Considering Becoming an Agent, Seeking Advice

May 23, 2007

  1. EspeciallyInMich
    Offline

    EspeciallyInMich New Member

    Posts:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hello,

    I am considering becoming an insurance agent, and would like some advice. I am 25 years old, with a bachelors in Economics & Management from a liberal arts college. I have been working for a **highly successful** Farmers Insurance agent in Michigan for the past 9 months doing marketing and customer service. He wants me to become a licensed agent, and work under him for two years.

    I have several questions and concerns, which I am hoping you all can answer, because I don't feel comfortable discussing all of them with my boss.

    How would my pay be determined - is the amount of commission I would receive negotiable? What is a typical compensation scheme for someone just starting off? How much comission would I receive on the homes and autos that I write? How much on life? Is two years a normal amount of time to "work under" another agent? If I work my butt off how much could I expect to make in my first year?

    If I do this, I would like to eventually reach the point where (a) I could sell the business for a 6-figure sum (b) I could have a competent staff run the agency, with minimal involvement on my part, while I earn significant yearly income. Is that possible?

    I have read that in the future, the most successful agents will be independent ones, who are able to write policies with many different companies. Would Farmers allow this?

    I may also be interested in branching my business into financial services in the future. The agent I work for sells retirement plans through American Funds. Is this a good company?

    Any advice you all can offer would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. Wprice
    Offline

    Wprice Expert

    Posts:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    If I do this, I would like to eventually reach the point where (a) I could sell the business for a 6-figure sum (b) I could have a competent staff run the agency, with minimal involvement on my part, while I earn significant yearly income. Is that possible?

    Umm b is completely out of the question. A would take awhile. Why would you not want to be involved in a business that has your reputation on the line?
     
    Wprice, May 24, 2007
    #2
  3. salpro22
    Offline

    salpro22 Guru

    Posts:
    1,954
    Likes Received:
    25
    State:
    Texas
     
    salpro22, May 24, 2007
    #3
  4. TheSalesWolf
    Offline

    TheSalesWolf Super Genius

    Posts:
    218
    Likes Received:
    0
    Seems odd that you won't ask him how he's planning on paying you. If your relationship isn't good enough to ask him a simple question like this then there is a problem.

    No, you will be a captive agent with Farmers. The only thing you will be able to write outside of Farmers is lines of insurance they don't offer like Health.

    Sounds like you want to get the ball rolling and then let the business roll. Insurance is a tough job. You have to work at it along time before you can "sit back" and count the money.

    If you're serious about working hard and growing a business go out on your own and start your own agency. If you don't want to work that hard and still make a little money keep working where you are at.
     
  5. Frank Stastny
    Offline

    Frank Stastny Guru

    Posts:
    7,069
    Likes Received:
    19
    State:
    Florida
    Everything is possible. Some things are just more possible than others.

    I think you should first get established as an agent. Build your business and credibility. Become an expert in the products you sell. I mean a real expert, as opposed to just telling people you are. Start out being incredibly organized with an awesome marketing plan. Use your computer in your business from day one.

    In three to four years of lots of hard work you may be in a position to begin looking toward having other agents contract with you. Plan on your personal production going down as you hire and train them. Have a well organized training program. Don't just tell them how great you are and hand them a stack of applications. (I've had that happen before.)

    Give them intense product knowledge and help them build their own dog and pony show, not just use yours or something you get from a book. Work closely with them and take a regular interest in how they are doing.

    In another 4 or 5 years you may have the beginnings of a very strong agency, one someone else may be interested in some day. However, why would you want to sell it? What would you do then? Start a new career?

    You can stay involved, do something you enjoy without the pressure of knocking yourself out every day prospecting. I have never understood the concept of totally retiring from this business. So you get couple of hundred thousand dollars for selling it. That isn't that much money today to quit working. If you think you can get $500,000 +, it better really be a kick ass take serious names agency. That ain't gonna happen is just a few years.

    You can travel, work a little less intensly and still stay involved. When Jacqueline and I travel I take my office with me. With a cell phone and my laptop I can and have "taken care of business" from every place we have gone, even from other countries. Even though we are "on vacation" I still check e-mail and phone messages every day. I like what I do and really don't consider it "working" when we are out of town.

    Besides, when you get home you aren't inundated with tons of "catch up" work this way. That kind of negates the fun of "taking some time off", knowing you are going to have to work your ass off when you get home. I hate coming home to a bunch of surprises.

