So You are Thinking of Becoming a Home Agent?

Here are 10 steps that will help you understand where the jobs are, what they are like and what you can expect being a Home Agent.

The sections are as follows:

  1. Where to Find the Jobs
  2. The Different Job Options - Really Really Important
  3. Your Application and Resume
  4. The Technology Bits
  5. Your Home Office Environment
  6. Five Important Things to Know Before You Sign
  7. What to Expect in Training
  8. That First Week or Two After Training
  9. In The Groove - Daily Life of a Home Agent
  10. Career Growth

1. Where to Find the Jobs

The information I provide here is directed at people like you, seeking employment in the US or Canada as a Work at home Customer Service Agent.

United States

In the US, Craigslist is a very popular website for home agent positions.  Go to And type in the search window “ Home Agents” or “Work at Home”.  - Search “Home Agent” or “Remote Agent” or “Work at Home”.  Indeed likes to default you to your town or city.  Leave that blank to ensure you get the highest number of results.

Websites that list many different Home Agent Positions

Canada  and  are your best bets to find Home Agent Positions.

For  - Search “Home Agent” or “Remote Agent” or “Work at Home”.  Indeed likes to default you to your town or city.  Leave that blank to ensure you get the highest number of results.

For US and Canada

Here is another great source of home agent positions.  Outsourcing Companies.   Outsourcers are companies who specialize in providing support services to companies with large numbers of customers.  Think Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Comcast, Bell, Telus and many many others.

Outsourcing Companies and WebSites for Home Agent Positions

I need to credit a former colleague of mine, (Christine K.) she compiled the original Outsourcers list. I took her list and added a few more companies who are now offering Home Agent positions.

Below is list of the same companies with their;

  • Starting pay
  • Maximum pay
  • Glassdoor Review (The higher the Glassdoor rating (top mark is 4.0) the more satisfied are the employees who work for the particular company.)
  • Employment type - Will you be an Independent Contractor or an Employee

Outsourcing Companies with wages, glass door reviews and position types.

This is not a complete list by any means.  You may find other companies I have not mentioned here, and that’s great. Let me know and I will add them to my list and give you credit for finding it.

Just know that there are lots and lots of opportunities out there in this quickly growing market.

Live Where You Work | Work Where You Live

US and Canadian based employers cannot hire home agents outside of their respective country.

Yes, the technology does allow you to be a Home Agent based in, say Iceland and work for a company headquartered in Tampa, but US and Canadian government regulations get a bit sticky about that. Do yourself a favour and only apply to companies offering jobs in the country you live and are eligible to work in.

Not every company employs people in every state or province.  Depending on where you physically live might impact your employment choices.  Some companies have chosen not to work in specific states and provinces.  Mostly for economic or regulatory reasons.

Make sure the company you apply to is offering jobs in your state or province.

2. The Different Job Options - This is Really Really Important

Of the 15 outsourcing companies I listed, 4 of them require you to be an independent contractor.

Although it may sound sexy being your own boss, setting your own hours, etc.  If this is your first try at being a Home Agent, I would suggest you go down the employee route first.

Here are the reasons why I suggest that:

  • Contract work can stop at any time.
  • You have to cover, your own benefits costs. (In the US that is a big deal, and can be very expensive)
  • You have to calculate and pay your own taxes.
  • You will not be eligible for unemployment or workers compensation benefits.
  • You may not be eligible for overtime pay. Depends on your contract.
  • The pay rates. From the data that I have seen, it is not that much better.  The pay might not offset the investments you have to make to be an independent contractor.
  • You might not get paid for all the training you have to do to get into a program. Personally, I think that is totally unfair.  
  • And finally, from the reviews that I have read and the knowledge I have gained from being in the industry for 20+ years, the companies that only hire independent contractors seem to have challenges keeping their clients.

So do your homework and check out all the differences before you commit.   

If you decide to go down this road, look at Working  They have many good reviews from current and former employees.

3. Your Application and Resume

You need a resume that is going to detail your previous work experience.

