Sam Ash Music Reviews

Updated April 2, 2015
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2.8
46 Reviews
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Richard Ash
25 Ratings

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  1. Good Job and Good People, pay could be better.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    People, once you make it it is a kick it job.

    Cons

    Pay isn't great. Politics are an issue.

    Advice to Management

    Make sure no one is unhappy. It looks like it's one small snowball at first, then you have an avalanche.

  2. Very rewarding for the creative, and artistic type.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales
    Former Employee - Sales

    I worked at Sam Ash Music

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Management is very helpful, willing to help whenever needed.

    Cons

    Would encourage anyone to create a log of potential customers to bring to the job.

    Advice to Management

    Fair, but schedule conflicts, and not able to work only weekends.

  3. High turnover but for the right person the company offers professional level earning potential and advancement.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate
    Current Employee - Sales Associate

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    For a musician whose motivated and driven I can't imagine a more ideal job then helping actual fellow working musicians get the gear they need while making new contacts and networking. "Getting out of it what you put into it", there is so much more one can do to earn than come into work on time. Going to see a customers band play, reaching out to other departments, managers, product reps for more training on specific products. Staying up on industry news, product releases and reviews, attending training seminars (at company expense) or going to conventions. Now more than ever too one can use social media as another way to communicate with buyers and other networks. I've found no matter the store or the department all of the senior personnel have several things in common and emulating their habits and learning from them can turn this into a company you can have some stability and security with.

    Cons

    High turnover for several reasons, mostly related to pay structure. Specifically commission-base at minimum wage and no optional alternative pay structure, 30-60 day training period with more reasonable hourly wage until sales associate can get acclimated. As well commissions are paid per individual item and vary depending on manufacturer. Four week commission periods. Especially for newer sales associates or those in low earnings store or departments it's very difficult to have four good weeks in a row. Very centralized corporate.

    Advice to Management

    Consider recruiting contentment, I know of several stores who have had "trouble departments" because they cannot find the right people. Offer salary alternatives or ammend current policies because making it in sales is largely about attitude, however it can be difficult to maintain enthusiasm when you're selling as much as your peers in GP but making considerably less. Perhaps a 2-5% minimum commission/gp ratio.

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  5. Great stepping-stone job for motivated individuals, but watch out for management.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate
    Current Employee - Sales Associate

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Working for Sam Ash is a very fulfilling sales job and is great for motivated individuals.
    It is a family company so you can make a name for yourself within a relatively short period of time to the Ash family.

    Sales are sales and you have to perform to get paid.

    In addition to hanging out with fellow musicians, the discounts are great for gear! (assuming you are breaking base and making decent money).

    Compensation is negotiable if you are a top performer.

    You have the opportunity to become an expert and develop rapport and repeat customers and cliental if you know how to network and market yourself. Great for entrepreneurial minded people.

    You are selling products that you know, love, and use yourself so the sale is easy.

    Opportunity to make large amounts of sales during peak seasons.

    Competitive vacation time and benefits

    Cons

    Most senior store level and upper management in the company has been there for over 20 years. Many of them who I have met look down on sales associates or lack enthusiasm for their job anymore. Communication from management is below average.

    Many associates are disillusioned with the company due to pay, micromanagement and lack of enthusiasm the store level. Most associates are not go-getters and do minimal work due to this.

    Compensation structure is a 4 week base plus commissions. A salesperson must break their base salary in commissions before seeing any commission for the month. (Makes budgeting extremely hard) Base salary is generally minimum wage or not far above it.

    Being a top performing sales person gets you close to if not slightly more than a sales mangers salary before incentives. (Two positions higher than sales associate) Career advancement in this company generally takes a very long time and is stagnated by slow moving decisions in corporate and long time people holding positions for way too long.

    Many associates in non-mangement positions are struggling financially due to pay structure, even though some may be top performing sales people.

    Very high turnover rate with many part timers coming and going.

    In order to make decent money, you will have to stay late and come in on your days off to close sales. Average work week for me is between 45-50 hours a week.

    Retail hours that generally have you at the store until 9:30-10:00pm

    Advice to Management

    Management at the store level is comprised of far too many people who are past their prime and are no longer performing. Get rid of them and inject new, younger blood into the stores. Senior level management is not much better. Give generous retirement buy-outs and get new people in the regional spots that aren't so out of touch..

    TV ads have helped recently, but try to develop a better marketing plan for the business to get more traffic.

    Hire less associates and pay weekly commissions rather than monthly in order to get less turnover and a more focused, and happy sales staff.

    Continue to develop the company's training methods beyond the new Sam Ash Academy program so new hires aren't left on their own after 30 hours of training.

    Don't have the Ashes come into stores unannounced and then act rudely towards associates that they do not know personally.

  6. Good place to start, bad place to stay.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music full-time (More than 5 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The pros are the people. As other reviews say, Sam Ash associates, at least in my store, were highly professional and often went WAY, WAY above and beyond for the customer. This was always genuine because they knew they were literally never going to get a raise or thrown any sort of bone.

