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Student Resources: Summer Sales

You may have noticed that from time to time we have organizations on campus who are recruiting for “Summer Sales” positions. These summer sales contracts are different from typical employer-employee relationships and may offer challenges in logistics and income tax payments that you should know about. As a result we have put together this webpage to help you evaluate Summer Sales opportunities.

First of all there are a few things you should understand upfront:

  • Door-to-door sales can be a really tough, and not everyone is a good fit for the opportunity, but if you are successful it can help you pay for college.
  • Summer Sales can be a life-changing experience that provides real-life business interactions and forces you to step outside your comfort zone by requiring you to talk to people every day that don’t necessarily want to talk with you.
  • Look for companies that offer transparency and don’t trust guarantees such as: “Everyone gets $15,000 in their first summer.” Make sure you know the organization’s actual numbers, for example: How many sales representatives start each summer vs how many finish? What their actual sales numbers are for their organization, team, and first year sales representatives?

As is the case with any job you should do plenty of research on the organization and your desired position by talking with former employees, visiting their company website, and doing a Better Business Bureau (BBB) search to see what an organization’s track record with customers has been. Know what to expect and evaluate the organization using sources other than its recruiters or recruiting messages. Some questions that can help you decide if Summer Sales is right for you include:

  • How will working in a Summer Sales position affect my taxes? Will I be a 1099 independent sales contractor? (If so plan on saving 10% - 15% of your paycheck to cover taxes later on.)
  • Am I responsible for my own transportation, rent, and food? If so, how much will that cost?
  • If there any equipment or supplies needed to do this job and what is the cost? (Think iPad, Shoes, Uniform, etc.)
  • If I decide to leave during the summer will I still receive a back end check for the accounts I sold?
  • Is training provided? By whom?
  • Does your company employ Service Professionals? Does the company offer guarantees to customers that help support the goods and services being sold by the sales reps?
  • As a 1099 Independent Contractor, will the company still provide liability insurance for me, or cover my medical expenses if I am injured while representing the company?

Keep in mind the money you need to put into the opportunity vs. the money you get out of it. Know exactly what the organization’s payment structure is, especially if you don’t get paid for not reaching sales goals. You don’t want to leave losing money or owing the company money because minimum sales goals were not met.

Whether you choose Summer Sales or any of the other traditional summer jobs such as resorts, cruise ships, salmon fisheries, national parks, or more. Research the job or opportunity to ensure it is a good match for you and aligns with your career interests so you can build your skills toward future long-term career plans.