Can You Make Money With Smart Living Company (SLC)?
Urgent Update - Smart Living Company sold as of December 31, 2019
Since SLC sold to SIGMA Dist. (per the website notice) we will update as soon as we know what comes next. For now the site is down with a message to email the new owners. Still working on getting setup with them so we can't really say what they are like yet. This was as of January 15, 2020 and we were not notified directly only by going to site and finding it down with just the notice that they are not responsible for debts, etc.
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.
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.
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.
Discount off MSRP
Option 1: "Premiere"
Membership kit, forum and advice access, customer service via phone and emai
Option 2: "Enterprise"
Up to 66%
Membership kit, forum and advice access, customer service via phone and email
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.
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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.