Product or Service Based MLM Company: Which One is Better?

I had a prospect call me the other day and ask me if product based network marketing companies are better than network marketing companies specializing in some type of service. I thought that would be a great idea for a blog post, so I want to take a few minutes and share my thoughts on the subject.

As a quick disclaimer, I should tell you upfront that I have always participated in a product oriented network marketing companies. For some reason, they are much more appealing to me personally.

What I want to do in the paragraphs below is share the good and bad of each type of company.  I don’t expect you to agree with every single point that I make.  I understand everyone is a little bit biased toward their current company.  I just want to share what I think are the “potential good and bad things” about each type of company.

What I Like About Product Based MLM Companies

  • The products are typically consumable and need to be reordered each month
  • The products are typically great quality
  • In some cases, the products can be really unique
  • Many products have a nice wholesale-retail markup which allows you to earn generous commissions
  • Most products come with a strong money back guarantee
  • Some products are backed by science and patents and are endorsed by athletes and celebrities

What I Dislike About Product Based MLM Companies

  • The products are often overpriced compared to similar products sold in the marketplace
  • There are lots of companies in the industry with similar products making competition fierce
  • Many of the products are “luxury items” not commodity items, so when a consumer is hurting financially their auto-ship will be the first thing they cancel
  • In many cases, when a distributor quits building the business they stop ordering the products (not always)
  • You can normally buy the products on Amazon or eBay at a cheaper price that you can buy it for as a distributor

What I Like About Service Based MLM Companies

  • The services are normally services that people are already accustomed to paying for such as insurance, home electricity, cell phone, internet, etc.
  • You’re not asking the customer/distributor to create a new spending habit since they are already paying for this type of service somewhere else
  • In many cases, the distributor will keep ordering the services, even after they stop building the business (how often do people switch utility companies or cell phone companies?)

What I Dislike About Service Based MLM Companies

  • Many services change with the times and a complete industry can go away almost overnight (ask Excel Communications)
  • Many of the services offered by MLM Companies are overpriced compared to competitors
  • The payout per customer/distributor (in most cases) is less than the payout per customer/distributor in a product based company

Additional Insights

These are just generalizations and there are always exceptions to the rule.  I don’t believe that one type of company is better than the other.

What I think matters most is that you find a product or service that you are passionate about, that makes sense to you, and is a good deal for customers.

If you pick a service based company, make sure the company has several different services they sell, because industries do change, and you don’t want the company to become obsolete overnight.

If you pick a product based company you must find a product that you are passionate about AND something that is great quality and at a competitive price.  If your prospect can buy a very similar product for 90% cheaper somewhere else, it’s going to be difficult to build up a customer base and team.

One More Thing

If you were to look at the top 50 MLM Companies in our industry just about all of them are product based (probably 95%).  There aren’t tons of HUGE service based MLM Companies other than Primerica, Ignite, Ambit, 5linx, ACN and Legal Shield.

Final Thoughts

In review, there are good and bad service and product based network marketing companies.  At the end of the day, it’s your job to do your due diligence and find a company and product/service that makes sense to you.

If you think it is a good deal and you are passionate about it, go for it!  I suggest you start out as a customer first to see if it is a good deal for customers.  If it is, you might just be on to something!

What are your thoughts?  Do you prefer service or product based MLM Companies?  Why?  Leave a comment below to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you.

chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

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7 thoughts on “Product or Service Based MLM Company: Which One is Better?”

  1. I too am product oriented. I have worked with a MLM quite a few years ago now that was service based, but ultimately they converted to product based and slowly eliminated their service based products.

    In my opinion, it is the products that people will truly fall in love with. They can see it, feel it and experience it.

  2. I have had some experience in both product based and service based mlm’s. They both have their merit, but it seems from my experience people are more willing to pay for and seek out a product. If they can hold it in their hands they can understand it, and develop that desire for it. It takes a different skill set to sell a service, in my opinion.

  3. As you are, I also feel a product based MLM company is better for me, but to each their own. I believe that if a person comes up with a great service oriented MLM, a person can make good money… Like Legal Shield.

    Good post, and I believe it just means finding a product or service you are passionate about.

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