Friday, March 9, 2007

Let's call the whole thing off

We Manage Calls may be in trouble before it starts, according to the Marianas Variety.

The newspaper quotes part-owner Erick Van Der Moss as saying "We can only afford a $4.5 to $5.5 per hour rate at the call center and beyond that number, the decision will have to be made by my partner in the U.S. as 90 percent of our clientele are from there."

I'd like to say I told you so, but I never finished that blog. Just another case of trying to compete with low wage labor overseas. How did that go the last time it was tried in Saipan? Sounds like a job for Captain Wage Review Board.

Or not. Here's
Call Center Magazine in 2002:
"That Puerto Rico is part of the US is a major contributing factor in companies considering it since 9/11," says John Boyd, site selection consultant with the Boyd Company.

Puerto Rico's minimum wage is the same as in the US: $5.15/hour. That's more than Mexico's $3.50/hour, but less than the reported $7/hour in US border towns, such as Laredo, TX.

Proponents say that more agents are willing to work at levels closer to the minimum in Puerto Rico - $6 per hour for customer service agents - than in the rest of the US. Puerto Ricans do not pay income tax; so they keep more of their earnings.

That was five years ago, things may change dramatically in that time. Yep, they have, says the Arizona Republic in an excellent article:
But with the Valley's 3 percent unemployment rate, a growing number of centers are offering record starting wages, robust benefits and perks in a desperate bid to find and keep qualified workers.

As a result, small and midsized operations, especially those refusing to pay more than the $10.71 per hour industry average, could be forced to drastically downsize or shut their doors.

Firms hoping to set up shop in metropolitan Phoenix and pay $8 to $9 per hour likely cannot compete for labor and may consider locating elsewhere, said James Trobaugh, senior vice president of CB Richard Ellis' Call Center Solutions Group.


Bruce A. Bateman said...

Howdy Ken,
Glad you visited and mentioned you have started your own. I tracked you down via a trip thru two other, (one mostly boring, one hilarious), blog sites and finally found your url.

Speaking of the Almost Here Any Minute Now Call Center: it looked patently obvious to even the most casual observer that We Crater Calls was set up to slip some tax money past the feds. After postponement 43B/2a a few months back even the newspapers tier one ace reporters figured out it "twont be happenin".

I'll be tuning in from time to time....please don't make the 'content moderation' mistake that Ed has made over at It has reduced readership and comments to near nothing. Censorship seldom works, unless followed up with ruthless violence. Just let 'em say whatever the fuck they want to say.

KAP said...

Everything in moderation, including moderation.

I keep pondering whether those little letter recognition squiggles are really necessary, I don't see much machine garbage on sites that don't use it. I also can't read it sometimes, makes my solenoid paranoid. Usually I forget it's there because I never have to use it.