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Old 09-05-2012, 09:46 PM   #1
rachel09985
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Becoming an Independent Disney Travel Agent

Hi!

I am seriously contemplating becoming an independent disney travel agent specializing in WDW as a side job, I have a regular 8-5 M-F job.

Does anyone have any information regarding these types of companies where you can just become an agent even with no experience? I will get 60% of commission, they take 40% and I am responsible for getting clients, which I am up to the challenge.

i just want to know if there is anything I should be aware of before I agree to do this?

Thanks for your help! This would be a huge risk, but I know it would be fun and I love helping people plan so why not get paid something to do it!
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:48 PM   #2
DisneyDanielle85
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Contact your local AAA. They have a program where you could sell Disney Vacations through them with no experience and they train you and certify you with the expectation that you will maintain a minimum of $25,000 in yearly sales.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:52 PM   #3
rachel09985
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Originally Posted by DisneyDanielle85 View Post
Contact your local AAA. They have a program where you could sell Disney Vacations through them with no experience and they train you and certify you with the expectation that you will maintain a minimum of $25,000 in yearly sales.
Thanks but what happens if I didn't meet the $25K?
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:48 PM   #4
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I am also very intersted in this !!! any info would be greatly appreciated
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:49 PM   #5
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JMHO you cannot be an agent part time unless your clients can still be able to reach you at all times. Remember you will be responsible for your clients vacations, and need to be available for any disasters that may come up.

For example, if the recent hurricane Isaac would have headed to central FL, your phone would have been ringing off the hook all day long for advice on cancellations, etc. for anyone you had booked. Will you have someone to cover for you during the day? You will have a lot of irate clients if all they can reach is a voice mail message until you come home after 5.

Money wise, say for example you sold a $3000 package. At 60/40, using 10% commission just as an example, the agency will get $180 and you will get $120 AFTER the client stays (depending on how far in advance the booking is you might be waiting a very long time for any $$$). How much time will you be spending on that client? What if they cancel or find another deal with someone else and you get zilch after all your efforts?

You must carry a good E&O (Errors & Omissions) insurance policy to cover yourself in case of any booking errors you make in behalf of your client - or who says you did, and who then sues you.

Re the minimum sales amounts required - you have to meet quotas to receive any benefits, otherwise anyone could claim they are "travel agents". $25000 year in sales at 10% commission = $2500 total is only $1500 for the agency (60%) and $1000 for you (40%). Are you willing to work a year to sell $25,000 in sales just to make $1000 for the year?

Sorry this is such a downer post, but I want to make sure you think this through on all fronts, not just the sounds like lots of fun part.
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seahunt View Post
JMHO you cannot be an agent part time unless your clients can still be able to reach you at all times. Remember you will be responsible for your clients vacations, and need to be available for any disasters that may come up.

For example, if the recent hurricane Isaac would have headed to central FL, your phone would have been ringing off the hook all day long for advice on cancellations, etc. for anyone you had booked. Will you have someone to cover for you during the day? You will have a lot of irate clients if all they can reach is a voice mail message until you come home after 5.

Money wise, say for example you sold a $3000 package. At 60/40, using 10% commission just as an example, the agency will get $180 and you will get $120 AFTER the client stays (depending on how far in advance the booking is you might be waiting a very long time for any $$$). How much time will you be spending on that client? What if they cancel or find another deal with someone else and you get zilch after all your efforts?

You must carry a good E&O (Errors & Omissions) insurance policy to cover yourself in case of any booking errors you make in behalf of your client - or who says you did, and who then sues you.

Re the minimum sales amounts required - you have to meet quotas to receive any benefits, otherwise anyone could claim they are "travel agents". $25000 year in sales at 10% commission = $2500 total is only $1500 for the agency (60%) and $1000 for you (40%). Are you willing to work a year to sell $25,000 in sales just to make $1000 for the year?

Sorry this is such a downer post, but I want to make sure you think this through on all fronts, not just the sounds like lots of fun part.
thanks, I do appreciate the feedback! My clients would still be able to reach me during the day. I have a flexible job that allows me to take breaks if needed. I know it would be a lot of work for a little amount of money but at the same time if all I do all day after work is research disney things and plan my vacation then I might as well get paid something and help others out.

I did know about the E&O Insurance as well.

I know it is a lot to think about and is not something I will just jump into so thank you for your advice! It definitely does make me think.
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:39 AM   #7
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I like your idea of becoming agent to such companies and getting paid for it but for that you have to be there always on duty to get the clients. It’s not easy task. Try to search for such companies who deal in this way on internet.
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Old 09-06-2012, 07:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seahunt View Post
JMHO you cannot be an agent part time unless your clients can still be able to reach you at all times. Remember you will be responsible for your clients vacations, and need to be available for any disasters that may come up.

For example, if the recent hurricane Isaac would have headed to central FL, your phone would have been ringing off the hook all day long for advice on cancellations, etc. for anyone you had booked. Will you have someone to cover for you during the day? You will have a lot of irate clients if all they can reach is a voice mail message until you come home after 5.

Money wise, say for example you sold a $3000 package. At 60/40, using 10% commission just as an example, the agency will get $180 and you will get $120 AFTER the client stays (depending on how far in advance the booking is you might be waiting a very long time for any $$$). How much time will you be spending on that client? What if they cancel or find another deal with someone else and you get zilch after all your efforts?

You must carry a good E&O (Errors & Omissions) insurance policy to cover yourself in case of any booking errors you make in behalf of your client - or who says you did, and who then sues you.

