CustomInk Reviews

Updated 29 October 2014
Updated 29 October 2014
41 Reviews
3.9
41 Reviews
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Approve of CEO
CustomInk Chairman, President, CEO, and Co-Founder Marc Katz
Marc Katz
37 Ratings

Employee Reviews

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  1.  

    A Natural Fit

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Fairfax, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Software Engineer in Fairfax, VA (US)

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Both the engineering team and management are good people. it is hart to overstate that enough. I think the most important thing I have been continually impressed with CustomInk is the lack of a "poison pill" employee at any level. Everyone here generally is looking out for you and wants you to succeed. Cheesy, but really important to me.

    Cons

    There are none that I know of.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Keep up the good work and honest sharing of information.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  2.  

    Great Company to work for

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Production Associate in Charlottesville, VA (US)
    Former Employee - Production Associate in Charlottesville, VA (US)

    I worked at CustomInk full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Custom Ink is a great company to work for it does well to promote its values through out the company.

    Cons

    Although the benefits are good the pay could be a lot better. There seems to be a lot of competition for positions and making it harder to be promoted.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3.  

    Mostly a Great Place to Work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA (US)

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    In on-the-business roles, there is room for development. And there's room to grow within production roles as well. The food is a good perk. The location is also slammin'.

    Cons

    The company is growing so rapidly that it's been experiencing growing pains for a while. New leadership was just brought in, so this is hopefully going to be addressed soon.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Leadership really needs to deal with job titles. Often a title within CustomInk doesn't match what the same job is in another company. This causes a lot of harm to team member morale and respect from leadership.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
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  5.  

    Growing Pains...For Years

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Order Operations in Fairfax, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Order Operations in Fairfax, VA (US)

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    Friendly People, Great Benefits Package, Mostly Fun Place to Work

    Cons

    Work-Life Balance is virtually non existent in FFX location, Professional Development is Lackluster, Salary is Borderline Insulting

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You hire really motivated, incredibly smart individuals who have aspirations to advance in their roles. While I can't speak for other departments within the company, I can say that Order Operations roles (i.e. Sales, SA, LA, ART) are certainly feeling stifled. The amount of work that these employees must produce each week is exhausting, while the pay leaves much to be desired. (Mandatory OT for 9 out of the 12 months is not a good work-life balance).

    In Order Operations, there is also a mentality that Management is offering us some incredible opportunities to learn new roles. For instance, they'll ask for volunteers to help other departments when things are chaotic for that specific role. Instead of offering a bonus structure as an incentive - they make it seem like you should be honored to learn a new skill. I think the term we use here is "lateral". Basically every time that you learn a new skill, or take on a new role, you're looking at a lateral move. Lateral at CustomInk just means they don't have to give you a pay increase.

    Management has their own issues. Many of the Middle Managers are not qualified to actually be in their roles, yet we grew too quickly from a small company and therefore had to promote too quickly. We're seeing the impact of this disorganization now, and we're bringing in senior management from outside to try and clean this up.

    The entire company is now cutting back on the fun activities and "Work Hard Play Hard" mentality that we used to promote so freely, mainly because it seems as though the values that we used to have as a company have now been overshadowed by the increase in revenue. It's really a shame to see such a fun, young, vibrant company start to fizzle out because making enormous amounts of money for investors has now taken precedence.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Losing its way

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Reno, NV (US)

    I have been working at CustomInk (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    CustomInk offers a lot of perks, like free meals twice a week, comfortable work space and casual dress. We have many special events. Pretty much everyone is friendly, and whether you know them personally or not folks will always smile at you and say hello.

