How to Pick a Good Work From Home Job

By Tracie Chancellor

Making the switch to a work from home job is advantageous for a number of reasons, but the job-seeker will do him or her self a big favor if they will expend the extra effort necessary to find the job that’s right for them.  The two disappointments you must attempt to avoid are 1) ending up in a job you don’t really like, or, 2) finding out once you start a job that the pay doesn’t quite measure up to what you thought it would.

How to Pick a Good Work from Home Job Compatible with Your Skills and Needs

You have researched the different types of jobs for working at home and have found a few that hold promise. Now it’s time to get an in depth understanding of both the details of the tasks involved and the compensation that goes with it.  It is not uncommon for job descriptions to list a salary range for specific positions, but job seekers may have to do some additional research and read the fine print to find out how much money they can actually make.

When figuring out how to pick a good work from home job, be sure to take the following into consideration:

  • It may seem obvious, but stop and ask yourself if the job offers the kind of work you want to do, and if you are pretty sure you will be able to do it, and do it well.
  • Do you need part-time or flexible hours, and are they available?
  • Is there a room or specific place in your home that will be adequate to handle your work at home needs?
  • Compare what type of equipment and office supplies you have—including business software—with those the work-at- home job you are applying for requires. Is what you still need a reasonable investment?  Are you willing to make it?
  • Verify if there is any part of your pay that goes to a headhunter or third party for placing you in the job. If so, ask if there will be an opportunity for a pay increase once that payment is no longer being made. (See comment on this in the next section.)
  • Check to see if the employer guarantees workers a minimum amount of work hours each week and ask if there is an opportunity to acquire additional hours.
  • Are bonuses available? What needs to be done to earn them and are you able to do it?
  • Understand the method and timing of payment for all invoices/time sheets and inquire about how your employer handles withholdings and taxes.

Why Working Directly with a Company Can Save You Money

As you begin your job search in earnest, consider the benefits of applying directly to the employer versus going through a headhunter or job finding service.  Employees who apply directly to the company itself should not have to worry about risking part of their paycheck going to a headhunter or job finding service. For those job seekers who do utilize a third-party job finding service, it is prudent to do your research first to find out if and how much of your paycheck will ultimately go to them.

Setting Up Your Home Office on a Budget

Most work from home jobs delegate home office costs and responsibilities to the employee. Typically, these work from home setups need not be elaborate, but can differ from position to position.

One of the most popular types of work from home jobs is working as a Business Development Specialist.  Many home-based jobs will have similar office requirements, so for the purpose of discussing the typical office items needed to work from home, we will base it on the position of Business Development Specialist.

Typical Home Office Requirements:

  • Modern Computer Or Laptop
  • Microsoft Word
  • Excel
  • Adobe PDF Reader
  • Reliable, High Speed Internet Connection
  • Email Access
  • Virtual Meeting Programs Such As Skype and Zoom
  • Basic Printer
  • USB Headset With Microphone

Many of these office supplies are items that an individual already owns. Finding a job that requires minimal out of pocket expenses can help add to a work from home employee’s, or contract worker’s, bottom line.  So don’t forget to take a close look at what equipment/supplies are needed for a particular job versus what you already have.

In addition to these items, many individuals will need to make at least some investment to make their work from home office space optimal.  Creating a home office space can range from a simple office desk in the corner of the home, preferably in a space that offers a good deal of privacy, to a more extensive work-over of  a specific room in your home.

Locking in Weekly Work Hours

When figuring out how to pick a good work from home job where you will earn the income you need, it is a good idea to itemize exactly how many hours a week you will be guaranteed, as this will directly affect your income.

Before accepting a job, be sure to verify the minimum number of hours a week you will be working and ensure that number does not fluctuate enough to cause you a problem.  In addition, it is helpful to find out if there is the potential to acquire extra hours or pay, and if there is a ceiling on that amount.

Getting Paid for Working at Home

It is hard to beat getting paid for working at home, but employees should be cognizant that work from home jobs are also subject to taxes.

Employers who take taxes out of their employees’ checks generally make the process a little smoother.  Typically, the only reason those taxes would fluctuate is if the employee’s number of hours worked each week fluctuated.

Many employers also use independent contract workers who receive an IRS 1099 form at the end of the tax year.  These employers don’t withhold taxes out of their workers’ paychecks; that responsibility rests with the individual contract worker.  In order to stay current with their taxes, these workers must research self-employment tax guidelines, and may need to make quarterly payments to the IRS based on expected income.  These forms are easy to obtain and fill out and can be downloaded from the IRS website.

It is worth noting that even though these methods vary in the amount of effort involved, both of these options essentially have the same amount coming out of an employee’s paycheck during the course of a year.

By understanding these nuances of invoicing, payment, and taxes, job seekers should feel more empowered when determining how to pick a good work from home job where you will enjoy what you are doing and earn the income you need.

Tracie Chancellor