CustomInk Reviews | Glassdoor

CustomInk Reviews

Updated November 28, 2017
163 reviews

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3.5
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CustomInk Chairman, President, CEO, and Co-Founder Marc Katz
Marc Katz
116 Ratings

163 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great benefits: Health/Dental/Vision/Life, FSA (2 (in 24 reviews)

  • Fun, youth-spirited, friendly work environment (in 19 reviews)

Cons
  • Currently going through growing pains (in 11 reviews)

  • Everyone here knows each other from high school (in 11 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Featured Review

    "Great Place to Work for a Reason!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    CustomInk is a great place to work and have won several awards for this. They've been more transparent and realistic lately, which I really appreciate in terms of where we're at as a company both in terms of vision and economics. It's also clear on what the goals are. The benefits are unparalleled and they run their business as such but with a personal touch. Even if you are or aren't in the right role, they do what they can to develop and help you grow into the next role that you're interested in. I've seen first hand how flexible they are here when you're going through rough times and they do what they can to accommodate. I can't say enough.

    Cons

    They give more chances than most companies for folks that have slipped in reliability, ethics, or performance, which can be both a plus and a con.


  2. Helpful (18)

    "MOD"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales and Service Representative in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Sales and Service Representative in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Decent benefits, free coffee and fig newtons

    Cons

    Laughable pay, terrible management, mindless work that is taken way to seriously.

    Pay: Pay is low for the area, and there is no annual raises. If you try and ask for a raise, you will be told to "try harder". Pay is a base salary in the high 20k range plus performance pay. The performance pay is determined on how much you do and how accurate the work is. Even with awesome numbers, the pay is still way to low. Most "inkers" live with roomies, family or have spouses that make the "real" money. Don't be surprised when you see the company making tons of money and growing well, and you get nothing. Our first million dollar day we had a few months back, we did get an award. The award was a .50 cent candy bar wrapped to look like money. Total slap in the face.

    Management: The management is very unprofessional and most of them are new to the management role. Most of the immediate mangers are female and all are close friends. So if you have any issues with them, don't say a word about it. It will get you written up or fired. I have seen friends who had issues, take it up with there skip managers and it only ends with them getting "talked too" and "blamed" for it. The environment is very "click-ish" so be ready for that. If you don't have a friend in the management team, make one, fast!

    Advice to Marc: Look into the management teams, I know for a fact that they do a lot of sitting around and talking about non work related stuff, while we all work hard. I know for a fact my manager online shops 90% of her day. Then the rest of the day she chats it up with her manager (department leader).

    Overall: The company looks awesome from the outside, but once you get hired and learned the politics, you find out the real Customink. Don't expect major growth professional or salary. They will work you as hard as they can and def pay you as least as they can. My advice to anyone interested, look for another place to work that will treat you and pay you like a college educated person should be. And don't worry you're not missing out trust me.

    Advice to Management

    Advice to Marc Katz, please look into the management teams, they are pushing a lot of good employees out and only letting friends progress. It's like high school all over again.

  3. Helpful (11)

    "Great job if you enjoy ratting out coworkers"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Production Artist
    Former Employee - Production Artist
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at CustomInk full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    You get paid to work here, which is nice. You can then use that money to pay for an apartment or groceries, or buy something nice for yourself.

    Cons

    Ratting out your coworkers for their mistakes, and in effect literally taking money out of their paycheck and putting it into yours, creates an actively hostile work environment which I did not particularly enjoy.


  4. Helpful (20)

    "Has Become More Flash Than Substance"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at CustomInk full-time (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    1. Outstanding benefits plan. If you're married , you pay 100% for your spouse, however.

    2. 401K with a match.

    3. A decent straight-out-of-college job. Don't stay too long, though.

    4. Truly values the customer experience.

    Cons

    1. Management spends a ton of money on large TVs that replay CustomInk commercials over and over again, while telling long-tenured, hard working employees, who's day to day jobs expand well beyond the job description that they cannot have fair-market salaries or raises more than 3-5% for great and outstanding performance. It's like hearing someone with a Ferrari complaining that they can't afford groceries.

    2. Free snacks and catered Thursday lunches, frozen yogurt, flashy patios, and small value busy season contests with only a handful of winners hide a culture that is unwilling to admit that money is spent on shiny distractions instead of employee development.

    3. "Start up" culture is still prevalent, where chasing the "new thing" that Marketing or Business Development wants to do is given priority over mastering the segments CustomInk already excels in.

    4. Instead of developing and growing internal employees into future leaders, will bring in outside "talent." This "talent" is often paid 2-3 times more than veteran employees they oversee, takes credit for what those veteran employees are doing, and contributes little to no value to advancing the company. Too many VP level people have been hired from outside that oversee teams of 3-4 people max.

    5. People are treated like computer systems, being forced to work OT and given limited growth opportunities, while internal computer systems are about 5 years behind where they need to be.

