By Robbie Owens

PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) –  So called “work-from-home” opportunities are a dime a dozen in a still recovering economy — and often they’re not worth a penny.  So Carrolton retiree Al Avellino was thrilled to discover Plano-based Working Solutions [].  Avellino was looking to earn some extra income without incurring added expenses.

“I don’t want to get dressed up in a suit and tie anymore.  I don’t have to worry about clothes,” says Avellino.  “You don’t have to drive anywhere… make your own coffee, make your own lunch.  You don’t have to please anybody but yourself.”  And as the retired commercial pilot adds with a laugh, “as long as I avoid the mirrors, I’m good!”

But demand for Working Solutions’ services right now isn’t just good.  Owner Kim Houlne says it’s great.

“We’ve probably seen a 30-40% increase year over year,” says Houlne.

“It really has been quite tremendous.” And Houlne has especially welcome news for job hunters: “We are constantly hiring– we are very positive about some of the wonderful projects and accounts that we’ve taken on, and we can’t seem to get enough.”

Houlne acknowledges that ‘work-at-home’ opportunities are often fraught with scams.  And she advises anyone looking into working from home to run in the other direction if a company asks the job seeker to pay a fee to work.

She says their staffers are often pleasantly surprised when they learn that the company is legitimate and everything it’s billed to be — especially the flexible hours.

“You’re taking care of an elderly parent or they’ve got kids that are in school and they’d love to be able to be at that play in afternoon… but, have the ability to work in the evening or weekends.  It’s been a great model for us.”

Working Solutions staffers provide technical and call center support for some of the nation’s most well-known companies.  And while working from home might not work for someone lacking discipline, Houlne says they’ve seen productivity triple and even quadruple because their agents see the flexibility as a huge payoff.

“You’re not walking to people’s offices, you’re not pouring yourself a cup of coffee, you’re getting stuff done and much of our model is based on paying for productivity,” Houlne said.  “So you’ll find more and more people want to work more, be more productive, and they know at the end, they can head off to the soccer game.”

Or for Avellino, the golf course.

“I’m not looking to get rich,” says Avellino. “I just want to pay a few bills.”