The Company: Primerica
Current CEO: Glenn J. Williams
Startup Cost: $99
The company claims to help regular families in America get the financial help they need for the best possible price. They say they provide a life changing opportunity for distributors through the mlm business model. It's not a scam and I did find some good points, but there are drawbacks.
Full Review of Primerica
The company was founded by Arthur Williams Jr in 1977 with the goal of providing affordable financial services solutions for everyday people throughout America. They distribute these financial products through the mlm business model which basically means they don’t pay for mass advertising, rather they recruit distributors into the business opportunity who promote the products for them.
I must admit, that is a solid amount of time to have been successfully running an mlm company, so they must be doing something right.
The products consist of various insurances, debt solutions, investment products and pre-paid legal protection services. I won’t speculate on the cost effectiveness of the products or how good they are since the company does not give out pricing information on their website, and given the nature of such products it is better to determine their value on an individual basis.
It is worth noting that there are a fair amount of complaints floating around. That doesn’t mean it’s a scam but I recommend checking out the BBB complaints to educate yourself on what other customers have to say. Even good companies get complaints and there’s no shortage of positive reviews either. I recommend keeping an open mind and carefully weighing up both the complainers and the zealots arguments. There’s normally two very passionate extremes in this space I have come to learn.
This is marketed as a way for anyone to gain financial freedom and learn to ‘dream’ again by buying life changing products and sharing those products with others. Simply get a few people who will get a few people and you’re on the road to building a residual income. That is more hype than reality but it is possible to make a solid income with this company. Just don’t expect “getting a few” is all it will take or that chasing family and friends is the answer to your financial freedom. It’s not.
The interesting thing I found with this company is that the reps are approaching people about a ‘job interview’ and when the person arrives they are hit with a full blown presentation and asked to shell out money for a background check.
The sales presentations are always very convincing with these kinds of things and are led by people with years of experience in direct sales and recruiting. Good recruiting skills are a great thing don’t get me wrong, but these presentations often only paint only one side of the story and in this case it’s a little misleading.
In other words, they are inviting people to a business opportunity presentation… not a job interview. They should be more upfront about what people are getting themselves into. I can’t say I’m a fan of this sneaky behaviour, not at all.
The other thing to consider is that given the nature of the products there are trainings, examinations and licensing to even become a certified rep to sell certain products. I’m not saying this is a bad thing (and it seems the company helps people achieve this in different ways) but this is certainly worth taking into consideration.
The Compensation Plan
This is the first mlm company I have come across that I could not locate the compensation plan ANYWHERE online. I did manage to dig up some worthwhile information but I have to say I don’t like when companies try and hide their compensation plans from people. It does beg the question, what are they trying to hide? Nevertheless here’s what I did find…
Ways You Can Earn
Product Commissions: You can earn 25% commissions on direct customer purchases and this percentage goes up the higher you get within the company.
Building Your Downline: This is where people make the most of their money in mlm because they are about recruiting. You’ll earn a certain amount of commission based on your downlines performance each month.
Bonuses: There are various bonuses and incentives in place like most mlm’s.
The cost of getting started is $99 which isn’t very expensive all things considered, it covers your basic application fee and a background check.
Maintaining Your Business
The company requires it’s distributors to maintain a minimum quota of some kind to stay in business. This could be in the form of buying products yourself or selling those products to others to achieve a certain level of points. Since I can’t find the comp plan I cannot speculate on how much this will be but I can almost guarantee you there’ll be some kind of continued monthly purchasing requirement to maintain a position in the company you can earn with.
I managed to find someone saying that there is a 100PV monthly requirement to stay in business at the base level of the company. While I won’t claim that as fact, this is the most standard number I’ve seen across all mlm’s I’ve reviewed.
What is PV?
It is the amount of points associated with certain products. For example a product costing $136 per month might equal 100PV or in another company 100PV would equate to $54 per month. It really depends on the company and without accessing a price list it is hard to say.
The reason I am pointing this out is to forewarn you that there is almost certainly a monthly amount of spending required to maintain your business. Don’t think it’s just $99 and off you go… There is also a $28 per month fee to have access to ‘Primerica Online’ which is an essential tool in the running of your business. This is used for day to day business activities and most people serious about this business would sign up for this.
The bottom line is that you’ll likely end up spending hundreds of dollars in your first year alone to be in business with this company. Here’s some of the things you should take into consideration when planing your first year cost estimate:
- Joining fee of $99
- Monthly online business subscription of $28 per month or $336 per year
- Minimum product purchasing (if required) which could be anything from $50-$100’s per month
- Seminars, conventions and other training, not to mention travel and accommodation
- Any other miscellaneous business costs associated with running your business
At the end of the day it is important to carefully consider the costs involved in being in business no matter what company you are thinking of joining and this should give you some ideas as to what is involved.
What I Liked
- They offer reasonable looking products rather than the same ‘health and wellness’ products many mlm companies push
- The cost to get started is low
- Being a public company, they list average earnings which is always good to know
- The company seems to help people get certified and offers legitimate training in financial products
What I Didn’t Like
- They hide a lot of useful information like the compensation plan and basic product pricing, they are one of the most secretive mlm companies I have ever come across
- There are a fair amount of complaints from people about the products and opportunity, although not extreme
- The associates have a reputation for recruiting people by telling them about a ‘job interview’ which is misleading
- They push warm market techniques which I’m not a fan of
The Bottom Line
This company doesn’t appear to be a scam and there are some potentially worthwhile products. However, there are some things I didn’t like as I just mentioned which are worth taking into consideration.
If you are relying on your warm market (family and friends) you need to be ready to recruit every person you know and they know at every chance. I am not kidding when I say this is what it takes to achieve anywhere near the kind of success they are telling you about.
That’s fine but here’s the issue…
The guru’s at the top are selling people on the ‘dream’ and getting them pumped about this amazing opportunity for the average person when in reality the ‘average person’ fails to make any real money at all in this company. Primerica itself reveals in their disclosure that the average income is little over 6k per year which isn’t even close to minimum wage let alone a dream income.
The warm market strategy is essentially leaning on family and friends (trusted relationships) with the sole purpose of selling them into your business or getting them to buy products. I do not like this approach to business and I never will. Not only is that an unappealing way to build a business but it doesn’t work for the longterm. In order to succeed you need daily leads coming into your business or you won’t make any money. Plain and simple.
Here’s the typical picture in the mlm industry:
- You sign up all excited about some great opportunity
- You realise that hardly anyone is interested and you are running around trying to build a business with no idea how
- You leave 6-12 months later after spending hundreds of dollars on products and almost no income to show for it
- In some cases you’ll lose some friends in the process after having sucked them into something that lost them money
I’m not saying that it will be like this with Primerica or that it will be impossible to make money. To the contrary, you can succeed if you work hard enough and I am not trying to talk anyone out of joining. But you should know the kinds of methods they teach and think about other strategies you could use to grow your business if creating a full time income is your primary goal. At the very least, you have a good idea of what to expect moving forward. Whatever you decide, I hope this review has been helpful!