Hey there sea changers, and welcome back to my series of MLM reviews. Today we checkout another MLM program within the health and wellness industry with my Shaklee MLM Review. Health and wellness is a massive industry with great opportunities for the generation of online sales. And within Shaklee’s sub niche based around supplements, this is especially relevant due to the fact that people do not need to touch and feel them prior to purchase. So is Shaklee an MLM program worth joining? Let’s check it out…
Note: I am not a member of the Shaklee MLM Program (and hence make no commissions from any of the links included within this post). The reason for this is that I prefer to write these posts based on what a newbie would be seeing if they were interested in joining – that way I feel I can make a better judgment on what it is that these companies are offering within their programs.
What is MLM?
Multi-level marketing (MLM) programs are the mainstay of the ‘party plan’ world of products such as Tupperware, Mary Kay and Amway etc. and, recently, becoming more and more prevalent within the health and wellbeing market. One of the reasons for this is that much of the sales and marketing for MLMs is now being managed online – alleviating the need to run parties – and, more importantly, not hassle everybody you know to join (you can of course, but you don’t have to).
The ‘multi level’ aspects of MLM come from its hierarchical nature in which you make commissions based not only on those that you sell to, but also the sales of those whom you ‘sign’ into membership arrangements as well.
In short, the process works as follows:
- You join the program, either via referral from another person (known as your up line) or directly through their website.
- You promote the products of the company via parties, workshops or online.
- As you make sales, you offer incentives to your customers to sign up as a member of the program (there are different names for this but they all mean the same thing).
- That new member is then placed ‘underneath’ you in a hierarchical arrangement (known as your down line).
- You, and a number of levels of your up line, then gain extra commissions for everything they sell as well.
- If they manage to refer their customers into memberships, they also become a member of your down line allowing you to make up line commissions as well.
The number of levels of your up and down lines will vary depending on the program you have joined. Commission rates will also change as your down line grows or contracts and many will also offer other incentives such as total company sales percentages and/or access to membership prizes as your own business grows.
Who are Shaklee?
Shaklee is health and wellness company based in Pleasanton, California. It had been around since 1956 and prides itself on the production of top quality, ethically sourced and 100% safe products.
They heavily promote their ‘proven records’ in assisting athletes, adventurers and even astronauts to achieve their goals as well as research into the effectiveness of their products. From the outset however, I feel the need to comment on two things that I have noticed in my initial exploration and research into this site/program:
- Their entire site appears to be designed around their MLM program.
- Information on their MLM program is almost impossible to find unless you join and pay for it.
What do they Sell?
Shaklee offers a decent range of health and wellness products including (but not limited to):
- Multi vitamins
- Targeted nutrition capsules – Blood sugar, bone and joint, eye etc.
- Healthy Weight
- Weight loss shakes
- Meal replacement bars
- Metabolic boost capsules
- Makeup lotions, removers and firmers
- Hydrating lotions
- Anti-aging lotions
- Baby care
- Shampoos and conditioners
- Protien shakes
- Energy and hydrolyte drinks and gels
- Recovering complex
- Orgnaic cleaners
- Laundry products
- Cloths and sponges
- Water purifiers
Products can be purchased individually or as ‘regimen packs’.
MLM Program outline
Note: Now again, I have had trouble finding this information so if any of it is incorrect or inaccurate, please comment at the bottom of this post:
Base Commission rate: 4%
Distributor discount: 15 – 25% (on personal purchases)
Down line commission rates: up to 20% to 6 levels (1st generation (down line level 1) rates 4%).
Minimum monthly spend to qualify for commissions
- Affiliates are required to maintain a 100 Personal Volume (PV) purchase level per month to qualify for commission – approx $150.
Payment terms: Weekly and monthly.
Application required?: Yes, personal and payment information at time of first purchase
Purchase requirements to join: Yes – one of the following must be purchased
- Distributor pack $49.95 – activates account and provides access to distributor info
- Gold PAK – $349 – as per basic pack but includes product and offers higher commissions for distributors
- Gold PAK Plus – $649 as above but offers even higher commissions.
Note: The distributor pack does not include any product so at least $150 in personal purchases are required to qualify for commissions.
Marketing materials provided: Included as part of distributor pack but contents not outlined.
