AdvoCare Review: Health & wellness with strong retail focus
AdvoCare, founded by Charles Ragus in 1993, are based out of the US state of Texas.
Before AdvoCare, Ragus worked as a regional vice president for Fidelity Union Insurance, and as a multi-level marketing distributor for Herbalife.
Today AdvoCare is headed up by CEO Brian Connolly.
Brian Connolly (right) cut his MLM teeth over at Avon. Having joined the company back in 1978, Connolly worked his way up to Executive Vice President of Global Sales.
Connolly’s appointment to CEO earlier this month follows the retirement of Richard Wright in September. Wright had been CEO of AdvoCare since 2007.
On the legal front, courtesy of Wikipedia’s AdvoCare entry;
In July 2008, Olympic swimmer Jessica Hardy tested positive for the banned breathing enhancer, clenbuterol.
Hardy said she had never heard of the substance, attributing the positive result to either a tainted supplement or sabotage.
At the time, Hardy had been taking the supplement Arginine Extreme, which she had received for free from AdvoCare in exchange for making product testimonials, and she claimed in a subsequent lawsuit that the company’s product was tainted.
AdvoCare sued Hardy for making false claims.
An arbitration hearing reduced Hardy’s suspension after a scientific expert testified that the AdvoCare product was tainted.
AdvoCare disputed the panel’s findings, saying that two independent laboratories had not found any evidence of Clenbuterol in the supplements.
Hardy counter-sued Advocare for supplying her with the contaminated product.
Court records show a confidential settlement was reached between the two parties in early 2012.
AdvoCare has also been involved in at least one messy lawsuit with two of their affiliates:
In 2009, a Dallas County jury awarded $1.9 million in damages against AdvoCare after finding that the company had engaged in deceptive trade practices and unfairly canceled agreements with two of its distributors.
According to the lawsuit, litigants Bruce and Teresa Badgett of Arlington, Texas, had been active and profitable marketers of AdvoCare products for more than a dozen years before their distributorship was canceled by the company in 2006 “based upon vague and trumped-up charges.”
The jury found that AdvoCare engaged in false, misleading or deceptive practices that damaged the Badgetts and that the termination provisions of the distributor contract with AdvoCare were unconscionable, according to court documents.
AdvoCare disputed the ruling and on April 30, 2010, filed to appeal the decision on the basis that the plaintiffs were not customers and therefore did not fit the statutory definition necessary to be covered under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
The appeal was dismissed on March 13, 2012 and the company was ordered to reimburse the Badgett’s for court costs related to their defense in the appeal case.
Interesting assertion that AdvoCare’s affiliates are not customers.
Of note is that despite multiple civil lawsuits, on the regulatory front AdvoCare appear to be in the all clear.
Read on for a full review of the AdvoCare MLM business opportunity.
The AdvoCare Product Line
AdvoCare operate in the health and wellness niche, with an emphasis on weight loss.
There are five core categories of AdvoCare’s product line, Trim, Active, Well, Performance Elite and Skincare.
Our Trim Line offers a superior and comprehensive approach to healthy, sustainable weight management.
- Crave Check SR – “sustained-release caplet that combines non-thermogenic ingredients to promote weight management”, retails at $25.95 for a bottle of 60 caplets
- MNS 3 – “appetite control” and “core nutrition”, retails at $45.95 for a 14-day supply
- MNS Control – “multinutrient dietary supplement”, retails at $43.95 for a 14-day supply
- MNS Energy – “includes five key components to help you reach your peak level of health”, retails at $43.95 for a 14-day supply
- Catalyst – “a blend of essential branched-chain amino acids and L-glutamine to fuel your body with the muscle-building components it needs”, retails at $31.50 for a bottle of 90 capsules
- Carb-Ease Plus – “a full-spectrum product that helps support weight management and body composition”, retails at $37.95 for 60 capsules
- ThermoPlus – “an innovative weight-loss enhancer that contains key botanical extracts to help support efficient metabolism and suppress appetite”, retails at $31.95 for a bottle of 90 capsules
- AdvoCare Slim – “supports weight loss and weight management”, retails at $29.95 for a box of 14 servings
- Meal Replacement Shake – “a powerful combination of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fiber”, retails at $44.95 for a box of 14 single-serve pouches (also available in a vegetarian variety)
- LeptiLean – “an innovative weight-management product that supports appetite management, satiety and helps boost metabolism”, retails at $45.95 for a bottle of 60 capsules
- Fibo-Trim – “can help limit the fat absorption that takes place as a consequence of consuming high-fat meals”, retails at $37.95 for a bottle of 180 capsules
- AdvoCare Workout Series CU24 Level 1 – a “dynamic workout designed to help real people get real results”, retails at $29.95 for a 2 disc set)
Various Trim products are included in a “24-Day Challenge Bundle”, however AdvoCare do not provide retail pricing for the bundle on their website.
