I used to work at Art Van. I was fired two weeks after I finished the worst training program I have ever been through. I was told during my interview that AV was looking to change their reputation and wanted people that were friendly and would represent them in a new light. What ***.
They knew when I started I did not have any sales background but felt with my personality they could give me the tools to become successful. I was also told the "coaches" on the floor were there to help, and I should figure 5 to 6 months before I started seeing any sort of commission, and that I would not be judged before that time. They have a draw and a 100% commission structure. The average commission, if you get one, is about 2% because of their constant sales.
The "coaches" on the floor could care less about helping you to be successful. Their main purpose is to intimidate you and kick you in the teeth. If they do decide to help you, they will not stand behind or remember any decisions they made. Their primary job is to make you look and feel like an ***.
I was hounded my first week on the sales floor for poor sales. Instead of helping me to start figuring out sales strategies, I was told to bring in a seasoned sales person to close the deal....a TO. Sorry, but seasoned sales people do not want to close your deals and will tell you straight up. However, if they have a customer that really isn't interested in something, they will ask you to TO for them. That allows them back in line for a new customer and your time is spent running around the store trying to help someone who is not going to buy anything. The number one cardinal rule is to never let someone out of the store without the name of two sales people and you better not give them your card.
I read a lot of the complaints on this site about the poor quality of their furniture. I did learn a lot about furniture construction in training. Let me say this...stay out of the Clearance Center. Anything you purchase in there is going to fall apart, warranty or not. It's straight up junk.
Take a couple of extra dollars and stay on the main floor. The manufacturers represented on the main floor are all USA and those items are made in the USA.
Wood products, I don't care if you buy them from Ethan Allen, etc., all of those products are made in Asian countries. The US has strict environmental guidelines for the finishes, etc., and there are very few manufacturers in the US because of the cost of trying to produce environmentally safe products is cost prohibitive.
The crazy sales. When you look at any of their price tags...there is a dollar amount at the very top of the tag. It says something like actual retail price and the big number in the middle is what the product is being sold for at AV. When there is a half off sale...they use the very first number and not the middle number. I was embarrassed a few times by people who were purchasing specific set pieces and would come in thinking they were going to get a deal only to find out it was really only around 10% or so. I really never knew what to say about that...made me feel like a crook.
Fabric protection....firm believer in this product. Forgo the warranty for the extra money spent on fabric protection. It really does work. I purchased several fabric chairs from another furniture retailer that did not provide this....after a year, the chairs look terrible. I paid about $500 per chair. What a waste of money. Our old AV chair in the garage with fabric protection looks brand new compared to these chairs.
If you are thinking about joining AV as an employee...it is a rotten place to work. The hours suck, the managers aren't managers, the customers are rude (but, AV earned that problem), the other sales people are liars and thieves, and the sparkly lights they promise with the dollars that could be earned on commission won't happen. (There was a loan shark in the store I worked in....most of the people who worked there owed him their paychecks at the end of the month...if that tells you anything.)
If the Store Director doesn't like something about the order you placed, mistake, didn't post a note, or anything else possible about that particular order, your commission is taken away and he gets it. The commission payout structure reminds me of a Ponzi scheme...everyone above you gets a bigger take than what you are left with....AND,
The biggest thing to mention in order to make any sort of decent living...you need to sell at least $100,000 a month. If you are honest and have integrity this will be tough to do in this economy.
If you're thinking about buying furniture...stay out of the Clearance Center. It's all junk and you won't be happy.
Best advice when going into AV, if you have to, get on your cell phone and call someone you haven't talked with in a while....that drives them nuts, but, it will give you peace of mind that you won't be bothered. There are some decent sales people in these places who are really just trying to make an honest living...not all of them are crooks...but, many of them are....I hope this helps, it sured helped me.
Product or Service Mentioned: Art Van Furniture Furniture Set.
Location: Saint Louis, Missouri