Welcome to October’s series on 31 Ways to Earn Extra Cash Before Christmas. In this series, I’m highlighting simple and legitimate ways you can earn extra cash in the next three months for those of you who could use a little extra cash to help you pay for Christmas — or just for your living expenses if you’re in a tight spot right now.
If you’ve found a great way to make extra cash before Christmas that doesn’t require an outlay of cash upfront, please email me your tip. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
The following is a guest post by Alaina Forbes from Telecommuting Mommies:
The holidays are a great time to get hired as a seasonal worker working as a virtual call center agent. Often times, there can be an opportunity to stay on with these companies after the holiday season, or at least return the following holiday season.
What Is a Virtual Call Center Agent?
Working as a virtual call center agent requires answering incoming phone calls that are routed to your home phone. Many of the virtual call center companies assign you to one specific client in order for you to become comfortable with that specific script and product.
Calls are mostly customer service based calls and may include helping people with their accounts or orders. Clients range from pizza delivery stores to credit card companies.
Some clients are more sales focused, and a few virtual call center companies also conduct outgoing calls. Read as much as possible about the company and the job description before applying and then choose one that you know you will feel comfortable doing.
What Equipment is Required to Be a Virtual Call Center Agent?
To get a job as a virtual call center agent, you must own your own computer and each company has specific technical requirements that your computer must meet. In most cases, as long as your computer is not ancient and you have a decent amount of memory, you won’t have too much of a problem meeting these requirements.
Almost all companies also require that you have high speed internet and a land line phone. Cell phones are not usually acceptable, and a headset is usually required in order to type and talk at the same time. You’ll want to check out the individual requirements on each company’s website before applying to be sure that you can meet them.
Are You An Employee or an Independent Contractor?
A handful of companies, including Teletech and Alpine Access, will hire you as an employee, but many take you on as an independent contractor. These two options lead to a lot of variables between companies.
How Many Hours a Week Do You Have to Work?
Being an independent contractor typically means less commitment as far as how much you are expected to work. Most allow you to log on and schedule yourself for shifts with only a very minimum number of hours required to stay on – sometimes as little as a shift a month.
Because of this, they usually have a lot of contractors employed in order to ensure they are always staffed, and this can make getting enough shifts more difficult depending on how much you want to work. Independent contractors are usually allowed to work for more than one virtual call center, so you may need to sign up for multiple companies in order to get steady work.
Conversely, companies that hire you as an employee will usually have a non-compete agreement and will not allow you to work with another virtual call center while employed with them. They may require you to commit to certain shifts each day of the week and work a minimum number of hours depending on if you are part-time or full-time.
This guarantees you plenty of work but may not have the flexibility some people — moms especially — may need. Evaluate what you really want out of this before applying. Can you commit to working full-time? Or do you just want some extra pocket money?
How Much Will You Get Paid Per Hour?
Another variable between companies is how the pay is calculated. Some call centers pay by the hour. These are usually the ones that hire you as an employee.
It is not uncommon, however, for some to pay by the minute of talk time – so if you happen to get a slow shift you may not make as much money as you were hoping. During the holidays this is usually not a problem, and most companies that pay by the minute make an attempt to not overschedule in order to keep everyone busy. You just want to be fully aware of all of these variables before you accept a position.
What Companies Are Hiring Virtual Call Center Agents Right Now?
VIP Desk is currently hiring for a number of positions with November training classes. They are filling both part-time and full-time home-based concierge positions, as well as what they call “brand ambassador” seasonal positions.
Convergys is filling multiple positions for both full-time and part-time customer service agents for multiple clients.
Teletech is hiring for their part time customer service and season customer service positions.
LiveOps is hiring for their emergency roadside assistance call center team.
Have you worked as a virtual call center agent before? If so, tell us about your experiences!
Alaina shares her twelve years of work from home experience at her blog Telecommuting Mommies. She also opens up her personal life as a homeschooling, blogging, work at home Mom of four at The Maestro Mom. Follow her on Twitter at TelecommuterMom.