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April2013
Valued Contributor

USA
170 Posts

Posted - 07/25/2013 :  2:16:17 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Heather, I didn't write the note, I just posted what I got on an email. And as for rural, you don't get much more than where I live.
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Heather_NW
Trainee

USA
9 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2013 :  06:47:04 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
April - Sorry my post sounded harsh. I'm seeing more and more about Spar and other companies utilizing smartphone apps. The "encouragement" to use them is sounding more like a requirement as the support for non-smartphone decreases. Your post didn't look like a quote of info sent as it is phrased as we and our. I don't remember seeing a message about printing reimbursement being reduced. Though I read the posts here often, I don't usually get in on the conversation. The push for us to use smartphone apps just bothers me.

Marla - yes, I know that smartphones are more affordable than a year ago. However, (other than in-store reporting) I have no use for them. I don't need internet and email and games everywhere I go. My basic cell phone lets me call when I need to while away from home. For that reason, I can't justify paying for the phone and $50 per month for my limited part time hours. If I had more stores and more hours, maybe.

I only print what is necessary. I know my stores and which managers want handouts. If tasks are repeated more than one week or more than one store, I don't print multiples. And I print in black ink only on draft mode. My initial response was more about the push to smartpone apps than the reduction to 4 cents per page. Many comapnies don't have reimbursement at all.

Thanks.

Heather
merchandising in the NW
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April2013
Valued Contributor

USA
170 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2013 :  08:19:37 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
No problem, I was surprised when I got that email from them also. I, like you, have a basic cell phone and really am not into all the bells and whistles on phones and cars nowadays. I think of it as in how much would it cost to repair if something fails. I guess we'll see what the future brings... Sorry if I confused you.
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TheresaM
Member

Virginia
USA
15 Posts

Posted - 07/26/2013 :  3:45:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
They offered me work but they don't want to pay much :(
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MarlaB
Star Contributor

Attica, IN
USA
2843 Posts

Posted - 07/29/2013 :  1:21:19 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I didn't think I'd use it much either, until I got one. finding more and more to do with it. I was spending almost $50 per month for only phone calls, so for me, it was worth getting the smart phone. Mine isn't fancy tho. I also used it instead of my camera, it took better pics and it was 1 less thing to carry around. I like to use the phone for the weather alerts, since my weather can change in a heartbeat.

Marla
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
917 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2013 :  07:07:23 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I do have a smartphone, but I find the app cumbersome to use for anything other than super-easy visits. For those covert pricing audits? No way on God's green earth I can pull that off. I also prefer to print a pdf copy of my report when I enter it in case there are any questions later. If I use the app, there is no paper trail or reference options. Using my phone to read guidelines instead of printing them is fine, but past that, it is not especially helpful for the jobs I've gotten from Spar. If I did not have one already (and I find it immensely helpful for my MS jobs) then I certainly would not be getting one for the few merch jobs offered.

I thought it interesting that required insurance is going up in the same month that printing reimbursement is cut in half, and the next 5 assignments I was given are ones that cannot be entered via app anyway.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Kris R.
Valued Contributor

CA
USA
135 Posts

Posted - 08/01/2013 :  12:54:52 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Glad I don't work for Spar anymore. Worked exclusively for them for about 2 year. My scheduler was a mega b**** even if I just had a question for her. She never wanted to be bothered. I cannot believe they have the nerve to cut the printing reimbursement in 1/2. As it was the reimbursement they had only covered 1/2 my actual costs for those years. And insurance going up too? They don't pay enough as it is. Gas has doubled since I started working for them, but of course they don't care if that comes out of your meager minimum wage. If you ask me this is their answer to slave labor, getting around the laws to pay OT & the rest. My lovely scheduler dumped me after 2 years of getting all my work done on time every week, she dumped me because I had emergency surgery & she didn't want to wait for my recovery.

MSPA Silver Certified
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Dar-L
Star Contributor

USA
1031 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2013 :  3:57:48 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Any Spar reps out there using WildBlue/Exede satellite ISP? Difficulty accessing job form links of Spar's page?

Some in my region are pulling our hair out over this. Spar blames WildBlue/Exede, they in return say it is Spar's prob.

Any info would be appreciated. I am desperately looking for workarounds to avoid having to go to a wifi site daily to download my job assignments.

