Can You Make Money With Smart Living Company (SLC)?

Updated on July 30, 2019
starrfinancial profile image

Starr has been selling home and garden décor from Smart Living Company for more than ten years.

What It's Like Selling With Smart Living Company (Formerly SMC)

When I began with Smart Living Company, it was called SMC (Specialty Merchandise Corp), and its spokesperson was Tom Bosley from the TV show Happy Days. In April 2012 SMC changed its name to Smart Living Company. This article was first published ten years ago and updated (most recently in April 2018) to reflect the new name and recent changes.

Based on my ten years experience, yes, it is definitely possible to make money. It is not a scam. You will make money more efficiently if you follow my advice below and avoid choices that make your work harder.

Smart Living Company Basics

Smart Living Company buys and warehouses thousands of home and garden décor products that you can sell in various ways. It provides catalogs and supplies you can use to sell their products. Some of the products are shown on television or may have been picked up at closeout prices. Brands they carry include Home Locomotion, Cloudworks, Natural Solution, Wyland, Harley Davidson, and Sesame Street, just to name a few.

Smart Living Company is more or less like any other drop shipper service. Unlike brokers like Doba, who connect you to the manufacturer or company who has the product and charges you a fee for it, you buy the product from SLC and they either drop ship it or deliver it to you so you can resell it.

Can You Make Money? The Answer Is Yes

Of course there is potential at Smart Living Company, just like any other sales program. To be honest, you aren't likely to go from never having sold anything before to being a wealthy top ranking Smart Living Company salesperson. But why not be fair to the system and actually learn about it before judging it.

I have been using Smart Living Company for over ten years for a side income. I have averaged about $2,000-$4,000 in sales per year the last 6+ years. I would not call that a smashing success, but I sure would not call it a failure by any means. One year when I was able to stay at home and dedicate more time to my sales I averaged much higher sales.

While I enjoy selling online, it is not as reliable an income as a steady paycheck. Any successful business requires time and dedication.

During weeks where I only put in two to four hours of real effort, I see about $30-$700 in sales, which is at worst $15.00 per hour and at best $350.00 per hour for my efforts. This of course does not consider any costs associated with those sales. Because I don’t have a brick-and-mortar location, my costs come from online and in-person cash-and-carry sales only.

I Decided It Wasn’t a Scam

I researched SMC, as it was called before I began, quite a bit before I decided to join it. I had been selling on eBay and on my own sites. My most successful ventures have been selling home décor items and Tupperware.

Before Smart Living Company I had been exposed to with get-rich schemes and "it’s so easy that it sells itself" type of programs. I had been scammed before. So I didn't go into Smart Living Company expecting to get rich, and I decided to check it out in detail before I tried it, and of course I called my mother who had been a member in the past to get some advice. I am glad I knew what to expect before I signed up.

I went ahead even though thousands of individuals claimed SMC was a scam, because I could tell from what they said that most of those individuals had not made good decisions in their experiment with SMC. They did not follow the plan laid out on the website or the descriptions in the infomercials.

It’s right to be skeptical of any commercials saying some wonderful system can make you wealthy nearly overnight. As they say, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. Does that mean it is not worth trying? Absolutely not! It just means you should develop a good business plan before you begin.

Think optimistically but plan realistically, with achievable figures, as with any other big life decision. You can begin making money using Smart Living Company successfully if you are truly prepared to do the work involved.

Smart Living Company carries house and garden items.
Smart Living Company carries house and garden items.

What You Get By Joining Smart Living Company

Now that we have answered the question“Can you make money with Smart Living Company" with a "yes,” let us explore how you can.

Smart Living Company gives you the option of buying from them and having the item "drop shipped" directly to the person you are selling to, or ordering in bulk directly to you for you to resell, in a "brick and mortar" business, door to door, or kiosk. Similar to Tupperware or Avon you can get catalogs and host parties, or you go to the distribution center and make large purchases without having a shipping expense.

