I'm not trying to post some opinionated report about this, but it is really hard for me to separate my personal feelings from logic and desire to help others not fall victim; and I guess I'll start this out with some honesty. I don't know if this is a scam or not; but, here are some facts you should know so you can make up your own mind:
The first thing anyone going into this should know, Mike Kriss has not promoted anyone to 'Owner' in 2 years, or possibly longer. The average career of someone in the business is 1-2 days. Anyone that is fairly gullible (like myself) and believes in the "American Dream" is going to be 'taken' in during the interview.
This leads me to my first complaint, unethical business practices. During the interview, you will be lied to and guaranteed that you will make $500-600 per week, and that Global Advertising reimburses you for your gas and car expenses. This is a blatant lie. I was one of the top performers in the office and I never made that much money in one week, in fact, after my car expenses my best week in the business I ended with $150 in pocket. When you finally confront them about reimbursement for gas and car expenses they will tell you that you can write off all that on your taxes, which is also a lie. You are filing a 1099 tax form. This means that you are self employed and Global Advertising does not guarantee you will make $0.01, though you were guaranteed $500-600 in the interview. Being on this 1099 means you have to keep a very accurate mileage log, not your gas receipts. The mileage log you keep needs remain kept up every day and filed properly every week, Global Advertising should hold some responsibility making everyone accountable for your records and their own. The mileage log should be updated every day, there should be a starting mileage for you commute to work every day, the mileage you use throughout the day (keep in mind the IRS only tracks what are called appointments, so if you're in product you get nothing because you're not going to any set destination), and you need to keep track of miles used on your commute home, then all the miles that you use outside of work. Also, if you are doing the Home Improvement or Fast Wax and they put you in the W-2 form, you are getting scammed when they tell you to write your hours in as 40, they are making you lie. Your hours on your time sheets for the W-2 need to reflect the time you show up in the morning until the time you finally go home. Don't let Mike, Mannie, or any of those other goons tell you otherwise, DO NOT WORK FOR FREE!
Also don't be fooled when Mike tells you that you go in for morning meetings to further your knowledge, all he is actually accomplishing is helping you to be a better street hustler. Unless you signed paperwork that said you agreed to come to and from the office at the designated time Mike sets at 7:30 and agree to work in his warehouse for free, you are wasting your time.
In my time there I've been to most of the ghetto's in Chicago and Northwest Indiana, I have seen shootings, robberies, prostitution deals, drug deals, and anything else you can imagine; not to mention the fact that shows very poorly on the company when the president of the company, Mike Putnam, blatantly made advances on female coworkers in my office to have relations outside of work (at hotels after NASCAR races... I know), but that's a completely different story, it's sad your wife isn't enough for you.
Mike Kriss is very manipulative and I was very taken in by him. I tried to quit several times and every time he talked me back into staying, by telling me I was his 'main guy.' Finally, I quit because my debt was building up and every time I got close to getting something going and building my crew, it was crushed. Mike's explanation every time was that I failed to train them properly, that those people were too weak, or they were right for the company. On a side note, when I left the company Mike told all the employees that I was high maintenance and I wasn't good for the business so he had to cut me. So what happened to be being your 'main guy,' MIKE???
To further the unethical business practices argument let's look at how the business makes money. Mike essentially keeps you in the field because that's how he makes the most money on you. The opportunity they keep presenting to you is that you recreate yourself and the business practice with their help. The reality is that Mike has several outside deals that failed, so he just doesn't let anyone go into business for themselves because he loses money on them eventually (Ed Wardinski and Manuel Fiero are just a few examples of 'owners' who never made it on their own and never will, Mike is now using them more than anyone else, other people in this company owners that didn't make it are Katie Taylor, Jeff Shin, and Tom Spiro who was a manager for 12 years and left with nothing). But Mike has his business figured out and I will tell you that he will never let you out of the field, he keeps his cut of the profit high and keeps the sales force's cut of profit low, and it's sad that he keeps Ed in his pocket and will never let him out. He then feeds the sales force lies and encouragement to keep sales up. You are told that the profit for each office is only about $100,000 per year, but in all actuality he pockets the lion's share of $300,000+ for himself a year just on sales from that little office in Addison.
