Is homeworking right for you?

Questions to ask

Is it a proven, scalable business model? Is there a fair commission structure given the level of support? When is commission paid? What support do you offer? What is the ratio of homeworkers to head office staff? How has the company supported homeworkers – in normal times and during the pandemic? What are the average earnings? What is the company’s reputation? Can I speak direct to some of their homeworkers? How will I be paid? What are the joining fees and ongoing costs? What equipment will I need?

What is supplied? What sort of holidays can I sell?

Which suppliers can I work with and what commercial deals do you have? What cover do I have if I am on holiday?

How do I get bookings if I don’t have many clients? What marketing and technology support is there?

Does the technology allow me to work from different locations? Who does the admin on the bookings?

Do I own my client base? What training is provided? Do they have other homeworkers in my area? What are the merchant card processing charges? How easy is it to leave?

can chat about it together afterwards,” says Pridmore.

Many homeworking businesses work on a

franchise basis but only one, GoCruise & Travel Franchise, operates territorially. Samantha Gibbs, head of franchise at the business, which is part of Fred Olsen Travel, says GoCruise & Travel has 67 territories currently, each with a minimum population of 250,000. “If you have a franchise [with us] in Exeter, you can book clients across the country but physically market yourself in Exeter,” she says. “You can go to a wedding fair, networking

event or travel show without bumping into someone else from the same group.”

Lending a hand Ivrie Cohen , business development manager at Inspire, says homeworkers have to wear many hats: sales, customer service, account manager and marketing. “Ask if the company can adapt its support model to match your needs,” he says. Support is a key factor cited by all homeworking bosses – even more than commission and fees. Gary Gillespie, managing director of Independent Travel Experts, says: “We do all of the admin, so you can do the selling.” As part of the Travel Trust Association – itself

part of The Travel Network Group – ITE helps homeworkers with emails, training, marketing, social media and opportunities to meet suppliers at events. Paula Nuttall, chief executive of The Holiday

Village, says her firm offers support from 9am to 9pm, helping with queries. The Holiday Village pays half the commission upfront, but if the holiday is cancelled, the company liaises with the homeworker about ways to pay it back, to help with cashflow. Support and training are important even for

experienced travel agents. Damian McDonough, business development director at Your Holiday Booking, says: “The ones who succeed are Abta- trained agents, but coming from the high street, their Achilles heel is the fact that they have never had to market themselves. “The first year is hardest, the second is

better. We give them as much ammunition as possible as you need everything in your armoury: cruise, ski, city breaks, Disney, business travel, long-haul and extras.”

Jason Oshiokpekhai, managing director of Global Travel Collection, urged potential homeworkers to seek companies with financial stability, especially as revenue has dried up during the pandemic. Advisors with the group also have access to a 24-hour travel safety desk offering Covid-19 destination updates. “Our travel advisors need instant access to the most up-to-date information on rapidly changing destination policies and requirements,” says Oshiokpekhai. “They provide complex, bespoke travel

services to discerning clientele across a broad spectrum of industries including entertainment and corporate travel as well as luxury leisure.”


29 OCTOBER 2020

PICTURE: Shutterstock

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