Guitar Center Reviews | Glassdoor

Guitar Center Reviews

Updated May 23, 2017
813 reviews

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813 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great discounts on gear and free VST plugins through their worker's program (in 70 reviews)

  • Great employee discount - this is the greatest PRO for this company (in 106 reviews)

Cons
  • It's essentially a slightly above minimum wage job (in 44 reviews)

  • Upper management is pretty counterproductive (in 42 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. "Sales/Operations"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales, Operations in Mobile, AL
    Former Employee - Sales, Operations in Mobile, AL
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Good people if you understand musicians. Great place to network. You can always find work doing side jobs with customers who need help. Flexible hours.

    Cons

    Pay is not great, management can be hit or miss depending on where you are at. Hard to move up with company.

    Advice to Management

    Treat employees like they matter. Their is always high turnover, I guess musicians turned salesperson are a dime a dozen.


  2. "My experience at GC"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Representative in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Sales Representative in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Guitar Center part-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Flexible schedule, however the less you work the less you make

    Cons

    Commission structure is never in your favor

    Advice to Management

    Please help restructure commission


  3. "Operations Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Operations Manager in Houston, TX
    Former Employee - Operations Manager in Houston, TX
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Guitar Center (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Working here was fun. I met lots of interesting people but also learned a lot about music gear. I would recommend this job to musicians because it is a great place to network for gigs.

    Cons

    There is very little room for raises, unless you move up in position. Not much money to be made but a fun place to work.

    Advice to Management

    My advice is that they pay the hard working managers more. The work load is more than what the company pays management positions to accomplish.


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  5. Helpful (5)

    "God Awful Company"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Manager in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Former Employee - Manager in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Guitar Center full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    If your just a kid, it may seem like fun, and you can get gear cheap If you are looking for a serious job or career, not the place

    Cons

    They just take advantage of you at every turn, often deceiving you. Even Management is way under paid for what they do in general and in comparison to competition, Sam Ash for instance. A store mgr at Ash will start at &15K more than GC. Overworked and under paid is no way to go through life!

    Advice to Management

    Seek new employment.


  6. "Customer Service Manager"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Customer Service Manager in Danbury, CT
    Current Employee - Customer Service Manager in Danbury, CT
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great experience for young managers looking to enter sales training. The up tempo pace of the job makes work exciting.

    Cons

    Typical retail customer service issues. You can not let them pile up, otherwise you will stress yourself out.

    Advice to Management

    Stay focused, organized, and relaxed.


  7. Helpful (1)

    "Upper Management Isn't the Best"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Sales Associate in Washington, DC
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I have been working at Guitar Center full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Decent discounts.
    Fun environment.
    Benefits.
    Commissioned sales are very lucrative.

    Cons

    Consistently under staffed
    Store managers and below are underpaid and under appreciated.
    The company is trying to be run like someone would run a grocery store. Selling instruments is a little more involved than selling broccoli.
    I was offered a promotion from sales associate to sales lead (the lowest tier of manager). I had to turn down the job because I would have been making half of what I make as a sales associate. Sales associates have incentive, but low level management positions are under paid and over worked. Certainly doesn't help with moral.

    Advice to Management

    Stop cutting employee hours and paychecks in order to save money. Poor customer service has a direct effect on sales.


  8. Helpful (3)

    "Every store and department is different"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Sales Associate (Guitars) in Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Sales Associate (Guitars) in Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    Worked guitars/accessories part time at a busy flagship store in the LA area. Learned a lot about gear, made decent money for part time due to the store having a lot of wealthy clientele. Got to play with a lot of cool gear, and meet some cool people including some celebrities.

    Cons

    A lot of the systems in place at the company aren't designed to help employees or customers. Computer/inventory system is hard to learn, commission system doesn't reward good customer service, and warranty sales are a big part of your evaluation as an employee. If you work at a slower store or with unfriendly coworkers it can be hard to make good money.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on employee retention, growth, and development. While it may look profitable on paper to overwork your new employees while they are not on commission for the first 90 days, then cut their hours, it leads to high turnover and overall dissatisfaction. And chill out with the pro coverage pushing, it ruins a salespersons credibility in a lot of customers eyes.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Corporate with personality"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Director in Thousand Oaks, CA
    Current Employee - Director in Thousand Oaks, CA
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Great coworkers and passionate musicians drive the daily vibe. Professional and experienced management team now bringing corporate disciplines to the company but still trying to keep the culture

    Cons

    Senior management still finding their way. Lack of diversity in senior ranks. Too many systems that cause inefficiencies. Big projects poorly implemented during critical times of the selling season


  10. Helpful (1)

    "BEST DAYS ARE BEHIND"

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

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

    Pros

    Many passionate coworkers committed to hard work. Sense of satisfaction knowing you may be contributing to helping consumers make music.

    Cons

    Classic big box death spiral playing out in slow motion. Sales continue to slide making coworkers anxious and territorial. Moral is gloomy with occasional glimpses of naive optimism. So much Sr level management turnover (including CEOs) have resulted in little cultural memory; lessons learned years ago have been replaced my countless strategic and tactical missteps. Almost total brain drain of competent talent. A once great company with an authentic sense of purpose has been gutted. Avoid at all costs.

    Advice to Management

    Understand that the organization you've nurtured has rotted from within. Stop opening stores, rightsize the company, cut the dead wood.


  11. Helpful (6)

    "The epitome of big-box retail"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corporate-level Employee in Westlake Village, Los Angeles, CA
    Former Employee - Corporate-level Employee in Westlake Village, Los Angeles, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    I met some great people there and learned a lot about what not to do in this industry. Other than that, I can't think of any other pros.

    Cons

    Guitar Center is a Company that completely lost its culture and simply no longer cares about its employees. I worked at Guitar Center for 15 years and it really was a great company for the first 6-8 years I was there. From 2010 - present, most of the things you have read about this company are absolutely true. I held a corporate-level position for the last few years of my sentence and it was very intriguing to get an inside glimpse of the tomfoolery that takes place there. The Top 4 Executives of the Company are from Target, Lowe's, Best Buy and a small Grocery Store chain. You can imagine how "music-oriented" the business plan is. It's a retailer, that's it. And, it's a very low-paying retailer at that. Stores are Unionizing, labor is consistently being cut (because, it's their largest "controllable" expense), the manager's bonus program is made more and more difficult to achieve, top line sales are WAY OFF, a series of layoffs happen annually (including 2 different waves in 2015 which included many of the founders of the company and some of my closest friends), and it's completely lost its way. Store Managers start off making $37k a year, which is 1995 money, Operations managers are lucky to make $30k a year, and you can anticipate $9/hour for a while if you are looking to join the team. The mantra of the company should be, "Either you, or your replacement, will get us what we're looking for." It's command and control. They want people who will shut up, keep their head down and "run the play". Miserable work environment, which is why I left on my own terms.

    Advice to Management

    Get off your high horse, stop worrying about if you're going to lose your job or not, and realize that you have lost some of the best people in the MI Industry over the last few years. You can sustain with top line sales off for a few years, but the EBITDA will run dry at some point and the next step in labor reduction will be self-serve kiosks.


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