How to Start a Call Center
Building a call center business can be one of the most profitable types of businesses you can get into. This is because it is a growing industry that is constantly adapting and keeping up with the current trends in business and society. Many large companies in the U.S. outsource their work to call centers in countries such as India, the Philippines, China, Thailand, Mexico, and Malaysia. This is because people make less in these countries, since it's cheaper to live, and that's better for the company based in the United States. So if you live in a country such as these, then you may have much luck finding U.S. companies to do business with if you start up a call center. Call centers have the advantage of being able to grow and acquire new clients, since there are always new companies being created that need someone to handle their phone systems or orders. But how can you get in on this money making industry? What will you need, and how hard will it be?
First, you will need to raise capital for your business. Capital is your funding and it's definitely the first thing you will need to get the ball rolling. You should start saving money as soon as you realize that you want to start your own call center business. If it's too late for you to start saving now, and you're ready to get started, then you should draw up a business plan and then try to approach individual investors. Show them exactly how you plan to set things up and how you plan to make money through your company. Just try to keep some aspects of the business private, since you wouldn't want these potential investors to steal your idea and do it themselves. But you should probably make some contracts, that you and the investors would sign and get notarized. That way, they can sue you or attempt to start a lawsuit for your assets if things don't work out well for them. Just work out some type of arrangement to where they give you the start-up money, or at least some of it, and you give them the money back with interest after the business takes off. But finding investors without even a company built yet is probably going to be very difficult. So I would recommend saving up money yourself if you think it's still an option.
Find a Location
Next, you will need to find a location to do business at. If you are just starting out and only have 1 or 2 employees, you may want to start by running the business out of your home. If your employee base is 4 or more people, then you should probably look into renting an office or room somewhere. Sometimes there are small offices for rent that are just small sections of larger buildings, such as warehouses that have many different rooms in them. It's probably best to look for rental properties away from major cities, as these will definitely be much cheaper in most places. However, if you plan to rapidly expand and recruit more employees, you may want to start off in the city, as many will probably have difficulty getting to any locations that are too far for them to travel to each day. Wherever you decide to set up your company, you should make sure the electrical outlets work properly and that you will have all the amenities in the building or area that you will need to keep your business running smoothly.
After you settle on a place to set up shop, you will need to buy equipment for your business, such as phones, phone lines, switchboards and even computers and software if needed. You should first map everything out and make a list of everything you think you will need. When doing this, the main thing you want to do is cut costs, and the best way to do this is to buy used equipment. Just make sure to test it many times before using it for business, because the last thing you need is faulty wires or lost calls. Instead of looking for a supplier, it may be a good idea to contact small companies that install this type of equipment for offices. Many of them end up with old equipment after installing new equipment for big corporations and companies, so they may be willing to sell the old equipment at wholesale prices. You can also check websites like craigslist and ebay for discounted equipment. Who knows, you may even get lucky and find a real bargain.
Formalities and Paperwork
Before you hire employees, you will need to get all the legal things in order beforehand, and get all the paperwork in order. The best thing to do in this situation would be to hire a lawyer who specializes in these types of things, or somebody who has experience or a degree in accounting and maybe someone with a payroll background. All of this is not necessary, especially if you don't have much money when starting out, but it can definitely help if you have cash to burn. If you're doing it on your own, you need to apply for a business license first. Then try to estimate how many employees you will need, so you can estimate how much you will need to pay each one, and whether you will offer them health benefits or not, such as medical or dental insurance. You may also want to think about setting up other benefits for them such options for a 401k program. When it comes to getting these things set up, you should look for brokerage firms that help with these things, or contact the companies directly and ask about their group deals. You may also want to hire a tax advisor or specialist, which would probably be a good idea since many of them are professional and can often save you money, though it's not necessary if you think you know what you're doing and can keep track of everything.
When it comes to finding employees, you will probably want to hire the cheapest workers you can but ones that will work hard for you. If you live in a very developed country, such as USA or Canada, then hiring employees can be much more expensive than hiring them out of lesser developed countries such as India and the Philippines. If you decide to contract employees from another country, then things may be more difficult as you will have to travel there to manage them and set up your business, or you will have to hire someone you can trust to manage them. So this may or may not be the best idea, depending on what type of business you are trying to run. When you finally decide on a country you plan to operate out of, you'll have to advertise to recruit and hire your employees. The best places to find employees for this type of industry would be on websites such as Craigslist.org, Freelancer.com, and Elance.com. On websites like these, you can easily find skilled workers that are also looking for employment, and many of which who are willing to work for below average wages, since times are tough now and they may be struggling to find a job. You can also hire temporary workers through temp agencies around the world, so then you can try them out for any period of time and if you don't like the way things are going or they aren't working hard enough, you won't have to worry about letting them down too hard. Many temp agencies can find you employees who will work for any duration of time, from 1 day to 6 months, to even a year. You can advertise the job as temp-to-perm or temp-to-hire, which means that you would like to try them out first before you decide whether to hire them for any permanent or long-term positions.
After you've found a team of employees to work for your call center, you will need to start setting up clients. This is the most important aspect of setting up a call center, because this is essentially your business and where your income stream is going to come from. When it comes to finding clients, you can approach most companies directly by sending out mailers advertising your services. You should setup a website that covers all services your company can perform, and if you feel like making it public and non-negotiable, you can also list the rates and fees you would charge any clients that decide to use your services. Another great way to find clients is to go through some of the same websites you can find employees through, such as Elance.com and Freelancer.com. However, clients who are advertising jobs that they need performed on these sites are usually only advertising temporary positions, and they are usually very low paying as well. So for longevity, you should probably focus most of your time on trying to score bigger clients that will need the services of call centers, such as doctors offices that need an after-hours service to relay their calls, or large companies such as Comcast Cable and Hewlett-Packard, who need a people to handle their inbound or outbound calls and fill orders or handle customer service questions or complaints.
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