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I just wanted to volunteer some information to you regarding Cydcor and your claims as to its deceptive practices. I worked for a branch of Cydcor out in Los Angeles, called “The Ad Group,” or “TAG” (www.teamtaggroup.com) for short. I wasted a good two months of my life working for them and after realizing this was merely a complex pyramid scheme I quit. The only reason their practices are not illegal is because you never give them any money. But, as they say, time is money, so in the end you are giving them quite a bit. As for the specifics of my experience at Cydcor, here is the jist of it.
My initial interview involved them telling me that in less than a year I would be making well over $100,000 a year as a manager if I stuck with them. They said I would run my own lucrative business, and that they would guide me in this endeavor. What essentially ensued was me spending two weeks “in the field” walking around in the 90 degree heat of Los Angeles in the summer in a suit doing door-to-door sales. I did this for 8 hours a day, plus an hour before and an hour afterwards, for an average work day of around 10 hours. They called this “face-to-face business.” I had no pre-established meetings, and spent my days walking into somewhere between 50 and 75 businesses a day, feigning my importance and often resulting to lying (as was encouraged) in order to get past the “gatekeeper” and speak with the “decision-maker.” I would, on a good day, get to speak with around 5 of these “decision-makers.” At this point, 3 out of 5 would tell me to leave, scream at me, or curse at me. The remaining 2 would, if I was lucky, buy something. I represented Quill office supplies, and on a very good day I would make around two or three sales equaling around $400. This would result in a commission of around $100. So, you may think, that isn’t so bad! What’s wrong with $100 a day during your “training phase?” Well, understand that you work 10 hours a day and that you pay for your meals, your gas, and you get taxed. Your territory that you canvas could be anywhere from 10 miles away to 25 miles away. In Los Angeles you are looking at driving an hour at least just to get to your sales territory. So at the end of the day you are making somewhere around $60 or $70 on a good day. On top of the fact that you have to drive to the office everyday first before you go into the field and again when you return. Gas is expensive, and so is wear and tear on your car.
So, what happens after this training phase? Well, you get promoted! Wow! After only two weeks of hard work I got promoted to a “Leader!” I’m so proud of myself. I can’t wait to learn more and get some new responsibilities and perks/pay! Oh, wait. No, just new responsibilities. What sort of responsibilities? Well, for one, I now have to arrive at the office an hour earlier, at 7:00am every day to do “leader training.” Then, at 9:00am all of the interviewees come in, and guess who is interviewing them? Me! Yes, I am interviewing AND HIRING people who are literally two weeks behind me. These people have already been interviewed once (roughly a 15 minute interview) and this is their second interview. The trick is that all of these people who we interviewed the first time were called, even though we tell them we only call a small percentage. We call everyone. The idea is that they are hungry for the job and feel like they need to prove it. So my job is to reel them in. I hire them to “my team” and then I am expected to train them completely from start to finish. How do I do this? Well, now when I go into the field to do some good ole’ door-to-door sales I am bringing my interviewee, who most likely is miserable and does NOT want to take this job. I even had multiple people say after the first half hour that they would not take this job if their life depended on it. Oh well, too bad, you’re stuck with me for 8 hours doing door-to-door sales. I had a girl that was so miserable she cried in my car for 15 minutes after someone cursed at us for soliciting them even though they have a “No Solicitations” sign. And yes, we were encouraged to solicit those people as well. And to lie to security guards, lie to receptionists, and lie to everyone to get to the owner. You can understand that many of them were irate that you had infiltrated their businesses in such a way and wasted their time. Most just tell you to leave, but some are very angry and treat you quite poorly. This was always embarrassing when you have a poor, undeserving person with you who is literally on THEIR JOB INTERVIEW.
After a full day of terrible door-to-door sales you then tell the person you are interviewing that you want them to be on your team. You tell them they’re great and can make loads of cash. You only have to work in the field a few months until you hit Assistant Manager you tell them. If you’re lucky they’ll take the job and join your team. Then you take them in the field with you every day to train them and split your doors with them. Sometimes you have 2 people and you split it 3 ways. What does this mean? Your sales commission just dropped by either 50% or 66% because you are seeing either 50% less doors per day or 66% less doors. But that’s okay, because as a Leader you make more money, right? No. You don’t. Same amount as the guy you’re training. And what is that, you say? Zero. You work on commission only. So yeah, there are PLENTY of days when you LOSE money by making zero sales and paying for gas and food. Also, at the end of the day as a leader you are expected to stay later and socialize as well, to make the new guys feel at home. This means you show up at 7:00am to the office and train for 2 hours. Go into the field at 9:00am with your interviewee/new hire, and leave the field at 5:00pm. You arrive back at the office at around 6:00 – 6:30pm. You stay at least half an hour to an hour. You leave the office at 7:30 – 8:00pm. Your work day is at least 12 hours a day, for a nice average work week of 60 hours. Oh, and if you don’t make your sales, they expect you to work Saturdays. In fact, just before I was to be promoted as a Leader I had a day where I made zero sales. They told me I should consider working Saturday to make up for it. I did not. They in turn did not promote me. I had to work the next Saturday to prove my worth, and then they promoted me.
After you are a Leader for a while (2-3 months they say) you hopefully accumulate 5 people under you that are all promoted into the same title as Leader. At this point you become an Assistant Manager. You still make no base salary, but your commission doubles. This is because you are spending half of your time training with the Manager of the branch, thus you are only in the field about a third of the time. So you’re likely making less money. After you train a few months you then take the 5 Leaders you trained who hopefully haven’t quit, and you go open your own office with them and the guys they hired. Where? They tell you where they have an opening, which is, in the case of the 2 months I was there, either of two towns in middle-America. You have no choice. So yeah, you are moving, bringing a bunch of people who have never been their either, and hoping all goes well.
In my two months working at Cydcor I realized how many people were hired and how many of those quit. After the first week I started taking a log out of my own curiosities. Here are my statistics:
Time span: 7 weeks
When I realized Cydcor was wasting my time, and that I was making zero money, I quit. I was treated extremely rudely by Jamie Hepp, the Manager of the branch, and one of the top 6 guys in the entire company. He told me I was nothing but a quitter and that I lied to them about me taking the company seriously. He berated me and talked down to me for about 15 minutes and then told me to get out of his sight.
After quitting Cydcor I joined another firm in sales and have done extremely well. In less than two years I am making a six-digit salary and working with a great company that treats me with respect. I work a normal work week and I cherish the moments I had a Cydcor for putting things in perspective. It’s one of those jobs that you’re glad you had because it makes everything else seem so much better. I wish there were a way to shut down Cydcor, because all they do is reel you in so you can make sales for them. They do not care if you succeed or if you fail, because after all.. they have zero investment in you. You are being paid nothing. You only make money if you make money for them. And you’re being trained by other people that they are not paying either. It is a brilliant scheme to dupe people into running around doing door-to-door sales for you. They don’t care if you stay a week or a month, just as long as you make some sales for them. And if you don’t make sales they don’t care about that either, because they aren’t paying for your gas, your food, or giving you a base salary. Your failure or success is a mere formality to them, and in the end does not affect them in the least. They just keep hiring and hiring and hiring. Then those people figure it out and they quit. Then another batch of people come in the door. It is an ever-revolving system of abuse that makes money for a very few people at the top of the entire scheme. It is a wonder that these guys are still able to participate in such unjust business practice.