Is Plexus a pyramid scheme? It’s technically not, but I’m going to show you why you still may want to think twice before joining.
These type of direct sales companies sound like a great business opportunity, but the reality is that they’re a lot harder to work than the person trying to recruit you lets on.
They’re probably not even making any money themselves.
Let me show you what Plexus Worldwide is all about and then you can decide if it’s worth joining.
What is Plexus Worldwide?
Plexus Worldwide is a multi-level marketing (MLM) company started in 2006 by Tarl Robinson, Alfred Petterson and Alec Clark. The company has a variety of products in the health and wellness field including:
- Weight loss supplements
- Nutritional supplements
- Skincare products
- Body creams
Because Plexus uses direct selling, they have independent consultants (they call them Ambassadors) go out and sell the product for them. This saves money on advertising, and because the sales force works as independent consultants, they work only on a commission basis and they also don’t get any benefits, saving Plexus even more money.
Direct sales is a very popular method for a lot of companies, but does it work and is it worth joining? Let’s take a closer look…
How Much Does It Cost to Join Plexus?
At the time of this writing, there are 41 different Welcome Packs you can purchase when you become an Ambassador. Each pack has a variety of products. Most of the Welcome Packs are $199.00, but there are a few that are $99.00.
You will also pay for:
- A yearly membership fee of $39.95
- 100 PV per month (about $100) on products. To be clear, you can sell this amount, you can buy this amount yourself, or you can do a combination of both.
You will also likely end up purchasing:
- Business cards
- Other promotional materials
- More inventory for you to try or to give to others
All of those additional tools are optional, but I know that people in these network marketing businesses like having other promotional materials to help them promote the products.
(I’m also taking this from personal experience as I was in an MLM pretty recently myself.)
Plexus Compensation Plan
First, you need to be a qualified Ambassador in order to be eligible for payments, points and bonuses. In order to stay qualified, you need to pay the annual fee and you need to have 100 PV (personal volume) each month.
I know from experience that 1 PV is generally about $1. So every month you need to have around $100 in sales as a minimum. This is where consultants can get themselves into trouble, but we’ll discuss that later.
Here are the different levels in Plexus:
- Senior Ambassador
- Silver Ambassador
- Gold Ambassador
- Senior Gold Ambassador
- Ruby Ambassador
- Senior Ruby Ambassador
- Emerald Ambassador
- Sapphire Ambassador
- Diamond Ambassador
There are sales qualifications for each level, and you can read about those in the full compensation plan on the Plexus website here.
It’s supposed to be easy to understand, but it’s 16 pages long. 16.
Or, here’s a YouTuber who explains it in an easier (maybe?) way:
Let’s go into the different ways you can get paid as a Plexus Ambassador…
How Much Money Can You Make?
According to the compensation plan, there are 10 ways you can earn an income with Plexus Worldwide.
1. Retail sales
You get 15% commissions on any PV of 100-499.99 (after the first 100PV since you need that to qualify) and 25% commissions on 500 PV and up.
2. Rewards Override Commissions
You get 5% of your Level 1 Ambassador’s retail commissions.
3. Preferred Customer Bonus
You can earn bonuses on products that retail customers order (as a recurring subscription). There are different bonuses based on the products that are ordered. These go from $5 – $28.
4. One-Time Achievement Bonus
You will receive a bonus for the first time you achieve and are paid at one of these ranks:
- Silver Ambassador
- Gold Ambassador
- Senior Gold Ambassador
- Ruby Ambassador
- Senior Ruby Ambassador
5. Business Building Bonus (BBB)
Once a new Ambassador purchases a Welcome Pack, a $99 pack will cause $50 to be distributed up 4 levels in the upline, and a $199 Welcome Pack will cause $50 to be distributed for the 4 levels in the upline, plus Plexus points are distributed 7 levels up.
6. Plexus Points
You can earn Plexus Points for each Ambassador in your downline who has a 100 PV and who has purchased a $199 Welcome Pack. How many points you earn depends on your rank.
7. Emerald Pool Bonus
“Out of the 50% of the company’s commissionable volume, 3% is set aside for the Emerald Pool and is divided
equally among qualified Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond Ambassadors.” Source
8. Sapphire Pool Bonus
Out of the 50% of the company’s commissionable volume, they set aside 1% for the Sapphire Pool and that’s divided among Sapphire and Diamond Ambassadors. Qualified Sapphire Ambassadors earn the Emerald Pool Bonus also.
9. Diamond Pool Bonus
Diamond Ambassadors who qualify for the Diamond Pool Bonus will also receive the Sapphire Pool Bonus and the Emerald Pool Bonus.
10. Earn a Diamond Re-Entry Position
When you earn the rank of Diamond Ambassador, you can re-enter the program with a second position that will be placed directly under your original position (level 1). (I don’t get this one at all, but they say it’s “extremely exciting”.)
Besides all these ways to earn, there’s also a car and lifestyle bonus for Emerald, Sapphire and Diamond Ambassadors. I’ve talked about the car bonus in a couple of other MLMs I looked at, including:
You don’t get a car free and clear on the company’s dime. Instead, you can qualify to earn a monthly bonus car payment that goes toward to the payment of the car. In order to keep the car payment, you have to continue to be qualified at your rank.