    Beyond the people, I don't have much else to say that is positive. The discount on gear is good, though I never really took advantage of it. Also, the distance between the bottom and the top isn't as far as other big companies, you may work with the tops occasionally on things that need to happen for a sale. The health insurance is also great if you can afford $30 in weekly deductions from your minimum wage check.

    Cons

    -Pay. Yikes. I've had coworkers literally sell thousands in gear and make less than $40 in commission. DO NOT work at Sam Ash if you are interested in making a living. There were less than 5 people in my store that could get by on their own; the GM, Sales Manager, Ops Manager, and maybe the top salesman if it was a good month. Every single other person HAD to have a room/housemate if they didn't have a successful spouse and/or supplemental income. Yet management will still tell you to sell more if you're interested in making money or come up with a litany of other "it's you" solutions before admitting in any way their pay structure is downright disrespectful towards employees. Especially considering Sam Ash doesn't advertise and the myriad of other non-sales minutia employees have to do on and off the floor. Imagine if you fish for survival, but you have to drive the boat to the fish, find the fish, reel it in, prepare it, and then give almost all of it to your fat captain. If you ask for more of the fish, you are just told to catch more if you want to eat more.
    -Hours. Long and inconvenient. Going to school? Not anymore. It's flexible? HAH, not if you want to be there to close that big deal for your commission pennies and hope to break base.
    -Cashiering system. It's literally from 1999. And it shows. I had an 85 year old woman tell me that we needed to update our system. GERS is unanimously hated by every person in the company that doesn't work in Hicksville (central) including customers, yet the company won't change to something from this century. They WILL however get you new phones and sign you up for SalesForce and other manicures when what you need is a heart transplant, and they won't hesitate to use those unnecessary new phones to tell you that it's not the system that's slow, but again, "it's you."
    -Training. Prior to Sam Ash Academy rolling out late last year, there was none. They pushed you in and told you to swim. Born Salesmen are a rarity, and the few that do exist are working at places that value their skills, ie, not Sam Ash. The other 90% of people need to be trained and grown - which will happen at Sam Ash, but only in sales review meetings where it's too late. Tons of people have been hired and fired this way.
    -Professional Growth and Advancement. This will NEVER, EVER happen. You may rise from Sales Associate to Dept Manager, but beyond that, you will never go higher unless you either A) Get lucky and someone retires while you still work there, or B) You marry an Ash. The professional ceiling is just high enough for you to crawl underneath. Smaller companies make up for this by giving raises and bonuses to good performers and hard chargers. Ash routinely avoids this by hiding behind their joke commissions. Everyone at every level is entombed within a claustrophobic career. There may be some shuffling around with some sales associate of 40 years replacing a sales manager at another store, or someone at your store stepping down, but these are extremely rare. Nobody in my store, a Top 10 store, has received raises in anyones memory save for one for $0.50/hr. Four years ago.
    -"What have you done for me lately?": Your time there is not remembered. You are a temporary asset just like everyone else, and your past numbers or performances are not noted. Always more, more, more.
    -Returns. First of all, Sam Ash uses a system of paper "jackets" to return money. The process takes between 15 and 30 minutes or more depending on the volume of items being returned. Second, not only is the money returned, your commission is also returned. Some say this keeps salespeople honest, but what would they lie about? Why would they want to drastically upsell you if they aren't making a damn thing on it anyway?

    The worst - the absolute worst - part of it all is that Sam Ash HATES innovation and will not only fail to reward it like a decent company would, they'll smack you down and demand obedience to their outdated, paranoid, and frustrating policies. Have a legitimate problem you need fixed to make your store better and sell more? No you don't, that problem doesn't exist. Find a fix for it anyway? Prepare for a nasty email or visit. Other people are having the same problem? You better believe the Ashes and their deputies will find an extremely inconvenient, time consuming, inefficient, and uninspired jest masquerading as a "solution" for it.

    Sam Ash is designed to make the tops rich, like any company. But instead of reciprocating your sales work with advertising to increase your volume, deals with vendors to boost your commission, or giving you a shot at a higher/better position, they don't do anything. You will wallow in the same bottomfeeding place you started in for your entire working life, never make a penny more despite any changes to experience/education/skills, and always be demanded more of.

    Advice to Management

    Have some respect for your employees. They work unbelievably hard for you and are never thrown any sort of bones or atta-boys. I know it's tough for a bunch of millionaires that have been handed a successful company to understand, but what you pay your employees does not reflect how hard they work to support you and your unbelievably stupid decisions. And everyone thinks so - even the McDonald's employees (who make more, by the way) we talk to on our lunch breaks.

  7. Little Job Security

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Cincinnati, OH
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Cincinnati, OH

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music part-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Nice Atmosphere, Cool Co Workers,

    Cons

    No Job Security, High Pressure from Management, Micromanagement

    Advice to Management

    Keep your current employees instead of training new ones every 6 months, also stop micromanaging, things run a lot smoother if I don't need a manager for 85% of my transactions.

