Is Usana A Pyramid Scheme? Don’t Join Before Reading My Review

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Welcome to my Usana review, a Utah-based MLM company that has been selling nutritional and weight management products for over 25 years.

Just as with many other MLM companies, lots of people have been wondering if   Usana is a pyramid scheme. I am going to answer this question but give you also an insight into the compensation plan and joining process.

Getting involved in network marketing seems all the rage nowadays. Around 200 companies are members with the Direct Selling Association but it is estimated that around 1000 companies in the US alone are using multi-level marketing as the preferred business model.

You are reading this Usana review probably because you are looking for financial freedom, flexible working hours, or may want to be your own boss, and want to escape the daily ‘9-5 rat race.’

But can the opportunity Usana offers live up to these hopes and dreams?

My review will show in detail what it takes to get involved with this company and if it is the right ‘business’ opportunity for you.

The health and weight loss niche is saturated and highly competitive with similar companies like Shaklee, Nu Skin, and Isagenix.

So, what makes  Usana different from any other  MLM company in this market place? Besides the question, if Usana operates a pyramid scheme, another important factor is if you can make money with the Usana opportunity.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

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Is Usana A Pyramid Scheme? – Must Read Review

The Usana Health Science Company

usana logo

The Usana Health Science company was founded in 1992 by Myron W Wentz who is an Immunologist and Microbiologist. The current CEO is Kevin G Guest who has been the Chief Executive Officer since 2016.

Usana operates in 24 countries including New Zealand, Australia, Colombia, Mexico, China, Japan, and Canada, just to name a few.

They develop and manufacture quality nutritional supplements, healthy foods and personal care products that are sold directly to Associates and Preferred Customers. Most of the products, around 67 % are manufactured on site in the US.

The remaining 33% are being produced in China because these are the BabyCare products, a Chinese direct-selling company Usana had acquired in 2010. [source: BusinessWire]

Brand Ambassadors

To raise brand awareness, Usana has partnered with Dr. Oz who consistently mentions Usana in his show. Usana is also the exclusive provider for supplements to over 1000 athletes around the world.

They call themselves “Team Usana” and include tennis player Caroline Wozniacki and boxer Austin Trout.

The practice of sponsoring athletes as a marketing strategy is very similar to Advocare and Shaklee.

 The  Usana Products

usana products

The Usana products include nutritional, personal care and weight management products.

What sets Usana apart from most other MLM companies in the health niche is that they offer nutritional supplements that are suitable for children as young as 2 years old.

The newest product range is CellSentials™ and Celavive® (the skincare range) that are produced with Usana’s patent-pending technology called InCelligence Technology®.

It …” is designed to support the body’s natural ability to nourish, protect and renew itself. ”

Price wise, the products cost as much as products of other MLM companies that offer nutritional supplements, skincare, and weight loss products. There is really not much difference.

The Science Behind The Products

There are a few patent-pending products as I outlined before but otherwise, I haven’t found much data on the research Usana has done.

All there is on the companies websites are statements that Usana has been doing research for over 25 years and has collaborated with some well-known institutions like The University Of Utah, The University Of Sydney, and Boston University.

This information is vague and doesn’t reveal much about the science behind the product.

Read How I Earn Four Digits A Month And How You Can Too.

Can You Save Money On The Products?

Yes, you can by signing up as a preferred customer. It saves you 10% on the product price and doesn’t require any sign-up fee or minimum order.

If you sign up for the recurring auto-ship then you would get another 10% off.

How To Join Usana- The  ‘Business’ Opportunity

The joining fee for becoming a Usana associate is very low with only $29.95 start-up costs.

usana welcome kit

The Welcome Kit contains:

  • a product guide
  • a workout and eating guide
  • a branded water bottle,
  • exercise band
  • pill box
  • business materials

You are encouraged, of course, to purchase the products so you know from your own experience how well they work for you.

Spoiler alert: In fact, to be eligible for commission payments, you’ll need 100 points each month in personal sales. 100 points equal around US$100.

That is the same requirement Shaklee asks of its distributors for examples.

Expenses of around $100 each month are quite a bit of money and a lot of sales are needed to get a commission to outweigh the expenses on the product purchases.

There should be other requirements for associates to be eligible for commission payments like sales to customers etc.

Show Me The Money – The Usana Compensation Plan

usana compensation plan

Usana is using a binary compensation plan where you have a left and right leg. On retail sales and sales volumes of your team, you earn a 20% commission.

As you can see on the image, if the points don’t match the other leg, the points roll over to the next week.

In its commission plan, Usana talks about business centers. A business center is basically your team with two associates you have personally enrolled, one on the left and one on the right. And then these two associates have to sponsor new associates and do the same, place their recruits in both legs and so on.

