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Home based telephone jobs Question and Answer
Requiring them to handle their own tax filings and insurance.
Among them is:
- http://www.gowillow.com/ expects to bring on about 7,000 new agents this year.
- West Corps is hiring www.workathomeagent.com/
- Working Solutions, is taking applications at http://www.workingsolutions.com/
- LiveOps, expects to bring on 8,000 new-home agents through www.liveops.com/application.
A few outsourcers hire agents as employees, some with benefits.
- http://www.alpineaccess.com/, expects to hire 6,000 to 8,000 agents.
- http://www.callcenteroptions.com/, expects to hire about 200 new agents with insurance and auditing skills.
- VIPdesk, Alexandria, Va., (http://www.vipdesk.com/) expects to hire 350 to 400 agents.
- O'Currance Inc., Salt Lake City, expects to hire about 600 Utah residents through http://www.ocurrance.com/.
- IntelliCare Inc., Portland, Maine, a unit of PolyMedica Corp., Woburn, Mass., expects to hire licensed nurses as home agents www.intellicare.com/about/careers.html.
Here is the Questions and Answers from the Live Ops page:
The LiveOps Opportunity
Q: What is an Independent Agent?
A: An Agent is an independent contractor that develops and manages their own business. An Independent Agent contracts with LiveOps under an Independent Contractors Agreement to receive calls from people requesting products or services from LiveOps clients.
Q: Does LiveOps certify Agents in every state?
A: Yes, LiveOps does have certified Agents in the contiguous 48 states. However, we make specific certification decisions based on needs within a state.
Q: How much money can I earn as an Independent Agent?
A: LiveOps engages Agents according to the volume of work available from our clients. Also, as an Independent Agent you do not have a minimum or maximum of time you need to work.
In most cases, Agents invoice LiveOps per minute of talk time. Each program will have a unique rate per minute. On average, individual Agents invoice LiveOps $6.00 and $15.00 per hour depending on talk time and performance. New Agents typically invoice $6.00-$8.50 per hour. In addition, many clients provide additional selling incentives for certain products or services. These incentives can dramatically increase Agent revenue as Agents become more confident in their ability to sell the products and services. As Agents become more skilled they can invoice $9.00-$11.00 per hour. This is largely due to more calls being routed to higher performing and experienced Agents. Exceptional teleservices Agents can invoice as much as $20.00 per hour.
Q: How many hours can I work?
A: As an Independent Contractor, you can provide services as many or as few hours as your schedule permits.
Q: How are my Agent fees paid? How often?
A: Agents submit invoices using an online system. LiveOps pays Agent fees by either check or direct deposit. Fees are calculated from the 1st to the 15th, and from the 16th to the end of the month. Fees are paid (deposits made and checks mailed) on the first business day following the close of an invoice period.
Q: How long before my business generates revenue?
A: Once LiveOps receives all necessary documents and all equipment is in working order, you may begin our certification process. Motivated Agents can complete certifications and begin accepting telephone calls (thus generating revenue) within a week.
Q: Does LiveOps have opportunities that are of limited duration?
A: From time to time, LiveOps will have programs that are of limited duration that require a large number of Agents. These opportunities are usually seasonal, and last between one and four months.
Q: What are the characteristics of the most successful Agents that contract with LiveOps?
A: Agents that successfully manage their home based businesses share the following traits:
- They are professional and capable of providing a high level of service
- They enjoy the freedom that running their own business allows them
- They are positive and optimistic
- They are tolerant and accepting of differing view points
- They are even tempered and handle frustration well
- They are comfortable with numeric reasoning
- They log on on time, and honor all time commitments
Q: How old must I be to be considered by LiveOps?
A: If your business is a corporation, partnership, or LLC, there is no age requirement. However, the principle in your business must be 18 years of age. If your business is a sole proprietorship (self employment), then you must be 18 years of age or older to be considered by LiveOps.
Q: Do I have to be a legal resident of the United States?
A: Yes, LiveOps requires that all contracted Agents legally reside in the United States.
Q: Can I live in Canada?
A: Unfortunately, LiveOps does not contract with individuals or businesses in Canada at this time.
Q: Will I need a Tax Identification Number?
A: Yes, as an Independent Contractor you will need a Tax Identification Number. If you are a corporation, LLC, or partnership, you will have a tax ID for that entity. If you are a sole proprietorship (self employed), you may use your social security number for your Tax Identification Number. Your state, however, may be different, so please check the requirements in your state. At year end, LiveOps will provide a 1099 - Miscellaneous Income Form for your year end tax reporting purposes.
Q: Are there minimum hours or a minimum amount of calls that are required?
A: Scheduling time is strictly up to each Agent. Agents can provide services as little or as often as their lifestyle allows. The only minimum call requirement for LiveOps agents is that a few calls are taken within a 60 day time period.
Q: What is the process for becoming an Agent?
