Working at home: Vipdesk

I was researching "Work at Home" opportunities for a possible upcoming article when I came across VipDesk. Unlike so many work at home solicitations, this is actually a legitimate outfit with a pay scale well above minimum wage ($14/hour and up plus benefits). The work could actually be very interesting for the right sort of person: Vipdesk offers a "concierge service" to well heeled clients. That is, the person working at home is a general resource for the client - they might make dinner reservations, travel arrangements, track down hard to find items and so on.

Sounds like fun, right? I know my wife would be very good at something like this and would probably enjoy it if she weren't so handicapped by her illness. I bet you know a few people who could do something like this very well, right? I decided to dig in and find out just what kind of people they are looking for.

The website's FAQ explains:




In order to fulfill the demands of this fast-paced job, it is very important to be extremely savvy, resourceful and have a strong background in travel, either through personal or work experience. This is a position that requires hospitality expertise and the ability to craft and provide customers with relevant recommendations.

Hmmm.. how many people in the $14 an hour world have a strong background in travel? Well, maybe someone who actually worked at a travel agent, but otherwise people making that kind of money don't travel much. What else does one need to become a concierge?

Quite a bit, actually. Vipdesk requires you to have a home office. Not just any home office, but one with locks on the door to "ensure data security". You'll need a shredder for the same reason. High speed Internet access is required - no dial-up, satellite, or wireless. Wouldn't want to upset the clients with a choppy Internet connection, would we? There are specific telephone requirements also: dedicated land line, no Skype, no cordless and a non-wireless, noise canceling headset. That line has to be dedicated to Vipdesk, by the way, and you also need to be able to send and receive faxes (apparently it's OK to do that over the Internet!). You must have a locking file cabinet too..

Of course Vipdesk will be checking your background - criminal record and even credit scores. I wonder how fussy they are: I imagine more than a few people at this pay scale don't enjoy 800+ FICO scores.

Vipdesk does offer both full and part time work. You might not like the hours, though. Their FAQ explains:


VIPdesk's operating hours are 24/7/365. We require candidates to be available during our operating hours, which includes nights, weekends, and holidays.

No, they aren't asking people to work around the clock - it's scheduled shifts. But still.. seems like cheap money for the shifts nobody wants.

Maybe I'm being unfair, but I think they are asking a lot for that kind of money. Of course they do say "and up" and the FAQ doesn't say if the benefits are paid for by you or them. I guess this could be a reasonable job for some people even if it does sound a bit abusive to me.



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© Anthony Lawrence







Mon May 25 18:20:03 2009: 6403   drag

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Seems like typical telemarketting mentality here. Were I live the telemarketting business is a major employeer. It's were you go if your a typical middle class unskilled worker with no college degree and don't want to end up in a grocery store or whatever.

So they realy do treat their employees like 'resources'. Very regemented, very corporate. They'll go through regular hire and fire cycles and it's the sort of job were you can't depend on having a job in six months, but if your lucky then you can have a decent job for a few years. There are few possibilities for advancement. being a floor manager is going to be about as high as you can reach.

The sort of people that work there tend to be quite a handful, which is why all these places end up being very 'regulated'. People who have low work ethic and regularly abuse sick day policies and so on and so forth. Sometimes you end up with people that do want to do good, but they are dragged down by environments like that.

I know a few people that have a work history of doing travel reservations, hotel booking agencies, or working for corporate credit card accounts that are having a hard time looking for jobs right now (being at the bottom of a corporate orginization means your the first to go in even the mildest economic swings) that would be very good fit for this job and might be excited about it. The requirements for internet connection and computer stuff might actually be the biggest hurdle for many of them since a spending 200-400 dollars on equipment and the monthly 60-70 bucks for the internet connection is a huge amount of money for them, percentage-of-income-wise.



Sat May 30 21:03:19 2009: 6427   anonymous

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I was one of these people that worked for this company for many years. I didn't consider myself 'a handful'. But aren't we all Like any other job, what you see ISN'T WHAT YOU GET. They tell you that they want experienced people but trust me, they don't care becuase there are taking anything and everything. The company is in financial bad straights and looking to cut corners and benefits at every turn. All new hires are capped per hour and that is below what they advertise and commissions are also cut. Be prepared to jump through hoops, work the midnight shift, take a fair share of abuse and make sure your ISP never ever shuts down, because they fire people for that. If after reading this you still want to work for a company that will not know your name after ten years then good luck to you.



Sat May 30 21:36:09 2009: 6428   TonyLawrence

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So you'd confirm my initial impression of an abusive company..



Sun Jun 7 18:47:15 2009: 6463   anonymous

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I work for VIPdesk. Most employees are second income and this is extra money. Many come from the airlines. This is a decent wage for the work. Southwest, United and other airlines start wages at around $9 an hour and you want to talk about abuse. The only thing saving them is the union. Jetblue agents work at home and their wages stink also. Get your facts straight. It is still better to be at home then in an office and also most people own all of the equipment. We are not contract employees with VIPdesk, some are. We also do not make sales calls.



Sun Jun 7 22:52:43 2009: 6464   TonyLawrence

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"Get your facts straight"

Sheesh, relax :-)

Nobody presented anything as "fact". To me, it sounds like crappy pay for demanding work. If in fact it isn't that, you are in a position to say so and apparently you did.







Wed Jun 10 15:26:02 2009: 6489   anonymous

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Hi Tony-

I am the PR Director with VIPdesk, and would love to speak with you offline to tell you more about our company, and opportunities that are available for both independent contractors and employees.

Our CEO, Mary Naylor, just recently won an award as "Home-Based Champion of the Year" by the Small Business Administration, which I believe is proof that we are dedicated to ethical business practices. You can see a complete list of our awards, and media outlets in which we have been covered, on our Website ( (link) ).

As I stated above, I would love to put you together with our CEO, and answer some of your questions about the company. You can reach me directly at press (at) vipdesk (dot) com.

Thanks-

Linda Dickerhoof
PR Director
VIPdesk



Wed Jun 10 16:24:53 2009: 6490   TonyLawrence

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I'm glad to see that you are responsive. I think it is impressive that the SBA recognized you with that award:

You'll always have some unhappy employees like one of the commenters above. The work surely isn't for everyone, but as I said above, it could be a very interesting job for the right person.

One of the people above defended the pay scale with the argument of "second jobs". To me, that's utter B.S: if a company is paying low wages, the wages are too low and that's all there is to it. I think you are offering far too little considering what you demand in return.

Of course you could come up with plenty of examples of companies paying less and demanding even more - Walmart might be a good example. I don't buy that as an excuse either.

But again: for some people, this could be a good opportunity. My opinions on the social responsibilities of business don't drive your bottom line. I suspect that it's your clients reluctance to pay much more that keeps wages low - I don't think I'd like any of your clients very much :-)

Anyway - good luck to you and if this does work out for anyone, do let us know.









Mon Jun 15 14:43:47 2009: 6502   LindaDickerhoof

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Hi again Tony-

You know, we are going to be holding an online information session tomorrow (you can find more info online at (link) so if you want to attend, you will find out more about our clients, what is expected of you as a Brand Ambassador, etc.

I understand your concerns re: hourly rate, however one thing to consider is the cost-savings associated with working from home--no need to purchase "business attire" to wear to work, no need to spend gas money and other related expenses, and more.

Hope you can join us for one of our informational sessions-

Linda Dickerhoof
PR Director
VIPdesk



Tue Jun 23 19:03:25 2009: 6533   anonymous

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Hi-
I came across your website while looking for at home work that is minimal hours. I worked for VIP desk for about 3 years about 4 years ago and thought it was great. I worked from home, at night so was able to go to school and take care of my daughter. I feel I was treated well, paid fairly and did not have the same experience as the other person who wrote in. Who cares of they know your name or not? That's one of the perks of working at home. They tell you what needs to be done and they have the confidence you will be able to do it. My internet had gone down once or twice and they were very understanding. You can pick up extra shifts and are paid extra for overnight. Anyway- I think it is an awesome at home job and would still be working for them if I had not started my career.



Tue Jun 23 19:10:12 2009: 6534   TonyLawrence

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Thanks for that.



Fri Jan 8 14:46:43 2010: 7890   anonymous

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(they are hiring for travel agents--funny I have 25 years experience in travel but i was not {a match} give me a break--



Wed Jan 20 01:53:13 2010: 7927   anonymous

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I worked for VIPDesk. I did not enjoy it. They tape all your calls, listen to them and grade you on them. You get calls from demanding people who are nasty. The abuse from the people who called in is not worth the bucks.