As a new associate, you have the opportunity to open up three business centers and therefore you can double your commission payments from day one. Considering you have four personally enrolled associates and 400 points as your personal volume.

If you start off with one business center and both legs have accumulated 5000 points, you have reached the maximum points. You then will get to open a new BC. Once both legs reach 5000 points each again, the next BC will be allocated to you and so on.

To maintain more than one BC, you need a minimum of 200 points in personal volume.

All up, there are seven ways to earn an income with Usana:

  1. Retail Sales, the difference between preferred price and  retail price
  2. Weekly commissions on personal sales and team sales (up to 20%)
  3. Lifetime matching bonus (if you sponsor new Premier Platinum PaceSetters, you’ll receive up to a 15% match of their commission volume for the life of their USANA businesses)
  4. Incentives like travels
  5. Elite bonus
  6. Leadership bonus
  7. Celavive product bonus: that is an interesting one; you can earn a 25% bonus of the tax-exclusive sales price for all Celavive products sold to personally sponsored preferred customers on their initial order of Celavive® products. Note: you don’t need to be commission-qualified to be eligible for this bonus.

Can You Make Money With Usana

usana earnings

usana income statement

Well, the image and statement speak for themselves.

Sadly, 53% of US associates didn’t earn a commission in 2017.

Now, looking at the graphic, only 2.23% of associates earned between $5000 to $20 000 a year and only 0.51% had an annual income of between $20 000 to $50 000.

These numbers don’t even take any business related expenses into account. Remember you also have to purchase $100 worth of products each month to be eligible for commission payments.

So, even though the compensation plan may look promising, the reality of earning an income with Usana are basically nil.

Is Usana A Pyramid Scheme

So, is  Usana a pyramid scheme? It is borderline as with so many other MLM companies. The payment structure looks a lot like a pyramid. But then they sell products to avoid the accusation of operating a pyramid scheme.

A big red flag for me is the fact that associates at any rank have to have a personal purchase of at least 100 points a month. No wonder, that Usana has got such great sales. The sales are basically happening on autopilot. Clever, right?

Also, the low potential of earning an income is not a good sign.  The higher the earnings, fewer people share the big bucks.

That is just the way this system works.

Wrapping It Up

There are a few pros and cons regarding the  Usana opportunity. I avoid the term ‘business’ with any MLM company because at the end of the day it is not your business.

You are basically a salesperson who is trying to recruit other people to build a team (or, in Usana’s a case, a business center) to earn residual (passive) income.

Pros Of Being A Usana Associate

  • low start-up costs
  • products are being promoted by brand ambassadors
  • Usana is available in 24 countries
  • 24 years in business

The Drawbacks

  • the products are expensive
  • only vague information about the science behind the products
  • low earning potential
  • to be eligible for commission payments, a monthly product purchase of at least $100 is required

Overall, I would not recommend getting involved with Usana as an associate unless you have the finances to buy the products each month and have a large network of potential buyers.

You may love the products but it doesn’t mean everyone around you will love them. Plus, can you afford to pay at least $100 each month for the products jut to qualify for commission payments?

It takes hard work to become successful in the MLM industry and  Usana is no different. It is most likely that you spend more money than you will earn.

What puzzled me is that I nowhere read something about a personalized website. Is Usana even present on social media? Do they have an app to share the ‘business’ opportunity or the products? Other MLM companies are way more modern with social marketing, which is a must nowadays.

There are definitely lots of things Usana can improve on.

How To Generate More Sales And  Leads

Even though MLM is not my recommended business model (I prefer affiliate marketing), many people just love multi-level marketing but not many are succeeding.

The problem with network marketing is to get sales and to find people to recruit. Why not concentrate on using a proven system to find leads and increase your sales?

Let people come to you and not the other way around.

How can I do this? I hear you asking.

The answer is simple! Are you ready?

Build Your Own Blog/Website

With your own blog, you can promote Usana products or any other products you’d like to recommend to your audience.

You could have a blog about healthy eating, the importance of dietary supplements, or any other health-related topic you may be interested in.

Your own blog/website is your asset in the vastness of the internet world. People can find you from anywhere in the world and could become raving fans of your blog, potential customers, and associates.

Don’t know how to build a blog and attract traffic to your website?

That is where my recommended online training platform comes in, Wealthy Affiliate.

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The graphic shows you that in 2018 nearly four billion people have been using the world wide web.

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More readers equals more sales equals more leads!

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~ Anke

Connect with me on Wealthy Affiliate

If you have any questions or more information about Usana, please leave them in the comment section below.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information read my affiliate disclaimer.


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  1. Ed said:

    Very honest blog. My friend send me this MLM Ulsana and I learned a lot about this blog.

    June 15, 2022
    • Anke said:

      Thank you so much, Ed. ~ Anke

      June 17, 2022

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