Introduction to Cutco MLM Compensation Plan
Norman Bates. Ghostface. John Belushi’s samurai chef character. Wendy Torrance, in a rare moment of not being a complete milquetoast. Dan Aykroyd’s Julia Child impersonation, roughly contemporary with Belushi’s samurai chef. Edward Scissorhands.
Yes, I have chosen to begin this Cutco review with a brief list of characters famous for wielding pointy implements in movies and on television because Cutco products are knives, and I have chosen to include Edward Scissorhands in this list because some Cutco products are scissors. Another reason I have chosen to start my Cutco review with this list is that, while Cutco products are designed to be used in the kitchen, I already told my story about how my youngest brother Bryce is a daring and resourceful cook and how he rose from frat house grill master to host of eventful New Year’s parties where every appetizer on the appetizer table was the work of his own hands. (If you really want to read that story, you can read my Pampered Chef review.) I guess I could have just rehashed my story about how my baby brother is an awesome cook, but that’s not me. Maybe on someone else’s blog, but not here. This is Notebook Crazy, the thinking man’s multilevel marketing (MLM) review blog, where I am on a quest to review every MLM business opportunity out there. If I sound a little crazy, you would be, too, after reading so many MLM websites, compensation plan documents, and spammy reviews designed to rank higher on Google than the ones that give you an honest assessment of what the MLM opportunity is really like and why you should run in the opposite direction. I do my best to highlight the redeeming features of each MLM business opportunity, if there are any, and my reviews usually end with a stern warning that virtually any kind of income generating activity you choose is going to be more lucrative than MLM. I have been at this since New Year’s, when my business partner the other Brad and I hatched our plan for this blog at the aforementioned New Year’s Party with Bryce’s aforementioned appetizers.
But if you were to guess that even that sounds it would get a little monotonous after a while, you would be right. All work and no play makes Brad a dull boy, or something like that. This blog is actually part of two larger journeys in my life. Before I started this blog, the two things I hated the most were boring jobs and boring education. (Once I got mixed up with MLM, I discovered that there are plenty of other things I hate just as much, if not more.) As an alternative to boring education, I dropped out of college after three semesters and have spent a good deal of my time since then reading about anything and everything. That is why, on this blog, you will find stories of innovators, charlatans, reptiles, and the names of rock bands, to name just a few topics. As an alternative to boring jobs, I spent a number of years working jobs that made no excuses about the fact that they were boring, while living way below my means until I had some capital to start my own business projects. I have been self-employed for eight years now, and I have tried out a number of projects, including a few MLMs.
Lots of MLM promotional videos show you successful MLM distributors lounging on the beach or beside their swimming pools, trying to fill your mind with visions of the good life you could experience if you were to end up among the tiny minority of people who actually get rich from MLM. But that’s not me, either. I’m too much of a practical Midwesterner for that. I don’t have a private jet or vacation homes in tropical locales, and I am not going to try to pretend that I do just to get you to read my blog. I can proudly say, however, that I do not have any debts. I got to this point the same way every other debt free person does, through years of seeking out financial opportunities and living below my means.
I realized that I have not talked very much on this blog about how I make most of my money, and I think it is only fair that I tell you, so that you don’t imagine that I just sit on my keister all day while collecting the elusive passive income that MLM promotional materials are always waving in your face. (I do enjoy sitting on my keister, though.) I have made a lot of my money through building and administering websites for businesses and sometimes by revamping their existing websites. In other words, I make my money by working and by not spending on frivolous things. I’m just a regular geek, albeit a geek who does not have to report to a boss. A lot of my money comes from search engine optimization (SEO), although money is not even the best thing about SEO in my opinion. What I like best about SEO is that it directs people to this blog when they enter search terms like “invest in Bradonium,” “all work and no play makes Brad a dull boy,” and “Brad hates fungus,” and those are just the fun SEO keywords that contain my name.
But I digress. All this is to say that, whenever anyone has the guts to write a critical MLM review, active distributors of the MLM in question, eager to maintain their active distributor status, suit up in their troll armor and start throwing around accusations in the comments section to the effect that people who do not break even in the MLM business opportunity being reviewed failed because they are averse to hard work. I call BS on the millions of comments out there that say that. There is hard work, and then there is pouring money into a vacuum, and most MLMs are the latter.
