I worked at Wireless Advocates part-time (Less than a year)
Next to food court
Ability to make as much as you work
Simply a flexible and fun job
I takes an hour to sell a minimum of one phone, and that is if everything goes right
If you do anything wrong at costco, even a simple mistake, costco will ban your out forever!
Advice to Management
Just make the process of selling down to 20 to 30 minutes at least. Even if I sell 7 phones a day, the comminson isnt enough to be worth it.
I worked at Wireless Advocates full-time (More than a year)
Can move up quickly
Not enough customers
People who are higher ups that shouldn't be
Advice to Management
Not even worth it to give advice, they don't listen
I worked at Wireless Advocates full-time (More than 5 years)
Sales experience, help from management, fun atmosphere most of the time
Not enough money for expectations, unrealistic goals many months, penalized for arbitrary goals not being met
Advice to Management
Upper management sends stress down the pipeline for no real reason.
I worked at Wireless Advocates full-time (More than 5 years)
A lot of room to grow
Base pay could b better
I have been working at Wireless Advocates part-time (More than 5 years)
Having worked at Wireless Advocates for over five years, I have seen the Wireless Industry transform much in this time. From moving away from two year contracts, to phone financing, to annual upgrades, I have been there and experienced all of it at a personal level.
From my experience, these are my Pro's of Wireless Advocates:
-I genuinely like the people I work with, not just in my Wireless Department but at my Costco in general
-Free food samples everyday
-Part time work seems fine at my level (we'll get back to this)
-No manual labor (in a ways)
However, after 5 years of doing my best everyday my resentment for Wireless Advocates is starting to grow, and I'm going to explain to you why that is. For any upper management at Wireless Advocates reading this, I truly want to hear from you about this.
Great, so now that you've seen my Pro's let me talk about my Con's and frustrations. You should probably have a drink handy, as this is gonna be long. For starters, let's define a couple of key terms and acronyms that will help you understand exactly what I'm talking about.
-Wireless Advocates (WA): Wireless Advocates, the company that I work for. They are a third party wireless vendor that primarily sells Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint services. A kiosk of their's can be found within every single Costco, and they also have some kiosks found on military bases as well.
-Costco (Costco): The building/warehouse/retailer in which I work. One of North America's largest and successful brick and mortar retailers that charges a membership fee to shop there. Take's great care of their employee's.
-Costco Member (Member): The people who shop at Costco.
-Commission (Commission): Extra money paid by your employer for selling products or services. A "kicker" or small "bonus" if you will. This is sales after all.
-Wireless Sales Expert (WSE): My position at Wireless Advocates. I'm one of the people who helps you access your account, sells you products, accessories and insurance, and is the meat and potatoes of WA's workforce. My position can either be part time, or full time depending on the location. I make commission for every product or service I sell.
-Kiosk Manager (KM): Every single WA kiosk has a Kiosk Manger, or KM. They have the EXACT same responsibility as any WSE; making sales, hitting goals, and activating products for members. They also have the added responsibility of interviewing and hiring new WSE's, making the schedule, and making sure training is done on time. They have a monthly sales goal that, if met by their team, earns them a bonus.
-District Manager (DM): Every Kiosk Manger has a District Manger who operates and runs a district of kiosk's, usually about the size of a state or so (10ish stores). A DM is responsible for keeping his KM's in line, and also making sure that their Regional Manger hits their goals. (This is a sales company after all).
Cool, so now that we have these preliminary items out of the way, let me break everything down for you about how I dowhat I do, how I do it, and how I get paid are completely busted.
But before I get to that, In case you didn't already know this or haven't read any other reviews about WA yet, let's making this clear right now:
***Wireless Advocates has a 60% PERCENT turnover rate for new hires within the first year.***
S I X T Y P ER C E N T
Let's find out why.
First up we have my pay plan as a WSE. Make note that KM's do NOT have the same pay plan as me, and we'll cover them later. DM's are salaried. For simplicity's sake, I'm going to estimate numbers up or down slightly so the math is easier to visualize. (Although the exact numbers are worse than what I'm showing you here).
-For my hourly pay, I make $9.00 per hour. Cool. For my commission, I make $40.00 per sale. Awesome. So far this sounds great; you could make some serious money doing this job if you do your best and make some sales.
