Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme, Scam Or A Legit MLM Company?

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I bet you are here because someone introduced you to Shaklee and now you are wondering ”Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?” and ”Is it a scam or a legit way to make money from home?”.

You just landed in the right place, because in this Shaklee review I will tell you everything you need to know before joining.

I will cover topics like: what is Shaklee, how does it work, Shaklee compensation plan and most importantly is Shaklee a pyramid scheme or a scam.

I will also give you an idea of what to expect from this company. I will include lots of images, videos and comparisons. I will even discuss the pros and the cons to help you make an informed decision.

By the time you are done reading this review, you will know whether Shaklee is right for you.

Let’s begin!

Shaklee Review Summary


Company: Shaklee Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - logo

Price to join: $49.95 + $276-$1,000 success pack to start; 100 PV monthly sales quota = ~$150 a month to remain active

Business model: Health and Wellness MLM company

Do I recommend it? No

Overall rating: 4 out of 10

Summary:

Shaklee is an MLM company that sells products in the health and wellness niche. Their products are legit, but overpriced.

It is hard for distributors to be profitable by selling Shaklee’s products. Other than having to sell expensive products to complete strangers, distributors need to hit a monthly sales quota.

The only real way you can make some money is through recruitment. Most people underestimate how hard this is. More than 99% of people who join an MLM end up quitting and losing money.

Shaklee is a pyramid scheme in disguise. Most people make money from recruitment. With pyramid schemes it is impossible for everyone to be profitable. Those at the bottom (aka you) will never earn anything.

I recommend you stay away from Shaklee.

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What Is Shaklee About?


Shaklee is a health and wellness MLM company. They sell everything from shakes & supplements to beauty & personal hygiene products.

Because it is an MLM company, Shaklee doesn’t pay for advertising. Instead they recruit people who distribute and market the products for them.

In exchange, the distributors earn commissions for each sale that they make or each new member that they manage to recruit.

The company was found in 1956 and operates in 6 different countries:

  • Canada
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Taiwan
  • China
  • Indonesia

They used to operate in Mexico too, but they got suspended in November 2018.

Shaklee was originally created by Forrest C. Shaklee and his two sons. The company has changed owners many times over the years. The most recent data says that Roger Barnett bought Shaklee in 2004.

It is surprising that the company has been around since 1956. Most MLMs disappear in less than 2 years.

To get a better idea of what Shaklee is about, watch the short video below:

As you can see, this is just a sales video and it is very exaggerated. You are probably still wondering…

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme?


When you first look at Shaklee, they don’t seem to be a pyramid scheme. They have real products and it is possible to make money as a distributor.

However, Shaklee has signs of being a pyramid scheme in disguise.

What do I mean by that?

A typical pyramid scheme encourages members to recruit people into the system, instead of selling a real product or service.

Even though Shaklee has real products, the majority of the income comes from recruitment. This is mostly because Shaklee’s peoducts are overpriced as I will discuss later in this post.

And because no one wants to buy Shaklee’s overpriced products, the only option they have left is to start recruiting others into the system.

The problem with pyramid schemes is that it is impossible for everyone to make money. Take a look at the image below to understand better what I mean:

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - pyramid scheme

Just because it’s an MLM, doesn’t mean it’s a scam. The problem with most MLMs (including Shaklee) is that they obligate their members to sell a certain amount each month.

The products are over-priced and people prefer to buy from somewhere else. This often results in members buying their own products so that they can keep their membership and hope to make it next month (which never happens).

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Pyramid schemes can be hard to spot. The video below explains better how you can spot a pyramid scheme and never get scammed again.

Success Is Rare With MLMs


By know you should be aware that Shaklee isn’t as good as it seemed at first. The truth is that MLMs are hard to succeed in general.

It has been proven that 73% to 99% of people who join an MLM end up losing money. The infographic below shows even more scary facts about MLMs:

Is Shaklee a Pyramid Scheme - MLM stats

 

How Much Does It Cost To Join Shaklee?


