Sound Incorporated – Naperville, IL
Sound Inc. is an equal opportunity employer with a drug free work environment. Sound Inc. is a large professional integrated technologies provider… StartWire
I worked at Sweetwater full-time (More than 3 years)
Sweetwater is a great looking Facility. The building is constantly being updated and expanded every year. The interior design is a bit dated, but I have noticed that is just a midwest thing. There is constant construction going on at the facility.They provide a decent gym, a hair salon (with the best barber/stylist in Fort Wayne), and a decent dining cafe and coffee bar. The new retail store is gorgeous and puts all other music retail stores to shame. The employee discount is decent on certain items, but it might be years before you can make enough money to afford to buy anything you actually want. The lending library, that the manufacturers provided for sales engineers, is a great tool to get your hands on actual gear and provide customers with hands on experience if you can find the time to actually use the gear once you are off the clock. Sweetwater is growing and there is potential to make good money if you just decide to dedicate your entire life to the business. The highest earners make really great money, own decent houses and cars, but they look about 20 years older than they should. Maybe it is the stress, but hey they are rich, right? . . . My main advice to people considering working at Sweetwater: You really need to think this through if moving to Fort wayne from out of state. Will people actually use their vacation time to come visit you in Fort Wayne, IN? Are you willing to put up with struggle and frustration long enough in hopes of possibly making a good salary years down the road? Are you willing to give up your life outside of work in hopes of making more money? Do you actually want to do anything creative with audio/music or do you want to sell gear to people actually doing creative things? Can you really make 80+ calls everyday and not burn out constantly? This can be a good job if you put the years into it and have no real aspirations with music, but really think about all these questions before accepting a job offer. I am sorry, a "Career Opportunity".
A bit of an elitist environment. Mangers have their own specialized parking for their Porsches and oversized Pickups which only shove their higher incomes in your face every morning as you walk the quarter mile to the employee entrance. Which is completely fine. Honestly, most Sweetwater employees could use a longer walk. Work life balance is not something you usually expect in sales, but when you have to go to 3-4 unpaid meetings a week on top of your full shifts it can be really exhausting. You get a few days off a year, but they do not offer any sick days so that will be deducted from your vacation days. Most meetings are filled with some sort of redundant product info and a sales manager filibustering for the rest of the allotted time. The Monday morning meetings are the worst. They are usually put together last minute and leave you questioning why you left your bed that morning, but they must be attended by all new sales people under two years to qualify for SPIFF points (a way to earn free stuff from manufacturers for selling their gear). If you miss a meeting your opportunity for this program is automatically forfeited. This always seemed unjust to me. You earn points from the manufacturers (separate from Sweetwater) for selling their gear during sales promos and Sweetwater gets to pocket that cash and use it on their own events if you miss a Sweetwater meeting. You should be responsible and go to the meetings, but sometimes things can come up in life. Next is the insulting base pay. Imagine taking home minimum wage home for 50 hours a week of hard work. Sweetwater puts you through the trek to Mordor and back during the interview process before being offered a "Career Opportunity" email. They want their employees to have specialized college degrees and great experience, but do not turn around and take care of them the way they should (this applies only to people making under a certain amount of course). Help out the guys starting out. Too many new people are struggling to make ends meet. You have some really talented people on that floor, take care of them and show them they matter just as much as the senior sales engineers. Why do you have double standards? Senior sales engineers are idolized by management and you can feel the favoritism. How can one employee be expected to make 100 calls a day with 7 hours of logged in time and the senior guy next to him is only expected to make 15-30 calls a day with maybe 4 hours of logged in time. That is if they are not taken away from their desk by a member of management to play ping pong downstairs for half n hour a few times a day. Everyone in sales does the exact same job, so lets make sure they are held to the same standards. The best sales people in the building work in HR. The biggest thing they sell you on is the idea of the cheaper cost of living in fort wayne. It is true, Fort Wayne is cheap and can be beautiful certain times of year, but lacks culture and entertainment. It is growing and some areas of town are pretty cool, but your free time is scarce and it would be nice if more was closer. Chicago is about 3 hours away and Indy is about 2.5 hours away. There are some decent restaurants in Fort Wayne worth checking out (Caliente, Seoul Garden), but most the town is over run with Arbys, Wendys, Steakhouses, and strip clubs (about 15 of them -no joke). If you have a family this place would be much easier to settle down in, but if you are single I would not consider it. I am trying to not make this sound negative, but just honest. Sweetwater can be a great place for people who do no aspire to more in the music industry. At the end of the day it is just retail sales and you will be reminded of that in emails from time to time making you feel even more worthless.
Advice to Management
Stop focusing on quantity. Do not become just a call center full of clerks. Stop protecting your Senior sales engineers. They are no better than your new hires. Everyone does the same exact job on the sales floor. No one is better than anyone else. Make an effort to appreciate your new employees and encourage their growth. Some simple acknowledgment and praise would go pretty far with employee moral. There is constant praise for every department, but sales. I think every department should get the praise it deserves, but keep in mind sales pays to keep the lights on. Kill the elitist mentality. Do not flaunt your money or success when so many of your employees make between 11-15 dollars an hour with college degrees. No one wants to see their boss fly his helicopter to work on a Saturday when they are struggling to just pay their bills. I think that when you have that much money and success it is fine to live loud and proud, but make sure your employees are recognized for their hard work and rewarded accordingly. Every employee at Sweetwater works hard to keep our reputation stellar in this industry. It does not feel good to hear how your boss spent a million dollars cash on a rare Porsche, but will not offer profit sharing. Share the wealth with everyone at Sweetwater. It is pretty simple. If you pay everyone in your building more money than they are currently making it will improve moral a great deal. It does not affect the Sales guys making over 60k, but everyone else (newer sales, warehouse, marketing, HR, etc) would be extremely grateful and I think you would see a major improvement in employee moral. I know for a fact you would have less turnover.