If something happened and you couldn’t maintain your rank, you’re going to be stuck with a very large car payment that you’ll have to take care of on your own. Just something to keep in mind.
How Much Money You Will Likely Make as a Plexus Ambassador
While the above showed us the 10 different ways you can earn money as a Plexus Ambassador, the reality is that you’re likely to make no money at all.
In fact, you’re very likely to lose money.
Plexus has an income disclosure tucked in their compensation plan that you can see here (it’s on page 16). Here is the chart from that disclosure:
Here’s a little breakdown of the most important parts of this chart:
- 82% of people are at the Ambassador level and make an average of $301 per year
- 5% of Ambassadors make it to the Senior level and make an average of $1707 per year
- Almost 9% of Ambassadors make it to the Silver level and make an average of $3,778 per year
- 2% of Ambassadors make it to Gold and earn an average of $10,237 per year
This means that 98% of Plexus Ambassadors make no more than $10,237 per year. That’s $853 a month. And that’s just for the very few that are at the high end of Gold Ambassador.
This doesn’t even take into account the expenses that these Ambassadors have incurred. This is why most people lose money in an MLM.
Positive Reviews and Complaints
Plexus Worldwide gets an A+ rating from the BBB and also has pretty good customer ratings:
The people who are positive about Plexus like the products and say they work well for them. Here’s one particular post on the BBB website:
Another person mentioned that the products work really well, but are too expensive. Others have said that the customer service is excellent.
There are some complaints too, of course. Here are some common Plexus complaints that I saw:
- The products didn’t work
- The products made them very ill (Some ended up with rashes, bleeding ulcers and liver damage!)
- The products are way too expensive.
- Trouble canceling their recurring shipments and getting returns
On the business side of things, this interesting commenter said that his market is too saturated and that Plexus doesn’t allow you to sell other than face to face. I’m not sure if that’s really true (it seems a bit unreasonable), but I wanted to put it out there:
Here’s someone who was an Ambassador for Plexus and left.
She left because “I worked my butt off”…”but I wasn’t really getting anywhere, to be honest.” Bingo. That’s because it’s almost impossible.
Is Plexus Worldwide a Pyramid Scheme or a Scam?
So, is Plexus a pyramid scheme? As I mentioned in my intro, they are not technically a pyramid scheme. I’m saying that because the FTC hasn’t deemed them to be one (yet). They do have a product that they sell to customers, which helps keep them from being a pyramid scheme.
I think the FTC’s information on pyramid schemes is very interesting, and based on this, I would say that most MLMs could qualify as pyramid schemes.
“The people at the bottom make excessive payments for inventory that simply accumulates in their basements. A lack of retail sales is also a red flag that a pyramid exists. Many pyramid schemes will claim that their product is selling like hot cakes. However, on closer examination, the sales occur only between people inside the pyramid structure or to new recruits joining the structure, not to consumers out in the general public.” Source
But, I’m not the FTC and that’s their place to determine which MLMs are pyramid schemes and which aren’t. For now, it seems Plexus is safe.
- Low start up costs
- People are generally happy with the products
- Some people say the products make them very sick (including liver damage)
- MLMs are generally very hard to be successful in
- 98% of Plexus Ambassadors make very little to no money (most are probably losing money)
- If you do become successful in an MLM it’s because people below you are losing money
- Plexus products are overpriced and will therefore be hard to sell the general population
- MLMs are closed-market systems, which means YOU and others within the MLM are the customers
- The compensation plan is hard to understand
Is It Worth It to Join Plexus?
This is ultimately a question you’ll have to ask yourself. To give you my opinion, I would say no. It’s not worth it to join.
I have experience being in an MLM recently, and I can tell you that the people at the top are working extremely hard. They have to keep the people below them motivated, train the new recruits coming in (and there’s a lot of turnover so there’s a lot of training), keep coming up with ideas to market the products…
It’s certainly not an easy work from home gig that they try to tell you it is. It’s definitely not passive income.
And for those of us on the bottom, it’s just a losing game. They’ll tell you that you have to work harder, hustle more…meanwhile they’re telling you to spend more and more money on the products. Because they make money off of YOU. You’re their customer.
Ouch, it hurts. I know.
An Alternative to Plexus
Listen, I love the idea of working from home on my own time. That’s how I ended up in an MLM myself! The reality is that you’re extremely likely to lose money. There’s a paper on the FTC’s website that says you’re better off gambling than joining an MLM.
I lost plenty of money in my MLM, so I get it. It’s not all its cracked up to be.
But there’s a better way of doing things. A way to make money working from home on your own timeline and not having to:
- recruit anyone
- bother your friends and family
- buy any inventory
- get products autoshipped to you
- buy a welcome kit
There aren’t any uplines or downlines. You promote other people’s products and earn a commission. It’s called affiliate marketing and almost every legitimate company has an affiliate program that you can join.
Is Plexus Worldwide a pyramid scheme? Not technically, but it’s not far off. However, that’s for the FTC to decide. I will say that it’s impressive that Plexus has been around since 2006.
Is it worth joining the Plexus business opportunity as an Ambassador? Ultimately, that’s up to you, but in my opinion and from my personal experience in an MLM, I would say absolutely not worth it. Because there’s a great chance you are going to lose money instead of make money.
If you like the idea of working from home, let me teach you what affiliate marketing is all about. It’s a great alternative to MLMs and network marketing.