It will cost you $49.95 to become a qualified distributor.

This means that you’ll be able to sell Shaklee products for commissions. You will also be given tools and access to a personal website for 3 months.

After that you will have to buy ”success packs”, that include the products you will be selling. The success packs range anything from $276 to $1,000 per pack.

But that is not the end…

Shaklee Monthly Cost


You must sell 100 PV (Personal Volume) each month to be eligible for commissions.

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - monthly fee

This adds an additional $150 a month.

You are very unlikely to hit 100 PV, especially if you are a beginner. If you are not able to hit 100 PV, you will have to buy the products yourself. Otherwise you will get suspended.

So the entire cost for the year will be:

  1. $49.95
  2. $276-$1,000
  3. $150 x 12

Total year 1 expenses = $2,125.95- $2,849.95

Keep in mind that this price holds no guarantee that you will earn anything. This is just the cost for participation.

Other than that, you will have to spend more money on training courses that will teach you how to sell successfully.

At the end it doesn’t seem so cheap, huh?

 

How Does Shaklee Work?


As mentioned earlier, Shaklee has a variety of different products in the health and wellness niche. The way they advertise their products is through distributors.

They let everyday people join their program and sell their products in exchange for commissions.

They make it seem like a great opportunity. They tell you that the only thing you will have to do is to ”spread the word” about Shaklee and its products. They say you can work from home and earn money with no effort, but the reality is a bit different.

I will talk more about that later, but for now let me tell you that it is not so easy to sell Shaklee’s products, recruit new members or be profitable overall.

Shaklee products


If you plan to get involved with any MLM company, you have to be very familiar with their products. But most importantly, you have to fall in love with the products to be successful.

If you don’t actually recommend the products you are selling, your customers will notice that and won’t buy from you.

Shaklee has product in the following categories:

  • Weight Loss
  • Sport
  • Beauty
  • Nutrition
  • Green Home

The products are way too many for me to go over each one of them in this Shaklee review. If you want to learn more about the products, check out Shaklee’s homepage.

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - products

Keep in mind that there are hundreds other MLM companies that sell similar products,such as Navan Global and PureTrim. What makes Shaklee stand out?

Some people may say that it is Shaklee’s flagship product “Prove It Challenge”.

Shaklee’s “Prove It Challenge”


When you buy your $49.95 distributor membership, you can also buy Shaklee’s flagship product “Prove It Challenge”. It will cost you an additional $159.

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - prove it challenge

”Prove It” is basically a 30 day weight loss challenge, that includes 2 protein shakes, a vitamin supplement and the 7 day Shaklee cleanse.

A study made by Shaklee shows that Prove It Challenge improves focus and energy, enhances mood and sleep quality, helps with detoxification and has other health benefits.

Of course these claims should be taken with a grain of salt because the experiment was run by the company itself. There is no other proof that the Prove It Challenge actually works.

Shaklee Compensation Plan


As with most MLM companies, Shaklee’s compensation plan is pretty difficult to understand for ”everyday people”.

You can find the entire thing here, but I will do my best to simplify it as much as possible.

To understand it better, watch the video below, explaining the compensation plan:

There are 8 ways to get paid:

  1. Gold bonus (recruit someone who purchases the Gold Pak or the Gold Pak Plus and earn $50 or $100)
  2. Power bonus (accumulate 15 power bonus points by recruiting loads of people to earn $150)
  3. Price Differential (Direct sales commission of 16%-36%)
  4. Personal group bonuses (4-20% bonus of generated sales by your downline)
  5. FastTrack program (get promoted quickly by recruiting loads of people to earn more bonuses)
  6. Incentives (get special trips when you earn loads of group volume points… only possible by recruiting people and building a team)
  7. Car bonus (3000 PGV points to get $250 monthly bonus for a car)
  8. Leadership bonuses (3-6% bonuses for the PGV of your downline if they are a “business leader”)

Don’t worry if you don’t understand any of the above said. Most people who join Shaklee never understand what they really get themselves into.