Mon Feb 8 21:17:27 2010: 8041   anonymous

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This read almost like a short story & a pretty interesting one too:) . I found your site attempting a little research. An ad from VIPdesk showed up in the local listings, here in Va. Beach, so I was curious.
After reading this through, I thought ... (wished)
"If only those who worked for VIPdesk had mentioned which or what type of companies/clients they had been dealing with... hm.? I'm thinking THAT could be cause for the completly different experiences. (besides the
...etc/ who knows)
Either way, what has been posted here is very balanced. That's as good as anything can get. here virtually
If anyone would elaborate on experiences? That would be great! Thanks



Thu Mar 4 18:22:19 2010: 8178   anonymous

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I notice that the PR rep from VIP commented on all the savings of working from home, however, maybe she just forgot that the employee has to pay for the internet and dedicated phone line plus what ever else they have to purchase to perform the work as needed. Just a thought



Thu Mar 4 18:27:14 2010: 8179   TonyLawrence

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Correct - and it's not insignificant






Sat Mar 6 21:09:59 2010: 8186   BigDumbDinosaur

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I originally read this article when it was posted and have intermittently followed the commentary, especially the remarks from Linda Dickerhoof. Despite what she (and her company's website) might say, VipDesk is demanding a lot for the very little bit they offer in return. I can't imagine why anyone would jump at an "opportunity" like this.

Disregard for the moment the potential hassles and stress that will be inherent in dealing with obnoxious, overbearing clients who think they are beyond mere importance. The upfront costs to set up a suitable working environment are high -- unreasonable, in fact.

Anyone who would do this would be doing it at home, and unless they already have a room that can be converted into a secured office, they will be faced with building something to suit -- at considerable cost. That, of course, assumes that sufficient space actually exists -- 100 square feet minimum would be reasonable. I can just picture a stay-at-home parent with three kids running around the house trying to find the space needed to set up their VipDesk secure office.

A "non-wireless, noise canceling headset?" What are these people smoking? Do they really think everyone in the neighborhood will be eavesdropping on calls? In any case, wireless headsets don't have the kind of range that would allow someone next door to readily tap into calls (I use one here and have determined that the maximum range under ideal conditions is about 60 feet). Plus if you're all alone in your secure home office, just how much noise will have to be canceled (other than screaming kids -- a whole other problem not unique to VipDesk's situation)?

Monthly operating expenses will rapidly eat into that "paycheck," which, of course, won't produce much once taxes, FICA, etc., are deducted. The costs associated with dedicated, land-line phone service, as well as reliable, high-speed Internet service of the sort demanded by VipDesk will be significant. Unless a call-pack sort of arrangement is available, the per-call phone costs will quickly escalate and the would-be concierge will soon find much of the "profit" being consumed in maintaining communications services.

Q. How much can I expect to earn as a Brand Ambassador?

A. At VIPdesk Connect, Brand Ambassadors are paid per active talk minute. Active Talk Minute is defined as the actual amount of time on a phone call with a customer. Further, Brand Ambassadors may be eligible for performance and sales incentives. On average, this translates to an equivalent of $8.00 � $12.00 per hour.


As a primary income source, this sucks, to succinctly state the case. And it makes no sense as a part time venture, due to the startup and operating costs. The real pay, after subtracting out taxes and operating costs, might work out to less than minimum wage. You'd do better at the local Walmart, who won't require you to invest in a secure office, communications, a reliable PC, shredder, locked file cabinet, etc.

Speaking of a PC, you aren't going to be doing this for very long with a cheap unit gotten from the local Best Buy or Walmart. That machine will be running around the clock and, since it will be a primary tool of the trade, will be expected to function no matter what. The average unit sold by the big-box stores can't be trusted to be reliable in continuous operation. Also, home editions of Windows won't cut it, so be prepared to pay extra when you buy that PC. I won't even get into the exposure this machine will experience by virtue of being attached full-time to the Internet in a way that allows VipDesk to monitor your activities (which they do as part of their "quality assurance" program).

Here's some more ridiculousness:

Q. Will I need a Tax Identification Number?

A. Yes, as an Independent Contractor you will need a Tax Identification Number for your corporation.


Your corporation? They require that the would-be concierge be incorporated??? That alone should be sufficient to stop anyone from considering this "offer." Aside from the initial costs of incorporating, you would, among other things, be paying annual state corporation franchise fees, filing an S-corp tax return (as well as a personal one) and maintaining a payroll (everyone who works for an S-corp is an employee as defined by Federal law). All that for 8-12 dollars an hour? Sounds very one-sided to me: the concierge covers all the operating expenses and VipDesk makes all the money.

I fail to see why anyone, other than the desperate, would, in effect, agree to be an indentured servant, which is what this company seems to expect. Not to sound sexist, but VipDesk seems to be characteristic of many service businesses started and owned by women: exceptionally demanding of workers...er..."independent contractors" (the would-be concierge would not be a real employee, of course), stingy with compensation, and engaged in a line of work that is inherently vulnerable to economic vicissitudes. If one is sufficiently talented and motivated to meet VipDesk's requirements, one can make it on their own in a more rewarding activity.



Sat Mar 6 22:56:15 2010: 8187   BigDumbDinosaur

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Some additional thoughts:

1) In order for the dedicated phone service required by VipDesk to qualify as a necessary business expense for tax purposes, it must be registered to the S-corporation that the would-be concierge is required to found and operate, making said service commercial, not residential. Land-line commercial tariffs are quite different than residential, and the basic monthly line costs will be significantly higher (about 30 percent higher in our area, with correspondingly higher taxes). Ditto for your long distance carrier. Depending on your locale, you may find it difficult to get an economical commercial long distance calling plan.

Similar to the above, your local ISP may prohibit the use of your Internet service for commercial purposes and, instead, require that you subscribe to a business service that will entail higher cost (although with potentially higher bandwidth). Again, unless the service is registered in the name of the S-corp, it cannot be declared as a business expense, which means you will eat the entire cost.

2) The manner in which you would get paid is cumbersome and could be subject to some nefariousness on the part of VipDesk. You have to submit an invoice (presumably via the Internet) and then wait until an ACH transfer is completed -- they do not indicate how long upon receipt of invoice before payment is made. You have no obvious way of knowing when you will be paid until you see the transfer credit appear on your bank statement or through whatever on-line access your bank provides (not all allow on-line access to commercial checking accounts). Speaking of banking, you are a corporation and thus are required by law to have a commercial checking account, subjecting you to fees that can amount to 30-50 dollars per month, depending on activity and average balance (my business account averages about 35 dollars per month in fees -- I don't keep the balance high enough to qualify for "free" checking).

3) Since you are required to invoice VipDesk in order to get paid, this implies that you must have a means of accurately measuring call duration -- you are paid by the talk minute -- and must maintain a running log. I can foresee where disputes will be inevitable between you and VipDesk on exactly how much time you have accrued for payment. Given that the tone of VipDesk's requirements suggests that they don't trust their contractors, I'd say VipDesk itself probably is not all that trustworthy as well.

4) You have to go through a training and certification process that can consume upwards of two weeks of your time. You don't get paid for that time and may end up not getting certified for one reason or another. Therefore, be prepared to potentially waste time that could be used for better purposes.

Also, while there's currently no fee for the training right now, the tone of their website suggests that could change without notice, creating, in effect, a fee-for-hire situation that is a violation of the law in some states.

5) There's no guarantee you'll get enough work to meet expenses, let alone actually produce a profit. VipDesk apparently looks at a number of factors that are not under the contractor's control in determining how much work to pass through. Unfortunately, you're still forced to maintain full-time communications services in your secured home office, whether you get 5 or 50 hours of work per week (good luck on the latter).

6) You are an independent contractor, not an employee, so VipDesk's legal obligations to you are limited to you being paid for work you bill. There are no statutory or compensatory benefits, contrary to what Tony noted at the beginning of the article. Your corporation would be responsible for all that, along with federal and state unemployment taxes, which all corporations must pay.

7) A cursory look at the types of calls typically handled by VipDesk contractors suggests that most will be complaints about products and services of the companies who have hired VipDesk. Be prepared for kvetching, name-calling, yelling and other stressful "conversation" as you perform your duties.

8) While VipDesk itself may get recognized with all sorts of awards (some of which have as much worth as the paper on which they are printed), their business model is that of a sweatshop. If a "contractor" was a statutory employee with the same expenses, VipDesk would be guilty of violating the federal minimum wage act.



Sun Mar 7 14:33:45 2010: 8189   TonyLawrence

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Those are all good points, Steggy, and only seem to confirm my initial impressions.



