Irene worked as an Independent Avon Representative and enjoys sharing the pros and cons of their experience.
Can You Work From Home and Make 40–50% Profit Selling Avon?
There are all sorts of work from home ventures out there and you may have seen the ads, "Be your own boss and make 40–50% profit selling Avon."
Is it possible, sure, is it probable, for a very few.
This article is about my personal experience with my work from home venture with Avon.
Avon is one of the oldest and largest "Direct Sales" distribution companies in the world.
Avon has been in existence, offering women financial independence since 1886. Hat's off to Founder David H. McConnell for his insights and dedication.
As far back as I can remember, the Avon lady was part of the fabric of every neighborhood. Being a "DING DONG, Avon calling . . . " neighborhood Avon lady was the perfect work from home job for countless woman including a few of my aunts.
Avon still offers men and woman, work from home, financial independence. Avon representatives are still out there knocking on doors and distributing brochures, selling Avon products.
Nowadays, as with many other companies, it's just a little harder to make that profit because of changes. Changes in Avon's selling policies and pay structure has unfortunately also contributed to that.
The biggest difference from Avon's humble beginnings to now is that the company has changed into a Multinational Company, a company that may have lost sight of its founding father's vision.
Some of the business tools that Avon supplied their representatives to sell their products were included free of charge but that is not the case today.
The Real Deal
Work from home and make a 40% to 50% profit. Great, sign me up! With excitement, you contact an Avon representative to get started on your new business.
A District Manager came to my home to sign me up. I was very comfortable with her and what she had to say so there was no hesitation on my part to sign up and become an Independent Avon Representative.
I started in September 2010 and my initial investment was $10.00. For that $10.00, I received my enrollment paperwork, 10 brochures for the upcoming campaign, a couple of samples for a featured product in the upcoming campaign, a few paper delivery bags, and an order book. All that was neatly placed in a black, cloth, Avon bag.
As an incentive, for the first couple of campaigns, (a campaign is two weeks long) Avon agreed to pay me 40% of my sales, excluding the "specialty items." "Specialty items" are clothes, shoes, home goods, decorations, etc. Those items are always a straight 20% profit, never more than that.
So off I went, black bag in hand, to family, friends, neighbors, and associates to sell my goods. In the beginning, I received a very good reception. Because my neighborhood had not seen or heard from an Avon Representative in years, people were anxious to once again order their favorite color of lipstick and Skin So Soft products.
As with most companies, today a web presence is essential for increased sales. Avon offered their Sales Representatives an opportunity to open a website that could increase their sales and solicit new business.
There was however a $7.50 fee attached to the website to be paid each campaign. If someone placed an order within a campaign through your website, the fee would be credited to your account. However, if you did not have a sale through your website within any campaign, you were responsible to pay the $7.50. In a one month period of time, that was $15.00 due to Avon to advertise their products.
The websites were in complete control of Avon. Other than changing colors or tweaking the layout, each and every Avon website, looked exactly the same and there were thousands of them on the web.
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Avon also had huge restrictions on using Avon's name for advertising. In other words, Avon itself owned the websites to sell their products. The representatives were not permitted to sell Avon products from their own private websites or through venues like Amazon or eBay.
Note: As of the end of 2011, the $7.50 was no longer being charged to the Representatives for their websites but the individual website selling and advertising the Avon name restrictions still apply.
Avon Fees and Expenses
There is a list of fees that are due to Avon on a two-week basis. There are business supplies that are essential to the success of your business. All these supplies must be purchased and paid by YOU to continue to sell Avon.
Many years ago, Avon supplied their representatives with their brochures, delivery bags, and some samples. So as an example of these costs; 20–30 brochures costs between $8.00 and $10.80. That in itself doesn't seem like much but brochures are needed every two weeks so these expenses start to mount up and all these expenses come off the top of your profits.
Your profit is based on how much you sell. You must sell a minimum of $50.00 per campaign in order to be able to submit the order. So on a $50.00 order, your profit margin would be 20% which is $10.00. From there let's take out your upcoming brochure costs for 20 brochures which is approximately $8.00. Yes, that's correct, that will leave you $2.00! And that $2.00 will be used for fees that I will explain below.
There was a previous 'customer fee' but at the end of 2011 the 'customer fee' was changed to a 'one simple fee' policy. The 'one simple fee' policy charges the representative $5.95 for orders from $50.00 to $144.00, and that fee goes up according to the dollar amount of your order.