Smart Living Company has many options for purchasing: you can drive there to pick up your order, order online, mail in an order, phone in an order or fax your order. They do not charge a "drop ship" fee. Meanwhile I can assure you there are lots of wholesale drop shippers who charge from $1.00 to $8.00 per order just to ship the item for you or to broker the deal between you and the manufacturer, and will charge you for shipping on top of that.

If you are selling at a party or door to door, a per-order charge may not be an issue if you order all items at once and deliver them personally as opposed to in a brick and mortar store. This business would be hard to do for someone without a phone or internet. You could mail your orders in, but your sales would be limited, practically, to brick and mortar stores or flea markets.

When you sign up you will get access to the Smart Living Company website, which is searchable like any other website. The front page is full of links taking you to resourceful areas of the site and to the lowest cost products.

Before December 2016 they used to have specialty kits grouping together specific items that you could order in bulk. These kits were great for having a party, setting up at flea markets, or selling in a brick and mortar location. They no longer have specialty kits but they do now offer regular promotions and have added a promotions link to their menu. SLC specials change every 7 to 10 days and almost always give options for discounted or free shipping.

Membership Options

These were current as of April 30, 2018. If you call in or visit the website, find out what prices and terms are current. Currently you can choose online from two different options, “Premiere” or “Enterprise,” described below.

 
Sign-Up Fee
Monthly Fee
Discount off MSRP
Consultant Time
Other Perks
Option 1: "Premiere"
$19.95
$5.95
30%
1 hour/month
Membership kit, forum and advice access, customer service via phone and emai
Option 2: "Enterprise"
$39.95
$9.95
Up to 66%
Unlimited
Membership kit, forum and advice access, customer service via phone and email
SLC membership terms as of April 2018. Verify current terms on the website or over the phone.


The old Buyer’s Club option, which no longer exists, gave you free membership, a 20% discount on purchases, online purchasing, and drop shipping. It had no membership kit or live consultation.

Membership fees are non-refundable. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time with no penalty. Downgrades or cancellation will take effect at the end of the last billing period paid for.

Individuals who signed up before the name change will continue to be charged an annual fee and no monthly charges, unless you let your membership lapse. If it lapses for even a day, you will have be charged more for renewing it, but it is still cheaper to resume the grandfathered-in plan than go to the newer plans that charge monthly. At least the recent reductions in monthly rates make it easier to get started in this program.

If you are a highly motivated salesperson who isn't afraid to ask someone for a sale face to face, there are so many opportunities waiting for you. But your new business still has a long road ahead with many hurdles.

The single biggest hurdle might be the cost of operating an online store, and the cost of getting it set up if you do not have either website design skills or a lot of time on your hands to learn them. More on that further down in the article.

Catalogs are fairly reasonably priced ranging from $.25 to $5.00 each. They are lower during clearance times and the end of the season or when you order in bulk. When you get your kit, you will get one issue of each catalog available. You will also get a white price list, which shows the price to you, and a yellow price list which you would use to provide wholesale pricing to sub-wholesalers under you, or maybe to a school or business who is making a really large purchase or intends to reselll the products.

After you sign up for one of the plans with a monthly fee you will receive a welcome kit and up to eight weeks of access to a personal coach via phone and internet.
It is very important to work closely with your personal coach during that first few weeks. Do not make the mistake many others have of letting this time lapse while you sit on your hands and wait for the money to magically roll in. It just doesn't work that way. I failed to make use of my own coach back when I first started, and I learned a lot from that experience.

Tools are available to help you succeed, or to do better if you have been trying to sell Smart Living Company. I’d like to help you make the decision whether to use Smart Living Company without pushing you onto some other product or site like so many posts and comments do. Here or elsewhere, you will have to work smart to make money.

Looking for a Connection Without the Commitment?

HNG Wholesale allows free access to the same products as Smart Living Company. For more information visit HNG's F.A.Q.

