Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"Real" work at home jobs

From "4 real jobs you can do from home - MSN Money" http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com/CollegeAndFamily/RaiseKids/4realJobsYouCanDoFromHome.aspx A call center in your home You hear a lot about companies routing their customer-service calls to workers overseas, but a less-noticed trend is the growth in home-based call-center workers. The number of such workers in North America has tripled since 2000, according to an estimate by research firm Yankee Group, with more than 670,000 phone agents in the United States and Canada now working at home. Thanks to the Internet and better call-routing technology, more companies are finding they can outsource their order-taking, sales and problem-solving calls to home-based workers, said LiveOps Chairman Bill Trenchard. LiveOps not only runs an outsource operation, Trenchard said, but it provides technology for companies that want to set up their own home-based call centers. Home-based workers tend to be better educated and more loyal than their counterparts at traditional call centers, Trenchard said. Most of LiveOps' workers have college degrees -- Opara has a master's -- and turnover is low. The flexibility that Opara likes also benefits companies. Home-based operators are typically contractors who are paid for each minute spent on the phone, so companies can quickly gear up to meet high demand without having to pay for idle workers during slack times. The job isn't without drawbacks. Pay usually starts around $8 an hour, assuming you get enough calls, which can come slowly at the beginning, Opara said. The jobs that simply require taking orders often pay the least, while the better-paying jobs typically require that you have sales skills. Call centers usually have no tolerance for audible distractions, so a crying baby, barking dog or ringing doorbell could get you fired. (Some companies require their workers have dedicated offices with doors to minimize potential distractions.) An operator also needs a dedicated phone line, a computer and high-speed Internet access. Some call centers that say they are currently hiring include: