FilterDesign Consultant "DC"
I have been working at 3 Day Blinds full-time (More than 3 years)
It's easy to get hired because it's a commission job. They will give you a chance. It's interesting work once you gain some skills. There is a creative aspect to the job and sometimes you can control your schedule to have a break in the day to handle personal things between appointments. Benefits are good. I have a great manager.
There is no base salary and there are mandatory meetings and phone calls you aren't compensated for. You will be expected to help train new hires with no compensation. Sometimes you get involved in customer service issues for customers that aren't yours, so again, no compensation. There are no longer many employees on salary that are available to help with these issues. During the interview you'll hear about that it's possible to earn over 100K year. There are a few, but it's not realistic for the majority. The commissions are too low. You'll need to bonus monthly to make an living, which would be great if the bonus were solely based on production. It's tied to your accuracy. This seems to make sense, but there's an error system that is set up to work against the DC because every customer service issue is automatically charged against the DC including production errors, installer mistakes and misunderstandings, the customer doesn't like their choice, etc. The burden of proof of how the "error" occurred is placed on the DC. It's time consuming and often sits on your record for months. I often wonder if I ever recap the money I've missed out on as I'm waiting for resolution. It really gets old. Marketing is good, but there are times you won't have many company generated appointments to keep you busy. It depends on the seasons, economy and your Manager. Appointments can be distributed unfairly usually based on a sales report that is not accurate. The months go in cycles, you'll have a good one, then you'll be short of cash the next. Very difficult to accumulate savings or meet your financial goals. YOU"LL NEED A BACK UP FUND indefinitely, and it doesn't matter how good you are. Many things are out of your control when working for someone else. The customers continually receive discount coupons and your pay is reduced when they use them. You will not "always get 10%" like I see in a review below. It is not like running your own business. You may have low supervision, but you do not have control over pricing or design options. In this industry there is a 40/60 rule. You'll get an average of 60% of the customers. 40% of the time you are working for free. Driving, designing, measuring, providing samples, rebidding & redesigning. Some projects won't fit into the 3 Day Blinds process. Someone actually said in another review all a Design Consultant has to to is push a button? Honestly. Is any job as easy as pushing a button? You'll need to drive to see the customer, help them figure out what they can do with their project, price it right, do your research and know all the variations, enter them into the software system perfectly, and be real sure there are no errors before you push that button or your pay will be reduced 90 days.
Advice to Management
Advice to Executive Management. The expectations on the design team are unrealistic if you have any interest in retaining designers. I've watched designers come an go. The installers get tired of helping train DCs. They want skilled designers to work with. Is this the goal to keep bringing on fresh sales people and burning them out? If so, it's working. This job is tough, I'm surprised this isn't considered a skilled labor position that is treated with some kind of value as opposed to a sales job where salespersons are expendable. The company gives us the first 4 weeks of training, and we provide the rest for ourselves. Our skills are self taught. This is a "learn by trying" job. And we pay for that with the error penalty. The initial training only gets us partially ready to run. There isn't enough continuing support. We need accessible trainers in our own districts that get paid to help us. Not by joining our appointments and evaluating if we recited the 6 step process, but by coming out to a job site if necessary and helping us measure and design it when needed. We can all sell. Anyone who can't talk to people and get hired would never try this. This person could also visit customers and handle customer issues. Not everything can be done remotely, or be done by a commissioned employee. New hires need to go on a training schedule with experienced salaried trainers and the customers need to be aware of what is going on. Don't just drop them in on our appointments and expect us to train for free. We are already volunteering on our own time to go see if we can get the customers to give us work. It takes a long time to become accomplished as a DC, but we have no security. Scheduling is getting better in the last 6 months, but invest in a software program that shows the map layout of the appointments and schedule the customers within proximity of each other. There's too much pressure to work 12 hour days 7 days a week and holidays. Organize! I can do more appointments if they are close together. Some of the sales process is outdated and too "salesman-y" Customers don't like that. We are told we are a retail business. I don't think so. This is a service business. We can't compete on retail, our prices are higher than others. Customers want service that's why they call us and why they'll pay extra to have an experienced designer help them. So why is high turnover acceptable? Offer us some security and a fair program to deal with reorders. I can't recommend my job to others because my friends can't understand why I keep doing it. It's a lot of pressure for low pay. They always ask me "Has anyone in upper management actually done your job?" I guess the answer is I've not completely burned out yet. Too bad. I put a lot of work into this and my customers really like my work.
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