Door knocking jobs in Australia- Are they scams for backpackers?
It took me 6 months to calmed down enough to write this article about Door knocking in Australia. I didn’t want to write about them straight away due to the fact I wanted a clear mind, to give you the facts and the figures.
all opinions and negative facts are mine as the Funny Backpacker I will be telling the truth and happy to stand by my word.
This article is from the Funny Backpacker and it’s not the views of FSG Travels
Lets talk door knocking jobs and direct sales in general
So if you haven’t been to Australia, you might not know how the door knocking and direct sales jobs are managed and what is involved. So here is a quick ‘general’ rundown
- You are selling one of these; Charity subscriptions, Food, a voucher for car servicing, air-con and solar ( There are more though)
- Either you are going door to door knocking selling these or and standing in a mall or stood on random streets
- Normally commission only (some pay a base rate for the 1st week or 2, Some pay hourly but staff turnover is extremely high)
- Some charge you to stand in the mall
- They promise you that you get better and you will earn LOADS
- They have one or two good sellers only and use this to motivate others
Let’s talk about our experience working “for” Hello Fresh
The interview and “training”
The 1st thing you might be wondering why I had the “for” with quotation marks. This is because you don’t work for Hello Fresh, You are contracted by them and you have to set up an ABN just to work there. I have some worry’s about this but without knowing much about Australia business law, I have to state this is my opinion but if anyone wants to look into this, be my guest. This seems to be a loophole of the minimum wage.
I would like to state when I and Taylor decided to work for Hello Fresh we were in a terrible place financially due to our time spent at Costa Berries. Any job was good for us, but Hello Fresh relies on the poor.
So when we headed to the Interview and there were promises of $400 a week for the 1st two weeks plus our commissions and told everyone is averaging $1500 a week and the newest people were making around $700 we were super excited. We were also told we are able to give out the best discount to customers and the areas we are heading to the houses would have been never knocked on before, worse case someone might have been at their door once before. (This would be nearly 6 months prior.)
We was told we would be given “Expert” training, and if we was willing to learn they would train! Another that was barely mentioned on training was the fact we shouldn’t knock on doors that have “do not knock stickers on them” and the person training us had a slide on not knocking after 6 pm and said “You don’t need to worry about that”
Government website quote
(Permitted hours for telemarketing are regulated under the Do Not Call Register Act 2006 and associated telemarketing standards.
Uninvited house visits, in person by a supplier, their sales person or dealer, cannot be made during the following times:
- before 9 am or after 6 pm on a weekday) https://www.accc.gov.au/business/advertising-promoting-your-business/door-to-door-telemarketing-sales
We got a pitch to learn in two days, we got a very basic rundown on how the company and iPad work. But told we would learn more on the door when we shadow the team leader. The Team Leader was making ’10’ sales on average (more like 3-4 and one leader making 6-7). The way we got paid was $30 for the 1st box of food sold then $70 if they continued on to a second one. We had no way to know if they continued for a second box.
The 1st days
We arrived work for Half-past ten, ready for our preparation before others turned up at 11 am. This was scrambling about giving us smelly ‘used’ uniform and giving us whatever notes were left thrown in the back office. At 11 am daily training started, This was meant to give us expert tips for great advice for the day to come, This normally involved telling us the same shit, First, moaning about how shit everyone did yesterday (people was unready pissed off due to not making money), How most people got zero sales and it wasn’t on, Followed by how good this neighborhood is and how we haven’t been there in like 3 months. “Everyone is expected to get at least 3 sales today“
Then we headed out in a van where the driver would slam on the breaks and scream randomly.
We then headed to Coles or Woolworths or another shop for lunch. We wouldn’t be able to make any money until around 1 pm when we finally got on our turf, The 1st day I got a large amount of turf (turf was the area you was allowed to knock on for the day, It was normally a town or a small area split up between you are the others in your team. This was never fairly split. Sizes changed and the number of houses could be less than 100)
I was meant to be given training on the day but this involved me watching the team leader knock on one door and get shut down very quickly, She was going show me another door but had to go due to one of the other members being chased by a man with a pole. ( did I mention this job wasn’t safe).
Let’s just say neither me or Taylor made a sale this day. After Taylor heard the news about the pole, she wanted to team up with me door knocking.
The next couple of weeks
The next couple of weeks continued the same way, Taylor and I got a couple of sales here and there but we started to lose motivation when;
- we realized we were giving a $25 discount and the Tv code was $35 discount (we got paid off our discount code, So we couldn’t use the tv one)
- The others on our team couldn’t get many sales apart from the one or two team leaders
- some days we could knock on all the doors in the area in under an hour
- People was knocking on our doors
- no one was home between 1-5pm
- They said we had to keep knocking they pick us up at 7 pm – 8 pm (This is Illegal, I have texts to prove this. I never knocked at these times I would sit in a park, or somewhere where there was light. It wasn’t really safe knocking on houses in the dark.)
- They told us every sale we don’t make the people still buy the products online ( which makes us give away free advertising, This is why I believe these types of door knocking jobs are scams)
But this last one was the most de-motivating ever, we watched the leaders actually sell one day. How were they making so many sales compared to everyone else? Lying to the customers, Not explaining the terms and conditions correctly.. and actually miss-selling the product. The people we were aiming to sell like, broke laws, mis-sold products and bend the rules. (just need to mention this was not all the best sellers there was one guy who actually could sell and spoke to customers with respect)
The last week
After all the Shit above came out we, Started to get disheartened by the door knocking job. One day I wrote on the group chat about how I was having a bad day has anyone got any tips? Where the boss privately texted me and Taylor saying we were being too negative in the group and if we can’t do it maybe the job wasn’t for us! We explained we wanted to learn to sell! We were only asking for advice.
The next day, My door knocking turf was so small it was actually in a high street and had less than 30 houses to knock on. I said I had finished my turf and they picked me up 2 hours later (just to remind you I was only getting paid for sales) so this was a wasted most the day and then they moved me to an area which had been done less than month and no one was interested in a boiling hot day. The next day I quit!
My Personal Opinions
(This is my personal opinions, Not fact)
Door knocking and most other sales jobs that Australia offers to backpackers are scams! They employ one or two good people (Normally with an actual sales background) to motivate and trick others believing its easy. Then employee a bunch of people to sell the products actually trying to keep the sale numbers low enough to just promote the products for free.
They will do as little training as possible and the training they give will be more about getting you motivated to stay on the team. This motivation training starts before your first day. They love a high turnover of staff, due to the fact keeps people just getting the 1st bit of the pitch out then the people at home just hear about the products and buy it without giving staff commission.
Would I work for them again? It’s hard to say no to $400 (even if this does cost you so much time, your soul and safety) when you’re in piles of debt and don’t know you are going to afford your next meal. But each desperate backpacker who works for two weeks helps the company scam more desperate backpackers.
For you guys who want to know my hourly rate for door knocking, $8 an hour.
In hindsight, RUN. Just look for another job. It’s not worth it.
Check out The Funny Backpackers review on Farm Work in Australia