Reviews

Usana MLM Review: Is it a Legit MLM or Pyramid Scheme?

usana-mlm-review

I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about this company called Usana lately.

Some people are saying that it’s a pyramid scheme, while others claim that it’s a great company with amazing products.

Judging by the mixed Usana ratings and reviews, it’s difficult to tell which is true.

I first heard about Usana a few years ago when I was watching a news report about pyramid schemes.

The reporter mentioned Usana as an example of a company that may be involved in pyramid scheme activities.

I didn’t think much of it at the time, but lately, I’ve been hearing more and more people talking about it, so I decided to do some research and see what all the fuss is about.

In this Usana MLM review, I will share my findings and let you decide for yourself if Usana is pyramid scheme or not.

Usana MLM Review Table of Contents

MLM Companies vs. Network Marketing

usana-mlm-review

Before I go into detail for this Usana MLM review, I think it is important to make a distinction between multi-level marketing companies (MLM companies) and network marketing (aka online marketing).

I have seen a lot of people use these terms interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.

The difference between MLM companies and online marketing companies are:

An MLM company business model uses a pyramid structure to sell its products.

Independent distributors (like you and me) sign up to sell the company’s products, and we earn commissions on our sales as well as the sales of the people we recruit to join our team. This is also known as your “downline”.

This pyramid structure is why some people call multi-level marketing companies “pyramid schemes”.

Pyramid schemes, as defined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), are “illegal” and “a specific type of fraud”.

The FTC says that pyramid schemes “promote themselves as opportunities, but they are really just scams designed to make money for the people who run them, at the expense of everyone else”.

Network marketing companies, on the other hand, are legal.

Online marketing is very similar to MLM, but there are some key differences.

This type of business structure focuses on building relationships (networking) rather than selling products.

The focus of Usana is on selling its products through established relationships.

So I would classify it as an MLM company, and not one that does its marketing through networking.

Now that we have clarified the difference between these two, let’s move on to this Usana review.

What is USANA Health Sciences?

usana-hq

Usana Health Sciences is a global health and wellness company that produces and sells nutritional supplements, personal care products, and weight management products.

They offer a wide range of products that promote healthy living.

Usana Health Sciences is a member of the Direct Selling Association (DSA) and is one of the fastest-growing companies in the direct selling industry.

The Usana MLM program also offers an opportunity for people to start their own businesses by becoming a Usana distributor.

As a Usana distributor, you can earn commissions selling products as well as the sales of the people you recruit to join your team and become Usana members (your “downline”).

Usana MLM has a very generous compensation plan, and its distributors have the potential to earn a significant income.

Usana History: Who is Dr. Myron Wentz?

dr-myron-wentzThe origins of Usana date back to 1992 when Dr. Myron Wentz, a microbiologist, started a diagnostic testing laboratory called Gull Laboratories.

During his time at Gull, Dr. Wentz was integral in helping to develop and develop, and manufacture more than 30 different diagnostic tests designed to detect infections or certain autoimmune disorders.

However, it was his creation of the first commercially available test for Epstein-Barr virus infection that gave Gull its greatest success, being the first in the field to be approved by the FDA.

In 1992, Dr. Wentz started Usana as a side project to test naturally made supplements that increased the health benefits for those who took them. A year later, Usana Health Sciences was born.

Usana Health Sciences was initially started as a network marketing enterprise that would sell nutritional supplements and other health-related products.

At that time, the Usana products consisted of just a multivitamin/mineral supplement and an antioxidant formula.

But in its 30 years in business, Usana has grown to offer a wide range of products that promote healthy living.

Today, they have over 60 different Usana products that they sell, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, weight management products, personal care items, and more.

Usana MLM Product Review

usana-products

Usana products are derived from three main product lines, which revolve around nutritional supplements, personal skincare, and weight management.