-Unfortunately, it's not that easy (why else would I be writing this review?) because Wireless Advocates REQUIRES you to outsell your hourly rate to make any commission beyond what you get paid per hour. Basically, you have to pay them back until you see any extra money. Let's do some simple math to see what this looks like:
*An average work day at WA is 9 hours, with an hour lunch, so you get 8 hours on the sales floor. 8 hours * $9.00 hourly = $72 dollars per day base pay. This is your "safety net" in case you have a terrible month and happened to think that working at Sam's Club was your place of employment.
*Every sale you make is $40. $40 x 2 = $80. So if you work a shift and sell two phones you have justttt eclipsed your hourly pay for the entire day by $8. (Keep in mind that these numbers are actually higher than their true vales, as I rounded them for ease of reading). So so far in your day you've made $8. If you sell a third phone, you're up to $48 extra for the day.
*$72 base pay + $48 = $120 total pay for your day. $120 / 8 hours worked = $15 dollars per hour. Not bad for some part time work making sales. (Or full time, for that day).
-So if you're selling at least 3 phones per day, you're making $15 per hour. Nice. Or, if you're full time at 40 hours per week / 160 hours per month / 1,920 hours per year, you're getting $28,800 per year. Alright, sure.
-The average daily store goal is about 4 - 7 phones per kiosk.
-However, this systems fails to account for the fact that you're GONNA have bad days. Or zero days where no one buys. Or if you're having a bad month. It happens, sales is random at the end of everyday. You never know what is gonna walk through that door. (thanks PawnStars).
So now that you've gotten a glimpse of how the system can be really good for making money, lets break down how it ACTIVELY WORKS AGAINST YOU:
-If you ever have a day you make 2, 1, or 0 sales, you HAVE to make them up at some point during your shift. Because the more hours your work the more hourly you make, so you're always fighting your own hours to overcome your base pay of $9.00.
-If you're a full time employee, you can break it down and think of it this way; you work 160 hours per month, (160 * $9.00) / 40 = 36 phones per month. You basically start getting paid ANY commission / bonus on your 37th phone in a month. Do any less than that? You get your nice $9.0 0 per hour.
-If you're an opening shift employee, you are the one to come into work at about 9am, change the price cards, change the offer sheets, and more. The Costco Warehouse opens at 10am. So A) You get paid $9.00 for the hour you open B) You cannot sell anything during this time to overcome your hourly because the store isn't even open C) It still counts against you for your sales metrics. If you can help it, don't open at ALL because you are literally working for free during this time.
-WA has a training. A LOT of training. Basically all of it is done on online training sessions with slide shows and quizzes. WA prefers us to do our training at home, not at Costco, so that we are more available to make sales happen. Except that if you do your training at home, and then log the time you've worked on your time card, you MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT for you to make any commission, because it counts against your hourly.
-From time to time there are required meetings within a kiosk team, your wireless reps from your carriers, or with your DM. These meetings take place before or after store hours as they cannot take place when Costco is open. So, as you've already guessed it, logging these hours into your time card ALSO count against your commission.
-Sometimes in a sales environment, you can't walk away from what you're doing to take your lunch break. Understandable; you're in the middle of completing a sale and cannot stop, you're having a really busy day and can't step away, or you're just plain busy. You don't always take a lunch, which can be fine or not (up to you.) But for those of us who sometimes skip lunch? To make that extra sale? Yeah, that $9.00 of extra hourly you just earned for skipping lunch is essentially removed from the commission you're making right now. Good stuff, didn't need it anyway.
So that's your pay plan if you're a part time of full time WSE. The take away from this is; it used to be work as much as you'd be scheduled, get your hourly, make sales, and get some commission. With the current pay plan, every WSE is now incentivized to do this; make as many sales as possible IN THE LEAST TIME amount as possible. Because working more hours gets you nothing.
So you see how I get paid, now let's talk about my actual job. Being a Wireless Sales Expert and everything we do for Costco Members.
-I sell four carriers, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. I have to know FOUR different activation systems. Four different carrier systems. Four different customer service, and support teams. Four pricing plan structures, their legacy plans, and current promotions. Basically, take the knowledge you would have to know at any other single carrier store and quadruple it. They also mess up and glitch in their own fantastic ways, and are constantly changing.
-You will stand for 8 hours per day. If you like sitting, don't be a WSE. Plain and simple. You do get to keep your FitBit happy though.