These powerful products have been developed to help you get the most out of your day through increased energy, hydration and mental focus.
- AdvoCare Spark – “a unique multi-nutrient system that was developed as a nutritional source of energy and enhanced mental focus”, retails at $22.95 for a box of 14 single-serve pouches or $51.95 for a canister of 42 servings
- AdvoCare Slam – “powerful, portable energy supplement”, retails at $35.95 for a box of 12 single-servings
- AdvoCare Rehydrate – “maintain proper metabolism, delay the onset of fatigue, and hydrates your body”, retails at $19.95 for a box of 14 single-serve pouches or $57.95 for a canister of 56 servings
- V16 – “a unique combination of adaptogens, nutrients and a balanced blend of B vitamins in a caffeine-free, effervescent mix”, retails at $38.95 for a box of 28 single-serve pouches
- AdvoBar DB9 – “a convenient protein-packed snack”, retails at $32.95 for a box of 12 single-serve bars
- AdvoBar Meal – “a delicious nutrition bar”, retails at $31.95 for a box of 12 single-serve bars
- AdvoBar Snack – “a quick, sweet snack”, retails at $27.95 for a box of 12 single-serve bars
- AdvoBar a.m. Apple Cinnamon – “provides balanced nutrition and a great taste”, retails at $29.95 for a box of 12 bars
- AdvoBar Raw – “a fruit and nut blend that is made from simple, wholesome ingredients”, retails at $31.95 for a box of 12 bars
- Coffeccino – “mocha-flavored supplement for anyone looking for increased energy and mental focus”, retails at $38.95 for a box of 12 single-serve pouches
Our Well Line offers sound solutions for core nutrition, stress, mental capacity, digestive support and a variety of other important factors that are key to your personal wellness needs.
AdvoCare’s Well product line is the largest, coming at twenty-four listed products. These products are available as chews, tablets, capsules, powdered drinks and a breath spray.
Full product details are available on the AdvoCare website.
If you’re wanting to add muscle, enhance workouts, or efficiently recover from strenuous activity, look no further.
- BioCharge – “designed to improve muscle performance and recovery through a formula of antioxidant-rich botanicals combined with B vitamins and branched-chain amino acids”, retails at $42.95 for a box of 30 single-serve sticks
- O2 Gold – a “unique blend of proteins and herbal extracts … designed to support, facilitate and enhance a person’s daily physical activities”, retails at $38.95 for a bottle of 60 caplets
- Arginine Extreme – “a premier pre-workout supplement”, retails at $61.95 for a bottle of 60 servings
- VO2 Prime – “a premier pre-workout bar”, retails at $39.95 for a box of 12 bars
- AdvoCare Muscle Fuel – “a powerful blend of 28 vitamins, minerals, botanicals and other energy-producing intermediates”, retails at $42.95 for a box of 10 single-serve pouches
- Pro 20 – “a well-rounded, superior liquid protein and amino acid supplement”, retails at $37.95 for a box of 8 single-serve bottles
- Muscle Strength – “specifically designed to improve the results you receive from weight training and other forms of repetitive strength training”, retails at $41.95 for a bottle of 60 caplets
- Mass Impact – “supports muscle building (and) prevent(s) muscle breakdown”, retails at $72.95 for a bottle of 50 servings
- Muscle Gain – “a high-grade metabolically balanced protein blend”, retails at $79.95 for a canister of 25 servings
- Post-Workout Recovery – “support(s) your muscle’s metabolic processes in recovery and aid in reducing occasional soreness after working out”, retails at $79.95 for a canister of 25 servings
- Nighttime Recovery – “incorporates a unique combination of adaptogens and other nutrients from around the world to allow your body to more effectively respond to the demands of physical activity”, retails at $24.95 for a bottle of 60 caplets
- Rehydrate Gel – “an electrolyte replacement energy gel”, retails at $21.95 for a box of 12 single-serve pouches
- AdvoCare Workout Series CU24 Level 2 – “designed to help real people get real results”, retails at $39.95 for a 4 disc set
These water-based, multi-purpose products contain many of the same ingredients found in your favorite AdvoCare products, helping you create a radiant exterior to match your healthy interior.