These lines are:

  • Usana Essentials Nutritionals

  • Diet & Energy

  • Skincare

Usana Nutritionals

usana-CellSentials The company’s flagship product line is Usana Nutritionals, which includes a range of vitamins, minerals, and supplements designed to support optimal health.

There are a number of supplements offered by this line, but the standout product from this line is Usana Cellsentials

Usana Cellsentials is made up of two Usana vitamins: Core Minerals and Vita Antioxidant.

The Core Minerals vitamin supplement contains a blend of essential minerals such as folic acid and green tea extract, that are designed to support cellular health.

The Vita Antioxidant is a Usana multivitamin mix of vitamins and antioxidants that are designed to protect cells from damage.

Diet and Energy

In addition to the Usana Nutritionals line, there are a variety of diet and energy products that distributors can sell.

These include products that are designed to support specific health needs, such as joint, heart, brain, immune system health, and overall healthy diet.

One of the signature products from this line is Usana BiOmega, which is a fish oil supplement that is designed to support your heart.

Skincare

Finally, the Skincare line includes products that are designed to support healthy skin.

One of the standout products from this line is Usana Celavive, which is a skincare treatment system that is designed to support healthy skin.

The Science Behind Usana's Products

Usana products are formulated using InCelligence Technology, nutritional technology that supports optimal cellular health through a natural process called cell signaling.

This technology targets nutrients to optimize cellular function in the human body. In other words, InCelligence Technology helps your cells communicate better with each other.

usana-mlm-scienceInCelligence Technology is what sets their products apart from other nutritional supplements on the market.

Most supplements on the market today are designed to simply provide the body with a certain nutrient, but they don’t actually support optimal cellular health.

The FDA Does Not Evaluate USANA Products

Although there’s sound science behind the products Usana makes, it’s important to note that the FDA does not evaluate or approve supplements. Many Usana vitamins reviews I have read fail to mention this.

This means that while Usana’s products are formulated using clinically proven ingredients, the FDA has not evaluated these products for safety or efficacy.

So, if you want to become a distributor and sell supplements as a business owner with Usana, it’s important to understand that you cannot claim that these products are FDA-approved.

The Usana Business Opportunity

opportunity

Just about all multi-level marketing companies provide an opportunity to join and sell products for them. The opportunity with selling Usana supplements is no different.

However, the company’s website doesn’t really have a way to sign up online and become a distributor to sell supplements as a business owner.

Currently, the only way to become a Usana distributor is to contact a current distributor and have them sponsor you.

The cost of joining as a Usana distributor is about pretty low (see exact cost below).

There is a “Share Usana” link in the top menu bar, but it just takes you to a landing page that talks about becoming a distributor, nowhere on the page could I find a signup form.

Interestingly enough, I was able to find a number of online business pages belonging to distributors and people who are trying to make money with Usana.

After rereading the landing page on the Usana MLM site, there is a blurb that states “Talk to your Independent USANA Associate to get started with your own USANA business today.”

In addition, I also found a PDF of an Associate Application & Agreement which was not easy to find.

Needless to say, my antennas went up when I realized that you need to talk to a current Usana distributor in order to join their business opportunity.

In my opinion, this is not the ideal way to sign people up and it seems a bit shady. It’s tactics like these that cause people to automatically associate MLMs with pyramid schemes.

How Do I Start a Business With Usana?

As referenced above, to join Usana MLM you have to get signed up by someone who is already an associate. This is a pretty slick aspect of their business model if you ask me.

The complete cost to join Usana is only $9.95 and for that price, you get a “Welcome kit”. You also have to pay a $20.00 annual renewal fee upfront.

So, the total cost to join this multi-level marketing company is $29.95. That’s not a steep price to pay, but there’s a catch.

You are only considered a Preferred Customer, which gives you discounts from 15-25% on Usana products until you have achieved the minimum monthly purchase requirement of 100 PSV (Personal Sales Volume). That’s roughly $100 actual dollars.

Once you hit that minimum monthly purchase requirement, you are then considered an Associate and can start building a team beneath you.