Thanks!
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Gayle M
Member

USA
25 Posts

Posted - 08/13/2013 :  7:30:06 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have been a merchandiser for over 15 years. Some of the comments I read surprise me. The expectation for getting paid for everything amazes me. If you are an independent contractor, you can decide to work for that company or not. Normally you are not reimbursed for gas, printing or much of anything. Years ago I made a lot of money merchandising. Now, not so much. This is attributed to the fact that clients are not paying for these jobs like they used to. Those of you that have merchandised for a long time must remember the days when you could run in and run out,and make 10.00 in 15 minutes and move on for the next job. Clients have figured all of that out by now and pay for real work. The gravy days have been over for a long time. Does anyone realize how many merchandising companies have gone out of business? Its because this is a dwindling field, that does not have much life in it. I always took my mileage on my taxes, I never felt that someone should reimburse me, as that was a part of the deal. As a independent contractor, you have choices to accept assignments or not. I also was a employee and that was a nice balance between the two. In reading this forumn sometimes, there are more people complaining that not. Its a job, you chose it, its not a lucrative field any longer, so maybe you should choose something else.
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Big Sue
Star Contributor

USA
781 Posts

Posted - 08/14/2013 :  9:05:49 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
According to the IRS Federal Guidelines, and the rules/laws from the Department of Labor:

Types of Instructions Given

An employee is generally subject to the business’s instructions about when, where, and how to work. All of the following are examples of types of instructions about how to do work.

When and where to do the work.
What tools or equipment to use.
What workers to hire or to assist with the work.
Where to purchase supplies and services.
What work must be performed by a specified individual.
What order or sequence to follow when performing the work.


Degree of Instruction

Degree of Instruction means that the more detailed the instructions, the more control the business exercises over the worker. More detailed instructions indicate that the worker is an employee. Less detailed instructions reflects less control, indicating that the worker is more likely an independent contractor.

Note: The amount of instruction needed varies among different jobs. Even if no instructions are given, sufficient behavioral control may exist if the employer has the right to control how the work results are achieved. A business may lack the knowledge to instruct some highly specialized professionals; in other cases, the task may require little or no instruction. The key consideration is whether the business has retained the right to control the details of a worker's performance or instead has given up that right.


Training

If the business provides the worker with training on how to do the job, this indicates that the business wants the job done in a particular way. This is strong evidence that the worker is an employee. Periodic or on-going training about procedures and methods is even stronger evidence of an employer-employee relationship. However, independent contractors ordinarily use their own methods.

You are not an independent contractor if you perform services that can be controlled by an employer (what will be done, where it will be done, when it will be done and how it will be done). This applies even if you are given freedom of action. What matters is that the employer has the legal right to control the details of how the services are performed.

In addition, what tools or equipment to use, what work must be performed by a specified individual,what order or sequence to follow.

The extent to which services performed by the worker are a key aspect of the regular business of the company. If a worker provides services that are a key aspect of your regular business activity, it is more likely that you will have the right to direct and control his or her activities. This would indicate an employer-employee relationship.

Also and employees required to render services personally, does not have assistants or employees while retaining the right to hire others to perform the required work as is the case with an IC worker. Employees render services are part of a continuing relationship.

Employees are required to perform task in set manner, routine, schedule. Employees are required to submit regular oral and/or written, or computerized work reports where work is evaluated. Employees are paid at regular, set intervals. Employees are compensated for services at fixed rate regardless of profitability.

An Employee can be discharged at any time with no liquidated damages. An IC worker cannot be discharged other than for failure to perform contracted service. An Employee may terminate relationship at any time. An IC worker may terminate his or her relationship Only upon completion of contract or breach by other party.


I am wondering how some companies get away with treating their workers as ICs.
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MarlaB
Star Contributor

Attica, IN
USA
2843 Posts

Posted - 08/17/2013 :  09:50:10 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
GayleM, I agree with your post. I enjoyed working both IC and employee and they balanced off each other. Most of my companies gave me the option to get the job done when I wanted, within a certain window of time, and how to do it (as long as it looked right at the end). This was the perfect job for me at the end of my working life.

Marla
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Larry Estep
Member

Rantoul, IL
USA
39 Posts

Posted - 09/03/2013 :  6:07:59 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Did anyone else do extra DG Sony jobs last round for access fees (stores that were a distance away) and have issue receiving them? I had 1 store I completed that somehow completely disappeared from my paycheck, and more than a half dozen access fees I was promised that never were paid. I kept all the original e-mails and have forwarded them up the line but so far I am still awaiting payment for several of them, and no word on what happened to the missing store. I'm not sure I'll be as willing to accept out of area locations next round later this month.
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Dar-L
Star Contributor

USA
1031 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  10:34:05 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I'm there too, Larry. Have always been paid for extra in-store time promptly.
Never received a penny of the access fees or extra pay promised for remote locations.
Contacted my DM a couple times on this, and once she sent a spreadsheet form to fill out, but still.... no $$.

