12
   

Commission-Only Job: Self-Employed?

 
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:05 pm
Big uh oh from here, repeating word of many. Not that I'm business savvy, but that I smelled a wrong turn.

BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:12 pm
@ossobuco,
And many thanks to the many, and you too!

This guy is what I'd call "a go-getter." Not necessarily dishonest, but wanting money, and lots of it.

You know what I'd like? To meet and talk with his (stated) girlfriend, and get her opinion, without him present. I doubt that's possible, but it might tell me what I'd really like to know.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:23 pm
And you don't think a "go getter" will tell you whatever he has to, to get you involved?
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:40 pm
@chai2,
Hmmm.... now that's a very good question, Chai.

Maybe I'm counting on his religion more than I should.

Me, I've never been religious... I'm a life-long atheist... but I understand religious folk have some kinda, oh, prohibitions against outright lying.

I know one thing for sure: I will NOT be buying his business in a year or two. Not only can we not afford it, we just don't freakin' want it.

R. (husband) is an auto mechanic, and an honest one. I've thought about us starting a business fixing cars on more than one occasion. We could do it.

He doesn't want to. Too many hours, too many sleepless nights, too much darned work. I have to agree there. We want part-time. We want to be DONE at a certain time every business day.

Anyway that's a bit of a side-thingie, there. Do I want to slave away at a business that is not mine? Er, not really.

On the other hand, do I want I job? Yes, a lot.

Let's say this guy is willing to pay me an hourly wage as an employee, as he claimed in this interview. Should I accept? Should I demand a commission in addition to the hourly rate?

Cripes, I'm tired. Time to sleep.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:44 pm
@BorisKitten,
I may have sympathy for gogetter (what do I know) but I don't want to see you do a new spendathon - time waste.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:52 pm
@BorisKitten,
BorisKitten wrote:
And yes, it's like a micro-business at $100K (and that's Gross Sales!) yearly.


Setanta already mentioned it but this set off alarm bells in my head too.

There are deals where this can be a win-win, but do know that you are assuming all the risk here and that their company would need to catch fire in terms of sales for you to even get paid.

I have a small company I am making a similar offer to someone about, and I think everyone should be clear that you are assuming all the risks (just like our salespeople would). The whole point is that we don't know whether it will work and don't have the money to find out. But if the salespeople really understand this and want to give it a try it is a win-win.

If they are expecting something else it's a bit of a scam in my opinion, so it all depends on just how well you understand that your time may not be remunerated at all.

Quote:
Good idea to ask to see some books tonight; I hadn't thought of that. At least a balance sheet & income statement, right? He should be able to email me them.


None of this really matters too much, if they aren't paying you a base you assume all the risk. Their books aren't going to change that you are assuming risk other than to make you more comfortable with the trajectory of the company and even then it's a bit of a gamble. If the company has no money it's clear why they are doing this kind of offer, but also worrying in that they haven't proven they can even make money, so putting you to work on it may not be a viable way to make money yourself.

If the company has money, but is still offering only commission then they may be the dishonorable types who just put warm bodies in commission-only sales and let them figure out that it is a bad deal while the company makes a bit of sales off everyone with no risk.

Quote:
I'm having doubts, but I'll certainly meet with him. At least he has an 800 number!


That takes a few minutes and a few bucks. Unless you are getting a stake in the company all that really matters is the structure of your compensation. Commission-only is a structure where you assume all the risk. It's an unattractive structure to you and is being offered for a reason (namely that the owner of the company lacks the money or willingness to assume the very risk you are to assume).

In my opinion, you should either go into this knowing that there is a decent chance you will not be paid (and that means being ready to get out quickly if it appears to be the case) or ask for a base of some sort. Even if it's just a token $100 it is $100 more that it would cost a scam and would reduce your risks slightly.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 08:59 pm
@BorisKitten,
I really don't know.

I'd suggest you call the local branch of the BBB and ask what exactly it means when they're not registered (for good or for bad):
Find a BBB

BBB of Central Florida
WWW: http://centralflorida.bbb.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (407)621-3300
Fax: (407)786-2625
1600 S. Grant St.
Longwood FL 32750

BBB of Northeast Florida
WWW: http://bbbnefla.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (904)721-2288
Fax: (904)721-7373
4417 Beach Blvd., Suite 202
Jacksonville FL 32207

BBB of Northwest Florida
WWW: http://nwfl.bbb.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (850)429-0002
Fax: (850)429-0006
912 E. Gadsden St.
Pensacola FL 32501

BBB of Southeast Florida & the Caribbean
WWW: http://Seflorida.bbb.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (561)842-1918
Fax: (561)845-7234
4411 Beacon Circle Ste 4
West Palm Beach FL 33407

