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Homebased Travel Agent Program with Dugan's Travels

Common Questions

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Common Questions
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Here are some common questions that we get.

Who can join?
This opportunity is available for anyone who is interested, whether or not you have travel experience. The idea of this program is for people who do not know the travel industry to still be able to make commission off of helping people book their travel reservations.
 
What does it cost to become an independent agent for Dugan's Travels?
The only cost to get started is $130 which includes being added to our Error and Omission Insurance policy. Every independent agent is required to pay this and it must be paid prior to joining us. This is $130 for the entire 1st year. You will receive access to the agents only website and be given everything you need to get started. We cannot do a payment plan or allow you to pay as you make reservations. It must be paid when you join. Renewal is $50.00 a year.

Monthly fees are either $10.00 per month. WAIVED FOR $3000.00 in sales (not commission.. sales)

Most programs are not this low. Errors and Omissions Insurance is a necessity in today's world due to the way people sue at the drop of a hat. If someone sues a cruise line for a problem such as a fire, the travel agent can be named in the suit. Most of the time companies settle and we are not involved but you never know. The insurance covers you on legal expenses and also covers 1,000,000 in errors. You can get your own policy if you would like with an insurance carrier. But we would also advise you to keep a small fund available for mistakes or errors you may make because insurance is really meant for big expenses and there is a $1000 per agent deductible. You are responsible for any errors you make since it is your responsibility to verify and check for errors. It is important to verify dates with a customer and make sure there isn't anything incorrect. We will not use our coverage unless absolutely necessary since it could mean higher prices next year.
 
What does the insurance cover and should I get my own?
The insurance is Dugan's Travels company insurance by Gulf Underwriters.  It is not Berkely Insurance.  They allow us to cover our independent contractors when they are working as agents with us.  But if you do anything separately or collect money payable to your agency, you want to get your own coverage.  We would recommend talking whoever you have insurance through for your home/auto and see if they can offer you some type of business insurance. 
 
Also a very important thing is agents realize that if you make a mistake like you book a client for a wrong date, you will have to fix it and pay to fix it.  So you need to have a credit card or funds available to fix things such as this.  Agents need to be careful and go over dates with clients and get signatures to make sure the client approves.  But mistakes do happen.  And if it is a mistake on your part, you will need to fix it.  Paying to fix something for a client is something an agent must accept responsibility for because you are starting a business.  And in business, things happen. 
 
Does it happen often?  No.  Most of agents never have to pay out to fix something, but it can happen.  As you make money with your business, you should set aside profits for emergencies.  It can happen to anyone regardless of experience. 
 
What if I have my own insurance?
If you have your own insurance, we need proof.  It must be in your name.  If you are working with another host that offers insurance, it would not cover you.  You would need your own individual insurance for it to work.  We would waive the 100.00 insurance fee and you would only pay 30.00 to get signed up with Dugan's Travels.  No renewal fee as long as you still have insurance on your own.  Just let us know if you have your own insurance and fax us proof.
 
Am I an employee of Dugan's Travels?
No, you are not an employee. You are an independent contractor and can use your own business name or go as an independent associate of Dugan's Travels. You will be using our travel agent association ids (IATAN and CLIA) to make bookings.

 
I live in Canada?  Can I join?
We do have agents in Canada.  But be sure to check your local licensing dept. 
 
What if you have experience?
For the agent with experience, this is a way to work from home without all the high costs most agencies want from you to work with them. We do not require a minimum amount in sales or productivity. However, there if you do more than $3000 in sales a month you are able to be exempt from the monthly membership fees.  We have many experienced agents working with us because we are easy to work with and pay 75% commission.

Communication?
Email is the preferred mode of communication because it saves money and is easier on everyone due to different schedules. Also Jennifer is the only one at the phone number and with all the client calls, supplier calls, and when someone does need to talk to her, she can't keep up with the phones. If you email her or the chatlist, you will get a response much quicker.

Airline tickets?
For airline tickets, some airlines have given us an online account to receive 100% of the commission. We have an agency that allows us to issue tickets through their ARC number. We get 80% commission when we work with them. You would then get 75% of the 80%. Working with this agency we still get commission on America West Airlines. We can issue airline tickets with the agency we work with, but if the airline no longer pays a commission, we are charged $3 a ticket. This is to pay for their expense of issuing a ticket.

There are other means of booking airline tickets, including websites such as Orbitz, Expedia or Travelocity. We get a small amount from these sites if we handle our airfare through them. Or you can just book the tickets for the clients with the airline directly for free or charge the client a service fee. It is up to you how you want to handle airline tickets. We get special prices on airline tickets being members of Vacation.com and we also work with many different air consolidators.

The truth is airline tickets is not the way to make money in this business. But there are many ways to make money. Hotels and rental cars are usually at 10% commission or more. Tour packages and cruises are 10-16% commission. You can do attraction tickets and many other ways to make money as a travel agent. Many agents make money off of service fees too.

Commission split?
You will always make 75% of what the agency is paid. You will be the person's needing travel reservations agent. You will contact them and do all the necessary legwork. You will make the bookings yourself with guidance. You will then get paid a commission of 75% of the TOTAL commission paid. We have our own IATA and CLIA number. If we get a bonus commission or overrides from a supplier, you get 75% of it. If you charge a fee to a client, you get 75% of it.
 
Agents who stay with us for 3 years or longer, get 80% commission. 

Is it any more expensive for someone to use a travel agent compared to booking him or herself?
No, it actually can save people money using a travel agent because an agent has access to information and fares the general public does not. We can match online prices.  Many suppliers are not on search engines such as Blue Sky Tours who we do many Hawaii bookings though.  These online websites only search suppliers that PAY to be listed.  Most packages found on websites like Expedia Vacations can be found through a supplier cheaper.

What can I book?
Hotels, rental cars, train tickets, airline tickets, cruises, tours, Disney World passes, and other attractions. Anything that offers agents commission. If the supplier does not offer commission you can choose to charge your client a fee for your time and work.

Most airlines are no longer paying a commission. However, you can charge service fees or use many websites we are teamed up with like Travelocity.com to earn a small amount on airline tickets. The average amount is between $2 and $4 per airline ticket on most of the sites we work with. If the client needs a hotel or car with their airline tickets, you can turn into a package which most suppliers for packages pay between 10% and 20%.

How will I book trips?
There is no one way to make bookings.  Each supplier is different.  Many times you will book online.  But there will be times where you need to call a supplier to make a booking.  Many suppliers pay higher commissions if you book online, but there will be times that a supplier either does not offer online booking or you just need to speak to a human being.  We don't have a website where you can book everything because there is no such thing.  Any agency that tells you there is a computer system that allows you to make bookings with all suppliers, is not offering all the options for booking. 
 
There are websites such as www.vaxvacationaccess.com that will offer several suppliers all in one place but not all.  Each supplier either has their own website to make bookings on or some don't even have online booking capabilities.  There is no website that looks at all the options.  This is why travel agents are needed.  Websites such as Expedia.com only look at suppliers who pay to work with Expedia.  For example, Southwest Airlines will not show up on Expedia because they do not work together.  This is all part of the training.  We will teach you how to find suppliers and how to make online bookings.  We have access to any online website available and are constantly adding more websites that we have access to as they come available from suppliers.

Without an IATAN card, how do I make bookings?
An IATAN card is not what is used for making bookings.  You use an IATAN number which is what Dugan's Travels has.  Or you use an account number a supplier has given Dugan's Travels.  You will be booking reservations using our IATAN number.  IATAN cards are for travel agent identification for fam trips or other travel agent events.  They are not used for making bookings.

Can I charge a service fee for my work to clients?
Absolutely. Dugan's Travels can charge your clients a service fee.  It can take 2 months to get paid on service fees. You would earn your normal 75% on the fee. You are not required to charge a fee. You choose that individually for what works for you.

How many hours do I have to work?
This is totally up to you. It is YOUR business and you get to choose what you work. We do need you to check your email regularly though. This is important because we send all updates, messages and other important information via email. Some agents work full time at their agencies, others work part time. Many have full time jobs outside the home too. You decide on your schedule. We have some stay at home moms who only work late at night after the children are in bed. You can do many of your things online. There will be times you need to call a supplier and they might only be open during a regular work day. You can always fit that into your schedule. Many agents who work full time will use their lunch hour to get things done. With technology you aren't too limited. Email offers a great way for you to contact clients and suppliers if you are working late at night.

When will I be paid on the bookings?
After travel is completed (the customer returns home from the trip) and the company sends the commission check I will do the accounting on and then mail your portion to you. Say a person goes on a cruise and the cruise is over July 18. Usually by August 18 the cruise line will have mailed the commission check.

Checks are issued on 25th of each month. You will look at the listing that is posted to the group around the 1st of the month and claim what is yours. You are paid 75% of it. It will be after the person has returned and after the payment has been received, cleared the bank and gone through our booking. All suppliers pay at different times. Some are quick, while others can take awhile. It is not uncommon for us to get a check 2 months after a trip is completed. Sometimes you have to contact suppliers and find out why they have not paid.

We also now offer direct deposits of commission checks.  There is a 20.00 set up fee.  That is the only cost involved and is a one time fee.  Each month on the 1st- your check will be deposited directly into the account you give us.

We send out 1099's to agents who make $600 or more to claim on their taxes. That is the reason the contract asks for your tax id.

We work hard to try pay our agents quickly and on time. You will have an online form that you will send in each month by the 15th to claim what is your commission. You also will keep record of anything you book. Each month we will pay what has cleared bookkeeping. If you are waiting on a commission, you can contact us to look into it and if we have not received a check, you can contact the supplier directly to find out where the check is.


How much will I make?
This is a common question. There is no real answer here. It depends on what you book. Agents who do cruises, packages and groups tend to make more than the agent doing airline tickets, hotels, and cars. It doesn't depend so much on the time you have for your business as much as what you are actually booking. Someone booking 5 cruises a month at $2000 before taxes each- could earn $1125.00 a month in commissions. A $2000 cruise before taxes (that is what is commissionable) at 15% commission- would end up getting $225 after the agencies 25% is deducted. We have agents making as little as $20 a month to agents who are making $2000 or more a month. It just really depends. But the main point is that it is up to you and the possibilities are endless.

Will I be allowed to get travel agent discounts?
After you make $5000 in commission you will qualify for a travel agent id card and that will allow you to take discounted trips such as cruises and receive many discounts at hotels, rental car companies, etc You do get a CLIA card when you join the agency that will be accepted by some suppliers as identification for discounted trips. However, many times being paid your commission on the trip is better than doing a discounted trip.  Suppliers all have different requirements for travel agent rates and seminars.  Some will require your IATAN card while others will accept your CLIA card.  Only agents who complete the training are allowed to apply for a CLIA card.  And CLIA also has some education requirements to obtain your card.

Any other charges?
The only other cost is postage, which we try to keep as low as possible for you. Most tickets are ticketless so there are no tickets to be mailed. For things that must be mailed, we will mail priority mail, regular mail, or fed ex depending on what you want to pay. We know how it is to be hit hard by postage costs so we work very hard to keep them down for my agents. The average cost for mailing a tour document is $3.85. We do not use UPS or high cost mailings unless you ask us to. We will use regular mail to save you money. We also encourage you to contact the supplier and get it shipped directly to you. Many of the sites we work with allow you to easily change the shipping address on documents.



How do I get customers?
The first thing I suggest is letting all the people you know about your business. Telling even those who you know do not travel often because they may know people who need a travel agent. Then working from that. Maybe place an ad in your local paper. Or make up flyers and put them on bulletin boards. You will also be able to order brochures from various companies and can leave them places for people to look at such as the library or doctor's office. There are so many people who travel and they are looking for someone help them get the best price. If you let everyone you know you can help, the word of mouth will help so much. Also we do give my internet business to my agents to help them find customers. There are several places on the internet where you can sign up to answer requests from travelers too. So if you are willing to look for customers, you will find them.

Is there opportunity to learn?
For people who want to learn about travel, we will be more than willing to help you learn as much as possible about travel. We teach the basics and make it so you can become a successful travel agent from home.  For those who already have the travel experience and want to book on their own, you too can have access to Sabre. This is only for people who have the knowledge of travel though. Our training includes many things including a handbook, new agent orientation, as well as a website with information for our agents only.  We will give you what you need to get started and best of all you are never alone.  The only way to learn the business is to become involved in it.  You will never know it all, but you will learn how to find answers and work with suppliers. You learn as you go but you also are given resources to learn what you want to learn. We have steps you need to take in order to get started making bookings as discussed earlier. There are several programs out there to educate you on being a travel agent. Many suppliers do specialist courses and the best thing, most are free!

We recommend agents continue their education though associations such as www.icta.com and www.cruising.org There are many courses you can take to further your training more than what we offer new agents.  We teach the basics and then you can go from there into the areas you are most interested in.

What about the new agent orientation?
The new orientation is given to you once you join. It will be a listing of lessons on different areas of travel. There are lessons on different websites you will using and also basics in travel. You will get all of the lessons via
www.dugansagents.com and complete them online. If the agent giving the lesson has exercises for you to do, then you will complete the lessons and email back to the agent in charge of the lesson. The handbook is about 100 pages and is your first step. It will give you a good idea of things. The orientation gives you a chance to get some more specific training and try out a few bookings. Once you have completed the orientation, you will be put on the chatlist to receive messages from other agents and to be able to email the chatlist when you have questions. It depends on how much time you have to devote to your training on when you will be ready to make bookings. We give you two months to complete it before the $10 per month charge is implemented if the quota is not met.

When can I start?
As soon as you sign the contract and send in your payment for the $130, you can start. The contract is just to show you are an independent agent and in charge of paying your own taxes. Without this contract signed, if the IRS was to audit my business, and we could not prove you are not an employee, we would be responsible for your taxes. Your TAX ID is your social security number unless you are a corporation.

You should also check with your local licensing dept for what you need to get licensed. There are some states the require you to register as a seller of travel. We are registered with the state of California.

When you sign up you are given the info to get started sent via email. Once you have read it, you will begin the new agent orientation. Once that is completed you will be signed up on the chatlist and given access to our accounts and can make bookings.


When can I start to make bookings?
As soon as you complete your training, you can begin making bookings. Some people this will be as quickly as a few days. While others will take longer. If you do need to book something in the meantime, we have an experienced agent who will do the travel arrangements with you and split the commission with you.

Can I get a website?
We are members of Vacation.com which allows our agents to get free websites. You can view one of those websites by visiting
www.duganstravels.vacation.com

You can also build your own through companies like www.tripod.com

Onlineagency.com also offers an excellent travel website and what
www.duganstravels.com was built with. These websites vary in price.

How do I charge customers?
Most of the time suppliers will be the one actually charging your customer's credit cards if they are paying via credit card. If we have to charge the card for some reason like you are charging a service fee, we can do that. You would then get 75% of the fee charged. If client is paying by check, they would pay Dugan's Travels. Dugan's Travels is the only one a supplier will accept a check from. They do not accept clients' checks or your checks. To speed up the process, your client can send us a money order. Most of the time, however, you will be giving the supplier your client's credit card to charge.

Why we offer what we offer?
We already paid what is needed to pay to get set up and are completely set up at home like you were at the office. We decided to would find a way to help others do what we do. Travel can be a very intimidating and hard industry to get into it. Most agencies do not want to train agents. We are willing to help those who want to get involved in travel. Our dream is to have a team of agents who are happy and enjoying their home travel business. With each successful agent- it makes my agency successful.

With higher sales and bookings, Dugan's Travels will have more pull in the industry. We will be able to negotiate contracts with suppliers to get higher commission. Each agent brings something to the group with their knowledge and experience. We are a team of agents helping one another succeed. We have a chat list set up so everyone can ask questions and receive help. If you have a client traveling somewhere you have never been, you can ask the others for their experience. Between all of us we have traveled almost anywhere you can think of.

CRS needed?
For people who have travel experience and want to be able to book their own reservations using the same program as we do, we can get you Sabre. However, Sabre is not required or needed. We use Sabre mainly for airline tickets and we are set up so you just send those requests to either the ticketing agent or myself. We then book in Sabre and run tickets. If you decide you do want Sabre, it is $15 a month and you share access with us. You need to be trained on it or get training if you want it. We are working on a training program for Sabre, but it is not finished as of yet. You can always decide later on to get Sabre also. Having Sabre is not in any way a requirement or neccesity.

Everything else you can do on your own using the suppliers' websites or 1-800 numbers. Currently only our ticketing agents have Sabre.
 
How do I know this is not a scam?
The only real way to know if we are legitimate is to do your research.  You are welcome to contact any of our agents listed at
www.duganstravels.com  You can also do a web search for Jennifer Dugan or Dugan's Travels and read what is online.  We are in good standing with OSSN, NACTA, IATAN, CLIA, and Vacation.com  We are registered with the state of CA and WA.  The first agent Jennifer took under her wing is still with us today.  She is in charge of training new agents in fact!  You can read about Dugan's Travels in several publications and you can also get a copy of Jennifer Dugan's ebooks available at www.bizymoms.com  Only you can decide what is right for you.

Can I work with a partner or can my spouse work with me?
Yes you can have a partner but BOTH people must be on the insurance. You cannot have someone working with you who is not insured. You can pool together your sales and only have one quota to meet- but no one can work with you even if it is someone who just takes calls for you without being insured.

It would cost 130.00 for each person to get started.  Then each month you would only have 1 monthly fee of 10.00 (waived if you did 3000.00 in sales together) and each year renewal would be 50.00 for each person. 

What if I decide this isn't right for me?
If you decide at any point you no longer want to work with us- that is fine.  The fee period begins on the 1st of each month so you want to let us know before the 1st of the next month so that you will stop incurring the monthly fee.  If you do decide not to work with us- your fee will still be due for the month.  For example:  You decide August 16th you no longer want to do this business, you would notify us and then you would owe for August but not for September since you notified us prior to Sept 1st.

The $130 start up and any fees paid are non refundable.  If you are owed past commissions, you would send us a list of what you are owed and we would keep track of them for you.  There are some people who just decide this business isn't right for them and that is okay.  Or some people have family emergencies or a crisis that makes having a business impossible.  All we ask is for notification if you decide not to do the business so that we can update our files and get you off the books so you are not incurring fees.

travel@duganstravels.com

WHY WE ARE DIFFERENT?
 
What sets Dugan's Travels set up different from others is that you don't pay much to begin working with the agency. Our monthly costs are very low compared to other agencies and will be waived if you meet the minimum amount required each month. Plus you have someone to turn to for anything you need. We want to help you become a travel agent and the best way is to get hands on experience. You can go to school but it does not teach you how to actually be a travel agent. And there are a lot of scams out there who want to take advantage of people wanting to get involved in the travel industry. They take your $495 they charge for you to become an agent with them and leave you high and dry. No help- no support- nothing. Dugan's Travels gives you a way to get set up to do travel from home for almost nothing. (The $130 is the only cost)

Related Links

Here are some places to get more information about Dugan's Travels.

Places Dugan's Travels is featured

Entrepreneur Magazine Article

Moms Helping Moms Article

Travel Weekly Article

Home Biz Article

Dr Phil's Website

Dugan's Travels 132 Rover Blvd  Los Alamos NM 87544