    Advice to Management

    15 years of failing to invest professional training and development in your long-tenured, hard working, employees is finally catching up with you. The exodus of talent over the last few years is a necessary consequence for the failure to realize that keeping talent is more important than finding new talent. Stop wasting money on shiny toys, new VPs with unclear impacts, and every new idea that comes across your desk. Focus on keeping and developing internal talent, creating computer systems that can keep up with customer demand and take strain off of your people, and rewarding high performers with real money - not food.


  5. Helpful (20)

    "Bunch of Politicians"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    1. Benefits - can't beat 'em
    2. Relaxed dress code
    3. Friendly employees
    4. Free Lunch Thursdays
    5. Free snacks - including fruit and some healthier options
    6. Nice office spaces

    Cons

    1. Upper Management - WOW have things changed over the past few years. New managers have been hired from outside the company to help drive business and structure. The "new" VPs and Upper Management don't interact much with the reps. on the floor, so instead of making decisions that will help improve their workflow they are making decisions that will automate the roles more and allow the company to keep making more money. Yes, that sounds like a great thing, however the money that's coming in never makes it back to the employees on the floor - who really are the heart and soul of the company. Without the reps. on the floor the company would barely stay afloat - fancy commercials and a shiny facade only go so far.
    2. Floor Managers Act Unprofessional and Immature - To a degree, this has always been an issue with the company. Over the past few years, however, it's become increasingly worse. Very few of the floor managers actually seem to know what they're doing. I can't necessarily blame them, as I'm not sure how much training they actually get when they step into the roles. I believe the phrase "people don't leave companies, they leave managers" - was likely created here.
    3. PAY - There is no way to stress this enough - the company does not fairly compensate their employees - Period. Giving "Busy Season" prizes 2x a year to 2-3 individuals (at about $150/pop) does not work. People want to make enough money to live comfortably and support their families - especially when they work so hard day in and day out. The company is well aware of the fact that they severely under pay yet they haven't done anything (as of yet) to make a change.
    4. Blacklisting is real - If you "mess" up in any way shape or form (no matter how little), or if you just have a slightly different opinion than the managers - you can assume that you're on the list. The company will tell you that you're negative and you need to change your attitude, but I don't think the connection for them is very clear - if someone speaks out against something - making them feel like they are wrong is not the right way to handle the situation. Once you're on the list you either have to leave the company or try to switch departments (even that can be tough though).
    5. They Hire the "YES" men - For a company that claims to be innovative they sure are behind the mark here. If you agree and are a cheer leader for all decisions that the managers (and company make) then you can expect to make your way up the chain of command quickly. If you speak up and think differently ----- well, just don't.
    6. Technology - I've worked at other online companies and unfortunately, this place has the absolute worst internal systems that I've ever seen. The systems that the employees use to place orders and communicate with customers goes down daily. When you're paid on your productivity (and other performance metrics) this can be detrimental.

    Advice to Management

    1. Start paying people properly - not just with food (that doesn't pay the rent in an extremely expensive city)
    2. Listen to the people on the floor - they are doing the job every single day and know what will work best.
    3. Help build more communication between departments
    4. Get rid of your MOD system - it goes against everything that the company stands (or used to stand for). Instead of trying to make it seem like a system that is working for the people (understanding trends, knowing where people can improve) just acknowledge that it makes everyone feel terrible when they come into work each day. It is not helping build the happy "community" that everyone wants.
    5. Change is good - we get that. Constant change day in and day out is not effective. Find a better way to make improvements (and make sure the improvements will actually help the people).
    6. Do the role of the reps on the floor - choose any department that interacts with your customers, and do that role for 1 week - don't just shadow someone for 1 hour. If you do this, I guarantee you will wonder how you've been able to keep as many reps. on the floor this long.


  6. Helpful (12)

    "Not as Advertised"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Health insurance benefits are outstanding for employees, but not for family members
    Catered lunch on Thursdays and lots of snack options
    Free tickets to local pro sports games
    Beautiful office space
    Convenient location

    Cons

    1. If you're a cheerleader or sorority/fraternity type, this company is for you. If you're not, you'll be ostracized for it.
    2. Catered lunches, free snacks, colorful office decor, and low value busy season prizes that only 1 or 2 people are awarded every 6 months is meant to improve moral, but it's not enough to make up for the amount of stress we endure doing the work on a daily basis. It's all just meant to distract you from the monotonous and repetitive work. It's basically a factory job, but you have a chair and desk.
    3. Pay is low for the area and it can be hard to make ends meet unless you live with your parents, as many employees do, or three roommates.
    4. We get 25 personal time off days, but factor all the mandatory overtime days and hours required and only having 4 paid holidays, it's not as sweet a deal as leadership would have you believe.
    5. It's a call center, plain and simple. A job in the order operations department, i.e. sales, satisfaction assurance, and logistics, is only good if you're happy with only being qualified for call center jobs for the rest of your life.
    6. The employees skews very young and it feels like it, not in a good way. The employees are very cliquey and the atmosphere often feels more like a high school than a professional office.
    7. Most internal job opportunities are lateral.