How to Start Selling Smart Living Company Products Online

Many people ask what they need to do to sell Smart Living Company products online, and how hard it is to succeed doing that. It all depends on your investment, in money, skills, time, and motivation.

Pick a Category

I am speaking purely from experience here. If you do choose to sell online then you should pick a category that is abundant in products that you can relate to in some way. If you like to work in the garden then focus on that; if you are good at styling flower decor, focus on flowers and vases. The more written content you can give a website without paying for it, the better off you will be. (If this is sounding a bit Greek to you already then you may want to seek out sources for SEO tips.)

Specializing in one category of product will cut down significantly the time you spend checking inventory levels at Smart Living Company, doing setup, adding new products, removing old ones, and downloading and uploading images. You can learn how it works and use your limited time and funds more easily to create a niche website that is likely to succeed. Competition is fierce out there, no matter what type of products you are selling online.

Whether to Use eMerchant Club to Set Up Your Website

One way to get a fully functional website up and going is through Smart Living Company’s partnership with emerchantclub.com, though for a hefty price. A little over three years ago, eMerchant Club told me it was around $1500 for the complete setup of a deluxe package. I passed and decided to do it on my own. Well let me tell you, it can be pretty darn rough in the beginning to create your own site and find a way of updating what is or isn't in stock.

eMerchant Club is the only direct connection that will allow you live access to Smart Living Company’s inventory on the back end. This means that if you go with any other method you will be doing more manual work on the website and processing the orders. The bright side with using eMerchant Club is that they do all of the heavy lifting for you, and keep things up-to-date every day all year. It isn't quite set-and-forget, but it is as close you will get in a place selling thousands of products.

Possible Super Seller Program

I have heard that if you sell over $2500 a year, you reach a level high enough to get your own personal account manager and you get some help with website management at a much lower cost or possibly for free. Anyone with personal knowledge of how this “Super Seller Program”works is welcomed to chime in their experience.

The Importance of the E-Catalog

Now you will see advertised that you can get e-catalog sites for free at SLC. But I missed my free e-catalog when there was a goofup on my part during my sign up period. I signed up both online and over the phone, and to make a long story short, I canceled the ecatalog subscription by mistake. I never bothered with getting it fixed thinking it wasn’t that big of a deal. It was, and is, because to make your own fully functional pdf catalogs that allow buyers to click through to the purchase page, it takes either some knowhow or paying someone else.
Another result of this goofup was that I didn’t make any use of my personal coach until I only had a week of it left (which was a mistake I hope you will avoid if you become a member).

Choosing a Site for Advertising

I sold the $100 worth of free products I received on eBay, to get a feel for how they would sell. Since then eBay has become expensive for the modest seller. Then again if you don't want to host your own website and pay to advertise it, there are plenty of locations where you can post listings cheaper than eBay, like Craigslist, Kiiji, Hoobly, USFreeAds, Facebook, and Myspace. But I have yet to find a location as reliable and easy to use as eBay. Also they bring massive amounts of traffic to their site every day.

2016 World of Products Catalog

Shipping Costs Charged by Smart Living Company

Shipping costs at SLC have gone up and down. As of April 2018, the standard shipping rate for orders below $30.00 (not including the shipping or fuel surcharge) is now $6.95 plus a surcharge of $0.50 or $.90. For orders over $30.00 the shipping cost is a percentage based on a zone map.

For example, if you need to ship a product that weighs between one and two pounds, the rate is typically about $9.00 to $12.49 using the UPS calculator, while the actual cost SLC charges you is typically $6.95, plus a fuel surcharge which is typically about $.50. That is a difference of $1.55 to $5.04 in potential additional profit.

This difference in cost gives you an incentive to upsell. It is expensive to pay someone to package and ship one little 95-cent item, and it won’t make you a profit. Often, I get orders online for one very small item, like a $1.00 clearance item, and they will gladly pay the $9.00 - $12.49 shipping I charge them to get it. Bizarre but very common! And you have to honor requests like this you will ruin your reputation.