BBB of Southeast Florida & the Caribbean
WWW: http://www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (561)842-1918
Fax: (561)845-7234
14750 NW 77 CT, Ste. 317, Miami Lakes Corporate Center
Miami Lakes FL 33016

BBB of Southeast Florida & the Caribbean
WWW: http://www.bbbsoutheastflorida.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (772)223-1492
Fax: (772)335-9486
Civitas Place, 101 S. E. Ocean Boulevard Unit 202
Stuart FL 34994

BBB of West Florida
WWW: http://westflorida.bbb.org
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (727)535-5522
Fax: (727)539-6301
2655 McCormick Drive
Clearwater FL 33759
Green Witch
 
  2  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:22 pm
@BorisKitten,
Quote:
Me, I've never been religious... I'm a life-long atheist... but I understand religious folk have some kinda, oh, prohibitions against outright lying.


Don't drink the Kool-aid.

Really, I smell a scam. This is somehow going to cost you money. He's dangling bait. Don't bite.
0 Replies
 
Green Witch
 
  4  
Reply Wed 24 Feb, 2010 09:31 pm
@tsarstepan,
I personally don't put much stock in BBB. If people want to take the time to complain about a business it will be on file, but most people never bother. If a business wants to escape a bad rating they just change the name of the business and BBB never checks into the history. BBB might have had some clout a decade ago, but it's fairly meaningless in this age of on-line rating sites. You might find out more about this guy by just Googling.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:16 am
@Green Witch,
Yep -- the BBB isn't a complete listing by any means. It generally doesn't mean a company is good (or bad) if they are listed (or not). Often it's just that they aren't big enough or haven't been around long enough or, like GW said, people just aren't motivated enough to complain to the BBB.

The whole thing, to me, reeks. Don't go into a situation where you don't know if you're going to get paid on a regular basis. I predict long hours and little remuneration, if any. Religious? Eh, who cares? That doesn't matter. Even if they guy is as honest as the day is long, if he's got no money then you are not going to get paid. And, without any sort of a salary backed by a contract, you aren't going to have much to go on if he files for bankruptcy. His creditors will come before you. You will not be a secured creditor.

Run in the opposite direction. Even in a crappy economy, there are other options. Do not let your distaste for looking for work blind you to this, and convince you to just take it. Don't take it. Surely there are other options, perhaps some of them are listed here: http://southflorida.jobing.com/
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:21 am
@BorisKitten,
BorisKitten wrote:
Me, I've never been religious... I'm a life-long atheist... but I understand religious folk have some kinda, oh, prohibitions against outright lying.


Oh jeeze . . . wanna buy a bridge?

I'm sorry, but that is incredibly naive. Religious people can be just as tight-fisted and grasping as anyone else, and sometimes worse, because they're convinced they have the imprimatur of the Lord God Almighty. The nastiest son-of-bitch landlord i ever had was a Baptist minister.

Run . . . run like hell . . .
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 08:18 am
@jespah,
jespah wrote:

Do not let your distaste for looking for work blind you to this, and convince you to just take it.


Exactly.

Who likes looking for work? No one.

Write yourself up a balance sheet Kittens.

On one side put all the items we have mentioned here.

On the other, the positives you have come up with.

Aside: I think Florida is the scam artist capital of the world. I lived there for, what? 10 or 12 years. I've seen people fall for scams more times than I can count.

I don't want to sound like I'm harping on the religious aspect of it, but what better way to try to convince someone you're honest?
Some of the most vindictive, dishonest, stab you in the back people I have known have said there were religious.
Some of the most ethical people I've known has no discernible spiritual belief system at all.
I truly believe there is no correlation between the two.

Thank you for saying you value my opinion. That meant a lot to me.

My opinion is you should continue looking for work elsewhere.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 09:50 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
BorisKitten wrote:

Me, I've never been religious... I'm a life-long atheist... but I understand religious folk have some kinda, oh, prohibitions against outright lying.


Oh jeeze . . . wanna buy a bridge?


Laughing out loud at that one, Set! And you're all no doubt correct that I AM naive about religious people. I too have known completely immoral religious folks.

Wow, what a lot of great responses... thank you so much, everyone!

Now, let's review last night. He says he WILL pay me as a regular, hourly employee, if I prefer that. W2, taxes taken out, all that good stuff.

To me, that eliminates most of the risk involved. Am I wrong there? He'd have to pay me at least every two weeks; if I got no pay in that period, I could just walk away. Easy peasy.

I could simply forgo commission entirely, at least for now.