Sun Mar 7 16:02:55 2010: 8190   BigDumbDinosaur

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BTW, does working for VipDesk qualify as "crowd-sourcing?" <Grin>



Sun Mar 21 22:38:21 2010: 8253   anonymous

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I currently work for VIP Desk (contracting) and the comapny is very organized and structure. I can't complain because they are very helpful when you need assistance, the problem I have the is the clients they work for right now. If you are a contractor there are clients that VIP work for who program demands too much out of the contrctor, which makes the job not enjoyable to be honest. I would say its worth working for or contract with VIP because of the reliabilty of service and the hours are very reasonable too. The only thing I hate is working for one of their client which I can't say but I am just waiting for them to introduce another client to me so I can provide service.



Mon Mar 22 00:02:02 2010: 8254   BigDumbDinosaur

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I currently work for VIP Desk (contracting) and the comapny is very organized and structure. I can't complain because they are very helpful when you need assistance,

Of course they're helpful. You do all the work and they make all the money.

the problem I have the is the clients they work for right now. If you are a contractor there are clients that VIP work for who program demands too much out of the contrctor, which makes the job not enjoyable to be honest...The only thing I hate is working for one of their client which I can't say but I am just waiting for them to introduce another client to me so I can provide service.

As I said above, be prepared for overbearing, obnoxiously kvetching clients.

I still can't fathom why anyone would do this sort of work. VipDesk works its contractors like horses and feeds them like chickens. No aspersions, but my opinion stands that only the truly desperate would do this sort of work. Standing outside of Home Depot hoping to pick up work as a day laborer (what all the illegals do around here) pays better and you don't have to invest in a secure office with phone and Internet services, all paid for, of course, by your corporation. Geesh!



Thu Mar 25 19:31:12 2010: 8266   Sally

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Hi and thank you for your interest in VIPdesk, and the virtual customer care industry in general. I encourage anyone who is interested in work-at-home jobs to do their due diligence to ensure that the company with which they are applying is a good fit.

This blog has received many questions/comments. I know I cannot do justice answering them all; however I have addressed several topics below:

� VIPdesk pays $8-14+/hr depending on the client program and the work being performed. The work varies dramatically from program to program and therefore, the compensation varies.

� Admittedly, many applicants don't pass our rigorous screening process for one of several reasons: background/credit, experience, work availability, computer and home office setup, compensation requirements or residency in a state in which we are not currently recruiting.

� Customer calls are monitored for quality and service, a standard procedure performed by most customer facing organizations. It is necessary to do so to gain an understanding of the customer experience.

� VIPdesk programs span various industries including retail, financial services, travel and automotive, for which we provide customer service and/or concierge services. Most programs have a dedicated team, which means requirements vary per program (i.e., travel/GDS platform experience). Examples of types of work include:

o Taking customer service or retail catalog calls
o Responding to emails, or specializing in online chat shopping assistance
o Fulfilling requests that entail extensive travel planning
o Facilitating back-office processes or procedures

I am personally very proud of the services we provide and the hard work the team is doing. Some of our programs were previously serviced by teams offshore. So, we are very happy to have the opportunity to bring these jobs back into the US.

While I honestly believe we do the very best we can- providing service on behalf of top brands� I certainly understand how this may not be a good job fit for everyone. Where one person may not enjoy providing customer service, another may truly love the work and the flexibility a work from home customer service position provides.

I am happy to answer any questions. I am available directly - [email protected] Additional information can also be found in the FAQ section of our website (vipdesk.com).

Sincerely,
Sally Hurley
President
VIPdesk







Thu Mar 25 22:07:18 2010: 8267   BigDumbDinosaur

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VIPdesk pays $8-14+/hr...Where one person may not enjoy providing customer service, another may truly love the work and the flexibility a work from home customer service position provides.

That may be, but the economics don't compute. Anyone who goes for this will soon discover what the phrase "work like a horse, eat like a chicken" means.

I "work from home" (in an office within my home that is comparably equipped to what VIPDesk requires) and would experience some difficulty in keeping the lights on, the phone service in operation and the Internet hookup running if BCS Technology had to make do with a sporadic "...$8-14+/hr." I won't even bother to mention that there's the subtle but real cost of insuring the office space and the equipment within. Did I mention the hidden costs associated with being a corporation instead of an assumed-name company?

My interest in this VIPDesk thing is a bit more than academic. A while ago, one of my clients approached me about supplying a high-end PC for use by his oldest daughter, a recent college graduate. In inquiring about the need for such a system (a box from Best Buy would suit most casual home users, especially the Twitter crowd), he mentioned that she was having trouble finding employment and was looking at VIPDesk. The thought of being "self-employed," which a VIPDesk contractor is technically not--a VIPDesk contractor is like a "captive agent" in the insurance business--and using the Internet to find things for clients seemed exciting. Also, she is a people-oriented sort of person with an engaging personality, so customer service seemed like a good first fit.

My client was trying to convince his daughter that she was going to be in for a rude awakening, but, of course, what does dear old dad know? He approached me to talk to her about it, thinking that because I have been self-employed for many years and (like Tony) know a thing or two about the trials and tribulations therein, I might get her to be more objective about it. It so happened that I recalled this article and pointed her to it. As this client of mine has been with me for nearly 20 years, I also did some independent research on VIPDesk on his daughter's behalf.

Bottom line was I convinced her to take a pass on being a VIPDesk contractor. The convincer in this argument was the numbers: we calculated that it would take at least a year to fully amortize the startup costs (which are much higher than one might think) and actually see some positive cash flow. I also showed her that short of working 50 or more hours per week (assuming VIPDesk would even provide that much work--research suggests 20-25 hours is more typical, producing no more than 350 dollars per week gross), she would continue to run on the ragged edge of solvency. My client's daughter might have been cranked up about customer service and all that, but quickly came back to earth once the cold, hard reality of cash flow was laid out before her.

The fact is customer service is little more than a minimum-wage endeavor. A lot of companies out-source customer service because it produces no profit for them, which opens the door for operations like VIPDesk and the relief from the cost of customer service employees that they offer. VIPDesk, in turn, gains similar relief by requiring that their workers set up corporations to get around the statutory definition of an employee. The result is that the IRS views the them as indpendents contractors and VIPDesk doesn't have to bother with a payroll and benefits, not to mention all the other legal mish-mash that being an employer entails.

Now, I'm not attempting to villify VIPDesk, nor am I claiming that they are engaged in anything that isn't legitimate. What I am saying is their business model is exploitative and is attempting to take advantage of those who have lost their jobs, are willing to do anything reasonable to generate an income and (most importantly) lack real-world experience with self-employment. At the risk of repeating myself and despite what Ms. Hurley is saying in her above comment, VipDesk is demanding a lot for the very little bit offered in return. Please do the math before you get involved with this.



Fri Mar 26 12:40:26 2010: 8274   TonyLawrence

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If you already happened to own everything you needed I suppose this could make some sense. For example, if Steggy's client already had a home office for other reasons, his daughter might be able to piggy-back on that.

But - I have to agree with Steggy. To me, this looks much like the poor saps who take jobs delivering newspapers using their own cars. They make very little and ruin their vehicles to boot.







Fri Mar 26 15:35:28 2010: 8277   BigDumbDinosaur

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If you already happened to own everything you needed I suppose this could make some sense. For example, if Steggy's client already had a home office for other reasons, his daughter might be able to piggy-back on that.

They didn't have a space that could be set up as an office for her, but would have been able to build something in the basement. The cost to do so, of course, would have been part of the startup costs for the business. Naturally, that office would have had to be heated, lighted and furnished--more cost. The point is a lot of niggling little expenses will quickly drive up the startup costs, making the whole "work for VIPDesk" equation look pretty sorry.

The other, sometimes forgotten, expense to consider is insurance. Homeowner's policies generally do not cover business assets unless an endorsement to that effect is added to the policy (check your declarations page). Here in Illinois, such an endorsement is not available if a home-based business is incorporated. As VIPDesk requires that their contractors be incorporated, a separate business policy would have to be purchased to protect corporate assets, including the office space itself. It would be foolish to not do so, as the homeowner's policy would exclude the corporation's property in the event of a fire or other calamity. Complicating matters, if the fire were to start in the corporation's office, the entire loss might be denied by the insurer, as the origin was in uninsured space.

As I'm sure any reader can deduce, the cost associated with becoming a VIPDesk contractor amount to much more than merely getting phone and Internet service, setting up a PC and putting on your non-wireless, noise-canceling headset.