You can avoid this dilemma by setting your online store up to only accept a minimum order (though you chance losing those little customers). Or you can find a way to change little buyers into big buyers through special offers or strategically designing your website, for example by placing related items all around the cart to boost sales. Upselling is one way to achieve success in sales!

Limitations of the Smart Living Company Website

After the name change, Smart Living Company redesigned the site more than once, but it still has some limitations.
• Downloading pictures manually is still a very slow and tedious process.
• They still do not offer a product feed, exactly, though they now have a way to generate and download a csv file.
• Searching whether products are available by SKU or product ID is not easy. The member’s report allows you to search for up to 30 products but you have to manually input each SKU or product ID and the results are not downloadable. The results do tell you which items are in stock: It says “yes” if more than 100 are in stock and it gives the actual amount if there are less than 100 in stock. If there are no results, then the item is out of stock and discontinued.

Shipping Times Have Improved Since the Warehouse Upgrade

After the company changed warehouses, I was upset with shipping delays that lasted more than a month for some of my orders. After a couple of months, orders for less than two or three items started shipping quickly, but the struggles continued for another two to three months for larger orders.

Currently overall shipping has improved and customers are very happy with the fast shipping. Now orders I place by noon PST typically are shipped that day or the next morning at the latest. There are always exceptions for very heavy or bulky products.

For some reason, I still do not get emails for all tracking on the orders I place. That is only a minor inconvenience because as soon as they creare the label I can log in and get the tracking information.

I lost some loyal customers during the warehouse upgrade and for the most part they have not come back. On the other hand, since the warehouse finally worked out the kinks, shipments go out very quickly and I have gained new customers.

Pop Quiz about SLC

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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.

Questions & Answers

    What do you think of our advice?

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      • profile image

        Alicia 

        5 weeks ago

        I am with Charlotte on this one, can anyone tell me how Smart Living is related to ZIngznthingz.

        Thanks

      • profile image

        Charlotte 

        2 months ago

        Can anyone tell me how Smart Living is related to ZIngznthingz.

        Thanks

      • profile image

        Emmanuel Green 

        5 months ago

        i am new to smart living looking for the best way to start.

      • profile image

        Trace Frahm 

        7 months ago

        As with any home based online business, many people don't understand their responsibility to succeed, and end up blaming the vendor in the end. We were with SMC for years and sold to brick and mortar wholesale customers using only hardcopy catalogs, with moderate success. We had the gift card website for 2 or 3 years but found out that folks don't redeem gift cards as a rule. No problems cancelling the gift card website. After the buyout, SLC removed distributor pricing, squeezed wholesale price margins to 25% - 48% on most items, freight increase from 25% to 26% , they removed all freight incentives and lowered their order fill percentages so there are more out of stock items. In spite of this, we manage to still wholesale SLC products, offering a small discount off of their suggested retails with the high shipping costs too! Of course, our customers are forced to retail SLC products much higher than the catalog but the products still manage to sell. This is a testimony to the strong perceived retail value of SLC's products and they know this which is why they did what they did. We have never had ethical problems with SMC or SLC at all. I have negotiated with E-Merchant Club about a Deluxe website more than once, but always pull back because it seems that I have more questions than they can answer. For pre-payment of thousands of dollars, can I trust E-Merchant Club to provide what we need on a timely basis? Any advice is welcome.

      • profile image

        AZAlicia 

        9 months ago

        Ok, so because I have not paid the price to upgrade, my site was pretty much worthless so I decided to cancel. Not an easy thing to do. The person I spoke with talked me into staying another six month and would upgrade me to the next level which acutally gave me a more professional looking site. Unfortunately I am still limited to only 50 items being displayed. Not sure if I am happy with it. I am going to hange in there a little longer, but am looking at some alternatives. I am thinking of doing so more research on Shopify. Same monthly cost.