Re the minimum sales amounts required - you have to meet quotas to receive any benefits, otherwise anyone could claim they are "travel agents". $25000 year in sales at 10% commission = $2500 total is only $1500 for the agency (60%) and $1000 for you (40%). Are you willing to work a year to sell $25,000 in sales just to make $1000 for the year?

Sorry this is such a downer post, but I want to make sure you think this through on all fronts, not just the sounds like lots of fun part.
Excellent post. People get all starry-eyed when it comes to Disney but it can really be anything but. You can have people calling you at 2-3 a.m. because somethings not right and you have to fix it. It's almost like being a Doctor on call, although for a lot less money. Plus with so many others doing the exact same thing it's very hard to make any money at all. I too thought this was something I wanted to do a couple years ago but after I really researched everything that went into it I decided it wasn't for me.
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Old 09-06-2012, 10:34 AM   #9
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If that is your passion, then go for it! My mom was an at home travel agent and she booked high end trips. Some of her clients stayed in $10,000 a night hotels and flew on the Concorde (when it was still in business). No one ever called her in the middle of the night and she did not have to be by her phone 24/7.
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Old 09-06-2012, 11:15 AM   #10
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Excellent post. People get all starry-eyed when it comes to Disney but it can really be anything but. You can have people calling you at 2-3 a.m. because somethings not right and you have to fix it. It's almost like being a Doctor on call, although for a lot less money. Plus with so many others doing the exact same thing it's very hard to make any money at all. I too thought this was something I wanted to do a couple years ago but after I really researched everything that went into it I decided it wasn't for me.

I think many do it because they love Disney, and love helping others plan trips to Disney (many are already doing this service for free for friends and family). They are ok with the low compensation, because they DO get some travel agent perks.

(I am not one, just my observation) Have fun if you choose to try it!
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:07 PM   #11
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I think many do it because they love Disney, and love helping others plan trips to Disney (many are already doing this service for free for friends and family). They are ok with the low compensation, because they DO get some travel agent perks.

(I am not one, just my observation) Have fun if you choose to try it!
There is a HUGE difference between helping your friends and family plan a trip, and planning a trip for a client. When you are a travel agent, you are responsible for your client's trip from the moment you begin working with them until after they return. If something goes wrong, they will turn to you, the agent, to fix it. They won't care what time it is or what you may be doing at that moment. I've never had people call me in the middle of the night, but I have had to drop everything to take care of clients when weather affected their plans.

I love being an agent and make decent money (I don't do just Disney because I make more money booking other destinations as well), but these questions that pop up weekly drive me crazy. It's not an easy job, no matter how easy planning your BFFs Disney trip was.

In addition to the booking trips, the new agent has to be able to put in time and money in marketing themselves. They need to invest time and money in continuing education, as well as make sure they understand how to set themselves up as a business.

It's just not that easy.
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Old 09-06-2012, 12:16 PM   #12
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There is a HUGE difference between helping your friends and family plan a trip, and planning a trip for a client. When you are a travel agent, you are responsible for your client's trip from the moment you begin working with them until after they return. If something goes wrong, they will turn to you, the agent, to fix it. They won't care what time it is or what you may be doing at that moment. I've never had people call me in the middle of the night, but I have had to drop everything to take care of clients when weather affected their plans.

I love being an agent and make decent money (I don't do just Disney because I make more money booking other destinations as well), but these questions that pop up weekly drive me crazy. It's not an easy job, no matter how easy planning your BFFs Disney trip was.

In addition to the booking trips, the new agent has to be able to put in time and money in marketing themselves. They need to invest time and money in continuing education, as well as make sure they understand how to set themselves up as a business.

It's just not that easy.
No it's not. Plus, depending on who you work for, you may have to travel a lot. Can you're budget handle multiple trips to Disney/cruises/other locales since the travel agencies do not pay for those trips? One other thing to think about is when you spend time with someone telling them all about Disney and then have them turn around and book the trip themselves. This happens quite often and that is time and money that you've lost out on. While it does sound glamorous on the surface, there's quite a bit you really need to know and understand before taking the plunge and becoming a TA.
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Old 09-06-2012, 01:10 PM   #13
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thanks, I do appreciate the feedback! My clients would still be able to reach me during the day. I have a flexible job that allows me to take breaks if needed.
Just a little more food for thought.

If you decide to go the TA route, you might double check with your company to make sure they would be comfortable using your breaktime like that. I know with my company, once and a while wouldn't be a problem - but if it ended up being twice a day every day, we'd look closer at the situation and start tracking break time very carefully. Also, you would probably want to bring your own laptop and make sure it's using your wireless connection and not your company's.

Good luck with your decision!!
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:04 PM   #14
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I just wanted to add that just because you book a package and the total is 3000, does not mean you will get 3000 as your base to figure out your commission. package price includes tax and things are "commissioned" at different rates (some have no commission).
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Old 09-06-2012, 03:40 PM   #15
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I have booked or planned trips for many, many family members and friends and every time they say "You should do this as a side job," thinking there is some untapped well of money out there that I am missing out on.

I did look into becoming an independent agent early last year but when I did all of that math, the amount of work necessary didn't seem equal to the amount I'd make. I was also nervous about planning as a business as opposed to planning for fun. If my cousin has a lousy time at Chef Mickey's on my recommendation, she might just be annoyed with me. If a paying client has that same experience, it is a totally different situation.

Having said all that, I know that it just wasn't for me but I know lots of people do make it work so best of luck to you, OP!
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