AdvoCare is a company that focuses on the selling of health, nutrition, and other wellness products. Charles Ragus, who had a brief career in the NFL in the 1960s, founded in the company in 1993. He passed away in 2001, but several of his family members still serve on the board. The name of the company comes from Ragus’ desire to be an advocate who cared and run a company that gave back to the community.
The outlook of AdvoCare is somewhat unclear, as the company has had some bad press and recently lost a lawsuit that cost them close to $2 million. AdvoCare is also not all that large compared to other multi-level marketing firms, despite its ability to remain stable and profitable throughout much of its history.
Sign-up cost: $79
Global revenue: $494 million
The Good: Strong line of products backed by both science and endorsements; provides financial management advice for distributors.
The bad: Lawsuit filed by former distributors; poor communication between managers and distributors; in-depth investigation by ESPN the Magazine
AdvoCare has dozens of products related to health and wellness. Most of the products fall into one of four categories:
- Performance Elite
Trim products are for weight management and include supplements, shakes, and even a workout DVD. The company does mention that these products should be combined with a proper diet and exercise.
Active products are consumed while “on the go” and are designed to both increase your energy and provide you with proper nutrition. The product line includes supplements and nutrition bars.
Well products are designed to promote a healthy and active lifestyle by addressing core nutrition, mental capacity, digestive support, and other elements that contribute to overall wellness. Many of these products are vitamin-based supplements.
Performance Elite products are designed to add muscle, enhance workouts, or help in recovery.
If you use AdvoCare products, the company offers you a chance to earn money selling their products to others. Agreeing to become a distributor gives you a 20% discount on AdvoCare products. This gives you the opportunity to resell the products at a profit or simply buy the products at wholesale cost and use them yourself.
If you choose to distribute AdvoCare products to others, you can ultimately earn up to 40% profits on each item sold by reaching the advisor level. Over 60% of the people who join AdvoCare reach this level or higher. There are levels within the company above advisor, but only slightly more than 10% of the contributors in the company climb that high, as it generally takes over a year to get there.
According to the latest income disclosure statement from AdvoCare, the average distributor makes $69 per month, with the top 10% hauling in about $280. At the advisor level, the average monthly income is $183, with the top 10% making $747.
Of course, like any other multi-level marketing firm, bringing in other distributors can be a way to make additional income, as AdvoCare offers you the opportunity to make between 5 and 20% commission on the products sold by the distributors you sponsor. Leaders who build up strong networks can also earn additional bonuses.
AdvoCare’s products help make the company stand out above similar companies. As mentioned above, the company offers a wide variety of products, but they are divided into specific groups based on the individual needs of customers. This prevents potential customers from being overwhelmed by having too many products to choose from and helps them find what they need based on their own health and nutrition goals.
It also helps AdvoCare’s product line that they are endorsed by a large number of pro athletes across all major sports (1). Obviously some endorsements are worth more than others, but having several NFL starting quarterbacks, most notably Drew Brees, publically endorsing your product line creates instant credibility in the minds of consumers.
AdvoCare also does a good job of supporting its distributors, most notably through a unique program called Debt Buster. This program helps distributors use the money they make selling AdvoCare products to pay off any debt they have. This could be a mortgage, credit card debt, or any other type of large payment. Most MLM firms talk about giving their distributors a chance to gain financial independence, but AdvoCare’s Debt Buster program is concrete proof that they are making an effort to do so.
Unfortunately, the dark side of AdvoCare includes a lawsuit that saw a jury award nearly $2 million to a pair of former distributors. The lawsuit alleged deceptive trade practices and claimed that the two distributors were unjustly removed from their position with the company. This is obviously a huge black eye for the entire company and calls into question how AdvoCare treats its distributors.
Several reviews by employees within the company also call the treatment of distributors into question (2). Some of these reviews further allege that distributors were let go by sales managers without cause.
The public perception of AdvoCare took another hit recently with an in-depth article by ESPN the Magazine that looked into the company and the support of Brees and others (3). The article claimed that only a little more than 2,000 of the more than half a million distributors in the company made more than $10,000 in 2014, with only 318 making a six-figure sum. For what it’s worth, Brees has stood by the company and insists that AdvoCare products have helped to prolong his career.
There’s a lot to digest when it comes to AdvoCare, but all things considered, it should be considered a viable MLM venture. It should not be considered a plan to get rich quick, and it may not be wise to put all your eggs into AdvoCare’s basket, but as a part-time venture to make a little extra money, you could do a lot worse.
The startup cost isn’t unreasonable and the discounts on products given to distributors is substantial, so if you’re going to give it an honest effort, it has a chance to payoff, particularly if you use their products and believe in them. Like many other health-related MLMs, you’re not going to get a 100% guarantee on the validity of the products, but there’s enough science and endorsements behind them to feel comfortable both using them and selling them.
There’s no denying that AdvoCare has gotten some bad press, but there’s little chance that so many well-known athletes would stand behind a product line and a company, particularly health-related products, if they didn’t truly support them. That should be enough for you to give AdvoCare serious consideration.