Patrick Ahn, 49, would like to hire a couple of salespeople through Pennsylvania's Way To Work program, the stimulus-funded job subsidy program I wrote about in Sunday's Philadelphia Inquirer. Ahn's two-man company, based in Cheltenham, sells cell phone accessories through retail outlets. Ahn acts as a distributor of these products, which are manufactured in China.
Ahn reasons this way: Any salesman who starts a new job will take a certain amount of time to build up a book of business. Many companies handle that by paying the sales person a base salary for a time until commissions can kick in. Ahn has wanted to expand, but he said he really can't afford to sustain a new person fulltime until they start bringing sales. He contemplated hiring a salesman parttime, but that's a solution that doesn't do much for the sale person or for the business.
"It takes time for them to get into the groove," Ahn said. "For a couple months, he’ll be cold calling to visit local retail stores and he’ll probably come up empty-handed many times."
With this deal, he can pay the required taxes and workers' compensation and unemployment insurances, which could run about $50 to $100 a week, on a $520 a week salary (which is the top pay of $13 times 40 hours). Ahn is fairly confident that the sales person would quickly be able to bring in enough in sales to cover the taxes. Theoretically, by the time the program ends in September, the sales person would have brought in enough business to settle into a fulltime job with Ahn's company. Ahn envisions setting up a combination base pay and commission compensation plan.