    She does the same with her medical clients, it lets both of us spend a lot more relaxing time and stay longer. (She trains doctors and their staff to learn to use an electronic medical records program. She also has two other trainers working for her that she stays in touch with.)

    This is the greatest business in the world, technology has just made it even better.
     
  6. Frank Stastny
    Offline

    Frank Stastny Guru

    Posts:
    7,069
    Likes Received:
    19
    State:
    Florida
    What you are seeing is probably the result of years of working 12 hour days and weekends. Living, eating and breathing insurance. Putting his career ahead of everything else including spending a lot of time with his family.

    One does not become that successful in this business working an eight hour day five days a week or less. You will have to be incredibly self disciplined, and extremely well organized, driven even. There really is no "end of the day". You will constantly be thinking of insurance and new and innovative ways to increase your business.

    As "the Wolf" said, is that like "the Donald", haha, this is a very tough business, one where probably over 70+% of new agents never make it to their second year or content with a $50 to $60 thousand a year income.

    Ask yourself, do you really want to work that hard? Most agents I know don't.

    Why can't you talk to him about those things? It sounds like you are intimidated by him. This is not the business for timid people.
     
  7. salpro22
    Offline

    salpro22 Guru

    Posts:
    1,954
    Likes Received:
    25
    State:
    Texas
    Well put Frank. Also consider the fact that Donald has to work his ass off like the rest of us. He almost lost his empire back in the early 90's but he used some creative techniques to come back.
     
    salpro22, May 24, 2007
    #7
  8. Frank Stastny
    Offline

    Frank Stastny Guru

    Posts:
    7,069
    Likes Received:
    19
    State:
    Florida
    He is really no different than the rest of us. He is in sales. We all sell all the time. Every time we are talking to someone we are selling, even if it is only a thought or ourselves that we are trying to get the other person to "buy". (Ever try getting a date without first "selling yourself"? The guys with the coolest dates were usually the best "salesmen".)

    I'm selling right now. I'm trying to get you all to "buy" what I'm saying and to think that it was worth your time to read my post. That's what all of us do when we post here. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, just like selling insurance.

    Some just work harder and are better at it than others. He must be really, really good, even better than I am. Oops, got to go, they just called and said my corporate bike is aired up and ready to go. :D

    He had to really work his ass off and be willing to take a chance to be as successful as he is today. Anyone who doesn't have a lot of faith in themselves should not be in this business.
     
  9. EspeciallyInMich
    Offline

    EspeciallyInMich New Member

    Posts:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for all the replies. To clear up the relationship with my boss a bit.. Honestly, I am somewhat intimidated by him. Does he strike fear in my heart? No, of course not! And I am certainly not a timid person. I have many references to vouch for that.

    As to why I don't have a clear compensation picture for my potential career working under my boss.. I want to have a good idea of what is fair to ask for. One of the reasons that my boss is so successful is that he is **TIGHT** with his money, and keeps his employee costs to a minimum. Before I discuss money with him, I want to know what is fair for me to make, in terms of commissions on both new business and renewals. I am certain that he will try to low-ball me. I have talked with other agents that took the same route under him, and they say that he offers much less than other agents. The trade-off as I see it is being able to learn from one of the most successful agents in the country. So again, my question is: 1) What is fair commission for me to earn on auto & home (a) new business written (b) renewals. 2) What is fair commission for me to earn on life?

    As to my motivations for wanting to stay in the business a relatively short amount of time.. My motivation for beginning a career as an agent in the first place is to make money. I know myself well, know that I will be able to put in the long hours, I know that I can sell, I know that I can be successful. However, I do not see insurance as a *calling*, rather a way to make a lot of money. Truth be told, I don't know what my calling is, so I figure I might as well make some big $ while trying to identify it, rather than continue to dick around. But, I don't want to be in the insurance biz for the rest of my life. I am concerned that I will get burned out after a period of time and look for a new challenge. And if that is the case, I want to be sure that I can continue to get paid for my hard work (whether it is in a lump sum which I re-invest or as the defacto owner with limited involvement continuing to profit from the agency). It sounds like this is certainly possible based on what you guys have said.

    I would appreciate any further advice on my compensation/commission questions. Thanks for your time!
     
  10. EspeciallyInMich
    Offline

    EspeciallyInMich New Member

    Posts:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0
    *bump* Anybody?
     
Loading...