So, if we are using the above scenario, take out the 'one simple fee' and you are now in the hole for $3.50.
The answer to this is to sell more, right? Well, that works if you have the customer base. On average, I sold $175.00 each campaign and my profit portion of that was 30%. Using that calculation, my profit was $52.50, take $10.80 for brochures (I always ordered 30), then the 'one simple fee' of $5.95, then miscellaneous of approximately $5.00 (for a couple of samples or delivery bags) and I was left with $30.75 profit for two weeks of work or $15.00 per week.
The profit margin scale is based on the amount of product you sell. In order to make a 50% profit, you must sell, $1501.00 in products (not specialty items) in each 2-week campaign. So tell me, who can do that? Not many people. Realistically, most will sell, between $100.00 and $200.00 per campaign and the profit on that would be 20-30% at best before supplies and fees.
Representatives are also responsible for return postage to Avon on a returned item. Because Avon has their money-back guarantee a representative must honor that return policy. As an Avon representative, you can either keep the product, refund the customer, and hope you can resell it, or return the item to Avon, they will re-credit the initial amount due, then you refund your customer and pay the return item fee.
For example: a pair of sale sandals, priced at $9.99 in the clearance book didn't fit one of my customers. Needless to say, that pair of sandals will most likely not resell so I had to return them. The return shipping fee was $4.80. I only made $2.00 on the sale, (remember 20% of specialty items), so it cost me an additional $2.80 of my money to return that item. Close to the same thing happened with a very small Butterfly ring that had to be returned because it was damaged. The return fee of $4.80 to return a tiny ring caused me to lose money on that damaged product.
As Time Goes By
After a few months, your existing customers now have a cupboard filled with face cream, make-up, and all the fragrances to last them through to the next millennium.
As time goes by, you must figure out new and inventive ways to get new customers and continually renew your existing customers as your customer base starts to decline.
AND as your customer base declines, so too, do your profits.
Know what you're getting into when you respond to any work from home opportunity.
If you think you're going to make hundreds of dollars selling AVON, make sure that you have hundreds of customers who will order from you at least every other campaign.
It's all about the numbers and the profit margin, and Avon has those numbers on their side.
In my experience and witnessing my fellow Avon representatives who have, as I did, fallen by the wayside, my opinion is that Avon's increased fees and supply costs is what has contributed to hundreds of Avon Representatives resigning their positions and moving on to a more lucrative business venture.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Gina the Pasadena Avon Lady on June 03, 2020:
I've been selling Avon for 25 years. As a full time Avon Lady, I can say it doesn't come easy, but if you work hard and be kind and loyal to your customers then you can make a profit. My last order I profited $467. I put 87 miles on my van delivering orders. I had 43 orders out of the 80 brochures I handed out. Mainly to houses in my town and adjacent towns. I try to stay local. After the purchase of Avon to LG H&H in August our prices had gone up quite a bit, so I've lost some business. But new things are coming and I'm excited about what the future will bring. I'm in Pasadena Maryland.
alona on May 07, 2020:
can you believe it 40 years as an Avon Lady....still having fun....and yes you will not get rich but for the few hours I spend working I appreciate the money I make....no complaints....
Betty on October 09, 2018:
I have been with Avon for 6 months.I only sell about $150.00 each campaign, I just love buying all the crap for myself , I knew that going in to it.
Anni Goodwin on September 28, 2018:
So much has changed this article that I don't know where to begin! Plus some of the things I am reading simply are not true. The only requirement Avon has to stay active is an order once every 6 weeks, no minimums or quotas. Yes you do buy your brochures after all this is your own business and all businesses have supplies that need to be purchased. The "fee" is a shipping charge that you should have received from your customers, there is a .75 S&H area on the order forms to be paid by each customer. I have been selling for 3 years and and bring in an extra 300 - 500 per month. Do I work hard at it? Yes I do, I am constantly seeking new customers (and they are out there, i get a minimum of 1 each week) They did used to charge for the website but now it is completely free and the Social Media tools provided for FREE are amazing. As for the products they are constantly updating their product line. Order books are free, returns are free, I only use Avon bags when I'm delivering to a public place, otherwise decorative dollar tree bags. You control how much you spend on your business, oh and all my customers pay me up front and i prepay everything so no getting stuck with orders anymore and I'm paid the day I place my order. Those with no ambition and / or poor management skills will not survive.
G STAMNOS on September 09, 2018:
I NEVER HEAR OF AVON AFTER READING THE BS I SEE WHY.AVON IS MAKEING MONEY .