Usana Compensation Plan

moneyThe Usana compensation plan is pretty complicated, but I’ll do my best to break it down for you.

As I said earlier, once you reach a consistent level of PSV of 100 points or more, you become an Associate and can start building a sales team.

The more people you have on your team and the more product they sell, the more money you make.

There are 6 different ways that you can make money with Usana, which are as follows:

  • Retail Sales

  • Weekly Commissions

  • Bonus Match for Life 

  • Incentives

  • Leadership Bonus

  • Elite Bonus

Retail Sales

This one is pretty self-explanatory. You sell Usana products to customers at the retail price and keep the difference as your profit.

For example, if a product costs $100 to buy from Usana and you sell it to a customer for $150, then you’ve made a $50 profit.

The retail price of Usana products is generally 20-30% higher than what you would pay as a preferred customer or distributor.

So, there is definitely a markup on the products, but that’s to be expected with any MLM company.

Weekly Commissions

You receive a weekly percentage in commissions based on the amount of Group Sales Volume (GSV) generated by your team.

The percentage you receive depends on what rank you are within Usana.

For example, if you are a Manager, you’ll receive 5% commissions on all GSV generated by your team.

If you are a Director, you’ll receive 10% commissions, and so on.

Lifetime Matching Bonus

You can earn up to a 15% commission match for the life of your USANA business for all Associates you sponsor that make it to the Pacesetter level.

To be eligible, you must first achieve the Pacesetter rank yourself and maintain it for at least 3 consecutive months.

Incentives

Usana has a number of different incentive programs that you can participate in to earn extra cash and prizes. These programs change on a regular basis, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

Leadership Bonus

The Leadership Bonus is a weekly incentive that rewards Associates who are ranked Gold Director or higher. The payout is three percent of the total company commissionable sales volume.

The bonus is divided among qualifying Associates based on their rank, the number of Business Centers they maximize each week, and whether or not those same Business Centers were also maximized the previous week.

Elite Bonus

The Elite Bonus gives a quarterly split of the money to the top 60 income earners. The amount of the bonus depends on your rank, your current earnings, and the absolute growth in your Commission Volume Points (CVP).

Every quarter, the bonus is split among the top 60 income earners worldwide. The higher your rank, the more you earn.

The Elite Bonus is a great way to incentivize Associates to continue growing their businesses. It rewards those who are already successful and encourages them to help others achieve success.

Before you set your sights on the upper-level positions, the first step in realizing any real money from the Usana MLM is to open business centers and get your online business presence started.

In Usana speak, business centers are comprised of customers and at least two associates that you have personally sponsored.

Ideally, you’ll want to open up at least 3 business centers to start seeing some serious money for your business.

business-center

Your business center is where you’ll be able to track your sales, monitor your team’s activity, and much more.

You can also use your business center to place orders, enroll new customers, and do just about everything else related to your Usana business.

The next step is signing up for Auto Order. This ensures that you purchase Usana products on a consistent monthly basis.

I have purposely left out the figures because you need a degree in mathematics to decipher them and I wanted to keep this post as simple as possible.

If you like complicated, you can read their compensation plan on how to make money with Usana MLM and see if you can make sense of it all.

I have given you the Cliff Notes of how you can make profitable revenue with Usana MLM, but the key takeaway is, if you want to make serious money with this MLM, you’re going to need to sponsor a lot of people and get them signed up to Auto Order.

Usana Health Sciences Review Pros and Cons

Now that you have an idea about how Usana came to be, how it works, and how you can begin making money with them, it’s time to take a look at the pros and cons.

Pros

There are some good things about Usana that are worth mentioning.

For example:

The Products Are Backed by Science

Given Dr. Wentz’s scientific pedigree, it’s no surprise that Usana’s products are based on sound science.

The company employs a significant number of Ph. D.s, medical doctors, and nutritionists to formulate their products.