Guess I will have to request specifics in writing in the future, as to amount and pay date.
I am new with Spar (a Certified "convert") and still rebuilding my routes. But I agree....money offered to drive should be paid without a struggle.
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April2013
Valued Contributor

USA
170 Posts

Posted - 09/04/2013 :  12:13:01 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I miss Certified. I had a good route of DGs that they kept in my queue month after month. I got an email from Spar that the DGs would be done again starting 9/23, but you are always in the dark as to what you are going to get...
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Sandi G
Star Contributor

Tallahassee, FL
USA
917 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2013 :  07:24:10 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Yep. Certified jobs let you pick up ones you wanted, pass on those you didn't, and absolutely paid more, especially for jobs in the boonies. Glad you get paid well, but it's definitely a "not so much" for some of us. Between the [majority of my] stores taken away from me and the reduced pay rates on the ones they've let me keep, I've lost $500 for each round of Sony jobs. Never mind the profitability that has decreased on stores I still have (took away stores close to me, left me with ones driving to all ends of town), that is simply incoming cash that has disappeared. I saw a posted notice about Sony coming up again, but so far none on my job board. I used to really enjoy taking a week and just visiting my stores to do the resets. I had it routed out to one day in each city. Now, assuming I get any, I can do them all in a single day and it's barely worth the effort. I most heartily miss Certified.

"Access fee" of $0.10/mile after you drive 30 miles to do a job for $8.50/hr? Be still my heart. I get about 22 mpg on my vehicle (not great, but it's paid for so I keep it), and it literally would cost me more in gas than they wanted to pay me for some of the jobs they've assigned.

The one positive thing is that my DM has been very responsive to any attempts to contact her. I've read the other horror stories posted here, and at least I don't have that complaint.

--Sandi
traditional & video shopping FL and GA
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Jonathan B.
Star Contributor

Smyrna, Tennessee
USA
468 Posts

Posted - 09/05/2013 :  3:47:25 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
For me, Spar is so much less stress than Certified was and the best part is no foreign call center people calling me 5 times a day!

Jonathan B.
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MarlaB
Star Contributor

Attica, IN
USA
2843 Posts

Posted - 09/07/2013 :  4:22:08 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
I have found over the years that if you don't like working for a certain company, then quit. There will be others to do the work that you are complaining about.

Marla
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LarryT
Star Contributor

USA
688 Posts

Posted - 09/08/2013 :  05:08:56 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gayle M

Does anyone realize how many merchandising companies have gone out of business? Its because this is a dwindling field, that does not have much life in it.


Merchandising is not dwindling and those companies that are the strongest will not dwindle. Pay is falling, raises are hard to find, but the field is busier than ever before, albeit working with lower magins. With retailers cutting back hours like they have since March of this year and poor work ethic by store personnel, now more than ever manufacturer's need to make sure their products are stocked, ordered, and properly merchandised. If merchandising went away today, both the retailers and the manufacturer's would suffer greatly which could prove to be disastrous.

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, at least I'm done with merchandising... for goodness sake.
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MarlaB
Star Contributor

Attica, IN
USA
2843 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2013 :  08:08:18 AM  Reply  Reply with Quote
Larry, you said it. Merchandising, whether done inhouse by store personnel or 3rd party (most merchandising companies) will ALWAYS need to be done. Those displays or racks of clothing are being merchandised, even if the clerk in the store is doing it.

Most employees in the stores are told to do so much, and very few really end up doing everything that they are told to do, let alone do it right. Merchandisers will be needed, unfortunately for us merchandiser, people think that ANYONE can do the job. That is one of the reasons that the pay is going down.

Any occupation that SEEMS easy, everyone thinks they can do it, just like DIY carpenters or anything else.

As far as companies going out of business, if the client thinks they can 'save' some money by cutting what they are willing to pay, then several companies will go out of business. Especially ones that MERCHANDISERS want to be paid for every little thing, next thing will be getting paid for having an ink pen with them. IF you are an IC, expect to have expenses, it's called being in business for yourself.

Marla
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RobertH
Valued Contributor

Pinson, AL
USA
178 Posts

Posted - 09/13/2013 :  7:17:30 PM  Reply  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Gayle M

Does anyone realize how many merchandising companies have gone out of business? Its because this is a dwindling field, that does not have much life in it.



My experience shows just the opposite.

If anything, there might be a few too many merchandising companies around, especially bad ones.

Stores have a TON of product that they want worked and they don't want to hire and pay more employees; they'd rather a third party merchandising company do it for them.

Manufacturers make a ton of product that they want on the shelves in stores and create alot of pop materials to better sell it, but they don't want to hire, train and pay a field service force to do that; they'd rather a third party merchandising company do it for them.

Merchandising is a pretty fast-growing industry. True, it doesn't pay as well as it could or should, but it is better than straight retail. As long as the stores and manufacturers create a demand for this service, companies will rush to meet the need.

Robert
Over 30 years in the Field
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