With advances in technology and with corporate attitudes towards telecommuting turning around, there are more remote positions than ever before! In fact, according to FlexJob’s annual analysis of the top companies that hire remote workers, there was a 36% increase in the number of remote jobs from 2014 to 2015.
But just because telecommuting jobs are on the rise, doesn’t mean you can slack off from doing your due diligence. The FTC estimates that ONLY one in every 55 work-at-home opportunities is legit.
There are many warning flags that an opportunity is a scam. Things like lack of contact information, vague job descriptions, hyped-up want ads, negative reviews, and poor ratings. But there is one warning flag that causes a lot of confusion, and that's fees associated with working from home.
You always hear people say, “You should never have to pay for a job” and in essence that's true. But there are some exceptions to that rule, which I want to discuss before I move on to the legit work-at-home jobs that don't require a fee.
With the majority of work-at-home jobs, the bare minimum you'll need to provide is a reliable computer (or laptop) and high-speed internet connection. However, depending on which job you perform you may also need a dedicated phone line, a headset, a quiet office space free of distractions, and a printer. Some legit fees you may encounter when applying for remote jobs are fees for training materials and criminal background checks (CBC).
Why do work-at-home companies charge for these sorts of fees?
It's mainly entry-level positions that require these sorts of fees, and the reason companies do this is they want to weed out candidates that aren't 100 percent committed to the role. The rationale is if you invest a small amount of money you're more likely to follow through and remain with the company for a longer period. On the flipside, most telecommuting positions for professional careers, do not require any fees for training or background checks.
One last thing you need to consider when searching for work-at-home opportunities is — is the position a job or a business endeavor? There are lots of legit business-in-a-box opportunities, home-based franchises, and direct sales companies that require startup fees. These sorts of fees are entirely legit when you're joining a business opportunity, but again, you need to make sure that you're dealing with reputable companies.
Don't want to invest any money at all? No problem.
Here are a bunch of legit work-at-home jobs (with equipment requirements) that don't require a fee to get started.
Amazon hires for a wide variety of virtual positions including administrative support, customer service, business development, legal, marketing, sales and much more. There are no fees associated with these positions.
American Express hires virtual workers for both entry-level (customer care professionals) and professional positions. You will need to have a computer, dedicated phone line, and a quiet office space. I read on this post that American Express will pay for your connection setup and monthly costs for these services, however, you'll need to verify this information with AMEX.
Appen hires remote workers for social media evaluation, web search evaluation, transcribers and more. Must have a computer that's less than three years old and a high-speed internet connection.
Apple hires at-home advisors to answer customer questions and concerns. You’ll need to provide a quiet, distraction-free workspace and high-speed internet connection; Apple will provide you with an iMac and headset to use during employment.
Blooms Today hires independent call agents to assist customers with purchases. Must have a dedicated phone line, high-speed internet, a headset, and a quiet office space.
Call Center QA hires home-based individuals to conduct Mystery Shopping phone calls. All mystery shopping gigs can be completed at home using your mobile or landline phone. They do not charge any fees.
CloudSource hires for customer service, technical support, and sales positions. You must have your own computer, internet connection, headset, and a productive work environment.
Convergys hires virtual workers for sales and service, customer service, and tech support. You will need a computer less than six years old, a high-speed internet connection, a phone (landline or cell), a headset and flash drive, and a quiet office space.
Dell hires for a wide variety of work-at-home positions, such as sales managers, tech support, account managers, clinical support advisors and more, no fees required.
Fancy Hands hires at-home assistants to complete short tasks. Must have a computer, high-speed internet, audio headset, and either a landline or iPhone.
Hilton hires remote reservation sales specialists and customer care coordinators. To qualify for these positions, you must have a computer, a dedicated landline, headset, high-speed internet, webcam, and a dedicated office space.
Leapforce hires independent agents to perform web search evaluation. You must have a reliable computer and internet connection. No fees are required to get started.
Liveops hires customer service professionals, licensed insurance agents, insurance claims specialists and sales professionals for phone work. You must have your own computer, anti-virus software, telephone, telephone service, and internet connection.
Next Wave has work-at-home opportunities for telephone-based organizers and writers. Must have a quiet home office, computer, high-speed internet connection, headset, and printer.
Rev hires transcriptionists, closed captioners, and translators for home-based freelance work. All you need is a computer, headset, and broadband internet.
Teletech hires at-home customer service representatives to answer in-bound calls and emails from customers. Must have a computer, anti-virus software, dedicated phone line, and internet connection.
Time Etc hires general virtual assistants, social media and marketing assistants, writing assistants, and customer service assistants. Must have a computer, high-speed internet, Microsoft Office, Skype, headset, and a printer with paper.
Uhaul hires telecommuters for sales and reservation agent positions. Must have a private work area, USB headset, and internet connection.
UnitedHealth Group hires for a wide variety of telecommuting positions, such as nurses, program directors, project managers, and customer service much more.
Westat hires home-based employees for telephone data collection work. You will need to have a computer, high-speed internet connection and a dedicated landline phone with a headset.
World Travel Holdings hires at-home travel agents. Must have a designated office space, high-speed internet connection and a separate phone line dedicated to this position.
Working Solutions hires independent contractors for sales, customer service, and travel professionals. Contractors will need to pass a criminal background check (CBC) to work this program. As far as I can tell, they don't make candidates pay for the CBC, but you will need to verify this for a fact.
Do you have more of an entrepreneurial spirit?
There are some home-based opportunities that do not require a fee to get started. Check out these two posts for free business opportunities.
Do you know of another legit work-at-home job that doesn't require a fee to get started? Leave a comment below and I may add it to the list.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she’s been able to figure out how to find a career path that you’re truly passionate about. Holly’s had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
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