A specific example for you to review: The product costs on the chairs we ran was around $3.18, the seller profit was $1.50 per chair, and they were sold for $10.80 (tax) Even though most people don't collect tax because they are in the hood and the job is all about wheelin' and dealin', the real profits aren't even close to making $1.50 per unit. Anyhow, Mike sold approx. 21,000 of those chairs for 6 weeks. Doing some quick math on this, total money brought in was about $226,800, price on the units is $66,780, the money that the 15 sales people split was $31,500, and remainder was Mike's profit $111,720 for 6 weeks work. Let's be generous to his little hole in the wall and give him a generous $20,000 in operating expenses for that time and he still made $91,720, a lot of money. That's just one product, we run as many as 3 products at once and there are as few as 10 people in the field, I've actually seen as many as 30 people go out into the field.
Let's talk about the next thing that is wrong with this job, there is no health insurance. If you need it there are private providers that can insure you, but keep in mind that it is very expensive (around $200 a month), and to get it you have to be in perfect health and have no alarming medical history. Point in case, 3 weeks after I started I injured my foot, instead of taking time off, Mike said I had to work if I wanted to keep my job, now my foot hurts ALL the time on a permanent basis and I still can't afford to see a doctor to see what's wrong with it. The next tidbit in a similar scenario, working like a dog I ended up with pneumonia a few months later. I took a day off because I was become very ill; I had some breathing treatments and other things. All in all, I have $2000 in medical bills that were caused at/during work and I didn't even get any sympathy, in fact Mike threatened my job. But he can do that when he has you on that 1099 form, and he makes sure that everyone is aware that they mean nothing to him and can be replaced.
Let's end with hours and wages. The hours worked are absolutely astounding and the wage is unbearable. Let's look at the reality of this... my tax return for almost 7 months of employment stated my wage was a little over $8000. I was working an average of 75 hours per week. Over the almost 7 months, my hourly wage works out less than $4 per hour. I would have made more money working less hours at McDonalds. Keep in mind these hours reflect being in the office at 7:30 every day and not leaving until between 8:00-8:30 every night, not to mention there was a 'leaders' meeting every Monday that usually went to 10-10:30pm. And to my understanding, if Mike requires you to show up in the morning you need to be waged for that time you are in those meetings. Also, when you are in the warehouse in the evenings, you have to be waged. Additionally in order to use the pallet jack in the warehouse he must have special licensing and training; which he does not. The moral of this story is that Mike needs to have his own trained and licensed warehouse personnel, if you are there, you should refuse to work unless you are being paid for it.
I'll end my argument with some facts not related to the company at all. Illinois Public Act 94-1072 states that all employers are required to pay their employees minimum wages equal to $7.50 an hour for 40 hours per week. Then time and a half for hours in excess of 40 hours. Effective through July 1, 2008. After July 1, 2008 the rate jumped to $7.75 an hour. If you don't make enough money to equal that amount, good ol' boy Mike needs to make up the difference... contractor or not. And no matter what he has you sign regarding your status as a contractor he is not exempt from these laws. He has to apply for and attain permission from the Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) in order to pay contractors below minimum wage. And according to Section 6 of the Illinois Public Act 94-1072, the only reasons that IDOL allows such a permit to be obtained is because an employee is participating in a training program or they are mentally or physically disabled. As for the training program loop hole if he does get IDOL to approve he is still required to pay 70% of minimum wage ($5.42) for the first 6 months or until training has been completed. After 6 months minimum wages are required regardless of training status. Please know that I am not a lawyer and I do not in any way claim to be an expert in labor laws. I have made myself into an informed citizen and I am in the process of seeking legal council to see what my rights are and if possible I will be filing a law suit against this company to claim the nearly $10,000 I feel I am entitled to under these laws. Also know that if you are a past or present employee of this company that you have rights too. Go to http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/. Check out the labor laws yourself. Also you can file a claim against them using the form at this link. http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/forms/pdfs/IL452MWL01.PDF and you can call someone at IDOL like I have to get help finding a lawyer. IDOL Minimum Wage Toll Free Hotline: (800) 478-3998. You also have other options in that you can report unethical business practices, you can file a claim with the Better Business Bureau of Chicago by calling (((Redacted)))or emailing them at (((Redacted))). Don't let them walk on you. You have rights, take a stand. And if you want to reach out to me and join the ever growing group of past employees that are fighting back please make a post and we can talk.
I left because I didn't want to be used anymore, and I suggest anyone that reads this seriously consider the facts I have presented. I welcome your rebuttal Mike Kriss A.K.A. Terrance. ;)
Oak Park, Illinois
U.S.A. CLICK here to see why Rip-off Report, as a matter of policy, deleted either a phone number, link or e-mail address from this Report.