Arise Virtual Solutions is a well known virtual call center company that is often mentioned in the media as a legit work-at-home opportunity. However, other call center jobs may be better money-making opportunities.
To become an Arise agent, you must become a legitimate company. Arise then asks you to absorb business costs--in the form of training and other ongoing fees--that are always paid by a company that hires employment call center positions and are usually paid for by companies that hire independent contractors.
Investing in these costs upfront makes Arise a riskier business proposition for you. If you do decide to work for Arise, carefully review all its policies before paying anything.
All About Arise Virtual Solutions
Based in Miramar, FL, Arise Virtual Solutions has been around for more than a decade. It uses virtual call centers to outsource for its clients. The types of work include technical support, sales, and customer service. Arise requires its agents to become Virtual Service Corporations (VSC), which means agents must become incorporated in their home state and pay Arise for the training required to work for its clients.
What is a Virtual Call Center
Most virtual (or home) call centers either hire people as independent contractors or as telecommuting employees. Either way, agents are usually expected to provide their home office equipment, and in a few cases, companies might ask workers to cover the one-time cost of a background and credit check (though this is not standard).
However, most companies pay the cost of training (and, in fact, pay their agents while they are trained). And while many companies do require that agents are independent contractors (as opposed to employees), they are not usually required to become corporations, as Arise requires.
How Arise Works
Even finding out exactly how Arise works is a fairly complicated process.
Arise's FAQ page only covers the basics. To become an Arise agent, you must pay to set up your corporation in your state. Then you must pay a fee for the initial training for Arise. This is in addition to any cost you incur setting up a dedicated phone line (separate from your home line) and Internet access.
However, once you are established as an Arise "Virtual Service Corporation" you must pay for specific training for any clients for which you work. Arise then charges the agents, you, a service fee a month. Here are the basic steps to getting started at Arise:
- Apply online. Must be age 18.
- Take an online skills assessment. If you do not pass any part of the assessment, you must wait three months to apply again.
- If accepted, pay for a criminal background check.
- With a satisfactory background check, complete “Arise basic certification program,” which carries a fee and takes 20 hours your time.
- Establish an incorporated entity. This means completing the processes for incorporation in your state. If you have the legal savvy to establish a corporation without legal representation, this will cost less, depending on your state. However, if you need legal help, it will cost more. Also be aware many states charge annual fees and taxes to corporations that they do not charge to independent contractors.
- Sign contract with Arise.
- Set up a home office. Arise’s requirement is fairly typical of most home call center office requirements. You will need a dedicated phone line and Internet access plus any installation fees and equipment costs.
- Apply to enroll in client-specific certification, each of which carries a fee, and lasts from two days to several weeks.
- Complete training; begin working, assuming there are available positions.
The Bottom Line: Caveat Emptor
The initial outlay of time and money is large, and the ongoing costs are significant. There is no guarantee that you will get the hours you need to recoup those costs.
At an absolute minimum, Arise call center agents must outlay several hundred dollars and more than 20 hours of time before making a dime.
Like other virtual call centers, compensation is usually a fixed rate – which could be by the call, by the minute, or by the hour. This varies by client. On average, that's at least 14 hours of work before you break even (and that's not counting the 20 hours of time you put into your initial training). Plus there's the cost of office equipment or phone lines.
If these were all one-time costs, it might be worthwhile if you worked for Arise for a long time. But the fact is, the training fees and unpaid training time recur with each new client. Most companies pay their workers during training; workers don't pay the company. Yes, people do pay for their educations, but an education will serve you your whole life. This training is for a specific client of Arise, so if you don't work for Arise, the training is useless.
Taxes and fees associated with incorporating a business are annual in many states. And then Arise charges nearly $40 a month in service fees for "the infrastructure that Arise provides." That fee along with the monthly cost of Internet and phone must be covered before you realize any profit each month.
Arise positions its policy as creating small business owners. And, of course, there is a risk in owning a business. But there is simply no reason to take on this risk when there are plenty of other virtual call center companies (and other work at home jobs) that do not put such a burden on their agents.