Jean Bakula from New Jersey on September 03, 2018:
I know very few people who even bother to order from Avon anymore, although I see pamphlets in doctor's offices, it seems like a thing of the past. There is so much better makeup out there now. I have one friend who uses Avon, and her eye makeup and colors look outdated, and I know her skin isn't getting the moisturizer it needs
I have another friend who sells Arbonne, all natural, from Switzerland. She has slaved over it for about 15 yrs. now. Because many gave up and she got to be THEIR district managers, effectively taking over their clients, she's finally turning a profit. She invites me to her events, but as you say, I have a closet full of Arbonne and actually threw some away as it was so old it got bad. I guess if you stick with these home sales things long enough, you can do well. It's mostly good for people who belong to lots of clubs, have a large church group, and a huge family willing to "sell" a lot for them! Also, if you live in a small town that has many town fairs and events helps.
Robin McCray on September 03, 2018:
I sold Avon in 2009 to 2010 or 2011 and my experience was the same as yours. When you collect all of your money, you send Avon the mount due but as you said by the time I bought Avon bags, samples, receipt books, paid for returns I made a little money but it was not worth my time for the time I spent, sending in orders, separating the order when it arrived, wrote receipts, and then tried to deliver, people will come to you when they want to order but when its time to deliver the hunt was on. You have to chase some of those people down, I took a few checks back then and one bounced, never received my money. Every order I didn't get something, I had to constantly tell people I am sorry but your product didn't come in and a lot of the times it will be broken, I sometimes had to wait 2-3 campaigns before the item came in, they were sold out a lot. I made most of my money from the new items when you got them at the introductory price, when customers bought them at regular price I would buy at the introductory price, that's how I made my most money.
Cindy Badlwin on March 22, 2018:
As an Avon rep for over 20 years, I only have one correction to your article. You do not need a $50 minimum to place an order. I have placed orders for much lower. I am however, my own best customer. LOL
Not the place to make a lot of money.
Kelly Hardin on February 26, 2018:
I do not know how you get that it will leave you with less money than you started with. Are you buying personal products, or products to keep on hand? I only have a few customers, and I have made money selling Avon. No I am not a millionaire, nor can I quit my regular job yet. But I am making money. I do not buy product to keep on hand, and I only buy for myself when it is something I actually need, or want to try, and I make sure to wait until I get special pricing on that item. What a lot of people do not realize is when you collect the money from your customer, and then pay to get the order, the amount that is left from you not paying full price, is your earnings!! Also, there is NO requirement or minimum amount each campaign.
Disgruntled on February 14, 2018:
There have been a few changes, but it's hard to make a buck with Avon. I quit recruiting because I don't feel good about presenting an "opportunity" that will probably leave a person with less money than they started with.
Sunlighttoday on November 04, 2017:
My experience was very exciting in the beginning, but, as time went on, it started to feel like I had become the buyer just to make sure Avon got their requirement every two weeks. Their expectations are that you must have a sale that meets their requirement every single two weeks, which, can turn into a situation where the Avon rep just goes ahead and places her own order and simply becomes the Avon customer instead. My other experience with Avon is they used to have this other level that you could advance too, like signing up other new reps under you. I did quite well with that, but, because Avon placed this requirement that your sales be even higher every two weeks, and I think it was about, 250.00 every two weeks that you had to have your 250.00 dollar order in before they would allow you to earn any profit from the reps that you just recruited and if you did not have that 250.00 dollar sale every two weeks, you were just out of luck and all of that work you took to go around and sign up other Avon reps was just out the window, and to top that part of it off, due to just missing one month of Avon sales during one months time due to moving, and relocating,etc., I loss all of my reps that I signed up to Avon. For one month I was very busy with moving and relocating and Avon just took all of the reps that I spent money and time advertising. I spent the the time it takes to drive and meet the ladies who wanted to sign up with Avon. I spent the long hours talking to these ladies about signing up and teaching them about Avon and Avon did not have the consideration to allow me to keep those reps just because I missed one month of sales with Avon.
