ABOUT THE OWNER/FOUNDER
My name is Michael G Whitely, Sr. I am the President and Founder of KLMN Readers Services, Inc. The company name comes from the initials of my children: K (Kimika) 24 years old, L (Lakisha) 18 years old, M (Michael Jr.) 15 years old, N (Nikita) 19 years old. KLMN Readers Services is a subscription agency for magazine subscriptions. The sales agents that go door-to-door canvassing are independent contractors that were recruited by the sales managers who are also independent contractors. Sales Agents, Sales Managers, and Supervisors (car drivers) work on commission and bonuses.
I would like to take the time to educate you on the nature of the business through my 37 plus years in the industry. I was a 19 year old living in Queens, New York with my mother and sister (2 of 10 siblings). I was taking a home course while planning to go to college. I saw an ad in the New York Daily News with the heading “Guys and Gals”. The ad read “Single and free to travel to major cities and states throughout the USA selling leading sporting and popular magazines.” I was new in this country and thought it a good opportunity to meet people and see this great country. I was interviewed, in a small office in Times Square, by a young lady name Ms. Wilhemina Robinson. I must admit that I was infatuated with her and hardly heard a word she said. To make a long story short, I was hired on the spot. I went home and packed a small green suitcase and within four hours I was on my way to Hackensack, NJ to be a part of a traveling sales crew.
My Family – Life Story
When I was a supervisor, I was multiplying and duplicating my efforts in others and my mother was so proud of me. She was still living in New York and had bought up from Jamaica my six younger brothers and sister. She was living in a three-bedroom apartment and my sister who followed me had just gotten married after getting her RN Nursing License. My mother had seen this family house in Far Rockaway, New York but she did not have the money to pay down on it. My sister and me earned and saved enough money, ($5,000 from each of us) for the $10,000 down payment. (Praise the Lord hard work does pay off)
In the early 1980’s, while the crew was working in the San Bernardino, CA area, I placed an ad in the newspaper. Low and behold I hired a young lady who just graduated from high school. Because she wasn’t quite 18 years old, she had to get written permission from her mother to work for me. What makes her so special? After selling magazines for five years, she became my wife and gave me four beautiful children. We have been together for twenty-nine years. I am as proud of that as I am of the thirty-seven years in this business.
In 1985, my first child (a daughter) was born in California. After four years, it was time for her to start school and I did not want her to be raised away from my influence during those formative years. Because I did not grow up with my brothers and sisters, we later became like line strangers. I did not want my daughter (or any of my children) to have that experience. I truly believe that the children’s first role models are their parents. As parents, we should always put the welfare of our children first.
My Life on the Traveling Sales Crew:
The first four years I traveled the United States from New York to California selling magazine subscriptions in all the major cities throughout this country. My experience going door-to-door selling magazines was priceless. I got a chance to see America and only few have experienced it. America is not only the greatest country in the world, but it is also one of the most beautiful. But what I come to learn is that it is not just the beauty of the land that make it special, but the people make this country special. I find that most Americans are honest, hard working people who subscribe to the theory of setting goals and achieving them. It is what this country is founded on. The Pilgrims who first came to this country and the early settlers who blazed the entire country were in search of opportunities and a better life for their current and future families. And it is in that spirit I grew to love this business and decided that I would follow in the footsteps of my manager and best friend, the late Mr. Veron Smith from Houston Texas, and would make a career of it. I saw where I could make a difference in the lives of young people, which you will be able to make that determination yourself, as you continue to read my story.
After four years of selling subscriptions door-to-door, I decided I wanted to become a supervisor (car driver). This would be my first time driving in this country. I was 16 years old and living in Jamaica when I drove for the first time. My father, a carpenter returning from England, rented a Volkswagon to drive me to a racetrack to show me the work he contributed in building. On our way back, on a country road, he decided to give me my first driving lesson, which lasted for 30 seconds. When all the dust was settled and a bicyclist jumped into the bushes to avoid being run over, my father told me that I had just had my first and last lesson. I shared all this to say that I had been on crew for 4 years, no one had seen me drive, and I announced that, at the age of 23, I wanted to get my driver’s license. It took me 9 tries to get my license. I started in Texas and finally got them while the crew was in Indiana. (Winners never quit and quitters never win) The very next day the manager gave me a small Maverick which holds 3 people plus myself to supervise. He wanted to train me slowly. After supervising those 3 people for 3 weeks, I found myself out selling all that I was supervising. My manager, Mr. Smith, then bought a used Mercury Marquee that holds six people and I supervised it for one year.
I must tell you that I have a lot of pride in this business. By this I mean, as a Sales Agent my job was to sell magazines subscriptions, train new recruits, and have sales meetings. (And I was the best!) My four years selling magazines really served me well because it came with an understanding of selling door-to-door. I have worked six days a week (Monday – Saturday), worked in the winters (in the states of New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, etc), and worked in the summers (in the states of Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, California, etc). It helped me to grow mentally tough, but through it all I retained my sense of humor, compassion, understanding of fellow crewmembers, and it made me an outstanding supervisor.
As a Supervisor, I became even better. Most of the supervisors that drove me to work would not take the time to register the sales agents with the local municipalities for permits. This would cause local police officers to stop our selling and give us citations (which were not being paid). I endured this because I believed that one day I would make a difference in this business and to rebel would have gotten me fired. I subscribe to the theory of “being dumb enough to listen while being smart enough to make it”. Now as a supervisor, I took my six people plus myself to register at the local municipalities and obtain permits. This consequently earned their respect and admiration and they produced more sales than I ever produced when I was selling. After my first year of supervising, I was given a new station wagon to drive. Now I was supervising nine people and I was no longer required to knock on doors. Eventually, I was given a company van to drive and I started supervising twelve plus sales agents. I broke all the supervisors’ records. My manager gave me the ultimate compliment; he called me the master. I produced more sales with twelve people than the whole crew produced with forty people and I did this for fifteen years.
As a Manager, I excelled beyond imagination. I was promoted to manager in 1977 (5 ½ years after I had joined the sales crew). The first thing I did as a manager was to purchase my first car (A Yellow 1977 Chrysler Cordoba with a sunroof) from the showroom floor. Four days later, I purchased a used nine-passenger station wagon EPS. (I wish they still made them) I then placed an ad in the newspaper and hired my first four sales agents. I continued to supervise for the main crew while managing four people of my own over a period of eight years. I was filling into managerial position learning all it entails.
As a Business Owner, it took me 3 ½ years to build my own sales crew from two guys plus my wife (who was a recruiter to one hundred twenty sales agents). During those 3 ½ years on the road my wife and I had two more daughters and finally a son to add to our family. Our children truly represent the United States. Kimika, the first daughter, was born in California; Nikita, the second daughter, was born in Connecticut; Lakisha, the third daughter, was born in Illinois; Mickey, the last and only son, was born in Indiana. I owned nine vans, a Lexus, and my wife drove a new Cherokee. We also bought a four-bedroom house in Miami and had our own business.
During my years as a business owner, I have so far promoted twenty-five managers and forty-two supervisors. I place ads in various newspapers in both small and large cities throughout the country. This gives many young people a job, an opportunity to travel this country, a chance to meet people from all walks of life, and a chance to garner experience through personal contact. The majority of these sales agents (both male and females), though not making a career of this business have returned home with confidence and positive attitudes. They also have knowledge of the fact if you can go door-to-door, selling magazine subscriptions in various communities around the country; you can do anything you put your mind to. I have had sales agents go on to become teachers, accountants, barbers, rappers, stand up comedians, and one agent is currently doing television commercials (she calls me her mentor).
The Sales Agents are given a sales talk and we practice the sales talk at night and before the morning sales meetings. The sales talk we use is the sales agents are working for a $1,000 cash award and they need to accumulate 20,000 credit points to receive this from the company. This cash award is not competitive, as there are sales agents who have sold enough to win eight or nine cash awards. We also have managers, who decide to continue selling subscriptions rather than building a sales crew, that continue to win cash awards. Salesmanship is a time-honored profession and America was founded on the free enterprise system. The sales talk continues to tell the customers that the sales agent is working to become supervisors and consequently managers. And this will put them in a position to hire other young people and give them the same opportunity they have been given.