The most important thing that the contact center is going to look for is reliability, dependability and staying power. They're going to invest time and money into training you, so they want to make sure that you will stay with the company.

In your resume or cover letter if you supply one, find a way to outline your reliability and dependability. If you can show reliability and dedication along with previous customer service experience, it's going to enhance your chances of getting hired.

You should also state that you're flexible and that you're willing to work evenings, weekends and extra hours as required, if that is true.  

It is a fact, that new hires tend to get the less than ideal shifts. You should expect that starting off.

Some companies will ask you to sign a document stating that you know that your shift can change and that you must be flexible.  

This is where you're going to have to be honest with yourself and with the company that is hiring you. Let them know what you truly can do in terms of working hours.  

If you have some restrictions because schooling or religion, it's best to state that out front so that they know ahead of time.

It's a fact that some companies may be under great pressure to hire agents. They may allow accommodations during the time of hiring. If you get a shift accommodation - get it in writing. Be wary of any company that does not want to confirm this in writing or e-mail.

Pick the Best Job for You

At one end of the scale, jobs that support Apple iOS or Macs can be very demanding. Then on the other side there are simpler call types such as taking orders for Pizza.

Positions that take pizza orders are going to be high demand for a few hours of the day, think lunchtime, dinner time, Friday night & Saturday night.  Whereas Technical support programs are more evenly distributed over many more hours during the day.

Certain jobs may better suit your personal needs more than others.  Therefore, it is always good to state the type of work you want and the hours that work best for you.  

It's also important for you to ask and understand the training times and the training shifts.  How long they are and what you can expect as your starting shift time and training hours.

Clearly understand, in writing from the company, how many hours you can expect to work in a week and whether those hours are temporary or seasonal.  If they are seasonal hours, ask whether or not those hours will be extended as the season ramps down.

You may not want to start a new job only to find out that your hours are cut after 2 months.

4. The Technology Bits

To be an effective home agent, you're going to have to have and pay for good reliable and stable internet and telephone service. In some cases, certain companies will need you to have a separate and dedicated wired telephone line. VoIP telephone services is not always adequate.  

If you have spotty reliability or slow internet speeds, it’s going to be difficult for you work effectively. Slow internet and service outages are going to impact your ability to do your job.  

Most companies are going to ask you to provide them details on your internet and telephone service before you start work.  Some will run a remote test that can check your internet speed and telephone service - be open to that when asked.

Remember that many of the companies will not pay for your internet or telephone service.  They expect you to provide that as a requirement of the job.

If you're not sure who will pay for the services, make sure you asked that question early in the hiring process. No point in being surprised by the fact that you must supply the internet and telephone service.

It may take a couple weeks to get internet and telephone service installed. Time that appropriately if you have a starting date already.

Your computer: The company will either ask you to supply your own computer or they will supply it for you.

If you must supply your own equipment then they will provide you with a minimum technical standard for your PC or laptop. Again, best to get this information early in the hiring process.

Hiring companies have the ability to test your computer to ensure it meets their standards.  

You may also be required to download some software that will secure your computer during your work times. This is not unusual. Companies do it to ensure that the service is secure and compliant to their requirements.

You may have to buy a new computer if yours does not meet their standards. This is where you should weigh the cost of a new computer and internet service to determine if your pay is going to cover the investment.

Don’t spend more than you should on a computer. Ask the company what they recommend.  Often it will the right choice.

Note: there is a trend in the home agent industry where companies are moving to supplying their home agents with computer equipment. They do this for a couple different reasons;

  1. It ensures the technology is consistent across the business and
  2. The same standard makes it a lot easier for them to support and maintain all the computers attached to their network.

Be diligent when you're looking for a company to work for.  If you can't afford a computer or the one you have is not reliable, then look for a company who supplies that equipment.

Apple and the companies that work with Apple (Concentrix, Transcom, Xerox) are prime examples where they supply all the desktop equipment.  