But - I have to agree with Steggy. To me, this looks much like the poor saps who take jobs delivering newspapers using their own cars. They make very little and ruin their vehicles to boot.

Excellent analogy.



Fri May 7 16:13:20 2010: 8541   anonymous

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BigDumbDinosaur,

That isn't a good name for you. It ought to be changed to "SmartIntutiveDinosaur". Everything you've said is right on the money.

I saw an ad for VIPDesk on career builder today and thought I'd do a bit of investigation, as most work at home opportunities are scams. I found this post and after reading it realized I had inquired about this "job" several years ago and had decided to take a pass.

I've been in the arts most of my adult life and have held a variety of appointment setting, telemarketing and customer service position as support jobs. I've also supervised and helped to set up programs. The hours for these jobs were very flexible and worked in with other thing I needed to do.

At the very least this "job" should START at $14 and range up to somewhere around $20. The cost and aggravation to set up a home office? NOT WORTH IT AT ALL.

The only reason I could see anyone wanting to do this is for the work at home aspect and even that isn't always a great option; I've done it and there can a great many distractions working at home. If this job where actually in an office I would be like any other low-level customer service position where the person arrives home every day after work depressed and full of self loathing.

I once worked for a local business that was trying to drum up some repeat business with past customers. They wanted me to call from an existing database. I was offered the opportunity to be either an independent contractor or an employee and the opportunity to work from their office or from home. I chose independent and to work at the office. I'd rather do my own taxes and they weren't going to offer benefits and I don't like the at home distraction.

They decided to expand the program and add more employees. All were given the same choice. If you worked in the office you used their phone; if at home they put in the line and paid for it. Starting pay? $17 an hour. You got about 20 - 25 hours a work. Nice pocket money for the work. Occasionally people would be surly with you on the phone, but that's par for the course for these types of jobs. The company didn't pay for internet but you didn't need it as the database was an excel spread sheet. If you didn't have excel they'd simply print the records out for you. The program only ran about a year but it was worth the time.

I'm probably spoiled from this sort of thing since that is an ideal type of situation, but I still think VIPDesk is exploitative. And, I've been one of those newspaper delivering schlumps, even phone books. It destroyed the suspension on my car and yet I'd still rather do that.



Fri May 7 16:33:31 2010: 8542   TonyLawrence

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There are many desperate people who will take jobs like this or the newspaper delivery and actually are just getting themselves dug deeper and deeper. Sometimes it's better to just pass and keep looking for something better.



Fri May 7 16:55:36 2010: 8543   BigDumbDInosaur

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There will be plenty of employment opportunities at the IRS once the new 1099 filing requirements kick in. I'm sure sorting through mountains of paperwork will pay better than being a VIPDesk concierge. <Grin>



Fri May 7 17:27:54 2010: 8544   TonyLawrence

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What Steggy is referring to is a new requirement that starts in 2012. It will require businesses to send 1099 forms to everyone they purchase more than $600 from in a year. Steggy thinks that is a burden on businesses and the IRS.

It isn't. For almost all businesses, our accounting software will create the forms with zero extra effort by us. It will cost us a small amount of postage.

Very small businesses will do these by hand. Big deal - how often do these micro businesses spend $600? Not often.

Finally, all of the IRS matching is obviously computerized. No extra employees, unless for enforcement when the computers catch the cheats.

I think this is a good thing. Steggy doesn't. If enough Steggies yell loud enough, this will disappear.



Sat May 8 15:58:41 2010: 8551   BigDumbDinosaur

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Finally, all of the IRS matching is obviously computerized. No extra employees, unless for enforcement when the computers catch the cheats.

Actually it isn't. That only works if the 1099 is MICR-encoded, for which there is no statutory requirement. In any case, of all the government agencies, the IRS is the least modern when it comes to computer technology. They're catching up, but relative to the volume of paperwork they have to do, they're still processing with hand-held calculators.

BTW, this 1099 requirement in Obama-care could potentially add billions of pieces of paperwork to the glut already received by the IRS. They definitely will have to hire people to deal with it, paid, of course, with our tax dollars. Whatever happened to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980? Here's the preamble of that act:

� 3501. Purpose

The purposes of this subchapter are to--

(1) minimize the paperwork burden for individuals, small businesses, educational and nonprofit institutions, Federal contractors, State, local and tribal governments, and other persons resulting from the collection of information by or for the Federal Government;

The Obama-care 1099 requirement sure doesn't sound like it follows the spirit, let alone the letter, of the PRA.



Sat May 8 16:09:03 2010: 8552   TonyLawrence

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We disagree. Hardly the first time :-)







Mon May 10 18:43:59 2010: 8582   anonymous

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I've looked into this and going through half the process of applying... I personally look at the pay, and the cost of running the business. Having my own business in the concierge industry the pay is well below par, I started at $20/hr because of my overhead and taxes. 18% + is coming straight from you. So if their current offering of $8-12 per hour, let's assume you get better pay and get the $12 rate, 12*18% = $2.16 - $12 = $9.84 NOW subtract the (phone line, bank account, internet access) and you are making the same amount that I make working for one of their clients - Except I get a tax return and I've never gotten one while self employed. While I love some of their company clients, I feel VIP is a middle man, and not worth being bothered with at this point. If they changed and made you an employee and paid half the taxes THEN and only then would it be worth it.

I agree strictly on a math level, this is a bad idea. I've paid self employment tax and the only way VIP gets away with this is keeping you at part time hours. I really have no idea how they get around contracting tax laws, if you have no other clients besides them, it's sticky territory.

It sounds wonderful on the outset, but I've run a business before. It's no fun busting your butt only to realize you've been working for free.



Thu May 13 21:56:11 2010: 8587   anonymous

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My wife has worked at VIPdesk for over a year and she loves it. As a matter of fact they have treated her so well that I am applying. I found it interesting that comments state that only uneducated hopeless people apply at this sort of job. I am working on my Masters in Business and my wife has a Bachelors in early education. She works part time as a teacher. I own a successful business and pay my employees $15 an hour to do dirty hard work. If you calculate the costs of driving to work, eating out for lunch, buying work clothes, and other costs, I believe $14 an hour to sit on your tail taking 1-2 calls per hour is easy money. I am applying simply because I have to be on the computer with my homework anyway, and I will definitely have time to do my work in-between calls. My wife has worked full 8 hour shifts with only one call. She gets to play games or even have supper with the family if we go in there with her while she is waiting on a call. VIPdesk is the best thing that has ever happened to us.



Thu May 13 22:04:18 2010: 8588   anonymous

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The consierge position is an employee position. Only the brand ambassadors work as independatn contractors. Most consierge employees make $12-$14 an hour working from home as employees with benefits. The full time employees get Anthem BCBS insurance. I can't believe how many spoiled people are on this blog. A lot of people actually work hard for a lot less money.



Fri May 14 01:26:48 2010: 8590   anonymous

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Ok...I decided to leave a post again with my e-mail linked to the board because it looks like some of you really are curious and are not venting about something you do not have a clue about.
VIPdesk is not a paperboy job where you wear out your car. If you don't have a home office and high speed internet, maybe the expense is not for you, but let me defend a company both I and my wife love. We have the office because of the BBB Accredited business that I own, and we already have high speed internet because of business and school. We are both educated, and I have a pretty good income without VIPdesk, but I am applying for a position just because of how awesome my wife's experience has been.
She is able to give away hours almost immediately if we have something important come up, and she is able to pick up hours if she wants the money. VIPdesk is the only company that I have ever known to actually overpay on many of the paychecks. She only has 1 call per hour on average, and some nights she may have 1 call in a full shift. She gets paid to sit and play on Facebook or learn Spanish via Rosetta Stone. She quit teaching full time simply because VIPdesk is so awesome that even if she is working, she still gets to hang out with the family and kids. If she gets a call we are quiet or we leave the room for a minute.
We pay $12 a month for unlimited long distance through Vonage to use for VIPdesk. When she is not working this is our home line. We actually save money with high speed internet by not having to pay the high costs of long distance on a land line.
My wife loves the team she works with, and many of them live close enough to visit every now and then.
If you live alone, the office thing is not even an issue...make your living room an office. The reason for an office is to keep the noise away. You need a corded phone and locking filing cabinet because if you get a position like my wife, you may work for a bank and your files may include information that does not need to be accessed by everyone passing through your home. Corded telephones keep the neighbors from getting social security numbers, etc... and many of you do have neighbors listening in to your cordless phones via police scanners believe it or not.

I can not believe how many people pass around opinions with no real experience in a subject or no basis for their claims. The number of whiny people who apparently do not know what it means to work hard for a few bucks also astonishes me. I normally spend 6-8 hours per night after work, working on homework for my Masters. Based on my wife's experience at VIPdesk I can do my homework fine while enjoying a $14 an hour paycheck as an employee with benefits. Anyone who has actually worked at VIPdesk loves the job or they are one of those people who are unhappy at everything they do anyway.
VIPdesk is awesome, and this opinion comes from someone who has watched the company reward all of its employees continually with gifts, cash and fun games during work for over a year while my wife has worked there. I own a BBB Accredited business with 12 employees, so I am not a paperboy; I am a person who believes this is the best company I have ever watched in the works. I modeled management aspects of my business after some of the things I have learned from VIPdesk through my wife (I am not a competitor by the way), and I plan on joining the VIPdesk team as soon as possible.



Fri May 14 02:40:17 2010: 8591   anonymous

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Before I talk about taxes, let's recognize that most of the jobs offerd by VIPdesk are employee positions and only the brand ambassador position is actually a contract position. The consierge positions are employee payroll positions with benefits.

For the people who assume that corporations have tons of "hidden" costs compared to single or partner owned businesses... apparently you have no idea how taxes work. If you are self employed you pay 15% self-employment tax. If you are incorporated, you pay 7%. You can write off your equipment and personal salary and actually show the corporation making absolutely no profit. This is how most small business owners operate if their accountant has any sense at all.
It costs around $100 to incorporate, and after that you pay taxes just like any other employee.
If you don't get a tax return at the end of the year then you must be single without write-offs, or your accountant needs to be replaced. Most real accountants do taxes for around $100 for corporate accounts for businesses like you would have as a brand ambassador. Don't go to H&R Block or Jackson Hewitt where a high school education prepares your taxes for $600+



Fri May 14 03:24:00 2010: 8592   TonyLawrence

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Your information about taxes is completely incorrect.

If you are an employee of a corporation, the corporation pays payroll tax and so do you. The corporation may or may not pay income taxes, but there will always be at least yearly fee for the privilege of being incorporated. In most states, you also have to pay unemployment taxes.







Fri May 14 14:37:08 2010: 8594   BigDumbDInosaur

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For the people who assume that corporations have tons of "hidden" costs compared to single or partner owned businesses... apparently you have no idea how taxes work.

Having been self-employed for many years, I'm pretty sure that I have a teensy-weensie idea about "how taxes work." Here are some of the costs a corporation (I'm assuming a subchapter S corporation in this case) will experience:

* Federal corporate income tax.

* State corporate income tax.

* City corporate income tax in some locales.

* Federal income withholding, paid at least quarterly.

* State income withholding in some locales, paid at least quarterly.

* City income withholding in some locales, paid at least quarterly.

* FICA and Medicare withholding, 7.65 percent from employees and a matching amount paid by the corporation.

* Federal unemployment insurance tax.

* State unemployment insurance tax.

* State corporate franchise fees.

* City corporate franchise fees in some locales.

* Sales tax on goods and, in some states, services.

In addition to the above, forming a corporation requires the payment of filing fees and, most likely, the services of an attorney. An attorney's services are usually retained to handle such matters as filing the annual report (mandatory), calculate dividends (if any) and dealing with other legal incidentals that a sole proprietorship or partnership normally wouldn't encounter.

Corporate accounting is much more complicated than that for a sole proprietorship or partnership, which means the services of a knowledgeable accountant are essential.

Also, anyone who works for a corporation -- including the CEO -- automatically meets the legal definition of an employee, which means the corporation must have a payroll and must provide workers' compensation (which is obtained by purchasing insurance -- yet another expense), formulate a human resources policy (I know...seems ridiculous for a home-based business), etc.

In any case, it all sounds like a lot of "hidden expenses" to me, but what do I know. I'm just a big dumb dinosaur.



Tue May 18 05:34:21 2010: 8608   TheConcierge

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I cannot speak for the tax mish-mash brought on by one apparent poster with regard to the Brand Ambassador positions offered by Vipdesk, but I can, and delightfully so, tell you that I am an active employee with Vipdesk, and I certainly enjoy my work. I also feel that the pay justifies the work that I do for them. I have many years experience in the customer-focused arena, including travel-related and insurance-claims experience. This experience is a definite asset for me, in that I know not only the product/service that I represent, but I also understand both, the client and the customer.

You're either willing and capable to do the work that VIPdesk offers, or you're not. It's not as complicated as some would attempt to make it out to be; it either works for you, or it does not. For the privilege to sit @ home and direct customers to simplify their busy lives by assisting them with, oftentimes, simple requests, is more like stealing money than it will ever seem to be a rip off. I have a plan to grow with a company that allows me to utilize my skill-set, my customer-interaction experience, and the capacity to work 'out of the box'; VIPdesk does that for me. It is my personal choice to work from home, and I am most fortunate to have landed such a position.

Most people who care to do this type of work are not versed in the legal mumbo-jumbo that 'the dinosaur' has presented. I take nothing away from his/her knowledge of the ins and outs of self-employment, and all that it entails for a 'true' business owner; yet, it's just not that complicated. Some people just want to know the time, not how the watch was made. That is to say, some folks just want to pursue what they enjoy (and, I do, indeed, enjoy my work), and as I mentioned before, either you're capable, or you're not. Enough said.



Tue May 18 18:55:28 2010: 8609   anonymous

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I run a corporation with a three employees total. Corporate taxes are harder to complete than a partnership. As a partner, we did taxes separate and claimed our parts of the business as a part of our personal taxes as self-employment income.

Corporate taxes are more complicated because I now pay for two separate tax finilgs and I have to keep more accurate records of all of my write-offs; however, I have saved a significant amount of money since incorporating as far as taxes go. If you have a good tax guy, incorporating not only saves your tale in a liability lawsuit, it also saves a lot of tax dollars compared to the self-employment tax partnerships imposed on partnerships and sole-proprietorships. I have been a part of all three.

Yes, the big dinosaur is correct about corporate taxes being more complicated and you will have to pay a good tax guy. The person who wrote that a CPA is cheaper than H&R Block etc... is absolutely correct if you keep good records and the CPA is not stuck digging through check stubs and reciepts. H&R Block type companies are run by whoever wants to do the 2 week training, and not only will you pay a few hundred dollars on your tax preparation, but you will not have the same return.

Bottom line, incorprating saves money but only if you are organized and keep the records straight. VIPdesk is a good company to work for, I know three different people who work there and I have to say it is rare to hear people who talk so positive about their job.



Fri Jul 9 18:18:32 2010: 8803   Mikey

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I have worked in the call center industry for over 13 years, with the last 2 and a half working from home. There have been those here that have commented on the pay not being worth the "abuse" from the callers and or clients. As a call center veteran I can tell you, that goes with the territory. Any position that entails customers calling in is going to have irate/upset/abusive. I have seen that every where I have worked. For the phone company,cable company, credit card company, as a telephone operator (dial 0) and so on. Everyone is unhappy some of the time, and some people are unhappy all of the time. To be brutally honest, I would think a pay of 100 bucks an hour or more would be barley close to making that kind of abuse worth my time. But thats not how the world works. As a customer service agent it's our job to deal with these jerks, try to shift their focus and resolve the issue.

I can also tell you across the board ALL virtual call centers have similar requirements. Locked office, secure and up to date computer, high speed internet, etc. My office is in my bedroom. A desk in the corner, file cabinet with printer/fax net to it, and a computer. Takes up very little space. I already had and was paying for the internet before I worked from home, so there is no added expense there. If you already have internet, your not incurring any extra monthly costs, cause your still just paying for something you and your family use everyday. The phone service costs me 10 bucks a month with unlimited nationwide, but I guess I got lucky with my cable company and the package they upgraded me to (my cable co does not use VOIP). My bedroom has a lock on the door, the house came with it. And the bedroom is only used for sleeping (when not working). But then, I am also single and don't share my bedroom. But I have friends I have made through other at home companies that set up in the living room, dining room, etc. In all honesty this is your home, no one from the company is ever gonna show up at your door. If you take steps to protect any sensitive data, you don't have to go to all the effort to build an office. A corner in your house that you can work in, and keep free of distractions like kids and pet will do just fine. My monthly expense for my home office is $0 a month cause I already had and paid for everything. The most you might have to buy is a headset ($30-50 for a good one) and maybe paper and ink if you have to print anything.

