by Diane Drayer
When you start your search for the perfect Direct Selling or Home Party Line business, here are some valuable questions to ask when comparing companies and opportunities:
1) Start up cost should be minimal. Start up cost in direct selling and network marketing companies are usually modest and mainly to cover the cost of the sales kit. What is their start up cost? What comes in the kit?
2) Some companies require a monthly purchase. Is there a monthly minimum purchase requirement and if so, how much is the monthly investment?
3) Most companies submit the local state sales tax, however, there are a few that do not. Will I be required to submit my own state sales tax?
4) Check with each company regarding their return policy. This will be vital to your business. Can I return unwanted or damaged products and if so, what is the return policy?
5) Do you have a "buy-back" policy? Some companies offer to "buy-back" unsold marketable products purchased within the 12 months prior, should you decide to quit the business for 90% of the price you originally paid. Do they offer a "buy-back" policy?
6) Some companies require Independent Representatives to pay for portions of the Hostess gifts, etc. You should know up front whether part of your commission earned will go to cover these cost. This will reduce the actual amount of commissions earned. Am I required to cover part of the Hostess Gifts or pay admin fees, etc.?
7) It is always smart to compare catalog and supplies cost as they vary by company. What do your catalogs and paperwork cost?
8) Customer shipping charges are important to your business and can vary greatly from company to company. What are the customer shipping charges?
9) It is customary for companies to have a monthly or quarterly sales requirement to stay active and/or receive overrides. What is the monthly/quarterly requirements?
10) If you plan to participate in local fairs, festivals or events, you will want to know whether the company allows you to sell "cash & carry." Many will not as they prefer Representatives to provide one on one customer support and book to increase sales. Do you allow Representatives to sell products at local fairs and events?
11) Many companies provide Representatives with a company approved website. If you plan to market your business online, this will be vital to your success. Does your company provide a website and if so, what is the cost?_______ If they do not, can I design my own?
12) Some companies authorize Representatives to deduct their commissions prior to sending in the Show Order, while others require all monies collected forwarded to home office and then commission checks are issues monthly or twice per month. How are you required to submit payment for a show?
13) How often are commission checks issued..monthly, twice monthly or weekly? My experience has been that most issue monthly. Be sure to ask as there are some that offer twice monthly and weekly.
14) Many companies now ship their products directly to the consumer or Hostess, however, there are few that require Representatives to delivery a Show or products. Am I required to delivery products?
15) With some opportunities, Representatives are encouraged to stock products to have on hand for eager customers. Will I be required to stock or carry inventory?
16) Most companies allow their Representatives to purchase products or display items at a special discount. Are Representatives allowed to purchase products at a discount and if so, what is the discount?
17) Have them explain the commission structure and levels of achievement as it varies greatly by company. What is your commission structure?
18) Do they offer additional incentives, such as trips, a cash bonus and etc.?
19) What type of support is available?
As with any business, finding what works for you and your lifestyle will be the key. Take time to research opportunities and consider whether the business and support team are a good match for you.
This Comparison Worksheet was created by Diane Drayer, owner of http://www.DirectSalesWomen.com.