For those of you who are interested in the cooking niche, you may have heard of a company called the Pampered Chef. It is basically an MLM brand that sells a variety of kitchen tools, food products and cookbooks and like most businesses, some investment is required before you get started. So how much does it cost to be a Pampered Chef consultant?
In this article, I’ll be walking through the startup fee, what it takes to maintain the business and what is the long term prospect to consider so that you can get a better picture.
The Consultant Kit
At the process of signing up, there are 3 types of business kits to choose from, namely the Starter, Deluxe and Ultimate. Each comes with paperwork (catalogs, product information, recruitment brochures and etc.) and products that are usually worth more than the kit itself.
If you are applying from the United States, these are the prices of the kits and the product value that each carries.
- Starter – $109 (value > $450)
- Deluxe – $159 (value > $650)
- Ultimate – $249 (value > $1000)
If you are applying from Canada, the kits and product values are slightly more expensive.
- Starter – $145 (value > $525)
- Deluxe – $200 (value > $800)
- Ultimate – $310 (value > $1200)
In total, there are about 30 products being offered in which a Starter gets about 16 items, Deluxe gets 18 items and Ultimate gets the most, 28 items. Out of those products, about 25 pieces sell for less than $50, 3 pieces sell within the range of $51 to $100 and only 2 sell for more than $100. Needless to say, the pricier items will only be included in the higher value kits (Deluxe and Ultimate).
Now, why is it important for you to know this? That’s because your earning is largely determined by these numbers. You see, the basic commission starts at 20% and gradually increases to 25% as you accumulate more sales volume.
Assuming you are starting from the basic rate and selling the Baker’s Roller (retail at $25), your commission is $5 per product. If you want to achieve $100 profit, you’ll need to sell 20 units of this. Now, if you sell the Grill Pan (retail at $238), the commission is about $47 per product in which you only need to sell 3 units to hit the $100 target.
Chances are, it takes slightly more effort to promote higher priced items, but the number of buyers to achieve is much lower (3 versus 20) than selling cheaper products. Hence, it’s an added benefit if your kit contains at least one pricey item so that you can start promoting immediately.
Depending on the targeted audience, you may also want to purchase additional kitchen tools to add to your inventory – consultants get between 20% to 50%, depending on their title – but know that this will subsequently increase the overall startup cost.
The Cost of Maintaining the Business
The way Pampered Chef is marketed is mostly through home parties where consultants arrange to meet with potential customers on a one-to-one setting, usually at someone’s home. Some do try doing it online through virtual parties on social media, but I find this to be ineffective.
In the past, the company used to provide a website platform for consultants to promote the products, but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. So whether you like socializing or not, home parties, catalog parties and wedding showers are some of the recommended strategies.
For these parties to convert well (meaning, getting people to sign up and/or buy the products), there’s a need for product demonstration and that’s where the kitchen tools from your business kits and those that you purchase externally, will come in handy. The rest is just sharing the fun, or as how most people would describe, delivers the sales pitch.
Promotion usually starts from the circle of people that you know (friends and families) and gradually move onto neighbors and beyond other cities. This is a natural progression because acquiring new customers is vital in order to sell more and because kitchen tool isn’t a consumable product, you almost always need to find a new buyer every time.
To add to the urgency, you need to sell at least $150 sales per month in order to remain active, otherwise, you will no longer be a consultant after 3 months of inactivity.
So, home parties will eventually become a second nature of the job and the cost of that will include travelling expenses (petrol, phone bills and etc.), marketing materials (catalogs, order forms and etc.) and most importantly, time away from home. This can be a challenge for people with family commitment, but it’s not impossible.
In hindsight, all this cost could have been reduced if consultants are facilitated to build a better online presence where they can use referral links strategically to target sales. I mean, Pampered Chef already have a fantastic eCommerce site in place so the traditional way of marketing is a bit redundant and somewhat cumbersome in my opinion.
The Risk of Inventory
Inventory is a great asset because it helps run a business. With this company, however there’s a tendency to expand the list because new products are being launched intermittently while older products retire from the catalogs. There has also been several complaints from customers that the kitchen ware breaks easily, so that’s something to watch out for when you pick a product to promote.
Given the circumstances, I would imagine that one is likely to end up with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t serve any promotional values. The impact of this can be seen on forums where consultants try to sell off their inventory at a much lower price tags. At this point, I am guessing that people aren’t really making any profit. They are just trying to get back as much as they can from their investment.
Is this a waste of money? Well, that depends on how you see it.
So, Is It Worth Being a Pampered Chef Consultant
If this article sounds like I am discouraging you to join Pampered Chef, the reality couldn’t have been more apparent. Most MLMs are hyped up, their products are just mediocre and it’s crucial to build down lines in other to succeed.
This type of business system doesn’t appeal to modern consumers because people value their time more nowadays. They aren’t really interested in home parties or stocking inventory when there’s a better alternative to shopping like buying things online. The opportunity from eCommerce is more diverse and flexible and the cost of running a business in this space can be as low as $1 per day.
I am talking about creating a blog and leveraging from affiliate programs. With the affiliate marketing, you can promote a variety of products without having to stick to one brand and reach out to a wider audience through the search engines. Blogging targets the hot market (people who are actually interested to buy things online) so sales conversion is generally much easier than the typical home parties. You scale the business with online traffic (number of visitors to your blog), not recruiting.
The good news is, cooking is considered an evergreen niche, meaning that people will always be searching for food related topics/products all the time. As a result, they will be comparing prices and quality and they need reviewers like affiliate marketers to provide them this valuable information.
The Amazon marketplace, Walmart and Home Depot all have kitchen utensils backed with product details and strong customer reviews. And, each has their own affiliate programs that can be integrated into your blog. These places are trusted brands when it comes to online shopping, they offer some customer perks and their prices are competitive as well.
Commission rates for marketplaces aren’t usually as high as MLM products, but they convert well because they are affordable and when shoppers buy other items together, you earn extra commissions too.
As someone who has been making money online since 2014, I personally feel that eCommerce has a lot more to offer in terms of the shoppers experience and if you know what type of audience to target, promoting something online can be a lucrative business.
Well, I hope that this review has given you a bigger picture of how much it really cost to be a Pampered Chef consultant and if you feel like trying out something less risky, please check out my recommended affiliate marketing training here for detailed guidance.
Question – What experience do you have with Pampered Chef or the likes? Please share with us in the comment space below.
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