As with the bigger programs, downline commissions and rankings are determined in part by the total Personal Group Volume (PGV) that you and those of your down line generate in a calendar month. To qualify for downline commissions within Shaklee, you will need to purchase a minimum 100 PV points worth of product monthly (roughly USD$150). Most MLM programs manage it this way so as to ensure that you are getting sales based results rather than simply signing people up whom don’t purchase.
With this platform however, there are some extra bonus payments available for those that you can get to sign up regardless of the ongoing purchases that they make. This element does appear to maybe drift the program a little towards the definition of a pyramid scheme but I am happy to give them a pass mark here as there are initial product purchases required by the new entrant before the bonus is paid. We will check this out a little more below…
How can I get paid?
To be honest, this one took me a little while longer than usual to get my head around (once I finally found the info) but at the end of the day, this program promotes 7 ways (plus car and incentives bonuses) in which you can make money when you promote and sell their products. Most are quite standard for a MLM program of this nature whilst there are a few others that allow for bonuses to be earned simply for signing people up and profits for old-school based personal selling.
If you are a Gold PAK or Gold PAK Plus purchaser, then you earn direct bonuses for any referral that purchases either of these products themselves. Bonuses are as follows:
- Sponsor a Gold Ambassador with a $649 GOLD PLUS PAK = $100 Gold Bonus.
- Sponsor a Gold Ambassador with a $349 GOLD PAK = $50 Gold Bonus.
As I mentioned above, these payments are made purely for signing up members regardless of whether they continue to generate sales or not. Distributor purchasers do not qualify for Gold bonuses.
Power bonuses are points earned for purchases made by your sponsored distributors with a specified product purchase level in the month you sponsor, and in your first three full months that follow.
For every 15 sponsorship points you earn, you are paid $150.
Points bonuses are earned in you first three months as a distributor only.
Price differential takes you back to the old school way of running a MLM business. The process is simple:
- You purchase products utilising your distributor discount.
- You sell the products at retail (at a party, market stall, kiosk or in your own shop).
- You make a profit based on the difference between your purchase price and your retail sale price.
Director level and above qualify for higher discounts. Purchases under this process also count towards PV and other downline commission earnings.
Personal group bonus
From here forward we start to get into the stock standard MLM payment schemes starting with the Personal Group Bonus. This bonus is paid as a percentage commission based on the total PGV of your downline. Rates are as follows:
To qualify for these commission, you must maintain a personal monthly purchase volume of 100 PV.
The FastTRACK bonus is designed as an incentive for new entrants to rise through the ranking levels (outlines below) within specified time frames. There are a number of levels here so I won’t cover them all in this post (you can se them all here) but examples at each end of the spectrum are as follows:
- Rise to the rank of Director within your first three months and earn two tickets to the Shaklee Global Conference—a $500 value!
- Rise to Master Coordinator in your first 36 months and earn $25,000 paid as follows:
- $5,000 after six consecutive months and
- $5,000 for each of the next four months you hold paid-as Master Coordinator rank
To qualify for FastTRACK bonuses, you must be a Gold PAK distributor or higher.
Now for the higher level bonuses – i.e. those available once you reach the upper echelons of the ranking system. The first one is the Leadership Bonus. This is a monthly bonus earned on the Personal Group Volume (PGV) of each Business Leader in your organization—up to six generations. The higher their PGV, the more income you generate from your Leadership Bonuses. Structure is as follows:
Organizational Volume is your Personal Volume plus the Personal Volume of each distributor within your organization, including all Business Leaders. As you reach Key Coordinator rank or above, a minimum of 50% of your organizational volume must come from outside the strongest leg in your organization.
Infinity Bonuses are extra commissions earned by the highest ranks based on the PV and OV of all Leaders in their organization. There are no limits to the number of Leaders you can be paid on however, you will not qualify until you reach the rank of Senior Coordinator and above.
As you have probably noticed, the commissions and bonuses paid out above are reliant upon the ‘rank’ that you are assigned within the Shaklee affiliate program. This ranking structure is in line with most other programs with commission qualifications rising based on your total monthly PGV, the number of underlings you have within your down line and of course, how much they sell/purchase in a calendar month (measured in PV/PGV). Rank requirements are as follows:
As with most programs, rankings are determined by the total PGV you and your downline generate in a calendar month. As your downline grows, your commission rates increase as outlined earlier within this post.
What else do you get?
On top of the potential earning methods outlined above, Shaklee also offers a couple of bonus plans for those who achieve higher rankings within the program. These include:
The first bonus plan for top ranked members is one they call Incentives where points are earned in the similar fashion to the Power Bonus outlined earlier. For sales generated within your downline, you earn points that can be credited towards:
- Directors retreats
- Luxury trips
- Car bonus (see next section)
Note: some of these bonuses must be achieved within your first year as a distributor.
This is a common bonus amongst MLM programs for higher ranking members. Once you reach certain rank levels and sales volume you are eligible for a bonus payment towards the lease of a vehicle. Within this program, the structure is as follows:
Car Volume (CV) is your Personal Group Volume (not including the PGV of a First Generation Director in the month they promote).
What is good about it?
So, after a good look around the site and looking at all the options I could find, I do like the following:
- You can earn money from the outset if you can sign members up with you.
- There are some good incentives to reach higher ranks quickly.
What is no so good about it?
There are also some things to be aware of including:
- Information is extremely hard to find with no clear indication if it is accurate or up to date.
- PV calculation is a little higher than other programs – most run at USD$1 per PV point – Shaklee is around USD$1.5.
- Costs to enter are quite high.
- There is an early focus on simply signing people up rather than on the products.
- At time of purchase, the website appears focused on the MLM rather than the product.
How much can you make?
The below table is an outline of actual commission payments by this company over an 12-month period. As with most MLM programs, the percentage of members making the upper rank levels is very low. There were no tables that I could find outlining the expected earning amounts for those who have not yet reached the level of Director.
My final thoughts
Look, in spite of the earnings listed above, MLM is not an easy platform to make money in – and please keep in mind that in the table above, there is no clear record of the amounts earned by the highest percentage of members i.e. those under the rank of director. In regards to the Shaklee program, the outline seems to be on par with most others within this niche (such as Herbalife and Plexus) with ample opportunity to earn if you can attract and nurture a down line. There is also the added bonus of being able to earn money simply by signing others up to the program – albeit via the more expensive entry option. The advantage here is that with most MLM programs, getting others (such as family members) to sign up is usually much easier than convincing them to continue to purchase monthly.
There are however two massive red flags for me that if I am being honest, would probably lead me to look elsewhere. The first is that information in regards to the program is extremely hard to locate. In fact for this post I had to break my own rule about only using information from the website and do some Google searches to find the required information on other review sites or via back end links. This was especially confusing with this platform in that as soon as you access any shopping cart, it asks you to become a distributor and then pay for the information that I think you would need beforehand.
The second for me is the high entry costs. As per the previous paragraph, from what I can tell you need to fork out at least $49 before you get any information in regards to the program – which does not include product (again, please feel free to comment below if I have this wrong). And as I was not keen on parting with my $49.95, I cannot talk to the joining process either . To earn commissions you need to maintain 100 PV per month which is standard operating procedure for most MLM platforms so in general, you can expect to run at a loss for the first few months unless you are able to move quickly to attract downline members.
Interestingly, in terms of reviews of this platform, there were way more that were positive than not – this is unusual for MLM reviews due to the difficulty that most have in making money from them. Product reviews are mixed, but nothing that is not common within this niche.
So, is Shaklee worth joining? I would say no – simply as I am really not a fan of those that don’t make their program information readily available and the high entry costs – however if this is a product or niche that you are passionate about, then the program itself appears above board. Just remember, regardless of the company, MLMs take solid, consistent work with some hard core selling to become successful – not to mention the monthly out-of-pocket expenses. For this reason, you may even want to start by looking into affiliate marketing rather than committing to an MLM program in short term.
So there you have it, my honest review and appraisal of the Shaklee MLM program. I hope it has been of assistance but as usual, if you have any questions or experience with this program please do not hesitate to reach out by commenting below – especially if any of my information is inaccurate.
Are there any other programs you have been looking at but want to know more about? If so, please comment below and I will do my best to get some details for you.
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Until next time
Note: If you make a purchase from this page, there is a very good chance that I make a commission from it – these commissions do not increase your sale price.