You don’t have to understand PV, PGV or other weird words that they use.

Here is what you need to know:

There are two ways to earn money with Shaklee.

  1. Sell Shaklee products
  2. Recruit new members

Notice how 7 out of 8 ways involve recruitment. This is typical for pyramid schemes, which can never be profitable and are guaranteed to collapse.

Is Shaklee A Scam?


No, I wouldn’t call Shaklee a scam. Their products are legit and they pay out just as promised.

However, Shaklee is a bad business opportunity!

The price to join is very high and the success rate is very low. There is no guarantee that you will make money.

Another very big problem is that Shaklee is a pyramid scheme in disguise. The main ways to make money involve recruiting.

As soon as you hear that a company makes most of its income from recruitment, it should be a clear sign to you that the company may be a pyramid scheme.

I would personally stay away from Shaklee.

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Shaklee Pros And Cons


Pros

The company has been around since 1956: Most MLMs don’t last for more than 2 years. That’s because most of them are pyramid/ponzi schemes, which are destined to collapse.

Shaklee on the other hand has been around since 1956. This is a good sign because it tells you that the company won’t just disappear overnight.

Many positive reviews: There are many positive reviews about Shaklee’s products on the internet. This can be a good sign, but it can also be misleading.

You never know if these reviews were written by happy clients or just by distributors who want to sell more products.

Environmental friendly: Shaklee’s products are produced in an environmental friendly way. Shaklee is even Climate Neutral Certified by the Climate Neutral NetworkThis shows that they do care about not polluting our planet.

Cons

Even though Shaklee has some positives, there are a lot of hidden truths about the company that distributors find out way too late.

Products are overpriced: Shaklee’s products are extremely overpriced. Take a look at the image below to see what I am talking about.

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - overpriced products

If you do the math you will see that Shaklee is over 125% more expensive than the alternative product on Amazon.

It’s not that Shaklee’s shake has some special ingredient that makes it so expensive. I took a look at the ingredients for both products and they are identical.

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - identical ingredients

If you are still not convinced that Shaklee’s product are extremely overpriced, take a look at my little investigation below.

I decided to see how much the whole ”Prove It” kit will cost you if you buy it from alternative products. The results were stunning.

If you buy the whole ”Prove It” package from Amazon, it will only cost you around $64! Compare that to $159, which is the original price of the kit.

This means that the Prove It kit is 200% more expensive than the alternatives from Amazon.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay for a product, that I could get for half the price from somewhere else.

Hidden monthly fees: The only ones who are obligated to buy these expensive products are the distributors.

I know this may come as a surprise to you, but that’s the sad truth.

The reason behind that is that the distributors must hit a specific sales quota each month.

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - hidden monthly fee

If you don’t hit your monthly sales quota, you will have to buy the products yourself. This is known as pay to play and is typical for scam products.

Shaklee is a pyramid scheme in disguise: The only decent way to make money is to recruit people. Take a look at the image below:

Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme - compensation plan

This image was taken from Shaklee’s compensation plan. I know it looks complicated and that was the intention of the ones who created it. They just want to confuse people.

What they are really talking about, is recruitment.

There is nothing wrong with recruitment. The problem arises when recruitment is the main way for generating income. Sooner or later Shaklee will look something like this:

Is Shaklee a Pyramid Scheme - binary pyramid scheme system

This is what a typical pyramid scheme looks like.

By the way pyramid schemes are illegal everywhere and are guaranteed to collapse at some point.

No income proof: There is no proof that people are actually making money with Shaklee. They only provide you with some stats about how much the different ranks earn, which is pretty much useless information.

They say it is possible to earn a 6-figure income with Shaklee. Even though that is not impossible, less than 0,05% of Shaklees members make that amount of money.

The rest lose money at the expense of those who earn.

The problem is not Shaklee itself. This is simply the way most MLMs work. They are designed to make only a few big winners and many losers.

