The Usana MLM Business Opportunity, Scam Or Legit?

Usana Health Sciences is a health and wellness MLM company with some pretty big names behind it and appears to be creating very high-quality products.

The company also provides a way to share these products with your family and friends and create an income as a result.

About Usana

Usana was founded in 1992 by Dr. Myron Wentz and specializes in various health and wellness products like weight loss, energy, and nutritional supplements.

They distribute their products through the MLM business model, or as they like to call it,  direct selling.

The opportunity is marketed as a way for people to gain financial freedom by selling life-changing products.

The Usana Compensation Plan

This compensation plan is, like most mlm companies, pretty annoying and elaborate to get your head around. But I do like how clearly they explain it to people so this is good. This comp plan walks you through most of what you need to know but this will help you make sense of it and work out how worthwhile the opportunity is.

Ways You Can Earn

Selling The Product: You can make 10% retail commissions on products you can convince people to buy, the selling of products in this company is a joke to be quite honest.

The products do seem good, but I doubt if anyone makes a good living by focussing on product sales. Why? For one thing, literally anyone can go straight to the company website and buy products at wholesale price (preferred customer price) the same as you can as a distributor.

Preffered customer termsWhy would anyone go to your website and pay retail if they can purchase at wholesale so easily? Yes, people must buy through your affiliate link and you can benefit in other ways, but since buying at wholesale is such a simple task I doubt many are making much from retail sales.

Build a Team: You have the opportunity to recruit people into your downline and make a 20% commission based on the overall performance of your organization. This works on a binary system where you only ever have two recruits directly underneath you on your first level, left and right.

Each product carries a certain amount of points and whenever a product is purchased somewhere in your organization, it will count towards your organization’s points balance. This is known as GSV (group sales volume).

Binary system example

This happens on either the left or the right of your business. At the end of every week, the company will calculate the lesser performing legs point balance (left or right) and pay you a 20% commission based on that.

For example: If your LEFT leg has accumulated 1100 GSV overall and your right leg has 1500, you will get 1100 GSV x 20%. In this scenario you will be paid 220 Commission Points that will then be converted and paid to you in your local currency.

Example of calculating GSV and commissions

The annoying thing is, I have scoured the Internet and cannot find ANYWHERE how much these commission points actually equate to in dollar value. It is probably safe to assume that 1 commission point probably equals US$1 as this is normally the case with this kind of set up. But I could be wrong and if you know better, please correct me in the comments.

Various Bonuses: Throughout the compensation plan there are various bonuses on offer based on your performance and the performance of your team. This give reps an extra way to earn an income and some of these bonuses are actually pretty good.

Getting Qualified

To get qualified and really start earning anything at all in this business you will need to acquire your first 200 PV. These are just points associated with products that YOU buy or one of your direct customers buy from you.

The most economical and easy way to achieve these points is to simply purchase a ‘Basic Business Pack’ for $305.

Starter Kit options

This gives you some basic Usana products and will give you 250 PV which is all you need to activate you first business centre. I am not going to go into detail about the option to start more business centres, but there is that option too which is cool.

Maintaining Your Business

To keep just one business centre open you need to be purchasing or selling 100PV worth of product every 4 weeks without fail, or you will lose out pretty bad. If you fall below this requirement, you are not eligible for your commissions or bonuses and will lose any accumulated commission points. This does not change until you reach the minimum monthly purchasing of 100PV again.

In other words, if you can’t buy or directly sell US $120 worth of product each month, you shouldn’t be getting into this.

It is reasonable to expect to be paying $120 each month for products for yourself to consume, as most new reps end up doing with an auto-ship. And realistically, selling $120 worth of product each month is pretty easy once you get into the swing of things so it’s not a crazy burden.

The Cost Break Down

I’m going to show you an estimate based on what it would cost the typical rep in getting started making money with this company in the first year. This is not indicative of everybody’s costs, but this is just what I would personally consider to be the norm and what it would cost me.

Starter Kit= $305

Yearly Renewal Fee= $20

Monthly Qualifier= $120 in sales

Replicated Website= $19.95/ $239.40 per year

This is not a huge expense all things considered and the monthly qualifier isn’t unreasonable. At least now you have more of an idea on the costs involved with this business. There are also other costs such as conventions, seminars etc but you don’t ‘need’ to go to those, although many company leaders will say this is essential.

The Average Distributor Income

The average yearly income for a Usana rep is about $859 according to their website and the screenshot below illustrates this.

Average income of a Usana Rep

As you can see over 60% of distributors make no money and over 90% only make around $293 per year on average. While I think this is a good thing they are open and upfront about this with people, it does show you what you are dealing with. Now, I am not showing you this to put you off. Not at all.

But I do think it is worthwhile for you to be prepared coming into this if your goal is to make a full-time income. What can you do to avoid being in the bottom percentile range?

For one thing, avoid chasing family and friends to grow your downline, it really doesn’t work well for the majority of people and safe to say the numbers prove this. There are better ways to achieve your goals in my opinion.

