Pleio enlists freelancers for remote customer service positions in its GoodStart program, which involves calling patients to talk about their medications.
Expected pay: $0 – $15 per hour (est. See Review)
Commissions & fees: NA
Where: Nationwide, except California, North Dakota, Washington, Ohio and Wyoming
Requirements: experience, software, hardware and training (See review)
What is Pleio?
Pleio enlists freelancers for remote customer service positions in its “GoodStart” program. These work-at-home agents call patients with chronic diseases to help them manage their health.
How it works
Pleio promises freelancers that they will make $15 or more per hour, working from home making phone calls on the company’s behalf.
However, freelancers are not paid by the hour. They’re paid by the completed call. So you could make considerably less — or somewhat more — depending on whether prospective patients answer the phone and talk to you.
If you want this customer service job, your first step is to register. This involves providing some basic information about yourself and taking a short quiz. The quiz aims to suss out whether you have the right type of computer and a basic understanding of using the internet.
During this process, the site may also use your location to determine whether you are in one of the five states — Washington, North Dakota, Ohio, Wyoming and California — where it does not accept Good Start applicants.
In addition to not living in those five states, GoodStarters must:
- have 2 to 3 years of customer service experience
- intermediate technical skills, including experience with cloud environments
- at least a high school degree or GED
- be able to pass a background check and a credit check
- have a computer that can run Windows 10 or higher (no Macs), the latest version of Chrome and has at least 8 GB of Ram.
- A soundcard with speakers or headphones
- Antivirus software and a firewall
- PDF reader
- USB headset with microphone that plugs into your computer
- You must also have an Employer Identification Number from the IRS. (This is apparently to check a box saying that you’re a sole proprietor/small business owner, not an employee.)
Let’s say you meet all those requirements and are accepted into the system. Now Pleio will require you to complete between 10 and 15 hours of unpaid training before you officially start working for pay. After completing this training — and after logging 60 hours of paid work — you’ll get a $250 bonus. That bonus is billed as a reward for completing the unpaid training.
The work you’re doing here is calling patients about their medications. Most of the patients are managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, depression and asthma.
Pleio says these patients have opted in to its GoodStart program, which is aimed at helping them understand what the medications are for and helping them manage their disease. That should mean that it would be easier to get these patients to answer your calls and talk to you. However, freelancers say that isn’t always the case.
Meanwhile, the site’s software queues up the calls for you. You work off of a script. The site says it provides bonuses for working during peak hours and weekends, as well as for other activities.
Flexibility with a catch
You have flexibility to schedule your own hours. However, you have little control over how busy you’ll be when working for Pleio — and over whether or not you’ll get paid for your efforts.
How so? You’re only paid for “completing” a call. Completion means you’ve delivered the entire scripted message to the patient. If the patient hangs up; wants to reschedule; or if they simply don’t answer, you don’t get paid.
The site also has continued training requirements, but doesn’t pay you for this “no-cost” training. So, you’re constantly working at least part of the time without any compensation.
Independent contractors vs. employees
It’s worth mentioning that Pleio saves a lot of money calling its GoodStart customer service representatives “independent contractors” rather than employees. However, this site makes a lot of employer-like demands. These start with requiring specific software and hardware and extend to the mandatory training.
Why does this matter? If you’re an employee, you get paid for every hour you work — regardless of whether someone answers your phone call or whether that hour was spent on training or outreach.
Employees also pay less tax, since employers pay the employer’s portion of their Social Security and Medicare tax levies. (Independent contractors pay both the employee and the employer portions of Social Security and Medicare taxes — a total of 15.2% of wages.) In addition, employees are covered by important safety-nets, such as unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation.
The IRS has a test that determines whether workers are employees or independent contractors. We believe this test indicates that Pleio is misclassifying its GoodStarters. You can find a quiz that spells out the difference here.
You could earn more than minimum wage here. But, because of the way Pleio pays for work, it’s impossible to know. There are multiple companies that hire work-at-home customer service representatives as employees. These include Apple, Amazon and Azurion. These are all better places to work.
A site called FlexJobs can also help you find remote and flexible jobs through its curated job board. (The site charges a small annual fee.)
If you work for Pleio (or have worked for this site) and have not been paid for all of the hours you worked, we suggest you call your nearest Department of Labor office and ask for whomever handles “misclassified” workers. You may be owed back pay and benefits.
All that said, some people who freelance through this site say that they earn considerably more than minimum wage — even after taking the unpaid time into account. If you want to Pleio a try, you can sign up here.
What their users say (from Indeed)
After about a year I have yet to make that $15 an hour they says is the average. And the lack of calls keeps you closer to $0 an hour… I would say my average has been between $10-$12 an hour and some days I will call for 3 hours and make $6 total. If you have plenty of free time and need extra money, go for it. But you are not going to make a living or even minimum wage for most places!
Angry, rude patients
Patients who are unfamiliar with the program can get angry and upset, which can be challenging. Moreover, people can be rude and often hang up. Unfortunately, you don’t get paid for hang-ups, callbacks, or no responses. The reality is that you’re trying to help people, but it can be tedious and time-consuming.
There’s a lot of waiting around and hoping to make a successful call. The payment is commission-based and is paid once a month. Sadly, I had to leave this job as it was quite demanding with nothing much to show for it.
Pay for completed calls
Minimum 30 hr weeks as of 2023, yet pay is commission based.Claims to be warm calls (people who have opted in to receiving phone calls). However many patients will tell you they’ve never heard of the program. Frequent technical issues that management will blame on you but coworkers will tell you are problems for them as well in the system.Pay is between $2 – $8 for each completed call depending on the program. But you do not get paid for hours with no answers or reschedules. And hourly pay incentives ($14/hour for 20-30 hours of work, $16/hour for 4 hours worked on Saturdays) are hard to track. The company calculates this through “time in record” and dials per hour, without workers having any innate way of knowing those numbers
Low pay for great efforts. Payroll platform is confusing, so its difficulty to track your pay.Lots of calling off the cuff where the Patient has no expectation of your call as the company states.
Work is easy, but you are paid by completed call, so when calls are scarce, pay is nil. However, I did like working there. I only moved on because my husband had spinal surgery and I couldn’t give any time to Pleio.
I have been working with Pleio for the past 7 months and it has been a great experience working for them. I work a full time job during the day and am able to make my own schedule when I am available at Pleio on nights and weekends. The management team is responsive. The pay and incentives keep getting better every month. I did very well when I first started and was offered a full time position. Pleio has been great to me and everyone has been super friendly and helpful along the way.
Pleio has been a great place to work. The amount of money you make is really all about your effort. There have been times where I have made $15 an hour and others where I have made $35 for my efforts. You are paid per completed call not per minute like a lot of WAH jobs. If you reach a lot of patients you can make a lot of money. The company currently has guaranteed rates for evenings and weekends. Setting your own schedule, but agreeing to work a set number of hours is a perfect way to balance your home/work life and you can still meet the needs of your family and work the hours that work for you.
If patients aren’t answering and agreeing to the program, you don’t get paid. It is really discouraging when you’ve made so many calls and aren’t making one dime.
Hours of work, no money
Calls are paid per completes not by the hour. You can sometimes work hours without making much money. Some hours you can make a lot just depends on the call volume and if patients answer.
Your pay is based on one factor beyond your control: If the person doesn’t answer the phone and stay engaged in conversation with you while you follow a set script, YOU DO NOT GET PAID for your efforts and time. This is not discussed in training where the focus is on you perfecting the script reading. Training time is also NOT paid for.
- The training is unpaid, and new training continues after you start working–UNPAID.
- The pay schedule/system is ridiculously complicated, making it very difficult to anticipate your paycheck or check to see if your paycheck is correct.
- Once you sit down and do the math, you’ll realize just how little you’re making per hour, especially considering it’s a 1099 position.
- The whole “rah, rah, we’re a big happy family!” narrative is fake.
- I was hired along with a large group of other remote workers (“Good Starters”) at the beginning of June. Six weeks later, I had a 96% Q.A. rating when I was suddenly fired via email at 10pm on a Friday night. Apparently, a large group of Good Starters were fired due to “reduced call volume.”