There's just no denying the appeal of working from home: no stressful commute, savings on gas and parking, lower wardrobe expenses, flexible hours and more time with your family. ContractXchange is one company offering home-based job opportunities for corporate clients.
Think of ContractXchange as a middleman, matching clients with people to work from home fielding calls from their customers. In essence, you’ll be running your own mini-call center as a “remote contract agent” for companies. In some cases, contractors take orders or answer product and service inquiries. There are benefits and drawbacks. So do some research before you sign up.
- Reputable Clients: Well-known clients such as KFC, L'Oreal and Pizza Hut that help beef up your resume.
- Minimal investment: If you already have home office essentials, DSL, cable or ISDN Internet service, a modern PC system and a dedicated home office phone line, you're ahead of the game. But you'll need to pay a small fee for training by each client (the site doesn't specify how much) and for biometric fingerprinting software as required by some clients. The software is $142 from ContractXchange.
- Wired: If you live outside ContractXchange's local calling area, you'll need to invest in an alternative phone service such as VoIP or Magic Jack because the clients won't be picking up any long distance charges! I suggest Magic Jack at $19.95 per year because it comes with a dedicated phone number. Other expenses might include a quality telephone headset and web cam; expect to pay about $30 for each.
- Experience Required: Though limited, the work requires quick typing and the ability to download and install software.
- International: ContractXchange currently offers jobs for people living in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Dominica.
- Fingerprinting: After contacting the company you’ll receive a confirmation email with a link to log in and fill out an application. Some clients require fingerprinting. That's what the "biometric" software is all about. Seems like a bit of overkill for an entry-level pizza order job. Sheesh!
- Photo Identification: Being able to avoid a visual encounter during the hiring process is often one of the perks of seeking virtual positions. Plus, if you're answering phones for companies, isn't how you sound on the phone more important?
- Sketchy Pay: The company indicates contractors can earn $11 to $16 an hour. On average, they say, with the right mix of clients, contractors should make $15 per hour. However, they also point out that the fee is up to the clients and it's a per-call fee. In short, your pay will vary by client. The fewer calls you take, the less money you will earn.
- MAC Attack: Apple users might need to spend more to join ContractXchange. The company specifies a PC workstation. Perhaps you could borrow or trade a computer? Really, they ought to make the software compatible with multiple platforms, especially given the rise in the iPad and other such devices.
ContractXchange is a legitimate home-based job opportunity, which is rare considering the many scams out there. The prospective pay is decent, especially considering how much you'll save by working from home. But if you're camera shy, wary of buying fingerprint software and don’t want your prints on record, it may not be the right opportunity.
As with any home-based virtual business, do your own research, check reviews, and check with the Better Business Bureau. Online reviews for ContractXchange are mixed.
This has been a guest post by Andrea from Ontario, Canada
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