Other companies are moving in that direction and I think it's a matter of time when all professional organizations that have Home agent programs will supply the technology to the agents for the length of time that they are in the job.

Note if you are supplied equipment be ready to sign for its value and be ready to assume the cost if it is lost or damaged when it's in your care.

I've known of situations where an Agent’s roommate stole their equipment and sold it without their knowledge. Bad things do happen.  Guard against any losses that you may incur.

Oh, if you're thinking about using the excuse that your dog ate your computer, sorry that’s already been used. Honest.

5. Your Home Office Environment

Let's talk about your Home office environment.

Another requirement companies are going to have is that you have a quite undisturbed work environment, such as a den, spare room or office - somewhere where the noise from your friends, family, or loud pets can be blocked out during the time that you are working.

This is important because if you are talking to important customers and they hear a crying baby or a barking dogs or other unwanted noises then you risk your employment.

And this is a fair request.  As both companies and customers expect that agents are going to be professional in their dealings with them.

Find a way to shut out the noise and distractions that one has around the home.

I strongly recommend a room with a view, a window,  some type of outlet where it’s possible to see and witness the outside world. You are going to be spending up to 8 hours a day in a room with no other interactions other than the customers you're talking to.  It’s important that you can see the outside world every now and then.

Have a comfortable chair. You will be amazed what a difference a good chair can make on your comfort and well-being. Again, you could be spending up to ⅓ of your day in that chair.

Get a chair that your butt, your back and your arms will thank you for.  

6. Five Important Things to Know Before You Sign

I have created for you, a Home Agent Company Check List that you can use to compare the different job offers you may receive.

It can also be used by you to ask some intelligent questions of the company that is hiring you.

Now, I don’t suggest you ask them every single question on the list, as there are nearly 2 pages of questions. But there are probably some questions that are very important to you. Use the list for that.

Hopefully, the information from the Company’s HR team will answer many of the questions in the Home Agent Company Checklist.

We cover these sections in the checklist.

  • Pay and Compensation
  • Background Checks
  • Type of Work
  • Training Times and Requirements
  • Paid Benefits

End of Questions.

7. What to Expect in Training

Companies will expect you to attend every hour of training. It's not unusual in a contact center for training to be anywhere from 1 week to 4 weeks. I even know of some cable training that is 6 weeks in duration.

It's important that you commit to being in training every hour of every day for the designated period. If you can't, let the trainer or the HR staff know.  There should be no surprises. Maybe they will make an accommodation for you.  But it is better that you to plan to ensure that you can attend the necessary training.

Training itself will be a mix of Self Study & Self-Paced and Instructor lead training.

Many companies use a virtual training room application like Adobe connect.  That will connect the teacher to you, the student.  It will also be the connection where you will see the other students, get your learning material, do tests and interact with each other - just like in a real classroom.

The learning pace is going to be preset.  You will find that the instructor will have little opportunity to slow down and dwell on one specific point or two.  It will be important to pay attention during training.

If you get lost or just don’t get something that is being explained, then don’t be afraid to ask a question or two. I will guarantee you that other people will be lost as well.

If needed, find out where to get additional help.  Ask if you can download any material to review outside of class time.

8. That First Week or Two After Training is Completed

Congratulations you have successfully passed training and now it's time for you to be on your own and support yourself when you're dealing with your customers.

Make no mistake about this - this is absolutely the hardest most difficult time in the job. 

It's difficult in the sense that you spent two, three possibly four weeks and training. In that time, they crammed your head full of all this information and now they expect you to be able to apply all of it accurately, effectively and successfully. 

The truth of the matter is it just won't happen that easily.  Like any job, it takes time to learn the ins and outs, and the shortcuts to the job before you gain your confidence and feel comfortable about the answers you provide to your customers. 

It's really important not to give up now. You may feel stupid, you may feel like you're never going to get it, but I can tell you, you will.

Give yourself a break, you will learn the job, it just takes time. Concentrate on giving the customer the right answer as opposed to the quickest answer. 