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Pay to play: Your commissions are not based on your performance. Instead they are based on the amount you pay. In my opinion, a legitimate company should reward you based on results, not investments.

Low success rate: Almost everybody who join an MLM end up losing money. There’s a chance for success but it’s very small.

Here’s A Better Opportunity


I’m not saying it is impossible to make money with Shaklee, but there are much better and more sustainable business models out there.

The one that I recommend the most is called affiliate marketing. I prefer affiliate marketing over MLMs for several reasons:

  • You have full control over your business.
  • You can promote anything you want, without having to create a product
  • No need for direct selling
  • You can start for free

The best place to learn affiliate marketing is Wealthy Affiliate. You can check out my Wealthy Affiliate Review for more information or create your free account and explore the platform yourself.

To kick-start your success, grab a copy of my FREE Make Money Online Guide below:

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That was it for this Shaklee review. I hope your question ”Is Shaklee a pyramid scheme?” got answered. I tried to cover everything you need to know before deciding to join.

I hope the information in this post helps you make the right decision.

If you happen to have any questions, do not hesitate to ask me in the comments and I will get back to you as soon as possible ;).


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14 thoughts on “Is Shaklee A Pyramid Scheme, Scam Or A Legit MLM Company?”

  1. First time I have heard of this company that have been around for such a long time and being a MLM business at that also.
    And you are right, the most money that is every made by memebers is throught bringing other people on board. MLMs are not worth it.

    Reply
  2. Thank you for the extensive review and your honesty. Joining MLM can be a good way to make money, however, a pyramid scheme (and you rightfully defined it) is no way to make money. Like you mentioned, not everyone will make money with a business opporunity such as this one. IF you can’t earn from the product and have to put all this time and effort into recruiting, that is bad for business.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the review. I actually sold Shaklee products many moons ago, and they do have decent products, but as you mentioned in the article there are just too many requirements. Like any MLM, you have to jump through a bunch of hoops to make money and most companies don’t make it easy on the distributor. I agree that there are more ways to created streams of income, such as affiliate marketing, that don’t have the restrictions of companies like Shaklee. Also like most MLMs, even though the products are good, they are over priced. Thanks for your insights.

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your experience with Shaklee. Yes their products are legit, but overpriced and hard to sell. That’s why most of the money is made from recruiting people, which makes it a pyramid scheme in disguise.

      Reply
  4. Thats the thing with MLMs you make some money nothing much and that money is from bringing people in. MLMs are a waste of time. Its amazing of the amount you have to invest with this platform and see very little in return. I Would run from this platform also.

    Reply
  5. Those MLM are everywhere! They do have great products, not all of them, but I would say that most companies try to have good products, maybe to make recruitment easier. It’s too bad that they make you believe that you will make money selling their products. You won’t unless you go up in the pyramid, because yes, MLM are pyramid scheme with a product to sell.
    I totally agree with you for the affiliate marketing business. It is a better way to make money with products you choose without having the pressure to sell.

    Reply
    • I agree with you. Not all MLMs are pyramid schemes, but most of them are. Some have great products, but they are overpriced and hard to sell. So recruitment is a must if you want to make some money. Overall Shaklee is a bad business model and I prefer affiliate marketing instead. 😉

      Reply
  6. Hi Delyana,

    The reason why Shaklee products cost a fortune is that they need to pay its affiliates for commissions, otherwise they won’t be able to give incentives for people to join. And, it’s sad to know there is no income disclosure from an MLM company that lasts for 64 years.
    Anyway, I won’t choose Shaklee to make money, and I like to make money online with affiliate marketing. It seems the better solution for me, thanks for the recommendation today.

    Matt

    Reply
  7. My dad was telling me about Shaklee and how he used to make some side money with it. Personnaly, I prefer going with different options when it comes to earning money online, but with that being said, I also don’t want to bash on MLM’s too much because I’ve seen a couple of good ones in the past myself.

    Thanks for the review Delyana, helpful as always. 🙂

    Reply

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