  8. Good people, limited opportunity

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Department Manager in Huntington, NY
    Current Employee - Department Manager in Huntington, NY

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Family owned company
    Fun working environment for a musician
    Commission based pay

    Cons

    Limited potential for growth
    Low pay scale
    High turnover rate

  9. This is a good job for someone young with no kids, but no place for someone to really support a family.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Great people to work with. Great environment. Heaven for a musician. Flexible hours for a gigging musician. Great place to network.

    Cons

    Low pay. high pressure sales. base+commission system is biased. Upper Management clueless at times. Leadership can be inappropriate to employees. No room for growth.

    Advice to Management

    Learn to deal with employees better.

  10. Many wrongs-was better in the past

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous
    Current Employee - Anonymous

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Being around music and nice friendly employees at least in the beginning.

    Cons

    Bad managment. Unfairly demoting people simply to move up suck-up employees in their place. Favoritism. Horrible pay.

    Advice to Management

    Appreciate and hold onto the older veteran employees. Pay them respect and with pay increases. Listen to what they have to say too and not just to the store mgrs. Have good commercials to advertise. Stop blaming salespeople for lack of sales/buisiness/foot traffic. The problem is elsewhere.

  11. Music Instructor and really enjoying it.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Sam Ash Music part-time (Less than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    - Great environment, set my own availability schedule
    - I teach my own proven advanced methodology and am not told to use and specific method like I think Guitar Center preaches. (Sadly for the student).
    - Meeting really great and enthusiastic students of all ages
    - Make much more that the sales staff on an hourly basis (Would be a great full time job if they had the student population to make it so!)
    -Studio area and manager very professional . The best
    - They do your scheduling, payroll, and just about everything else aside from feeding you. I dedicate 100% of my attention to the student, making the experience of music truly rewarding for them.
    - Great having the latest books and additional support material and accessories right there at arms reach..
    - Very supportive management. Even though there are sales staff that have been there for a very long time, I have the best job in the store. If I have something else going on where I have to make a schedule change, I just call the studio manager and it is done without question.
    - To be honest, I am not exactly sure how much I get paid although for the hours I have put in, it is bad. But . . how much I am enjoying it, It isn't to shabby The money shows up in my account, I am good. I don't have any responsibility regarding the business transaction or business relationship with the student. I just teach. It does not get any better.
    - The Instructor staff is composed of really great experienced pros and I am happy to be part of it.

    Cons

    - Okay. . . . Truth be known, The money is pretty bad compared to how much I make outside the store and what I am really worth as an Instructor. However, there is no restriction on me getting my own students, (Can't steal them from Ash, nor would I want to). I get about twice the amount that Sam Ash charges net, on my own. Whatever I make from Ash and whatever time I put in, is because I enjoy it..

    - If a student does not show up, you do not get paid.
    At Guitar Center, if a student does not show up, you still get minimum wage that should compensate you for gas and whatever and also show a little respect for your time.
     So working at Sam Ash is all ONE SIDED Benefiting Sam Ash. That is the way it is. I have never encountered this situation though and my student population would not just do a no show out of a mutually respectful relationship that is established at the onset.

    - A customer gets a free trial lesson when they buy an instrument. The Instructor does not get compensated whatsoever. BUT, you have a choice when you get hired to give free trials or not. I say sure! The student after spending a brief period with you should enroll. Here is your chance to make more than the sales person gets in commission for making the sale and perhaps gain additional students through that students recommendations. G for it!!

    - As a result of my coaching and recommendations, I have "sold" thousands of dollars in instruments and generated additional revenues relating to books and so forth. I get nothing for that, the sales person makes 100% of the commission. I can just as easily not extended myself.

    (But you know what?.... The sales guys (and girls) put a lot of time in on a schedule, and make minimum wage if that. with some exceptions for the long timers obviously. I come come and go as I please , hang out, meet people, play some cool guitars, use any instrument or book that I want to use during my lesson, gain much respect as a staff instructor as well as professional musician and have a good time. So I am okay

    I do have other sources of income derived from the music biz so my take on the situation is to let the sales guys make the commission. Word of mouth and internal recommendations will build my student population. I do not sell, I teach and making recommendations of quality instruments is part of that process. We all work together, it is one family and it feels as so.

    I could not work in sales at Sam Ash or any other music retail chain given the time commitment and pay. Definitely not. If you can teach effectively, , go that route and recruit additional students on your own and play some gigs. All of that work together will pan out for you over time.

    Advice to Management

    - A " that a boy" thank you check, even a gift certificate perhaps would be nice for "making sales". One week alone, I greatly increased the departments sales volume directly. I get Nada. If I were the business owner, I would probably send that person a little something myself out of corporate, just because it is the right thing to do, and it builds loyalty and retention.

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