I just started the application process for VIPDesk. I quit the company I was working for because the gave no training, treated me like crap and every week my paycheck was shorted. I just finished a 2 month battle over one days pay, and finally got my 66 bucks today. I don't know what VIP is like, I guess I will learn more on my interview this coming week and so on. I have found no info on their site regarding pay but I am applying for a W2 employee, not a IC like with some places I have done before. In my career I have worked my way up to a supervisor and the highest pay I made was $12 an hour (to bad they cut back and laid me off). $14 an hour for a call center job, thats not just good, thats awesome. As a 13 + yr veteran I have spent the years working my way up form $7 an hour. The national average is $10. Most work at home places pay between $8-10, despite all the money they save on office space, utilities, furniture, computer equipment, etc.

Of course, with my tenure I am very critical of the way a center should be run, I know what works and what doesn't. I can tell in a month if I will have any success at a company. But like with the customers who call, some happy some not, there will always be employees of the same mind. Some will bad mouth the company and some will rave. Its all subjective. For me the idea of working from home, making $11 or more and getting benefits is perfect (on paper), but as will all things in life, we will just have to wait and see.

If your looking to work form home, know that the virtual market is still fairly new. It's been less then 15 yrs about since big business started seeing the potential and really focusing on this aspect, so its not a perfect job market right now. Some companies like Cloud 10 and Alpine have no idea what the hell they're doing. Research the company you are applying at, check for complaints with any organizations like the BBB or the Dept of Labor and etc. Know that any legit job will not ask YOU for any money (NOTE: Some my require you to pay about 50 bucks for a background/credit check. This is legit as a lot of companies are spending thousands a month for unqualified people. This usually comes after an interview so decided if you can afford and and if the job is worth it) but other then that only IC positions will require you to put out money. And with IC you should only be paying Background/credit checks and start up costs like phone/ISP (since those will be small biz expenses). Ask lots of questions at the interview, don't except a position that requires you to travel to a home office for training at your own expense. If it doesn't work out you could end up stranded in a strange place. You are under no obligation if you apply and interview. Even if you accept the job you can change your mind before you actually start so it doesn't hurt to try.

But like any other job, what might be right for some is wrong for others. I am hoping for the best, but my experience prepares me for the worst. We'll see!



Sun Jul 11 15:32:52 2010: 8811   anonymous

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I wrote a couple earlier posts when I was in the interview process. The process of hiring had 16 steps or so and two weeks of unpaind training for a "contract" position. The process of getting in was pretty intense, but after making it through I learned that only 18 out of 3000 applicants made it through every step and the interview. Different projects at VIP pay different prices. My wife makes $8 an hour, and my position was supposed to make $8-$12 because I am paid for talk time ($0.25 per minute) plus incentives. After a couple weeks of working it is time to turn in my 1st invoice. Some days I made $16 an hour, and the least I ever made in a day was $12.60 an hour. The staff is really nice, the environment is awesome, some of the customers are not nice, but altogether the whole package is a lot better than advertised by VIP. If they say on their site that the job will pay $11-$13, my experience and everyone else I talk to has said that the job will pay $15 or more an hour. I guess they underrate the contract wages so no one will be sadly dissapointed. They also give out random bonuses, like the one I just recently got in my e-mail for $150 for anyone who worked over 35 hours that week. They also have little contests and weekly incentives, and at least 75% of the contract BA's get some kind of incentive in every 2 week check. Anyone who doesn't love the pay for this type of work is just spoiled. I spent years making $50+ an hour in construction, but that business is slowly falling apart in this recession. Heck, $15 an hour at home seems like a great alternative to $7 an hour at McDonalds. Oh yeah, 95% of VIP's staff has some college education, and a high percentage of the people I trained with own their own businesses including restaurants, construction ompanies, etc... I am working on my Masters right now. VIPdesk deals only with high end customers coming from Mercedes, BMW, bluefly, EddieBaur, the VIPdesk famous Concierge service, Chase Bank, and others. People who do the BA contract work for bluefly and EddieBaur make $15-$17 an hour every day, even thought the VIPdesk website says lower. The managers will not talk to you about the pay to protect their own hiney if you are a sorry employee, but do a good job as a contract employee and you will make lots of money. My wife loves her job as an hourly employee, but she has to work to keep up hours. As a contract employee I could literally take all of the hours I want and more. Every day they have hours open ready for the taking.



Mon Jul 19 15:40:51 2010: 8832   anonymous

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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that in order for someone to be good at this kind of work and love this kind of work you HAVE to be a "people person". You also have to have the ability to remain cool, collected, and sweet to every client; especially the ones that make out of this world demands just because they have money.
So, if you're that kind of person....then go for it because you will probably love the work.



Tue Jul 20 12:51:08 2010: 8833   anonymous

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While I appreciate others' opinions, what I don't appreciate is the snobbery in this thread.

Let me tell you what kind of person would do this job...the kind of person that, after 12 years making $18/hr, lost their job due to the economic slump our country has found itself in. Or perhaps the kind of person that needs extra money because one income just isn't making it anymore.

I have recently applied with VIPDesk and am in the last stages of the process and I spend the better part of my day stalking my email, hoping to get word that I've been accepted.

I have put in hundreds of resumes and applications since losing my job. I am either not qualified, overly qualified or the companies just aren't hiring "at this time". I have re-enrolled in college to make myself more marketable. All this after thinking I was working towards retirement and was halfway there. For some of us, this type of job offers a respite from the fear of losing our homes and other possessions.

VIPDesk, as well as other work at home companies, do have opportunities for employees, not just independent contractors. Do I want to sit here and listen to people complain about things I've not done and have no control over? Of course not. Do I want to do it for just over minimum wage? Nope. But I will do it, and I will do it with a smile on my face. And I will count myself among the lucky who have found a job in today's market.

THAT is the kind of person that would take a job like this.



Tue Jul 20 13:08:21 2010: 8834   TonyLawrence

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It isn't snobbery. It's disgust that companies abuse employees.



Tue Jul 20 13:35:09 2010: 8835   anonymous

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Then let's leave it at disgust with the company. Admittedly, I am a bit sensitive after losing my job with barely any notice and putting in applications for the past 7 months only to either be turned down or, and for the most part, just never be contacted...however...in attempting to research legitimate opportunities and to come here and read:

I still can't fathom why anyone would do this sort of work.
or
I can't imagine why anyone would jump at an "opportunity" like this.
or
my opinion stands that only the truly desperate would do this sort of work.

...is a bit of a slap in the face to those of us that are, in fact, desperate. Perhaps I have cleared things up a bit and now your dinosaur friend can 'fathom' why the desperate would 'jump' at this opportunity.

Again, I can appreciate opinions and I can appreciate the facts when they are applicable, what I cannot appreciate is coming to a site, looking for information and made to feel like a complete idiot for doing what has to be done.











Tue Jul 20 13:47:35 2010: 8836   TonyLawrence

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Well, you ARE desperate, are you not?

I understand. I sympathise. But most of all I hate that companies can get away with not paying a living wage.






Tue Jul 20 14:06:30 2010: 8837   anonymous

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Fair enough...as I said...slap in the face. Anyone that is in a precarious position with their finances, mortgages, auto payments, what have you, doesn't need to search for information only to be made to feel like I did after reading some of these comments.

What job DOES pay enough for what it makes you do? (For the average person). Home Depot, as was mentioned, in my area pays @ $9/hr. To potentially deal with angry customers, lift heavy objects, and try to please people that cannot be pleased. Oh...and they aren't hiring.

I have applied to Target, Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Lowe's, Old Navy, the TSA, various governmental agencies within my field, restaurants, etc. I am happy as all get out to have found somewhere that I can make the same wage as I would be making at one of these places (who aren't hiring) sitting on my butt. If the worst thing that happens in my day is someone calling in angry and cursing at me...thank goodness!! Because the worst thing that COULD have happened to me that day was a foreclosure notice.

I know that I'm desperate. I don't need to be reminded of it.



Sat Jul 24 22:00:31 2010: 8855   anonymous

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I'd like to go on record and say VIPDesk is the best company I have ever worked for. I am an hourly employee (just a conciegre and not in the management/HR ect.) I make good money. I have been with Vipdesk well oiver 6 years and never had a major complaint. The home office is not huge I just happen to have a quiet town dead end street home with a little office of 9x11 it works for me. The dedicated line I have never paid more than $24 per month and it is reimbursed monthly. My internet is $65 and I deduct that under home office (along with the yearly painting I do and printer upkeep) I have never felt that I pay out of pocket because I save on gas, clothes, car upkeep and hassle and time from driving to and fro an office. Managment as high as it goes have always been pleasant and understanding about electric outages and such. They are very strigent about computer protection and I definately agree! We work daily with our MULTIPLE clients and their personal accounts and private information. Yes there are some "mean" customers, that I can personally handle very well but there are far greater customers that whole heartedly and enthusiastically love what we do for them! I have only ever heard of (counting on one hand) of employees being let go and that is because of blatent disregard for travel booking rules and not having the level of customer service that our clients demand and deserve. I will go on to say that 90% of VIPdesk employees are just as dedicated to the company as the company is to them and collectively we are dedicated to our clients!

