Can You Make Money Selling Avon?
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.
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.