You've bought your books for the semester, pimped out your dorm room and bought a few select items to enhance your wardrobe. You're all set – except for one problem. You're broke! You need a part-time job, and as a student, you'll find that many of your best opportunities are in the retail sector.
Do you vape? Have you found out about an open position at a local vape shop? This article will explain what you need to know about landing a job at a vape shop – and what will be expected of you once you're hired. By the time you're done reading, you'll know whether working as a sales associate at a vape shop is the right job for you.
You'll also learn what you can do to ensure that you're the most outstanding candidate in the field.
What's the Average Pay at a Vape Shop?
The average vape shop pays its sales associates $9.00 per hour. That translates to about $9,360 per year on a part-time schedule of 20 hours per week. The closer a vape shop is to your campus, the less the position is likely to pay since an on-campus business has a virtually infinite supply of labor available. If you're a vaping expert with prior sales experience, you might be able to demand a higher pay rate. You can also expect occasional pay increases if you're a good salesperson who generates revenue for the shop.
How to Make Yourself a Great Candidate for a Vape Shop
Vaping Expertise Isn't Necessary – But It Helps
Many vape shop owners prefer to hire people with vaping experience if possible. If you're a former smoker who can speak with excitement and passion about vaping – and you have a basic understanding of how vaping equipment works, even if you aren't an expert – it'll definitely make you a more attractive candidate. It's much easier to teach someone how to use vaping equipment, though, than it is to teach sales, cash handling and interpersonal skills. Vape shop owner Bradley Anderson of The Juice Connection says, "there's nothing more valuable in retail than an outstanding salesperson. Every retail industry has its own complexities, and anyone with a knack for sales can learn what it takes to be successful at a vape shop."
You can make yourself the perfect candidate for a vape shop by:
- Highlighting your previous sales and retail experience. If you never forget a name and know how to make anyone feel special, that's great. If you can discuss a previous instance in which you did something to increase a store's revenue, that's even better.
- Talking about your history as a vaper, if you vape.
- Demonstrating that you're a friendly and outgoing person who loves talking to customers and knows how to offer upsells.
- Showing that you're able to quickly research the answers to questions when needed. No matter how much you know about vaping, customers will ask questions that leave you scratching your head. Bluffing your way through a question can potentially be dangerous to the customer. If you don't know the answer, you'll need to find it.
Note that, regardless of your state's minimum smoking age, many vape shops will only hire you if you're 21 or older.
What If You Are An Expert Vaper?
If you're an expert vaper and a good salesperson, any vape shop would love to have you as an associate. There are two things, though, that can eliminate you from the pool of candidates immediately. Make sure that you avoid these two mistakes during the interview process.
- Don't be an elitist. Most people who vape aren't "vape bros" and don't want to deal with vape shop employees who act like YouTube celebrities. Unless you happen to work for a vape shop that caters exclusively to cloud chasers, most of the people who walk into your shop will be ordinary folks who simply don't want to smoke cigarettes anymore. The smallest vape pen is just as important to a vape shop as the most powerful mod – and no matter what your opinions may be about the "right" way to vape, the needs and desires of customers outweigh your own.
- Don't badmouth other vape shops. Doing so only makes you look unprofessional.
During your interview, do show that you are able to speak to novices on their level without talking down to them or intimidating them with unfamiliar terminology. Suppose a customer over the age of 50 walks in. That person is looking for the thing that will get him or her off of cigarettes – nothing more. If you can't talk about vaping without bringing up ohms, RDAs, wattage curves and max-VG juice, you're going to scare that person right out the door. Your job is to listen to the customer's needs and provide a solution that makes that person happy.
What's Expected of a Vape Shop Employee?
Many of the things that you'll need to do to be successful as a vape shop employee are the same things that ensure success in any retail operation. You'll do well if you come to work on time, learn everything you can about the products, treat customers like they're truly important to you and avoid goofing around on the job. There are two key differences, though, between working at a vape shop and working at another type of business such as a convenience store.
Abide by Legal Regulations
In the United States, the FDA treats vaping products and tobacco products the same. That means you'll have to learn and abide by federal and state regulations when selling those products. You can't build a vaping coil for a customer, for example, because that would make you an unlicensed tobacco product manufacturer. You'll need to check the customer's ID each time you make a sale. You can't discuss vaping products as if they were smoking cessation products. Your manager will provide ongoing training to ensure that you always heed the appropriate regulations.
Learn About the Products
No matter how much you may already know about vaping, working at a vape shop will mean that you'll encounter unfamiliar products. You'll need to do everything you can to learn about those products and the differences between them. That's important because you need to know which products work together. You need to be able to show customers how to set products up and how to troubleshoot problems. You need to know what the ideal e-liquid nicotine strength is for a given product. Most importantly, you need to understand how to use lithium ion batteries safely. Improper battery handling is a serious safety issue, and you'll need to explain that to novices.