Do your research more! VIPDesk is a fabulous hard working company that looks for the best and we are the best in a virtual customer service world! btw we are in the USA and VIPDesk would NEVER outsource to india! LMAO



Wed Aug 11 19:56:13 2010: 8888   anonymous

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Please - If VIPDESK is the best job you have ever had than your job/work/career expectations are extremely low - could it be that VIPDESK has made you feel this way?



Thu Aug 19 21:02:42 2010: 8919   anonymous

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I was eager to star with VIP Desk, I am hopeful I can, made several calls to them as the process to get started, started with a check of my computers to see what OS and processor speeds and memory I have...which was not adequate, and would put me out a minimum of $200 to get proper processor going on...I will do that expense and whatever others are needed on knowing I have a job offer, but I am stuck at this step, even calls and leaving messages with no one responding back to me, I suppose they have enough people meeting the criteria to not need me. looks like I will be continueing on food stamps and finding whatever part time jobs i can, with my bachelors, i am loosing hope in finding one solid decent paying job...you ended by saying this job seems abusive...i implore you to find me a job which isn't.



Fri Aug 20 02:30:27 2010: 8920   TonyLawrence

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Not all companies are abusive, but too many are. It is disgusting.



Tue Aug 31 06:23:27 2010: 8941   anonymous

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VIPDesk has to be the lowest paying job for the most aggravation I have ever experienced. The recruiters really paint a rosy picture that just isn't there. Some of the management must be reincarnated Hitler henchmen. I kid you not! I am dead serious. The sales quotos and metrics they insist you maintain are extremely unreasonable. As the original author pointed out, it is truly an abusive environment and not worth the pittance they pay. Unfortunately, you don't see any of this until you have invested a LOT of time in their CIA like hiring process and grueling crammed in training classes. From the bottom of my heart, I truly wrote this to help others avoid the mistake of working with this firm.



Wed Sep 1 16:28:49 2010: 8946   anonymous

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Many of these comments were quite informative, but many made me sad.

The word "snobbery" was mentioned a few posts up. The word I would use in "insensitivity."

The attitude that one would have to be "desperate" to work for any company that only pays a certain amount is just unrealistic. Many people CHOOSE to sacrifice job pride for the greater good.

I work with an international organization of unpaid volunteers. Our career focus isn't on growing wealth, but on helping people. So we work at lots of different jobs, simply as a means to an end. A dear friend holds a MBA but worked at Burger King for many years because she made enough to pay her bills and the schedule allowed her to pursue what she loved.

Isn't any sort of gainful employment a good thing?

This thread may have started out focusing on the companies that don't pay a high salary, but it quickly shifted to those that take advantage of what they believe to be a good opportunity.

My retired uncle delivers newspapers. He loads his 2009 Dodge pickup every morning and is back home 4 hours later, done for the day. He bought the truck with his newspaper money.

I�m a college graduate and I work for a virtual call center because it's convenient for me and allows me to focus on my volunteer work. I don�t feel the work is beneath me. On the contrary; it�s nice to find a way to support myself at my convenience. I didn�t have to invest anything other than time. Maybe working from home at a virtual call center just isn�t a good idea for those who can�t figure out a way to get started in it without investing a significant amount of money.

I'm baffled by anyone who turns up their nose at honest work. For jobsnobs, I hope you're never in a position where you need to take a handout, whether it's from your government, friends, or community. Wouldn't want people thinking you were desperate.






Wed Sep 1 16:34:09 2010: 8947   TonyLawrence

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I certainly think that volunteer work has great value. Choosing a low paying job at an organization that works for the greater good also has value.

Your uncle must be unusual - most people lose money at those jobs if they track their real expenses.



Wed Sep 1 17:42:04 2010: 8950   anonymous

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Nope, my uncle doesn't do anything unusual. He has two mid-size routes (whatever that means) and knows most of his clientele by now. He's been delivering for years. Sun - Sat, 4am - 8am. He's usually home by 7 or 8.

I don't know how anyone would lose money: the newspaper provides the papers, the supplies, handles the billing, and pays both by the hour & mileage. They don't offer benefits or overtime, although you can substitute for someone else on vacation. Perhaps not every area handles deliveries that way, I have no idea.

I considered it once, but I don't want to get up that early.



Wed Sep 1 17:45:56 2010: 8951   anonymous

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Many of those jobs do not pay mileage, or if they do, it doesn't begin to cover the real cost of operating the vehicle. That's how people lose money - often without even understanding why.



Thu Sep 2 13:19:36 2010: 8953   BigDumbDInosaur

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I don't know how anyone would lose money: the newspaper provides the papers, the supplies, handles the billing, and pays both by the hour & mileage.

The mileage doesn't even start to compensate for the wear and tear on one's vehicle. All it does is help pay for fuel and some of the cost of routine service. Hardly a deal in my book.



Thu Sep 2 13:36:43 2010: 8954   TonyLawrence

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It may be that his uncle works for someone that pays honest compensation, but most people think that if they got more than gas money back, they are ahead. They are completely and tragically wrong, but the kinds of people who take these jobs are usually on a downward spiral anyway - this just accelerates it.







Mon Sep 6 14:52:07 2010: 8957   anonymous

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To put some things straight when you start working at any call center the working hours are around when they need you. Vipdesk is just like working for a call center it is only out of your home. Call centers when you first start require you to work nights, weekends, and some holidays. I would know I have worked for several Call centers in my 12+ years of working so before you start critisizing a company MAYBE YOU SHOULD DO YOUR HOMEWORK FIRST. Once you get seniority up then more options of shifts become available.



Tue Sep 7 04:27:22 2010: 8959   Dee

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Im sitting here reading all the comments based off what people think they know about specific companies. Well here is what I know. VIPDesk like any other company is not walking into your home holding a gun to our head and forcing you to work for them. BigDumbDinosaur like any working experience you sign on for what will fit you life. It isnt alot for VIPDesk to expect a quiet environment for you to work from. If someone has children running around at home or does not meet the requirments they set forth the job is not for them. Just like if you do not have a medical degree you do not become a Dr. you find another job that meets your experienc and requirements. Working from home is an option and a great one at that. I work from home with VIPDesk and a headset is not a requirement, neither is an expensive phone plan I pay $20 a month for mine and I already had an internet connection. Plus these are all write offs at the end of the year. I dont ge paid for just talk time I make above minimum wage when Im not on the phone and additional pay for each minute I am on the phone. I agree everyone is entitled to an opinion however it should be an educated and well informed opinion. Your post may be keeping people who would do very well with the company from applying and I have to say it is unfair to do so. Working from home takes a disciplined individual, if you meet the requirements it doesnt hurt to apply and learn about the company. You will find people who are ready to help you when needed and a decent pay scale. If you want someone looking over your shoulder all the time then no work at job home will be right for you. It takes more then an uneducated of to work from home because yes for the most part you are on your own. And I must say that is the best part...Oh and for the travel agent who did not get chosen. You arent the only one applying they cant hire everyone other people apply and may have more experience or higher degree's like any other business they chose who is best for them and their clients.



Wed Sep 8 13:34:20 2010: 8962   TonyLawrence

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I agree everyone is entitled to an opinion however it should be an educated and well informed opinion. Your post may be keeping people who would do very well with the company from applying and I have to say it is unfair to do so.

The opinions are educated and informed and are coming from both sides of the fence. The negative aspects are things prospective employees need to be aware of. As I originally said, this may be ideal for some people, especially if they are already doing similar work.

But there ARE negatives. Ignoring that is foolish and uninformed.



Fri Oct 1 14:48:46 2010: 9018   Mary

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I think Tony Lawrence should get a life. Let it go ... I enjoyed comments from active employees who gave viable information about their experiences.
I look forward to hearing from VIPDesk.



Fri Oct 1 17:13:35 2010: 9019   TonyLawrence

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I have a life, dear. A far better life than most. I think I have been quite fair to VIPDesk and have allowed everyone (even you) to have their say.