A: Simply click on the "Let's Get Started!" Button on the LiveOps website. Once the basic information is provided, LiveOps tests for reading comprehension. We also require a voice audition. Depending on the business opportunities currently available. you may also be invited to complete a 45 minute assessment that helps LiveOps ensure a match between candidates and the company. When these steps have been completed, LiveOps will review your qualifications and objectively make a determination based on business need.
If your home business meets LiveOps Agent Qualifications, you will be invited to a Virtual Business Presentation. This Presentation will provide an overview of the LiveOps business model, the role of the Independent Contractor, and all the necessary information you will need to determine whether LiveOps can assist you in growing your business.
Q: How will LiveOps contact me if I am selected to attend the Virtual Business Presentation?
A: You will receive an email from LiveOps with a web address and pass code for attending the Virtual Business Presentation. Once you receive this email, you will have 7 days to attend the online presentation, and respond to LiveOps indicating an interest in moving forward to the Certification Process.
Q: Is there a contractor's fee?
A: At this time, LiveOps does not charge a contractor's fee; however, LiveOps will require a $30 non refundable check or money order to cover a routine background and credit check for all candidates indicating an interest in moving forward in the LiveOps Certification Process after the Virtual Business Presentation. Certain short term and temporary business opportunities that do not involve access to caller personal or credit information may not require a background and/or credit check. If that is the case, candidates will be notified in advance, and will not be asked to pay for the background and credit check.
Q: Why does LiveOps require a $30.00 processing fee for a credit and background check?
A: LiveOps maintains the highest Agent standards in the industry. As a result, candidates to become Independent Contractors for LiveOps must pass rigid credit and background requirements. The $30.00 fee covers the cost of a thorough review of a candidate's background.
Q: Why does LiveOps run background and credit checks on their potential Agents?
A: Sometimes LiveOps Agents have access to private company or customer information, so LiveOps does this as a precautionary measure to help protect the security of information from both our callers and the clients who contract with LiveOps to take their calls.
Q: If LiveOps receives an low credit rating for me, will I still be considered to become an Independent Agent?
A: A low credit rating will not automatically disqualify you for all call types. LiveOps will contact you personally if a major issue arises.
Q: What are the requirements for sending the processing fee?
A: LiveOps will accept a personal check from candidates that has the candidates name and address printed on the check. The check must also be signed by the candidate. LiveOps will also accept a money order provided the candidates name is on the money order.
Q: What are the minimum equipment requirements?
A: Offering services through LiveOps will require the following computer and software set-up:
- A personal computer with at least a 1GHz Pentium III processor or better.
- A minimum of 512 MB of RAM Memory.
- Windows XP ( we do not recomment Home Edition), or Windows Vista (see important information below).
- Internet 6 with Service Pack 2.
- Java 2- Version 1.5
- A minimum of one USB port (USB version 2)
- System configured in accordance with Microsoft's recommendations as outlined on their 'Protect Your PC Web Site." These steps include:
- Windows Update module enabled and configured to update automatically
- Windows standard firewall enabled on systems where it exists
- Anti-Virus software installed and configured to automatically update (please refer to Microsoft's web site for instructions on securing your system)
- Microsoft also has free anti-spyware that is very effective in killing sypware.
- Ad-Aware installed and run at least once per week. You can get this tool at no cost at www.lavasoft.com
- A monitor capable of displaying at least 1024 X 768 pixels
- A sound card installed
- Speakers or headphones
Important information about Windows Vista :
Although Windows Vista is compatible with the LiveOps system, there are some VPN issues which our vendors are addressing. This means that as an Agent, you will be able to participate in most ( about 95%) but not all Programs. The hardware system requirements for running Windows Vista are higher than XP (see below for detailed hardware specifications for running Windows Vista).
Q: Can I use a MAC computer?
A: Macintosh computers are not compatible with the LiveOps system.
Q: What are the internet connectivity requirements?
A: LiveOps requires either a DSL or Cable broadband connection. LiveOps will not support a satellite or dialup connection at this time.
Q: Can I use my home telephone to receive calls as an Agent?
A: No, a separate landline telephone that is dedicated to your home business will be necessary. This line must only be used to receive LiveOps incoming calls. This line cannot be used for any other incoming or outgoing personal calls. LiveOps does require you to provide to us a separate contact telephone number (i.e. your home telephone or cell phone number).
Q: What is a landline?
A: A landline is a telephone line that is connected to your local telephone company. LiveOps will not support a phone line from a cable company due to the digital signal. LiveOps will not support satellite signals (eg: VOIP) for similar security reasons.
Q: What are the specific requirements on the dedicated landline telephone?
A: The telephone must be corded, and be free from all features such as call waiting and voice mail. Cordless phones are not allowed.
Q: Will I need to call long distance?
A: Long distance will not be necessary.
Q: Can cell phones be used for incoming calls?
A: LiveOps will not support cell phones due to security reasons.