      • profile image

        janet hull 

        9 months ago

        waiting for my website to show up

      • profile image

        DorothyCona 

        12 months ago

        I think with hard work this company your business can grow strong

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        17 months ago

        I will write some updated info. As for eMerchantclub they are ok but I found their training to be more for very beginner level. I build my own sites and know way more already than any of their training provided for me. I did go through them just in case but I personally use a different platform for my site that I find more cost effective and easier to use. I do keep the hosting paid on the eMerchantclub because one day I do plan to spend more time customizing that site and making it more profitable. So far support on the weekend has not been available for me either. That makes it very tough when you are starting out. I personally made the mistake of not utilizing my coach when I had one in the beginning. Please let me know if I can assist any further.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        17 months ago

        Thank you! I will work on updating it with more recent and relevant information.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        17 months ago

        I am so sorry for the delay in replying. You can visit https://www.smartlivingcompany.com/shopper/homebus... to sign up with Smart Living Company. There are two plans available now with low monthly payments. It is a very easy process however I do not represent Smart Living Company in any way so I cannot specifically advise on what plan is best.

      • profile image

        AZAlicia 

        19 months ago

        I like your advice; however, would like to know more about how they are doing now today. I signed up through eMerchantclub and let it set until my free training had expired. I have been in contact with them to try to get it going now. I spent an hour on the phone with someone from the eMerchant Club for free training (most of which I already knew) but then had trouble with the links they provided not working i.e. to the emc manual. So in my research to find help, I came across your review which has definitely helped me understand the process. So I am paying $29.95 a month which includes my SLC membership. My biggest issues is not being able to get support from either on the weekend either SLC or eMerchant club.

      • profile image

        AZAlicia 

        19 months ago

        Good but it needs to be updated

      • profile image

        Laura john 

        21 months ago

        I used to sell thru SMC products. How can i sell your products. How much will it cost

      • profile image

        Sandy 

        2 years ago

        I was a member at one time how do I reinstate

      • profile image

        Terrie Riley 

        2 years ago

        I used to sell with SMC how do i get started again with this new company?

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        2 years ago

        The speed of shipments has just gotten better and better.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        2 years ago

        I do not know the answer to that since you actually stopped using them but it couldn't hurt to call them and ask.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        2 years ago

        Jean I am so sorry I didn't see your post earlier. If you are still interested in this let me know.

      • profile image

        Lisa 

        2 years ago

        I have been a member since 1999. I love the business and my biggest problem is having money to advertise, get the word out about my website. I love the challenge of buying and selling though and they have some beautiful products. I am pretty disappointed that the prices have gone up. It used to be that you paid 33% of the retail price across the board on every item. Now, most items are about 50% of retail. Then when you factor in the shipping cost, which is also too high now in my opinion, I'm not making nearly the profit I used to. I still enjoy selling, but as someone else here said, I've also shopped around for other suppliers.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        2 years ago

        I have been a member since 2004, overall I have enjoyed my time with the company. Over the past couple of years I have seen some major improvements especially in shipping. Almost all of my orders are sent out same day. This make a very good first impression as I sell mostly online with my Emerchantclub website. I started with the Pro and last year bumped up to the Ultimate which gave me credit and the ebay tool which has made it easier to sell more products. Our latest venture is working on selling directly to stores which we have had some strong results.

      • profile image

        JeanChamplin 

        3 years ago

        I was with SMC before. It changed the name I paid for the full amount they ask and at the end of each year a $49.00 membership fee. I was also getting catalogs through the mail. Now that I have more time I can do this full time what would I need to do to get started again. I still have my ole account number

        I would also like to get your large catalog by U.S.Mail. Thank You. jean

      • profile image

        Freddy's 

        4 years ago

        Been a member for years with a website through them. Overall been very happy. Since the new warehouse I have seen a dramatic decrease in shipping times, whatever they did has really made drop shipping my products very fast, with most being shipped same day. Very impressed over the last year with so many new products being added every month. One huge Kudos to them is the Quality of merchandise has almost doubled over the last 2-3 years. In the end they provide my company a product line at one of lowest costs of any of the companies I order from because there is no middle man. I like that I can buy directly, I wish I could order all of our products from them I would make more money!

