Ask 1099 Mom: Should I Pay Money to Start a Work-at-Home Job?


This is a question that’s been hot for years.  You have found what you think is the perfect job opportunity to let you work from home and take care of your kids, but to apply (or even get more information), you have to pay a fee upfront.  Is this legit?  It really depends on the situation.

There are several scenarios where this kind of fee would be on the up-and-up.  Being a consultant for a home business like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef, for instance, often requires a start-up cost to get your materials to begin selling (products, catalogs, order forms, or website, for example.)  Others will require access to an online forum, training materials, or DVD’s.  If you can tie an actual value or return to investing an amount into a new opportunity, it’s likely that the fee is legit.

If, on the other hand, you are being asked for cash to get more information or even just apply to a position, there is something to be concerned about.  One area where we see this often is in the mystery shopping world.  Some companies charge members a monthly or annual fee to have access to mystery shopping assignments.  The companies that actually hire shoppers for jobs, however, never charge money to have access to or apply for these opportunities.  Paying for information like this – or the privilege of being able to sign up for jobs – is shady and unnecessary.  (Looking for the best places to get started mystery shopping?  Try this Wise Bread mystery shopping guide to the business!)

Fee or Free?  It’s kind of a gut thing.  If you feel that any amount (legit or not) is too high for you to be able to afford, it’s probably best to walk away.

Have you ever paid money to start a new work-at-home career?  Do you feel it was justified?  Worth it?

*Photo: Saad Akhtar via Flickr 

1 Response to Ask 1099 Mom: Should I Pay Money to Start a Work-at-Home Job?

September 20, 2011 at 4:00 PM

Seven out of ten people working outside the home would rather find a telecommuting position that allows them flexibility, financial security, and time control. Mothers in particular find they desire a position at home since they are reluctant to leave their children in a daycare situation that requires the bulk of their paycheck to begin with. Coming home to work would provide them an income and the ability to raise their children rather than working for the sole purpose of paying the day care they resent.

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