KLMN Readers Services, Inc. has no affiliation with any charities and do not accept donations. If a customer decides buy magazine subscriptions as a gift, it can only be to a person and not a charity. We have had customers who have given some of the sales agent’s money instead of purchasing a subscription. Please refrain from this practice because it weakens the sales agents work ability. No funds should be paid unless a sale is made because this practice is unlawful. Allowing the sales agents to earn their living honestly will help lift their self-esteem. From experience, I have learned that it is good to wake up in the morning with a job and source of income. That is what this company is providing for these young people. When you the customer purchase a subscription from the sales agents, it encourages them to continue working honestly. We are putting young people to work. The company and the customers, working together, are saving lives.
The sales agents should only receive cash or checks, payable to the company, for the subscriptions. The customers should receive two safety system receipts regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. Receipts should be filled out properly with the complete name, address (including apartment if applicable), city, state, and zip code. Receipts should also have the name of the sales agent, the name of magazine, how many issues, and total cost of subscription.
Sales agents are given twenty receipts each morning and are responsible to turn them in with their report each night. Sales agents check their reports in each evening after work and is given an advance against their commission for food or other necessities. All orders and checks are mailed via FED EX to the subscription agency where they are processed. After the orders are processed they are then forwarded via FED EX to the clearinghouse. The customer should receive their first issue within 120 days of date of order.
If the customer have questions during their waiting period, they can contact the subscription agency @ (757) 818-9497 during business hours. Business hours are between the hours of 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM (Eastern Standard Time). If you reach a recording, please leave your name, receipt number, and telephone number. A representative will return your call as soon as possible. If during your waiting period a publisher discontinues the magazine or goes out of business, our agency will forward the customer a “SPEED LETTER” requesting the customer to select another magazine.
Publishers Consulting Corporation (PUBCO) a clearinghouse located at 13 Franklin Square, Michigan Square City, IN 46360 (219) 874-4245 contracts us. The clearinghouse is contracted with the individual publishers whose magazines appear on our credentials. This clearinghouse has been in business for over fifty years. The President, Robert Lake, is the grandson of the founder Walter Lake. When I joined the sales crew, in 1972, my manager was working under “Publishers Continental Sales Corporation. That company was a part of Publishers Consulting Corp. When I became a sales manager, the late Walter Lake came to visit our crew. After the morning meeting, he pulled me aside and said to me, “I have watched you since you were a sales agent and I believe that you are going to make a fine manager”. He also advised me to make sure my agents do well and in return I would do well. My sales agents and customers have always come first. Every sales agent that was and is contracted under my company has always been treated as an extension of my family. All customers will either get what they paid for or their money refunded.
These individual publishers (the actual magazine companies) are founded in cities throughout the USA and Canada. Most of these magazine publishers would be out of business and their employees, who are dependent on their salaries, would be out of their jobs if it wasn’t for the door to door sales agents. Most of the magazines on our list are unknown and unlike the major names (such as People, Times, Newsweek, Playboy, Reader’s Digest, etc.) they cannot sell themselves. I can recall as a sales agent working in a small rural town, knocking on a person door. After showing my credentials, I was taken in a small office and introduced to five employees who proceeded to thank me, on behalf of all sales agents, for their high volumes of sales in making the advertising industry aware of them. Most of these publishers make their money through advertisement. The greater the volume of sales, the more they can change and no one is thanking the sale agents (only harassing them). The publisher and his four employees have families who are dependent on this company and that made me feel both good and bad at the same time. It made me feel good because people were able to take care of their families. It made me feel bad because that city tried to refuse us a permit until the Mayor talked with the City Attorney and we introduced the memoranda law that states we were under interstate commerce. These sale agents are the ones taking all the risk having doors slammed in their faces, disrespected by some police (not the majority), bitten by dogs, and in my case haven a gun pointed in my face (with the comment, “Boy do you know where you are?”). All of this came for just trying to sell a magazine subscription. But I believe the strong survived and the weak perishes and I do not sleep with sheep.