Monica Brown from USA on September 19, 2017:
I have been selling Avon for almost 3 years now with no complaints. The pay scale has changed. Earn on every $1 sold. President's club is easily attainable. People who want something without putting the work in should not sign up to be a rep.
carole little on January 18, 2017:
there are several reasons why avon is slowly going down. there was a big issue with data base problem at xmas a few yrs ago, people couldn't get their stuff and couldn't deliver. also people want to buy products online, there are many places to get products and sometimes avon makes a very decent, or very poor product. i like the jewelry and some favorites, i love getting a new brochure every 2 weeks, if I did sell, i would spend too much for me because i couldn't possible compete with other companies, so i could buy brochures, put a label on my car and go online etc, but it would take a long time to build up a business, people with favorable comments probably had a large base to begin with. years ago a gal here managed to get the local utility company people to buy from her, she gave a literal 30 percent discount, so, she won lots of trips, but didn't make a lot of money. i had a bad experience last yr, so i quit right off the bat, i advertised on facebook a few days later the store looked different and i went in and lo and behold, another person with my same first name but different last name was there when i opened, i immediately went into detective mode, she turned out to be someone that had a facebook account, was a manager from back east, she had a store where people go to find discontinued or rare items and such, so i simply asked her the first communication, did she sell avon, well, 3 days later, i got nothing, which was odd, so then i told her that her name was attached to my store, within 3 hrs it was gone, somehow i think if she did that, that was why she wouldn't answer my son said she could get credit for things, not money but credit, i don't know what happened, but she would not communicate with me, so i knew something was up, the upline didn't believe me nor did she understand, later on, i had 2 orders that were bogus i was told, they ordered several things, on my hot mail, but found out had i ordered them for them, i'd be stuck with them, i thought it was a ploy for the company to get some money from me, because I hadn't ordered anything for 3 campaigns as a new person, that forced my hand as it was ordered, the co. makes money and I'd finally have to give in and either have a credit for stuff I didn't want and that's the only reason I could see someone doing that, these are data bases that people can get into, what's the other point of someone doing that, I did find out it happened occasionally after the upline said she'd heard of it. Finally I think the company will slowly lose the american market but will remain in other foreign companies, as of now, they are losing some companies. If they would just spend time to revamp, give people some better ways to actually make money fast. They lost by letting anyone sign up and people would order tons of jewelry and then not pay their bill, but now they have drastically changed the game plan, and I for one can't see how I could make any money at all for a very long time, maybe in a smaller town where you know people, but like the write said, you have a few customers, they order a few things and they are good for a long time, so, you have to go out and find more people. You simple don't go to doors anymore in the US, like you did 20 yrs ago, you can't do that. It's the only company that has prices for the very low income and I like that, but I'm hereh to make enough money so I can buy something for myself each campaign maybe spend 20 bucks each time and that ends up putting me in the hole, they know this, you look at it and you want it, that's the name of the game. Good for anyone that is able to make a little each campaign, but work is work and some work of trying to market avon is just hard, they can see the booklet, but if you don't hit them at the right time, they'll go on line and see sephora and ulta and you've lost that sale.
Sungu on October 16, 2016:
This sounds great. Is it possible to sell Avon Products from Tonga?
Tess Mezz on September 06, 2016:
I agree wholeheartedly. I became a rep one month ago. I began the initial contact with my local sales manager, whom I basically had to pull teeth with to get some simple questions answered. Her advice to me was, verbatim, "make more sales." You don't say?!? Anyway, moving on from that scintillating exchange .... I did sell to my friends and relatives. After that, zero, zippo. I, like the author, purchased 30 brochures per campaign, walked my local streets, introduced myself, utilized the website, pushed that website on Facebook and Twitter, diligently, everyday. More than that, I can't do. I mean, what ARE you supposed to do beyond that? Rent a billboard? Wear a sandwich board? Hire a prop plane dragging a banner behind? The company is rapidly striking me as some phantom pyramid scheme, which is a shame. I'm guessing there won't be a 150th birthday for them if they don't get their ducks in a row, fast.
Ms.G on July 24, 2016:
Excellent article. I have found that customers who merely wish to save money on Avon products and are not concerned about President's Club incentives have become the most satisfied Representatives. As an E-Rep, their customers register online and orders are processed and delivered by Avon; passive income. No brochures or separate samples required. Also, as a Representative, demo products are purchased at nearly a 70% savings and can be resold for profit. Avon deals with shipping, returns, and directly deposits the profits into the Representative's bank account.
Catherine Olsen on July 17, 2016:
Thank you for breaking it down for us. I was seriously considering selling Avon but you have confirmed some of my fears!
