual clients. So when a particular client’s needs are fulfilled, you may need to reapply for a new client’s work. If you prefer part-time work, check out this list of part-time virtual call center jobs.
What kind of training is required?
- 1 What type of work does the company offer home call center agents?
- 2 Does the company hire where I live?
- 3 What type of home office equipment is required?
- 4 Does the company charge any fees to applicants?
- 5 What skills are needed to become a work at home call center agent?
- 6 On what basis will I be paid?
- 7 Are home call center agents employees or independent contractors?
- 8 How much will I be paid?
- 9 How many hours are available/required?
- 10 What kind of training is required?
- 11 Other Questions to Ask: