A Case for Home-Based

Gary Fee, OSSN President What are the most important services that an association must provide for its members in the travel agency community today? If those members are home-based agencies or independent contractors, the answer is very clear. Outside Sales Support Network has found that the industry sur

By: Gary Fee, OSSN President

What are the most important services that an association must provide for its members in the travel agency community today? If those members are home-based agencies or independent contractors, the answer is very clear. Outside Sales Support Network has found that the industry surge toward working in a home-based environment or “non-storefront” location brings with it an obvious set of challenges.

Indeed, OSSN’s growing chapter network has provided a networking organization at the “grass-roots” level for independent contractors and home-based agents. OSSN currently has 54 North American chapters, representing 5,800 members. Participation at local meetings is booming, including the San Jose OSSN chapter, which has more than 300 members. We also plan to add 15 more chapters in 2003.

In addition to networking opportunities, an association must provide the professional tools to help an independent contractor or home-based agency to locate or negotiate on an individual basis. Whether those tools include E&O insurance, health insurance, merchant account status, or professional contracts to use with their host agencies or their own outside agents, an association has to anticipate the needs of its membership.

One of the main functions of an association representing home-based agencies is to be a champion in the establishment of professional recognition for its members. Being identified as a professional in your field should not be determined by whether your office resides in a commercial building. Over the last decade, it has taken a very watchful eye to make sure that the rights of the independent contractor have not been stifled.

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