What I Liked

  • Products seem good and have been tested by some reputable research companies
  • The products have the backing of Dr. Oz which means marketing these just got easier
  • They are reasonably transparent with distributor earnings and details about the business
  • The compensation plan is very clearly explained

What I Didn’t Like

  • They teach the warm market technique for growing your business
  • Some critical information about the comp plan was very difficult to find

Final Thoughts

The products seem good and if you love the results you are getting, this could be a great way for you to get those for free and make some extra cash each month. Personally, I think that in order to make a solid income with Usana you’ll need to do more than just share the opportunity with those you know.

I’m not saying it’s impossible to do things that way but I really can’t say I’m a fan of it or that it’s the best way. Whatever you decide, hopefully, this review has given you some insights to make your decision about joining a little easier!

8 thoughts on “The Usana MLM Business Opportunity, Scam Or Legit?”

  1. Hello! I would like to clarify something. People can’t purchase products from Usana in discounted wholesale price without being enrolled by an Associate. 🙂

    If you found Usana on your own, you can click on the Get Started option and fill out the form. You will always be referred by the website to an associate near your place or you will be asked to provide the name of the associate who referred you.

    Only associates have the option to enroll people who want to purchase products in wholesale price (cheaper than the retail price displayed in

    The income is actually nice if you work hard for it. I have three friends who are associates — one earns around $10,000 (PHP 500, 000) monthly and two earn around $4,000 (PHP 200, 000) monthly. They are close friends of mine.

    So I think the income opportunity is great because I have seen people grow in the company. I saw them buy condominium units, cars, gadgets, etc. I saw them travel to different places all expense paid by Usana.

    We all have different opinion, but I don’t think Usana lied to my friends when they were told that they will earn big if they work hard in their business. 🙂

    • Hi Cassy,

      I understand what you are saying and thanks for clarifying however, this wasn’t my primary concern. Perhaps I will re-word this section. The key issue I was trying to convey was the obvious lack of retail sales distributors are making within the company. Even if someone must sign up through a rep they can still get the same discount as you (anywhere from 10-20%) and there is no charge or commitment. This means that in terms of retail sales you are only earning a very small amount through ‘Group Sales Volume’ for the majority of customer sales. I highly doubt anyone is buying a house, car, boat or fancy holidays by focussing on ‘retail sales’ in this case. You and I both know, this is primarily about recruiting and building a large team.

      Anyway, I am happy that both you and your friends are doing well and I agree, anything worth having requires a lot of work and effort to achieve. All the best and thanks for commenting 🙂

  2. Hi my name is Torrey.
    I was once involved in an mlm marketing plan. They showed me the cars and the boats, and the house that I was going to be living in IF I purchased my next upsell.
    The most annoying thing that I remember was that they would never answer my questions about how everything worked and how exactly I was going to be making money. They would go round and round the bush then pop up on the other side and wonder if that had answered my question. Glad there are still a few people on the web that are doing honest business. Torrey

    • Hi Torrey,

      I know exactly what you mean lol. When I was in mlm there was very little actual training, it was all motivational hype and warm market hustling. The top recruiters are doing a lot more than just chase family and friends thats for sure. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Hi Tim,

    I’ve been an online marketer for a few years. I never heard of Usana, then again health products is not my niche. But I find the review is very detailed and tells a story for me about MLM in general. I’ve tried several Network Marketing programs and hate the complicated compensation plans, hype, costs, and having to recruit people into an even more complicated downline.

    Having your own website, creating good content with value, and then adding affiliate marketing to it to supplement one’s income is a much more ethical and organic approach to running your own business online.

    Anyway, great review and nice website.

    Wayne Gosse

    • Hi Wayne, thanks for your insights into the mlm model and your expereience. I guess for me it’s not that I think mlm is a scam as such, I think that is generalising too much. What I think is that for the ‘everyday’ person the opportunity really won’t make them any money. It’s marketed as a way for anyone to just jump in and make money but it take a LOT more than that. It can work but people are really left in the dark a lot of the time about what’s really involved in succeeding.

      My #1 Recommendation is just a better way for people to get started making some money and the other advantage is that you are learning Internet marketing and website building skills. These things are only going to help you in any mlm venture, most successful reps all have their own websites to market themselves and ‘subtly’ market their opportunity. If I ever got back into mlm, I would absolutely get myself a website.

      Thanks again for your insight and feedback, glad you liked my review 🙂

  4. Hi,

    Wow! I found that a bit too complicated following their compensation plan, and you say that is one of teh easier ones to understand!

    I tend to stay clear of MLM’s for such reasons. I may be interested in network marketing IF a compensation plan was easy to follow! But that is unlikely to happen..period!

    • Hi Derek,

      Yeah it really was annoying. I just meant that they walk you through it in the actual compensation plan itself. But yes, it is very convoluted and annoying to get your head around. I was the same don’t worry. It makes it hard for anyone to make an informed decision on joining or working out which ones are better than the others because they’re all so complicated lol.


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