What do you do for a living?

I work for a company called Heartland Payment Systems and do credit card processing, payroll, sales, gift card sales. They have a couple of different items that they sell but credit cards and payrolls are sort of the bread and butter.

How would you describe what you do?

I go from business to business and I sell the services of accepting credit cards. If you’re going to pay for your meal at a restaurant or if your company has payroll they have to pay their employees, we do that. You outsource that service to us.

What’s a typical work week look like for you?

So specifically what I do is I do either phone calls or drop-ins on merchants and try to persuade them to change their services over to us. So it’s a lot of driving and phone calls.

I’ve been doing this several years now and I’ve sort of fined tuned everything. On Monday I set up all my appointments and figure out where I’m going to go that week. So I’m in the office Monday all day making calls. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday just depends on where I have appointments. I’ll follow that up during that day by driving around other businesses or making phone calls to businesses in the area.

How did you get started on this career?

I got started by a friend of mine whose parents were in the business. The business has grown from what’s called a sales organization into one of the actual direct processors and a direct processors is the entity that actual takes the money out of my account if I go eat lunch at a pizza place. And there’s only really a handful of those players out there so I decided to get into the business.

What do you like about what you do?

Freedom and flexibility, and just the ability to do what I want to that day. It’s full commission so it’s basically what you kill is what you get to eat. So, I’m my own boss. I set my own rules and I succeed if I want to succeed.

Nothing that I don’t set. I mean you have to—if you’re not out prospecting, you’re not out making calls and doing the job, then you’re not going to see any results and it’s sort of evident. It’s a real rewarding business but it’s a sink or swim type deal. The business has a lot of high turnover because it takes a different cut of people to succeed in it.

What do you dislike about the job?

It’s fast paced and I don’t like that it’s really a never ending gig. As soon as you finish a job or do a deal, you have to go on to the next. It’s not one of those products that you can take time off and somebody else can do it for you. Again, if you’re going to succeed it’s all about you and getting up and working your normal days.  I say 8 to 5 but sometimes it’s weekends, sometimes it’s nights. It just depends on what’s going on. And I’d say that’s probably the thing that I don’t like about it.

How do you make money or how are you compensated?

It’s a full commission job. Like I said, if you don’t kill something, you don’t eat type deal.  Once you sign a deal up they pay you 50% of whatever the company is going to make on it on that merchant for that year and then they pay you a 15% residual each month if that person continues to process with you as long as they process with you.

In the beginning, it’s a full commission job and so you’re starting off with nothing in the beginning but once you do make some business, you do have residual income but they expect for you to continue to meet a certain sales numbers going forward even if you have a big residual check coming in.

How much money do you make credit card salesman?

It really depends. Heartland says the average sales representative makes about $90,000. The first year is lower than that, 40 – 45 maybe. And then for me, it’s been average the last couple of years. It’s been $90,000 something. But I had a buy out where they either force you or you can decide to sell part of your portfolio so that year might have been $120,000 – $130,000.

We had a girl in St. Louis that was just amazing and I think she made like $250,000 in a year.

How much money do you make starting out?

It’s about $45,000.

Would you say if there are any perks associated with this job?

They do trips maybe every six months or quarter. Each of them are different. You just never know but I’ve been to Hawaii, the Bahamas, Las Vegas, Dallas Cowboy Stadium, all on Heartland’s dime or they pay for the majority of it and they send you out there to do company stuff. So they do have other programs where you can win gifts and prices and stuff like that on top of it.

But the biggest thing, the best incentive is the residual that you make, after you produce or you get up to $2,000 in residual, you own the residual and so you can cash that in for 30 times whatever it averages out to be. And so basically a lump sum that you can get just for working at the business.

It’s just like a cash bonus that if you ever need cash or you want to do something with it or just pull it out. They have some requirements on it. You have to meet certain standards of production and attrition which is you can’t lose too many clients but I pulled out $30,000 a year or two ago and it was just a bonus.

What education or skills are needed to do this job?

Really it’s more determination than anything. A lot of people saying they’re providing the same service that you are and so the biggest thing is getting in somebody’s door, get them sitting down and talking to you. So you don’t need a formal degree or anything like that. It’s just good work ethic and being willing and able to be rejected. Those are the two biggest things.

I mean I would say the ratio is maybe for every 10 hired, probably 6 of it don’t make it.

It’s a hundred percent commission. You’ve got to be willing to hit the ground running and put a lot of work in, and not everyone is willing to do that.

What is the most challenging about what you do?

Just getting up every day and doing the same thing and ‘making it rain’. It’s all on you. It’s sort of like owning your own business because you eat depending on what you produce. And it’s very rewarding but discouraging too sometimes where you have days where you have a big deal that was going to be a monster and just two or three things happened and it just slipped through your fingers type thing. It’s the up and down, and that may be sales in general but with this gig because it’s hundred percent commission, it’s a little bit different.

What is the most rewarding about what you do?

That I set my own schedule and that I see results from what I produce. It is not just, “Hey, I landed a big client.” You don’t really get a bonus if you work for some sales company. Its ‘I landed this big client and that’s why I’m getting this big bonus’ because I put in the work and I kept on going and that’s what I needed to. Like I said, it’s close as you can get to doing your own thing without having payroll and having to deal with employees and that kind of stuff.

What advice would you offer someone considering this career?

I would say that if you’re going to do it, you need to jump in whole heartedly and be fully committed to spend nights, weekends, a lot of time in the beginning. And it’s snowballed since then where I now have people calling me where I can use referrals to make my life a lot easier and I’d say anywhere from 25 to 50 percent of my production each month is either from existing businesses or people changing ownership that I can rewrite their business type deal.

How much time off do you get or take?

Each month you have a set goal and depending on if I’ve already got that goal locked up for that month, I may take a couple of extra days off during the week. And I take at least three weeks or maybe a month off normal vacation time.

What is the common misconception people have about what you do?

That all credit card processors are equal. There’s a lot of shady companies out there that will screw the businesses that they process the credit cards for and just as likely they’ll screw their employees.

When you’re looking at companies that do this, there are only a few that are true players in the industry that actually don’t jack you around and price you fairly. And the same sort of goes for the payroll side of it is that there’s really like a couple real players in there that I compete against so just make sure if you’re looking at a business that does this to check references and verify that stuff.

What are your goals and dreams for the future in this job?

This job has given me the ability to go out there on my own a little more and reach out there and make a little more money. The concern of this job is just to keep building my portfolio up. But someday I want to do my own thing so this is why it’s a good job for me because I make good money but at the same time I’m learning skills necessary to succeed when I eventually decide to do my own thing.

What else would you like people to know about what you do?

Just make sure whatever you do is something you enjoy and keep pushing forward. And if you’re not happy with whatever position you’re in, find something else to do because life is too short.