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Demonstrators

California Occupational Guide Number 510
Interest Area 8
1997
THE JOB

DEMONSTRATORS show new products to the public.  "Line" Demonstrators bring 
out a specific line of products and are hired by a distributor.  "General" 
Demonstrators handle a number of products and work for demonstration market 
Research firms, temporary personnel agencies, and department stores.

Demonstrators usually show small appliances and food items, such as cook 
ware, knives, or vacuum cleaners.  Housewares demonstrators usually work at 
department stores.  Food demonstrators work in grocery stores.

Demonstrators set up or check the product display and demonstration area to 
make sure that the product is attractively presented.  They keep the area 
neat while working and put things away at the end of the demonstration.  
They explain the product to customers and answer questions.  Although 
demonstrators are not salespersons, they give out discount tickets, product 
samples, brochures and fliers, and give information to the public about the 
product to persuade them to buy it. When demonstrating food or cooking 
products, they prepare and serve food to the public.  

Demonstrators generally are asked to count the number of their products on 
the shelves or displays at the beginning and close of day.  They keep 
records of the number of questions received and the number of coupons and 
products given away, they also note weather conditions or other information 
that is helpful to the store owner or distributor in deciding if the 
promotional efforts or products  are worthwhile.  

Demonstrators learn all about the products they are representing.  They may 
train other Demonstrators, or inform general sales personnel about their 
product line.  Based on their experience, the Demonstrator may recommend how 
to improve the product and provide better service to customers.  Some 
Demonstrators use visual aids such as charts, slides, or films in the 
demonstration.  They may lead tours of plants where a product is made.


WORKING CONDITIONS

Working conditions depend on where the demonstration is made.  Most 
department stores are well-lit and attractive, with air conditioning.  
Permanent store employees often have a work area and storage space for 
their equipment and supplies.  Temporary or "line'' Demonstrators work at 
different locations.  They must be strong enough to set up and tear down 
their demonstrations every day and carry their own equipment and supplies.  
Food Demonstrators are usually asked to supply a card table, table cloth, 
crock pot or electric skillet, cooking utensils, and other equipment.  The 
areas designated by the store management for demonstrations may be cold or 
drafty.  On occasion, Demonstrators work outside in a plaza or from a truck 
that is parked at a temporary site.

Most Demonstrators stand on their feet for long hours and work under 
fluorescent lights.  They may sometimes get cuts or minor burns.  The work 
can get boring during slow shopping periods.  Customers can be rude or mean 
at times.

Demonstrators working for a specific product line or in a department or 
specialty store are expected to dress well and be neatly groomed.

Food Demonstrators working in grocery stores that are under union contract 
must join the Retail Clerks Union within 30 days of being hired.


EMPLOYMENT OUTLOOK

Demonstrators are a part of the bigger occupational group of Demonstrators, 
Promoters, and Models.

The California Projections of Employment, published by the Labor Market 
Information Division of the Employment Development Department, estimates 
that the number of Demonstrators in California will reach 18,740 by 2005, 
an increase in new jobs of 6,300 over the number there was in 1993.

There will also be an estimated 6,290 job openings due to people retiring or 
leaving the occupation.  Added to the 6,300 new jobs expected, this makes 
for an estimated total of 12,590 job opportunities through 2005.

(These figures do not include self-employment nor openings due to turnover.)

One of the reasons for the expected growth is that sales have been found to 
go up when Demonstrators are used.  Also, there has been growth in retail 
trade due to the rise in California's population.  Many job openings in the 
next few years will also be created by the need to replace workers who leave 
their jobs.  Most employers report it is not difficult to find persons 
qualified to do this work.


WAGES, HOURS, AND FRINGE BENEFITS

Wages go from approximately minimum wage to $9.00 an hour and include set-up 
and take-down time.  Union wages are between $8.00 and $8.70 an hour 
depending on the employer contract.  Most contracts provide for a pension 
contribution.  Department stores have a benefits package for permanent 
employees who work at least 20 hours per week.


ENTRANCE REQUIREMENTS AND TRAINING

Employers look for applicants who can speak well and are able to sell 
products.  Demonstrators should have enthusiastic, outgoing personalities 
and enjoy working with the public.  They are expected to be well groomed.  
They must be able to organize their work and fill out the required paper 
work with very little supervision.  Employers that hire Demonstrators for a 
specific line of products may prefer a person who does creative cooking or 
has other skills that help show off a product.

Department stores and distributors provide training to help their employees 
know their products and selling techniques.


ADVANCEMENT

Promotional opportunities for Demonstrators are limited.  Those working for 
department stores or distributors may move into sales positions and later to 
other jobs with the company.  Others may choose to become product 
representatives for cosmetic lines or houseware goods or use the job as a 
stepping stone to other positions requiring the ability to work with people.


FINDING THE JOB

People interested in part-time temporary work should register with 
demonstrator-market Research firms, temporary personnel agencies, or the 
local retail clerks union.  Those interested in permanent part-time 
employment should apply at department stores, or to the local distributor 
for a product line of particular interest.  Asking Demonstrators how and 
where they found their job is one way of identifying potential employers for 
this type of work.  Checking ads in the newspaper and registering with a 
local California Employment Development Department Workforce Services Office are 
other methods of finding a demonstrator job.


ADDITIONAL SOURCES OF INFORMATION

American Marketing Association
250 S. Wacker Drive, Suite 200
Chicago, IL  60606
(312) 648-0536
FAX (312) 993-7542
http://www.ama.org/index2.asp

RELATED OCCUPATIONAL GUIDES

Models                                     No.  144

OCCUPATIONAL CODE REFERENCES

DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles, 4th ed., Rev. 1)
Demonstrator                            297.354-010

OES (Occupational Employment Statistics) System
Demonstrators, Promoters, and Models         490320


Source:  State of California, Employment Development Department,
         Labor Market Information Division, Information Services Group,
         (916) 262-2162.

Note:  This is NOT a job opening.  The purpose of This California Occupational Guide is to provide you with useful information to help you make career decisions.   If you are searching for a job, go to:

California Occupational Guides


California Employment Development Department   >>   Labor Market Information   >>   More Occupational Guides