In comparison with most MLMs out there, the Cutco business opportunity is not so bad. In fact, it is so not so bad that you could argue that it hardly even qualifies as an MLM. But I still don’t recommend joining. The amount of money you get in exchange for how much work you have to put into it is just not worth it.
Cutco: The Company and Its Products
Cutco products, as the name suggests, are knives, scissors, and other such pointy implements. They are advertised as being super strong. Remember those Ginsu commercials on TV in the early 90s that showed the knives cutting effortlessly through a number of dense food substances and the scissors cutting a penny in half? Cutco products are a similar product with a similar gimmick. Some of the Cutco reviews that I read said that the company recruits new Cutco distributors by advertising to college students and graduating high school seniors with those “summer work opportunity for students” fliers. Thus, a lot of Cutco distributors are in their late teens and early 20s.
Cutco distributors sell Cutco products at in-home demonstrations, of which they are encouraged to arrange as many as possible, starting with people friends and acquaintances. (In MLM speak, friends and acquaintances, when viewed as a source of income, are called your “warm market.” The Cutco reviews I read don’t use that exact term, but they call it something similar.) The official Cutco promotional materials make it sound like you get a 50% commission on products sold, but the Cutco reviews by former Cutco distributors make it sound like it is not quite that simple.
The Cutco Compensation Plan
Most of the complaints about the Cutco business opportunity that I read in Cutco reviews, including those written by former Cutco distributors, are not about the knives and scissors themselves. Based on what I read, it seems like a lot of people really like Cutco products. At least one former Cutco distributor said that his mom bought a set of Cutco knives during his summer as a Cutco distributor, long ago, and she still uses them to this day. No, Cutco distributors’ complaints about the Cutco business opportunity seem to all center around the Cutco compensation plan.
First the good news. Cutco distributors are not under pressure to recruit new Cutco distributors. In fact, I found no mention of downline sales teams in anything I read while researching this Cutco review. Other than that, the Cutco compensation plan has in common with other MLM compensation plans that Cutco distributors are responsible for all their own expenses related to the business, and they don’t get a steady income. This is the problem with direct sales in general, by the way, not just with Cutco. Cutco promotional materials advertise that you get a 50% commission on the sale of Cutco products, but according to former Cutco distributors, your commission starts out at 10% and gradually increases as you meet certain sales goals. Every time you do a demonstration, you get your percentage or $18, whichever is greater, so at least you are not going from door to door in the hot sun, cutting up pennies, for no money whatsoever.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Home demonstrations of Cutco products do not sound quite as bad as the usual MLM home sales parties where your marks have to pretend that they are having fun, so I am not going to declare quadruple crown diamond barf this time, but they still sound less pleasant than a retail sales job. At least one Cutco reviewer said that cutting pennies in half made her hand hurt.
- Cutco products are knives and scissors, which are a whole heck of a lot more interesting than vitamin supplements, anti-aging skin creams, and the usual stuff that MLMs make you sell. Since they are not nutraceuticals, no one trumpets that Cutco products cure cancer.
- Cutco distributors are not required to recruit other Cutco distributors, which means that the Cutco business opportunity is free of one of my least favorite aspects of MLM.
- A lot of MLM merchandise is truly of low quality, but a lot of people who have bought Cutco products say that they work well and last a long time.
- At least one Cutco review I read mentioned fast start bonuses, which generate more desperation than they do financial gain.
- The fact that Cutco distributors are encouraged to market Cutco products to their friends and relatives is bad news. Making unsolicited sales pitches to your warm market is like trying to squeeze blood out of a turnip. When you were in second grade, your mom’s coworkers bought candy and wrapping paper from you from your school fundraiser because you were so cute and you had no other way to raise money, but now you are considerably less cute, and there is a world of work opportunities open to you. You would probably actually make more money if your parents were to set you up with a summer job waiting tables at a restaurant owned by one of their friends or working for your uncle at his lawn care business.
- While it is true that kitchen knives are far from the most ridiculous thing a person could buy, a good set of kitchen knives lasts many years. If anyone in your warm market is thinking of buying new knives, they have probably already started comparison shopping and found a better deal than what you the Cutco distributor can offer them.
- If you have so little fear of public speaking that you can stand in front of a group of people and banter while cutting pennies in half, you have many other career opportunities open to you.
Whichever way you slice it, you are not going to make a full time income through the Cutco business opportunity.
I know I goof around a lot on this blog, but I was being completely serious about my website making business. If you want to discuss it in more detail, schedule a call with me.