I'm thinking NOT minimum wage, but a decent hourly wage with set hours, say 8-2 M-F. He'd be willing (he said) to take the phone after 2 PM daily.

Wish I could add "NOT" to the end of this thread's title... at least, that's what he said last night.
0 Replies
 
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 09:55 am
And a couple of other items from the interview: I don't think I'd need to buy anything at all, and here's why:

He uses VOIP and a little gadget (magic phone? something like that) for the phone, instead of an actual telephone. He says it does not work well when you're online, causing weird pauses.

So he'd be willing to let me use a netbook or laptop (which he already has) just for the VOIP, using my present computer for the 'net, which I'd need to be on when I took the calls.

Well, I have a single broadband connection, I told him... no wireless, no router. He'll also give me a router he's not using. OK.

I might have to buy a microphone; the one I have doesn't work on my computer.

Will add more things when I think of them.
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 10:10 am
Oh, yeah, yesterday I Googled his name and his company.

Nothing religious associated with his name, to my surprise. He has a new business doing search engine optimization (SEO). His blog came up; he's on LinkedIn & Facebook. Nothing scary there.

When I Googled the company I also looked for "consumer reviews," "BBB," "complaints," etc., looking for bad news about it. Nothing negative came up.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 11:57 am
@BorisKitten,
BorisKitten wrote:
He uses VOIP and a little gadget (magic phone? something like that) for the phone, instead of an actual telephone. He says it does not work well when you're online, causing weird pauses.


Ahh. I use VOIP for all my business telephony as well. I use skype (with phone numbers) and have a dedicated skype phone to minimize interference with my computer use. But if you have a good microphone it usually works pretty well running directly on the computer as well.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 05:06 pm
@Green Witch,
Doesn't the BBB also track criminal history of alleged businesses? Then again, I wonder if Boris could call the local police precinct to see if anyone had put in a legal complaint against the owner.
0 Replies
 
BorisKitten
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:38 pm
@chai2,
Quote:

Aside: I think Florida is the scam artist capital of the world. I lived there for, what? 10 or 12 years. I've seen people fall for scams more times than I can count.

I don't want to sound like I'm harping on the religious aspect of it, but what better way to try to convince someone you're honest?
Some of the most vindictive, dishonest, stab you in the back people I have known have said there were religious.
Some of the most ethical people I've known has no discernible spiritual belief system at all.
I truly believe there is no correlation between the two.

Thank you for saying you value my opinion. That meant a lot to me.

My opinion is you should continue looking for work elsewhere.

I totally agree that Florida is the scam-capital of the US. (I'm too ignorant of other countries to make a judgment.)

I've lived in Florida for almost 40 years: I grew up here. Scams in urban areas are rather like cockroach infestations. Not as much in FL's rural areas, but still extant.

I was (pleasantly) surprised to find NO religious affiliations with this person when I Googled him.

If he was out to deceive folk, I think he'd press the "Youth Pastor" bit, but I wasn't able to find this on the 'net, nor did I detect even a hint of religiosity when I spoke with him in person.

Didn't we have a very enlightening discussion on A2K on Religion VS Morals, several years ago? At least I think we did.

Husband and I are both utter Atheists, yet we find ourselves more, oh, "morally correct" than most religious people.

Talks like these are what brings me back to A2K again and again.

Anyway, I sent him (biz owner) a brief email today, before having to work for the very last time (school-tutoring program ending).

I said I'd be interested IF he would pay me as a "regular employee" (W2 tax form, NOT a 1099) and limit my weekly hours to 25 or 30. If he can't live with this, well, he can go to hell in a handbasket, so to speak.

I also told him I'd email him by noon tomorrow, with more specifics. I'm thinking of asking for $10-$12/hour. This is low to you-all, probably, but not low for rural Florida or for work-at-home thingies in this area.

If he refuses, well, that's OK with me.

In short, all of you have convinced me to NOT go with a commission-only, self-employed position with this person.

I think people often ask for advice on A2K (or similar places), then refuse to follow that advice. I'd like everyone to know that I have heard their advice, understood it, and changed my strategy because of it.

If this fellow, micro-business owner that he is, cannot pay me an hourly wage as a regular employee, he will NOT be my employer.

Thank You, A2K! And all of the very-helpful individuals that make up our community.
0 Replies
 
sullyfish6
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:50 pm
I was office manager for a company that had 9 commission-only salepeople.
A few made really good $$.
They kept good records and serviced their customers well.
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Feb, 2010 07:53 pm
I hope your instincts are right about this job, and that it works out well.

Needless to say, keep us updated.

Good luck kitty
0 Replies
 
 

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