Sales Crew Information
Recently, my recruiting has been going well because companies are going out of business and people are losing their jobs. Gas prices, for a while, almost drove me out of business (but I persevered). I take pride in the fact that I can give anyone over the age of eighteen a job. Why, because the sale agents pay themselves through their sales. These figures show how each city benefits from the revenue of a sales crew. A sales crew of sixty people check into a hotel. The hotel contracted the crew for twenty-five rooms for a period of six weeks. Each room cost $35.00 (tax included). The crew sales manager pays the hotel $6,125.00 for seven days in advance. The six week stay will cost the sales manager $36,750.00 ($6,125 x 6 weeks). Six vans take the sales agents to work six days per week. Each van cost $65.00 per day to fill up ($65.00 x 6 vans) which totals $390.00 per day. The total for gas per week is $2,340.00 ($390 x 6 days). That is a total of $14,040.00 worth of gas during that six-week period ($2,340 x 6 weeks). Along with the cost of gas is the cost of oil and transmission fluid, which is roughly $200.00. That would bring the total for that gas station to $14,240.00. The sales crew has 60 agents that spend $15.00 per day for food. ($15.00 x 60 agents = $900.00/day). That would bring the total to $37,800.00 ($900.00 x 42 days). The permits and security bonds cost approximately $2,000.00. We also spend roughly $4,000.00 is hospital, medicine, and other necessities. Van repairs and car rentals could cost the crew around $6,000.00. Bus tickets for 5 agents arriving and leaving @ $187.00 (plus $18.00 surcharge/ticket) per agent equals $6,150.00. The cost of clothes brought at your local Wal-Mart equal $12,000.00. The revenue plus tax for that city is roughly around $114,940.00 for that city alone. Some of these cities that we stay in made it difficult for us to obtain a permit to sell our subscriptions and these are the untold truths.
I’ll Tell You A Story
Two eighteen year old who leave home on the same day. One goes off to college and the second go and join a magazine crew. They were best friends and graduated from the same high school at the same time. The boy going to college received a big send off. But the boy who joined the magazine crew did not tell his parents (who did not care). During the next four years they both keep in touch with each other. One who is working on his Bachelors Degree in Business Administration and Accounting and the other was excelling in sales on the sales crew. The young man on the sales crew was a so-called problem child. He was very hyper, misunderstood, and no one took into consideration that his mother was on drugs, smoking, and drinking while carrying him. Well the good Lord bless us all with different talents and sooner or later we all get our chance. Unfortunately most people don’t realize that opportunity does not come seeking you out. As the Bible says, “Ask and it shall be given; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be open”. Well this misunderstood lad, with his outgoing personality, became a great sales agent. I believe he could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator. (SMILE) In one year became a supervisor and 1 ½ year later he became a manager. He and his friend in college continued to keep in touch. Sometimes he would send his friend money to help with his schoolbooks and room off campus. His parents whom he started to unite had lost their apartment. His younger brothers, ages 10 and 13, were living in a shelter. He sent his parents for a small place and they were able to leave the shelter. His parents, being proud and quiet people, did not tell anyone about their boy and what he had done. At the end of the four years, the boy attending college received his Bachelors Degree and returned home. The city had a big celebration for the college boy, who invited his friend to speak at the function. The magazine lad, while praising his friend on his degree, said, “Two boys left this town on the same day and two boys returned on the same day. This town rightly so is proud of its college graduate. But there are two graduates here today from this town”. Everyone was astonished. The boy continued to say that at the hotel in the Town Square, I am contracted for fifteen rooms at $40.00/night. I have 30 sales agents, 3 supervisors, and a check in manager in charge of reports. I own 5 15-Passenger Vans and I am here to purchase a four-bedroom house for my parents and brothers. I graduated from the school of hard knocks. Suddenly this town had two heroes and two role models. It is not what you do; it’s how you go about doing it. The college boy opened an accounting firm in town and his friend became his first client. He did the accounting for all his sales agents and sales managers who require a 1099 at the end of the year. Yes, I am here to tell you that this business is a beautiful business unknown too most. These Sales Agents who take all the risk keeps all those small publishing firms in business and it is time they receive their just dues.