GMC on May 12, 2016:
When I became an Avon Representative, I was a very shy person with very little business experience. Through my Avon business, I was able to develop many business skills that can apply to any number of businesses. And although I was very shy, I was able to follow some of the training that was provided and learn a lot of tips & ideas for developing my business. (There are a number of options for training - both online, person to person & in groups.) I was able to put myself through college, put braces on my teeth and buy my first house with earnings from Avon.
avon leader on October 18, 2015:
all sales are included in your earnings totals, that being speciality items as you named them... I love Avon and I love my business
Irenevosburgh (author) from Philadelphia, PA on April 21, 2015:
You're very welcome. Good luck in finding your part-time job.
YankeeGirl on April 21, 2015:
Thanks, Irene, for a very informative article. I was seriously considering signing up as a Rep for Avon, to supplement my daytime Admin Assistant income. However, I knew a lot of Reps have walked away from the company in recent years and I wasn't sure why. Your details explain the reasons very well. Rather than take this kind of risk, I think I may consider a part-time job at my local mall instead! Thank you for posting your experience.
cordelia on November 21, 2014:
Hi my name is cordelia I want to sell avon I hv been saling avon for some 1 so I want to try for me because I am saling tupperware as a manager there
monia ben saad from In my Dream on November 08, 2014:
i have work with them fo 3 years nice experience
Avon rep. on July 19, 2014:
I have been selling for two years, I love it! But yes it does take time and a little money to reach your goal but it will happen in time, I'm doing great now, with a 700 dollar order I make 250 every two weeks, but you do need a lot of customers in order to make a real profit, but in time your business will grow, if you get a good spot to put your books! And signing people up helps a lot, every person u sign up u get 25 dollars, if you get 5 that keep at it, u get 700 a week, wow sign me up oh that's right I did, and love it. Good luck in all you do!
mysticmoon91 on July 01, 2014:
i just wanted to thank the auther of this article. i was about to become a rep.
cindi on June 26, 2014:
I also feel that they don't pay you at all. Why? Cause I've been a rep for 2 1/2 months and haven't seen a dime or a discount! I'm actually quitting, I'm done. Very done. I've called and gotten no responses, and my orders have all been in the hundreds not small amounts. I've only placed 2 orders but both were very good sales. It just makes me mad for the amount of energy it's not worth the headaches, I've basically just made money for them and lost for myself.
liz on June 22, 2014:
wow thanks for the tips. i was thinking of doing it at the side because I am a teacher but now i really have to plan and think it through thoroughly.
JessColl2g3 on April 21, 2014:
I hate to nitpick, but I believe that every time you mention profit, you mean commission. A commission and profit are 2 very different things and are not interchangeable.
Other than that little tidbit, I really enjoyed reading your post and found it extremely helpful.
Irenevosburgh (author) from Philadelphia, PA on April 16, 2014:
That's the problem. Reps are putting out more money than they can earn so Avon is the one making the money. Good luck.
Jen on April 03, 2014:
I've been selling Avon for 6 months now, and I have to agree. Now it's your downline that you earn money one. My distract leader is constantly pushing me to get out there and hand out brochures to every stranger I meet; she tells me I need the $1,500 in sales every two weeks - especially so she can go to Mexico again next year.
Jules on January 16, 2014:
I just wana be rich :)
Joy56 on November 22, 2013:
I have sold avon on and off all my life. Now Avon have pulled out of Ireland, so I can know longer get the products I miss them.
Alisha on August 27, 2013:
I've been working for Avon since November 20th, 2011 and haven't seen a single penny from them but I've wasted my pocket money on their booklets and samples though so all you end up doing is LOSING money, working for them.
All I wanted was to make some extra money to spend on my kids and all I have done in a year's period is waste my damn time with this greedy company.
Become a Representative on March 04, 2013:
What a great post!
Its like any business, it takes time and effort to succeed. Too many people think that they will get a lot with little effort put in.
If you are will and ready to apply your self then AVON is a great opportunity.
Megan Garcia from Florida on December 12, 2012:
I love this hubs. These are the exact conclusions I came to when I sold Avon months ago. It definitely was not worth it for the effort.
liverbird on November 28, 2012:
Just resigned from Avon, as the article states it was costing me money to be an Avon rep, out in all weathers at silly times of night to 'catch' customers in to get brochure back, deliver orders or get money off them average about 5 calls to each house/ customer. Not worth it
blogchapel from Nigeria on February 01, 2012:
Thanks for this great post, i may agree with you that MLM may hit it big, but how and when? www.oracleblogger.com
RPirate from Earth on February 01, 2012:
MLM (Multi level marketing) is going to be on a big wave in next years in my opinion! Find your products and take what you desire :)