    Cons

    We have become incredibly disorganized, especially from a personnel standpoint. Reporting relationships sometimes are confusing (why two people with the same title report to two different people in completely different departments) and we continually seem to bring in higher level executives who end up having little impact, or even worse an extremely negative impact that becomes difficult to undo when they ultimately depart. There was a time CustomInk believed in promoting from within to maintain and value our culture. This has gone by the wayside in favor of folks with outside experience and fluffy resumes with lots of big words. Ultimately, the influx of people in crucial decision making roles with mismatched values will be the downfall of a once great place.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    You have many talented people within the organization already that have proven themselves. Train from within instead of looking outside. You won't regret it.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  7.  

    Works hard to achieve fun environment… low pay.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Sales/Service Representative in McLean, VA (US)
    Former Employee - Sales/Service Representative in McLean, VA (US)

    I worked at CustomInk full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Young, fun environment. Overall, good people.

    Cons

    Low pay, less than stellar advancement opportunities.

    Recommends
    Approves of CEO
  8.  

    Great company but needs to manage their growth

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Sales/Service Representative in Fairfax, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Sales/Service Representative in Fairfax, VA (US)

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (less than an year)

    Pros

    Great environment and great people. Sales, especially a call center, can be rough but the company tries to great a positive bright environment and encourage great productivity with lots of perks. There is a lot of internal data collected and surveyed, I can't tell if or how it is used to affect change. The scheduling is pretty rigid and includes mandatory overtime, however, you are in good company, you just have to be careful about who you ask question to or confide in. Young workforce can tend to get gossipy.

    Cons

    The company is growing...quickly and I think you are starting to see some growing pains. It still operates much like a startup with quick changes and a roll with the punches attitude, but it is a more mature business than that and needs to adjust. The disconnect between senior leadership, middle management, and the masses that others have highlighted here is pretty apparent. There is also a hire from within attitude for leadership which leads to people who really know what the job is, but dont necessarily have leadership experience prior or elsewhere. Diversity is a great thing for business.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    The new leadership that has been brought in seems like a great catalyst to iron out some of the rough spots and grow up. Communicating with staff on changes and giving them time to adjust is more important than the fun extras and will make for staff that feels more valued. The recent communication from meet and greets and from Marc has been excellent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9.  

    Family Feel

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Fairfax, VA (US)

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    - Team & leaders really care about one another, it feels like my second family
    - Huge amount of care and respect for our customers
    - Honest feedback provided, feedback also asked for and listened to
    - High expectations, which challenge you and make you feel proud of your accomplishments
    - Comfortable work environment (and we love food)
    - Solid benefits
    - You don't have to wait a year for a raise, performance based earnings plans reward you every period if you perform above expectations, which most of the team does (then raises are also given once certain levels are hit, and expectations are communicated so you know exactly what you have to do)

    Cons

    - We're experiencing rapid growth, which does present challenges like having many new team members trying to learn at the same time
    - While we're growing quickly, many new opportunities are in different offices and would require a move (all opportunities are very competitive, since we have a ton of awesome people here)
    - Because many team members join the team right out of college and don't have a lot of other experience, sometimes the way things are here are really taken for granted
    - The majority of the team is fantastic and loves to be here. Then, like anywhere probably, sometimes you can experience a lack of professionalism or negative attitudes.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    - For the most part, keep doing what you're doing
    - Work to keep the tone of our environment the same as we grow

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  10.  

    Great place

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Fulfillment Associate
    Former Employee - Fulfillment Associate

    I worked at CustomInk full-time (more than 3 years)

    Pros

    There is always room for new team members, a very fair place. Golden rule is key.

    Cons

    Work demands are high but the rewards are good.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. 7 people found this helpful  

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at CustomInk full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    - The physical environment is quite nice and comfortable (well as long as more than 3 people don't want to use the restroom at the same time). This is the 3rd office we've had in VA since I started and they've designed it from the ground up. They do an admirable job of making it a pleasant place to perform your job. They provide lunch once a week and provide other small surprises throughout the year. The Team Environment people are amazing.
    - There are some truly great people who work here. I've met some great friends and there really are many people here that live the 3 tenets That CI advertises as their ore beliefs.
    - The Health benefits are very good. About the best package you will find outside govt. if you are single.

    Cons

    Unfortunately CI depends on surface level benefits like a free lunch or a Cornhole Tournament to but a nice shine on what is really a glorified assembly line; complete with the industrial revolution reminiscent problems.

    - Compensation: The compensation is minimal for the volume of work demanded. They use a system called performance based earning. This is approached not unlike the way a server in a restaurant will make a lower wage as they can supplement their earnings via tips. At CI it is done via productivity monitoring. You make a minimal base salary, and then there are a series or incentives that you can potentially earn based on pure statistical performance. This is how they get around the concept of standard of living or annual raises. They claim that you control your own pay, and can simply earn more based on performing better. The interesting part is that if you don't reach these goals you don't just make your base salary, you are put on a performance plan, and then terminated. Making these earnings less a bonus to your salary, but instead a level of production that is demanded. Another facet of this program is that while you will sign an offer sheet with the details of these incentives and bonuses, they can and will be changed later, but not with your agreement. If a team seems to be consistently out earning, the PBE can be adjusted to make it harder to reach those incentives. This leads to another problem, the "raise" system is based on being able to consistently meet or exceed the goals of this program. PBE is measured monthly, by exceeding for 3 straight months you can increase your base salary by a small percentage, similar tiers can be achieved for 6 months or a year (this is not transparent information though, I had to learn about it via fellow employees, and Management does not monitor for the employee reaching these tiers, so you will have to request them). This becomes a problem as with the fluid nature of the PBE. Sometimes due to a number of circumstances the PBE will not be valid that month, since you did not out earn it, it does not count as a step towards your next pay tier. This happens quite often and trying to get your first raise may take you several years. Of course all things can be changed, and I've spoken with several people that were offered the raises without officially maintaining the required stats, while others had to spend months fighting for them Politics go a long way.

    -Leadership/Promotions: I fully believe that upper management thinks that everything is as wonderful as those Great Places to Work Surveys say. There is a significant buffer between upper management and the SS/Operations teams that make up the majority of the employee base. Middle management is were the information control seems to start. We take regular surveys to give feedback (positive or negative) to the company, but these are not anonymous, they actually go to your direct supervisors. Negative feedback or grievances can and will follow you in your time with this company and can essentially get you black listed. Despite the growth of the company, advancement opportunities are slim, there is a great deal of lateral movement, but not much for advancement. If you have earned the reputation as being a malcontent on one of these surveys (whether justified or not) these opportunities will likely be closed to you. I do think there are great people trying to be great managers, but the Brand trumps all.

    Lastly
    MOD system: This is a company wide policy of MODifying behavior. Which is a scary concept in itself, but that is the idea. Employees are instructed to assign errors to other employees if they see something in the work process that may disrupt them in any way from doing their role. There are guidelines, but the practice is inconsistent and can cause resentment/unbalance. These errors statistically calculate your accuracy on the performance based earnings. IF you do not reach the predetermined accuracy, you CANNOT out earn. So this is a system where fellow employees are in control of each others paycheck. This can cause friends to let errors go, while marking the same errors on other inkers. These are also not Anonymous, so an employee is well aware who has marked one of these error on them. An error that has the potential to greatly affect the monthly earnings of that employee. While we are assured that animosity will not be tolerated in this system, there is no way to police it. MODs will always be inconsistent and an unjustifiable way to hold an employees earnings hostage.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    I truly think that the PBE and MOD systems were put in place with every good intention. I also think that they have been since used more as a control mechanism as time has gone on. I truly want management to understand that Happy employees will result in even happier customer. We do a great job executing for the customer, but the employees work under a cloud of fear. We fear to voice concerns, to be labeled as negative. I've watched too many amazing and talented people leave the company to take jobs that recognize their value. I fear fewer and fewer of us feel like valuable members of a family, and more like just another link on the chain. Let's make the good outweigh the bad again.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

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