I don't know a customer alive that if you didn't say to them, “I'm new to this job, so if you can bear with me, give me a little bit of extra time, I will be pleased to help you.”  They will be more than accommodating. In fact, it is a great rapport builder.  People generally want you to do well.

Some companies will use the time right after training to put you in what they call ABay or Academy Bay.  The idea of ABay is to allow you to go on the phones, take a few calls, log off and have a discussion with your Trainer, Team Leader or Supervisor to talk about how you did, what went well, what were the challenges and what are some of the things you can improve on.

Abay is designed to ease you into this position over the course of a week. Employees who pick up the job quickly will find themselves out of ABay quicker than others, that’s OK. 

If you are provided the ABay opportunity, take advantage of it.  Ask a lot of questions, confirm your understanding and you will gain your confidence in no time.

9. In The Groove - Daily Life as a Home Agent

Know what determines success in your program. Every contact center has metrics that tell how the team is performing and how individuals like you are performing.

Find out exactly what success means to your contact center.  It may be a certain handle time, or it may be a certain customer satisfaction score, it may be many different things.

Your job will become much easier when you know what success is.  Because once you have that target, you can aim for it and work hard to achieve it.

Know the metrics that make up success. It's important that you get access to your daily metrics or stats.  You should not go a day without knowing how you're performing on the key metrics.

By knowing these, you can determine if you're getting closer to your target and potentially what you can do to get there even faster.

As you talk to your team leader or supervisor about your performance, you can get them to help you on the area’s where you may have some challenges.

Ask for help or clarification. If you have challenges or questions, get support from your team leader or the person that trained you.  There is always someone in the organization that knows the answer to your question.  Be diligent in seeking that person out. It is amazing when someone shows you how to solve a sticky problem, how much better it makes your life.  Don't get frustrated and shut down, always reach out, ask questions and seek answers.

Remember, good performance could get you a better shift, some bonus money or access to other types of work, like Email or Chat.

Find out where you stand within your peer group. You may think you're doing very well, but there may be 10-15 people ahead of you, producing better metrics.

By knowing where you stand, you can find out what they're doing to get such good performance and you can emulate them. Simply copy what they do and achieve the same results.

Remember they're taking the same calls you are. If they found a trick or they know something that you were unaware of, why not learn from them and apply that knowledge to help you become the best in your company.

Avoid Cabin Fever. Although there are lots of benefits from working at home, one of the drawbacks is that you can feel isolated.  

You can spend the entire day talking to 20, 40 or 60 different customers, but you can still feel alone. It is important throughout the day to get out of your room.  Potentially get out of your apartment or house, go for a walk, get some fresh air, interact with other real live humans.

I work from home many days and even though I have a nice house and a nice home office, I still get in my car and drive down to a local Starbucks just so there's other people around. I find it gives me some grounding and connection.

If you can't get out of your home office, then talk to some friends on the phone or in social media.  Break up your day just a little bit so you have contact to the outside world.

10. Your Career Growth

If you became a Home Agent to earn extra money or it is a stop gap position as you finish your education or you just needed a job before you move to another city, then all is good.

If you can and want to contribute more to your peers and the company you work for, then think about moving to the next level in your career and this industry by becoming a Team Leader.  

A team leader is probably the least glamorous and yet most important job in the contact center industry. But it is one job that can open up so so many more doors in your career.

But you should know that it is a much tougher job than being a Home Agent. Tougher because you will be responsible for helping and leading 10 - 17 Home Agents like yourself.

This industry, like many others, is in deep need of leaders. Leaders who care for and help their people get better at their jobs, help people solve business and personal issues and build better lives for themselves and their families.  And believe me it is a very tough job, but also very rewarding.   

If you want to take that step, after you have had at least 6 months experience as a home agent then watch this video.

So, are you still thinking of being a home agent?  I personally hope this information will help you find the right job and the right career. I wish all the very best to you in your new future.

For the free copy of the related YouTube presentation, please write to me at .

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