They also have a state-of-the-art R&D facility where they test all of their products to ensure quality and safety.

Long-Term Business History

While the average lifespan of a startup business is five years, Usana has been around for over 30 years.

Usana MLMwas established in 1992, and they have been steadily growing ever since. This is a company that is here to stay and is not some fly-by-night operation.

Supported by athletes

Usana is very popular because prestigious brands trust the sports industry. Athletes have been some of the biggest advocates of Usana.

The Premiere League soccer team from the UK is just one of the many teams that have partnered with Usana.

They’ve been using the products to help them stay healthy, perform at their best, and recover from injuries.

Cons

Continual investments every four weeks

Even though the welcome kits are priced at $29.95 this is a very simple start. Every month your business center needs to earn 100 PSV to stay active.

You’re going to have to continually reinvest in the business every four weeks to keep it active, and if you’re not selling products, this can quickly become a money pit.

If you don’t have that type of money to reinvest every month, Usana is not the business for you.

Expensive goods

slimfastThe products offered by Usana MLM are, in my opinion, ridiculously overpriced.

For example, their meal replacement shake, which is called Nutrimeal, costs $35.15 for a packet that only contains 9 servings.

To put this into perspective, you can buy a two-pack canister of SlimFast meal replacement smoothies on Amazon for around $25.

The two-pack canisters contain approximately 24 servings, so you’re paying $10 less for more than double the amount of product.

Saturated Niche Market

The one issue I see with joining the Usana MLM is that the health and wellness industry is one of the most competitive niches out there.

When you take a step back and think about it, Usana’s products are not that unique.

There are countless other companies selling similar products, so it’s going to be very difficult to stand out from the crowd.

So, if you’re thinking about joining Usana, just be aware that you’re going to have to put in a lot of work selling products recruiting members.

Is Usana Pyramid Scheme?

There are many people who have accused Usana of being a pyramid scheme.

While the company has never been charged with any wrongdoing, the United State Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has investigated them on multiple occasions.

For example, in 2007, the SEC conducted an investigation into Usana’s business practices.

The investigation was initiated because of accusations made by Barry Minkow, founder of the Fraud Discovery Institute, that Usana was perpetrating a pyramid scheme.

After a year of informally investigating the Usana MLM, the SEC concluded that Usana was not operating a pyramid scheme, and they were cleared of all charges.

This is not a standalone instance where someone has accused Usana of being a pyramid scheme.

Over the past twelve years, there have been several lawsuits brought against the company, all of which were ultimately dismissed.

So, while Usana has been accused of being a pyramid scheme, there is no evidence to support these claims.

Do I think Usana is a pyramid scheme?

No, I don’t think it’s a scam. The company has been in business for over 30 years and is one of the most successful MLMs in the world.

If they were running a pyramid scheme, they would have been shut down a long time ago.

Additionally, they currently have an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau website,

The main reason why people believe this is because of the heavy emphasis on recruiting new members.

If you want to make passive income with Usana, you’re going to need to sponsor a lot of people and get them signed up for Auto Order.

While there is nothing wrong with recruiting people into your business, Usana does put a lot of emphasis on it.

Usana is a legitimate company that sells high-quality products. However, they do put a lot of emphasis on recruiting new members.

So if you’re not a people person, this might not be the right business for you.

Final Thoughts

Usana MLM is a company that has been in business for over 30 years and is one of the most successful MLMs in the world.

While they have never been charged with any wrongdoing, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has investigated them on multiple occasions.

The main reason why people believe that Usana is a pyramid scheme is because of the heavy emphasis on recruiting new members.

However, there is no evidence to support these claims. So if you’re not a people person, this might not be the right business for you.

I hope this Usana MLM review has given you a better understanding of the company and its business model.

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as financial or legal advice.

I am not a financial advisor, and the information in this article should not be taken as financial advice.

Always consult with a financial advisor before making any major financial decisions.

Thanks for reading!

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