-WA has been around for a long time, and they use a LOT of legacy systems. A lot of manual data entry too. Be prepared to write up a lot of stuff by hand, and print at LEAST 15ish sheets of paper per sale and transaction. (It's 2018; we're in the paperless office I heard.)
-WA's computer systems also go down in some form or fashion on about a weekly basis. Got a computer outage? Wait for IT to fix it. Will you be compromised for any time where you couldn't actually sell and activate phones? Did you read the above paragraphs so far?
-The actual Costco Members are needy, and rightfully so. They pay to shop at Costco, and they expect a high level of service; which I agree with and happily provide for them. As a WSE you are essentially Sales, Customer Service, Technical Support, and also the person who points to where any item in the store is, especially the batteries. They will also get mad at you for not knowing where things are, knowing nothing about the laptops, or the fact that you can't actually call for a Costco Employee on a radio (because we don't have one).
-WA wants WSE's and KM's to be JUST like the DirecTV representatives in Costco; approaching members, trying to lure them over and sell them on products on services. Greeting in the isle and harassing members. Except that nobody actually likes that happening to them. Ever. In any scenario.
-If you actually want to stand a chance of making any real money, work the weekends when Costco is busy and people are more inclined to buy; there's usually 4 shifts on the weekends, so good luck getting one.
-IT CAN BE HARD TO HEAR YOUR CUSTOMERS OVER ALL OF THE TELEVISIONS, SPEAKERS, SOUND BARS, AND LAPTOPS FOUND IN MAJOR ELECTRONICS AT COSTCO. WHAT DID YOU SAY?
So besides what you'll face as your normal job duties in addition to trying to make sales, you also have your Kiosk Manger boss. Who, depending on your location, can either be really good or really bad (try to be their friend). The KM is essentially a glorified WSE that has all of the exact same job responsibilities, but with more benefits and a way better pay structure:
-They start at like $13 per hour base, with overtime opportunities. They get like $13 per any sale they make. They don't fight their hourly with their commission. They also get yearly raises. Nice.
-In addition to their commission, they can also make an ADDITIONAL bonus IF their kiosk makes their goal. Does any of this extra bonus trickle down to the WSE's at a kiosk? None of it does. 0% of it does. Nothing. Because of this there is ZERO team incentive; every man is for himself, focus on making your own money, and try to screw your coworkers over for additional incentive in your own paycheck. Because anything they do doesn't help you individually. WA fosters this kind of environment.
So we've seen the WSE and the KM. What about the District Manger? Honestly, I don't have much to say about them, except that they don't last long. In my 5 years with WA, I have had FOUR DIFFERENT DM's for my store. The combination of KM's resisting against their DM's, and the corporate pressure pressing down on DM's just makes them all quit. They're also salaried, which is cool I guess.
You've made it this far, but we still have a bit more to cover. Let's compare working as a WSE at WA vs. actually working at Costco, and just for fun working at Target.
-Costco hire's their employee's at $13 per hour per so starting WITH health care. Target starts at around $12 per hour or so. Nice. Come to work, don't worry about making sales, just do a good job and go home. Also don't have to be worried about getting fired for not getting enough sales, or not selling enough insurance. Just don't mess up your cashier till I guess.
-At the time of this review, 3/19/18, in my district their are about 27 WSE's. Of those 27 WSE's, only NINE of them are making more money than the $12 per hour that Target will start you at (this is 36% for reference.) Of those 27 WSE's, only SIX are making more money than the $13 per hour Costco will start you at (this is 24% for reference.
-At this time as well, of those 27 WSE's only 48% are making ANY COMMISSION AT ALL. We're also HALFWAY through the month of March.
-What WA didn't account for is, at halfway through the month when a WSE can't make any commission they just stop caring; helping members only is more work for you, so why actually do your job? Why work even harder to dig yourself out of the money pit that is your hourly $9.00? Why try to make your kiosk goal when the bonus doesn't even affect you? I know I sure wouldn't try nearly as hard.
Another fun thing about this job; Costco is now starting to sell unlocked phones through Costco and NOT in your department. You just buy them, put your SIM card in them, and they activate. Our job isn't even needed, we get paid NOTHING for helping these members, they TAKE AWAY from our commission by destroying sales, and they get mad when you tell members to go to a carrier store to activate them. Costco is directly competing with their cellular department. L O L
If you don't read anything else above this, at least read THIS here; to put it simply, unless you're an all-star Kiosk Manager, you work two job's, or have some kind of side business, Wireless Advocates does NOT provide a living wage:
-For any part timers, you have no benefits. Costco gives every employee healthcare at least if they need, and its fantastic to boot.