Sun Nov 14 04:55:46 2010: 9114   currentVIPemployee

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I currently work for VIPdesk and I think they are full of bull. I was told I would be paid $15 per hour in a phone interview and later told about the per minute rate. Believe me for the majority of people working at VIPdesk, they are not averaging $15 per hour or even $10 for that matter.

I already had all the equipment and other requirements so the start up was not an issue. But the person who states they can give away hours anytime is not being honest about the process. Sure you can give away the hours but if someone doesn't actually pick them up it goes against you. Staff help is a joke. I will leave it at that since giving examples may identify which program I am working with.

This is an EXTREMELY HIGH turnover job. I have seen many people come and go. Probably because they have never experienced the abuse they receive from the customers who call in cursing you out, calling you out of your name and who just couldn't buy any manners if they were giving them away for free.



Fri Jan 7 03:38:58 2011: 9213   anonymous

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I have been with VIPdesk for a few years now. After reading all the posts, I can see some good information and some bad information. It all depends on what you are looking for. If you are the main breadwinner for your family you are probably going to want to find a higher paying, career type job depending on your salary requirements. I had a $10 start up expense when I started with VIPdesk. The only thing I didn't like was the rigerous, CIA like scrutiny and security background check, but on the otherhand that tells me I am working with the Best of the Best and I am one of the Best! I have made much more than was promised (close to $18hr at times), but at other times it is hard finding enough hours. You have to look to pick up hours at sometimes. But all in all, this has been one of my better work experiences. The people are all well educated and helpful. The training is comprehensive and you do get paid for training (kind of - a bonus) if you pass the tests. Obviously the company is not going to pay people who are not listening or learning. I have worked for other companies from home and this is by far the BEST! You have to be a self starter, you have to be self motivated and you have to be reliable and honest. You have to like working without co-workers or constant supervision. This is a great job for college students, retirees, 2nd income and stay @ home moms. Yes, they do ask you to work some evening or weekends. That is not as bad as it sounds. Some means just that - Some. People are hired from all over the country so what would seem like a really late shift to me, wouldn't be to someone working on the other side of the country. I work on Saturdays, but requested that since it works great for my schedule. I don't even want to be compared to a Walmart, Home Depot employee who makes maybe $9 to $10 an hour if they are lucky and still deal with "mean" people after driving their car and using their gas to get to that job. Some of our employees live in remote areas and would have to drive and hour or two to even get to a brick and mortar job. This is not a get rich quick scheme - it is a job and that's all. But it is better than most jobs/companies and most employees are very happy to be there. Most of my co-workers have been there for years and wouldn't dream of working anywhere else. Now how many people can really say that about the company they work for? The future is business if moving more and more to homebased employees as the cost of office space and overhead skyrockets. I am aware that although VIPdesk could probably afford to pay us more, at the same time they need to have the resources to build their business which keeps us all employed. Greedy employees have put many companies out of business. Just my humble opinion.



Fri Apr 15 08:16:46 2011: 9456   anonymous

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I am an employee of VIP Desk. (not IC) Is this job for everyone? NO it is not I have worked for AT&T, A Bank, and A Lawyer. At my age to have only had 3 jobs that tells you that I am a hardworking dependable and career orientated employee.

4 years ago I was laid off due to a decline in the mortgage industry. Was I desperate when I accepted the position at VIP Desk? Absolutely! I would have taken anything. As a single mom I needed an income. I would hazard a guess that 99% of active job seeking people are desperate. I found VIP Desk because one of my credit cards offered Concierge service as a perk. So when I was looking for a job I thought that Concierge would be fun. I get to help people, be creative in offering suggestions and solutions to problems; I had lots of Customer Service and Irate Caller background.

The only problem was that as a single mom I would be going from $27 per hour down to about $15 if I worked hard (was on salary + what we will call commission as I got paid per request) The number of requests completed would grow with me as I grew with the company and my experience and collection of knowledge increased so would the number of requests I could complete in an hour. Let me say that I was impressed that the company did not count one call as one request. The caller could ask for dinner reservations, request 1, the price of a theater ticket, request 2. I could offer a wakeup call, request 3. And so on.

To make a long story short I was offered the job. Start up cost was very little as I already had high speed internet. FYI what VIP desk considers High speed is basically not dial up. The speeds required are pretty much standard with any cable based internet. Side note if you are not the type of person who already has this level of internet access then chances are you are not a good fit for the position, anyway. The company is not asking for dedicated internet this is the same internet you use for your personal and family business. As for the phone line, Setting up a land line was a pita. Silly me I had a house phone which I almost never used because all my family and friends called me on my Cell. I had a VOIP phone which I set up to provide to telemarketers and other bill collector type people. And now I had a dedicated second phone line in my home.

By the way I was reimbursed for the installation and monthly phone charges for the dedicated phone line. It did not take but a few months for me to realize that my home phone was obsolete; all of my long distance phone calls were made from my cell or VOIP account. I got rid of Home Phone. I already had Office space I just had to put a lock on the door $7.00.

The Computer Standards are not that high I already passed those with my existing equipment. The statement that you cannot work with an out of the box system is incorrect my son's lap top meets the requirements and I cannot afford a top of the line gaming machine.

Would I like to have more wages? Yes I am barely making ends meet but there is more to compensation than salary and benefits. The advantages I get out way the lack of wages. I get to pursue volunteer work (by the way getting out of the house and interacting with other adults is a must or you will not last long in this environment!). With the Technological advances that VIP Desk has invested in, such as virtual desktops and one day perhaps VOIP, I am able to work from almost anywhere. Ever heard of a working Vacation? I take them all the time. I pack up the minimum office supplies and visit with family and friends. I work my shift then vacation. I am lucky that my family and friends already have a guest room where I can set up a makeshift office space and right not the land line phone would be the only obstacle but my family and some friends have a land line phone. I plan on taking a 3 month working vacation renting an apartment in Alaska after my son gets out of college. Again with the technology that VIP Desk has recently invested in I believe that, with a few proper precautions, it will not be long before I can pack a bag and take a working vacation from anywhere in the world.

The fact is that VIP desk can afford to be picky and only hire people who already meet the system requirement, who have a place in their home suitable for an office. VIP Desk wants employees like me who think outside of the box, are professionals who already have job skills and experience. I am not taken advantage of! I am not a slave that has no options I could go look for a job in the corporate world but now I am spoiled and expect more than a paycheck. I have always been one to say you hired me now shut up and let me do my job my way. If you hired me then you should have the confidence that I can make decisions and provide the service you hired me for, and I get that at VIP Desk I have been provided clear guidelines and rules then they leave me alone as long as I do my job and follow the not unreasonable service standards.



Thu May 3 21:26:39 2012: 10917   TonyLawrence

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(link)

I came across this today.Supposedly it's a list of legitimate opportunities.



Fri Jul 27 18:48:16 2012: 11220   CheriG

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Thank you for this article. I just received an email from VIPdesk regarding a new hiring campaign. Like your wife, I am at home with cancer losing my ever-loving mind. I don't like not working. My entire house is spotless and organized. I need something productive to do. Plus, the extra money wouldn't hurt right now with mounting medical bills. I have been trying hard to get some kind of work at home situation and was holding out hope this would be it. You brought up some very valid points without over-exaggerated facts or opinions. My search continues, but thank you again for saving me time and aggravation!



Mon Jun 16 18:28:02 2014: 12483   Tonie

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You know, the requirements they have for the computer are things that most people already have. I already have a computer that meets the requirements. I already own a headset that meets the requirements from when I worked for Arise. I already have a TIN from when I had to form a corporation to work for Arise. My point is, a lot of people who work from home realize that some from-home companies want you to form a corp., want certain computer equipment, etc. It really isn't that big of a deal if you are someone who is familiar with all the WAH opportunities out there. What they are requesting isn't that much different from what you see around a lot of other places.

Actually, I know Aspire mentions it in their FAQ about needing a TIN, but I am pretty sure you can just use your SSN and be a Sole Proprietor. I don't think they require you to form a corporation because I am pretty far into the interviewing process and the companies that require a Corporation tell you by now in the papers you read/sign, but I haven't seen any such requirement. Can someone who has worked there confirm?

It is huge that they pay you for training, as most WFH companies do not. It is huge that they offer medical benefits, that is not typical. Most of the dollar per hour positions are on the phone for $8-9 per hour. The concierge position pays up to $14 per hour. When you compare it across the board with most of the WFH opportunities Concierge pays more, and it's nice that you mostly email and do not have to be on the phone. I don't get how you can possibly not see why this would be a good deal? Maybe check out ratracerebellion.com and realwaystoearnmoneyonline.com and you will see why some people would view the concierge position as a good deal.

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