      • profile image

        Earline 

        4 years ago

        Hi, I was a "SMC Member for a long while, from November 1995 to June of either 2010, June or July of 2011. I just couldn't afford my membership anymore, which gradually ccreeper up from $19.95 to $49.95. If "SMC" knew they were about to change hands why not just tell the then members. People trust better when they are informed instead of feeling like the wool has been pulled over their eyes. My questions is: will I have to pay a new membership fee or pay monthly or am I Grandfathered in because my membership goes back to "1995"?

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        4 years ago

        I have updated the page again and rewritten that section so that it is clear what I meant. I was only stating that the 1st option no longer appeared available when signing up online.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        4 years ago

        you wrote that some were not able online wrong I got my membership online I got 39.95 a month on so it should be rewitten.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        4 years ago

        I have to admit since they moved their warehouse I myself have experienced nothing but issues. That being said the person I work with does try very hard most of the time to get it resolved quickly. Orders are now flowing again although not nearly as fast as the old warehouse location so I find it a bit funny since their site says they moved to a more modern location to improve their shipping. Not sure if their old school ways were just better or its the learning curve of the new but it has made me seek out new supplier in addition to them. Exploring new avenues/products.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        4 years ago

        I have been with SMC for a long time and I was very happy with them.. not one problem ever. Since the new owner has taken over he has turned the company into crap and now has destroyed many successful businesses. This company went to hell in a hand basket! Items haven't shipped out since Nov.. they refuse to inform their customers of what's going on. Everyone selling these products on ebay has ruined their reputation because items are not shipping out. This new owner is a moron and will probably destroy his own business while he is at it.. and just so everyone knows.. They have a new website under a different name and they are selling retail and they are selling their products on Wayfair, Sears and probably some other major sites. So now they have become our competition. If you want to know the business name then look on Wayfair for a SLC product and you will see the suppliers name. That is shady as hell! Everyone using this crap company better start looking for other suppliers because I have a feeling they are going to end up going under..

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        SMC had a policy to price items to you at 1/3 the selling prices. So you got a 3 to 1 markup on most items. Then you only had to pay $50 per year, not per month, to renew your membership. I think you would be crazy to pay a company $40 a month to sell their stuff and pay their inflated prices. I don't know if you would call this a scam, but it isn't very good.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        6 years ago

        @anonymous: Thank you so much!

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        6 years ago

        @anonymous: Thank you! We allow pretty good profit margins through our site. Not as good as if you purchase directly from SLC however I don't charge fees for membership. How did you sell before; online, door to door, parties, or flea markets?

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        I was a menber of smc and would like to do it again,I let my membership run out,because of an illness.I was making money when i was selling your product. I like your advise

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Thank you. That was great business advice for a beginner!

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        6 years ago

        Great advice. Thanks, I liked the honesty and feel like I learned something valuable.

      • starrfinancial profile imageAUTHOR

        Starr 

        7 years ago

        @anonymous: You are very welcome! How do you plan to sell (online, in person, flea markets, etc)?

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        7 years ago

        Im just starting out and your tips look really great, thank you for sharing.

      • profile image

        anonymous 

        8 years ago

        Great tips! Or how to selling Smc online and to make more money online with smc. I been with smc about 2yr hope to make a lot of money with smc with difference resource.

      • KimGiancaterino profile image

        KimGiancaterino 

        9 years ago

        Good tips! I had a very positive experience with SMC. I lived close by and picked up my items in person. This was a long time ago -- way before eBay -- so I sold things from their catalogs. It worked for awhile, but was never my primary source of income.

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