-In my 5 years of working for WA, I NEVER received an hourly raise as a WSE. I wouldn't EVEN WANT ONE now, as it would make making commission harder.
-If you're a full time WSE and you sold 1,000 phones per year (like 83.33 per month or so) you would get $40,000. That's it. If you could be this AMAZING at any other sales job, you'd probably pull $60,000+ easy.
-WA is a privately owned company. They can do whatever they want, that's fine; their company, their rules. Upper management does NOT communicate AT ALL with the field team, the ones who actually make the money to pay the corporate salaries in Seattle HQ. It's 2018 WA. Be open. Be transparent. Actually tell us how we're doing, where we're failing, and where we're going. You actually have to start doing this though, instead of just "things happening this is how it is now."
-Some kiosk's in the company have such a low door count that they don't even make commission, they just make their $9.00 an hour and then they might be able to bonus. Except they rarely do from what I can tell. I guess the WSE's there are fine with their $9.00, but why not start at Costco or Target for at least $12?
-In my experience in helping train new employee's, it takes about 6 months of on the job working to understand the systems, and know what you're doing at all times. It's not an easy job in the slightest.
-Wireless as an industry is becoming saturated and in a slight decline. Yet WA still wants year over year growth. Ok.
-WA implemented the current WSE pay plan to promote and keep their best performers. Yet, they still can't keep their turnover rate under 60%. I wonder why.
Wireless Advocates, as someone who actually works for you, etc. Please, someone look at and read this. Email me. Communicate more. You have a 60% turnover rate. You expect the world from us, but don't pay us as such. You expect results, but set them too high. You expect us to work like top of the line professionals but pay us in peanuts.
Working in Costco, it's almost like an INVISIBLE POVERTY LINE; we stand right next to Costco employee's, get asked the same questions as them, and simply work in a different department (which is located right inside another department.) As a WSE you will STRUGGLE to overcome your $9.00 per hour. While a tenured Costco employee, after about 7 years, will make about $24 PER HOUR for simply existing next to you. They also make time and a half on Sundays, so they stand next to you making $36 PER HOUR. Great for them, they work for a company that takes care of their employees.
To the current WSE's and KM's who read this; stop standing for this. Rise up. Unionize. Complain. Do SOMETHING. Or just leave. The numbers don't lie.
The dream at this point, if Costco ever begins to care or maybe reads this and wants to provide a better member experience for wireless in their stores, would be for them to tell WA to pack it up and leave, and then employ us all as actual Costco employee's and pay us fairly. We do AS much work as any other department in the store, we are branded to look like them, and honestly we shouldn't be treated any lesser. But WA doesn't see it that way.
And if you ever ask WA about why you're not paid fairly? Know what they'll tell you?
"Sell more phones then."
Advice to Management
-Read everything I just wrote again.
-Provide a living wage.
-Stop setting unrealistic standards.
-Give employee's a reason to stick around
-Start openly communicating. Because as of now, you simply don't.
I have been working at Wireless Advocates full-time
Great benefits, paid time off, fast-paced but supportive work environment, dog-friendly corporate headquarters, lots of opportunity to grow, company really values their employees in both corporate and in the field
Not as much holidays, fast-paced environment can be overwhelming at times
I have been working at Wireless Advocates full-time (More than a year)
Great Environment, great pay
No way to move up.
I have been working at Wireless Advocates full-time (More than 3 years)
- Laid back environment
- decent benefits
- flexible scheduling
- good work & life balance
- good for students
- uncapped commission potential
- good stepping stone job
- Terrible training
- Computer system is outdated
- Logistics needs improvement
- Poor management
- Management is disconnected w/ associates
- Dead end job
I worked at Wireless Advocates full-time
Plenty of traffic with being in a Costco and opportunity to make a decent commission
Long hours on your feet and high turn over.
Advice to Management
Do a better job of hiring qualified or people with a good work ethic
I worked at Wireless Advocates part-time
- Flexible Schedule
- Learned about technology
- Reasonable goals
- Great pay - if you work for it!
- Work weekends
- Sometimes customers would return phone and you got your commission taken away
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