Q: Does LiveOps provide Agents with the physical tools to perform services?
A: As an Independent Agent, you are responsible for providing and maintaining all equipment and outside services necessary to provide contracted services to LiveOps.
Q: Does LiveOps charge agents to use their technology?
A: At the present time, LiveOps does not charge Agents to use the basic Contact Center technology.
Q: What deadlines should I be aware of?
A: Candidates businesses selected to join the LiveOps Business Presentation will have 7 days from the date of the invitation to view the online presentation.
Candidates that attend the online Business Presentation will have 24 hours to contact LiveOps via email if they choose to move forward.
Once candidates have returned required documentation to LiveOps, certifications must be completed within 30 days. (All certifications can be easily completed within a week.)
Q: What topics are covered in the Virtual Business Presentation?
A: The 30 minute LiveOps Virtual Business Presentation will cover the necessary documents required to become an Independent Agent, and reinforce equipment and software requirements that are noted on the LiveOps FAQ page. The Presentation will also provide Candidates with an overview of the business opportunities currently available through LiveOps, detail our Certification Process. It will also cover how Agent self scheduling system works, how Agents will invoice LiveOps for services rendered, and the resources available to Agents to build revenue for their home based business.
Q: How do I schedule time to accept telephone calls?
A: LiveOps issues scheduling opportunities for new agents twice a week. As an Independent Agent, you can commit to half hour time slots that fit into your schedule. The scheduling process will be covered more thoroughly in the Virtual Business Presentation.
Q: I am a former LiveOps Agent. How do I reactivate my independent contractor status?
A: If you were an active Agent with LiveOps during the last 6 months, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and your records will be reviewed. If you left in good standing, your old account will be reactivated after completion of a certification refresher. If six months have passed since your last activity (accepting calls), you must reapply for certification.
Life as a LiveOps Contractor
Q: Can other people take calls under my LiveOps account?
A: Yes. But, for security and contractual reasons, all individuals receiving calls must be certified. Therefore, all certified individuals may take calls on your account. If you take an extended vacation, you may change your dedicated phone line provided all LiveOps land line and telephone requirements are met. All individuals receiving calls must be certified and over 18.
Q: When is the heaviest call volume?
A: For new Agents handling food service calls, the most opportune times to generate revenue are between 5:30pm and 10:30pm across all time zones. As you might expect, Friday, Saturday and Sunday typically have the heaviest volume of calls. Other types of calls drive heavy call volume during different time slots. For example, Direct Response calls are heaviest during Saturday and Sunday mornings.
Q: Can I work when I travel or while I am on vacation?
A: LiveOps requires that Agents receive calls only on the dedicated business line. Calls will not be rerouted to any other number
Q: I will not be able to take calls for an extended period. Will I lose my status?
A: Your IC account will remain active until you have not taken a call in 60 days.
Q: Does LiveOps reimburse Agent expenses?
A: No. LiveOps contracts with Independent Agents to provide services. It is the Agents responsibility equipment and materials to maintain their home business.
Q: Do all agents receive the same call volume?
A: The volume of calls that an Agent receives will vary based on a variety of factors. Agents that "commit" to being available during peak television infomercial and commercial time slots will obviously have a much better opportunity to receive additional calls. Additionally, LiveOps has a proprietary call routing system which routes calls based on, but not limited to, Agent's schedule adherence, talk time, and average order.
Q: How can I generate additional revenue?
A: Agents have much control over how much they can invoice LiveOps. As noted above, schedule adherence, efficient talk time, and increased average order size will probably receive more calls. LiveOps will offer sales fees and /or performance incentives for specific time periods. Finally, some clients provide Agents with additional sales opportunities with enhanced earnings potential. Agents can self-schedule themselves to programs matching their program skills.
Q: Is it possible to lose my certification?
A: Agents can lose their certification and have their Independent Contractor Agreement cancelled if the agreement terms are violated.
Q: Can LiveOps unilaterally terminate my Agent relationship?
A: An Agent's Independent Contractor Agreement will not be terminated by LiveOps provided the terms of the Agreement and the published standards are fulfilled, and as long as an Agent remains active. LiveOps determines "active" to mean taking a minimum of two calls every 60 days.
Q: Can I employ others to work for me when I become a LiveOps Agent?
A: Yes, you can employ others to work for your business. Any individual that takes calls must: Meet our minimum age requirement of 18 Complete the LiveOps Agent Qualification form and provide all documents and information we require. Certify for selected programs within 30 days of the creation of their Agent Account
Q: Can I take calls from a different location other than my home office?
A: You may continue to accept calls provided the computer and telephone equipment used meet LiveOps standards, and that the environment in which you take calls also meets the requirements as outlined in our Standards of Performance. If our equipment standards are not met, your Agent account may be disabled and your account terminated.
This information is provided as a reference. This is not a comprehensive description of what all home agents may need, it is only a reference, check each individual company for specifics.