    Advice to Management

    Be weary of trusting the feedback surveys you require us to fill out monthly. It doesn't tell the whole story. Employees are afraid to offer constructive or negative criticism because they've seen too many people get blacklisted after they spoke up.


  7. Helpful (8)

    "Can't afford to work here"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Production Artist in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Production Artist in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    - cool building
    - fun coworkers
    - snacks and free perks
    - casual atmosphere/dress
    - nice benefits

    Cons

    - low pay
    - required overtime
    - factory-line work
    - hard to get a raise or promotion
    - soul-sucking

    Advice to Management

    First and foremost, pay your workers more. For a company that boasts "best place to work", we should be making enough to afford to rent a studio apartment in DC. While benefits are great, compensation is WAY too low for any normal young adult looking to pay off student loans, a car payment, and rent in the DC area. Living paycheck to paycheck is hard to stand when you walk in the door of a company that just upgraded it's modern furniture in a single meeting room, or added more color to the walls, or hosted a giant and expensive 3-hour holiday party. Where is the money going? And why is it not going into your hardest worker's pockets? Also, mandatory overtime: not ok. Everyone is burnt out and tired from working hard without much reward. A simple "thank you so much for your hard work" really doesn't help morale anymore. After three + years, I'm tired of reaching for numbers that are impossibly high, while trying to maintain a smile on my face.

  8. Helpful (16)

    "Going downhill FAST"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales & Service in Fairfax, VA
    Current Employee - Sales & Service in Fairfax, VA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I have been working at CustomInk (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The relaxed work environment and perks like lunches one day a week are nice. For the most part people are friendly. The office location and office space is great.

    Cons

    The glowing reviews posted on here sound as if they were written by HR themselves; really fake and overly positive, ignoring the issues that are endemic in Sales Service at CustomInk. Take them with a grain of salt.

    - Management is seriously inefficient and lacks the skill and intellect to do their jobs properly
    - New hires are poorly trained. They are nervous and obstinate about taking initiative, and asking the right questions to work learn to do their job more effectively
    - Constructive feedback/criticism is shunned and you will get backlash for it. "Don't speak up" is the overtone here. Feedback must be extremely polite otherwise you will be scolded.
    - "Anonymous" monthly feedback surveys are not anonymous at all and are read by management
    - Pay is a joke and often times your own manager will not know if you are being paid correctly. The standard response is: "we'll look into it and get back to you" HA!
    - Bonuses are monetarily very small and are very infrequent; no annual bonus of any kind
    - False promises, lack of a clear path to promotion (favoritism and sexism exists, so those who are less qualified get fast-tracked for promotion)
    - General lack of consideration and forethought in decision making, further drive morale into the ground
    - Painstakingly slow process for anything to change, but most changes are not for the better anyway
    - Plenty of double standards
    - Focusing on the wrong areas and not paying attention to the areas that actually matter
    - Heavy reliance on meetings that accomplish very little, which leads to groupthink

    Advice to Management

    Open up your minds and take an objective look at what is going on in the work day of your average sales representative. Be receptive to actual feedback, not the fake A-rating feedbacks we all give just to avoid being pestered about why we gave a low rating and avoid being let go for having a negative outlook. Lastly, realize that people are leaving in droves for a reason, and that there are others who can't wait until they get to do so. The company core values are excellent, but they are not being followed any longer in Sales Service.


  9. Helpful (5)

    "Seems too good to be true, because it is."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Flower Mound, TX
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Flower Mound, TX
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at CustomInk full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Best benefits ever, free lunch/snacks. There is a lot of talk about the "golden rule" but don't expect that to be followed through very often.

    Cons

    Management is very, very under qualified. The issues I encountered seem to be problems to in house production in Dallas only, as I have heard great stuff about this company elsewhere. The day shift associate manager picks and chooses who he wants to see succeed, and if you are not on that list, be expected to be let go for any reason. Escalating issues beyond your manager is discouraged, your immediate manager may even call you "unprofessional" for trying to resolve an issue they can't solve themselves.

    Advice to Management

    Treat everyone fairly, we are a small group and we are very aware that the "performance plans" you are enforcing on some employees aren't being implemented on others with similar/worse habits.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Don't Work Here. There are Better Companies!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time

    Pros

    The work hours are nice if you are salaried.

    Cons

    - Be careful if you do not fit in with the "legacy" inkers or the "team development (HR)" team because they will dismiss you quickly.
    - The culture is similar to a college fraternity or sorority. If you do not fit in, then you are out.
    - There is a lot of talk about the golden rule but behind the scenes management really adheres to the "making money" rule. Even if that means taking it from others.
    - They really don't know what they are doing with the "pay for performance" as they make it sound great as a weekly bonus but then they have no idea how to properly measure it. It is never fair.
    - The managers are very young, inexperienced and have no clue how to lead a team even though they claim to be metric based.
    - Upper management is directing everything so there is not much opportunity to flourish in middle management unless you are in the "in crowd" of course.

    Advice to Management

    Don't really see them changing. It is a reflection of leadership from the top. Unless top management changes I don't see much future for CustomInk.


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