- SYS Eye – “daily eye cream”, retails at $39.95 for a 15ml tub
- SYS Cleanser – “daily cleanser and exfoliant”, retails at $24.95 for a 120ml tube
- SYS Serum – “rejuvenating serum”, retails at $59.95 for a 30ml bottle
- SYS Day – daily moisturizer “with broad spectrum SPF 20 sunscreen”, retails at $49.95 for a 50ml tube
- SYS Night – “skin renewing moisturizer”, retails at $54.95 for a 50ml tub
- SYS Body – “body firming lotion”, retails at $59.95 for a 255ml tube
The AdvoCare Compensation Plan
The AdvoCare compensation plan has a strong focus on retail sales, with residual commissions paid out through a unilevel compensation structure.
Note that certain components of the AdvoCare compensation plan refer to a “pay period”.
As per the AdvoCare compensation plan, a pay period is the
first and third Tuesday of each month. Most pay periods are two weeks long, but a few are three weeks long.
In order to qualify for MLM commissions all AdvoCare affiliates must
complete a Retail Sales Compliance form available from AdvoCare or online.
These forms are used to certify that an AdvoCare affiliate ‘made at least five (5) retail sales to at least five (5) different customers (other than yourself) in each pay period‘.
The home phone number and home address of each customer must be included.
AdvoCare must receive your Retail Sales Compliance form no later than the seventh day following the close of each period.
Failure to meet this deadline may result in the forfeiture of all compensation for that pay period.
When AdvoCare products are sold to retail customers, a retail commission equal to the difference between the retail and wholesale price of the product is paid out.
A “retail customer” is defined as a person who is not a current participant in the AdvoCare compensation plan.
Note that an AdvoCare affiliate can increase their retail commission margin by qualifying for a higher product purchase discount (see below).
Affiliate Product Purchase Discounts
Advocare affiliates qualify for a standard discount of 20% off the retail price of Advocare products.
This percentage can be increased to up to 40%, based on the following sales volume criteria:
- $500 to $1499 in PV and GV = 25% discount
- $1500 to $2999 in PV and GV = 30% discount
- $3000 or more in PV and GV = 40% discount
Note that PV stands for “Personal Volume” and is sales volume generated by an affiliate’s own orders and that of their retail customers.
GV stands for “Group Volume” and is PV generated by an AdvoCare affiliate’s downline (recruited affiliates).
Retail Commission Differential
Based on their product purchase discount rate, an AdvoCare affiliate can receive a differential if their personally recruited affiliates qualify at a lower rate.
Eg. if you qualify for a 40% discount and one of your recruited downline is at 30%, you’d pocket the 10% difference between theirs and your retail commission rate.
Residual commissions in AdvoCare require affiliates to qualify as an “Advisor”.
Advisor qualification requires the generation of $3000 in PV and GV, with at least $500 of that being PV generated in one to three consecutive pay periods.
To qualify in one pay period, at least $500 of the required $3000 GV must be generated from qualified Advisor downline affiliates.
To qualify in two or three pay periods, only the $500 PV in each pay period criteria applies.
Once the above Advisor qualification criteria is met, AdvoCare affiliates can earn residual commissions through a unilevel compensation structure.
A unilevel compensation structure places an affiliate at the top of a unilevel team, with every personally recruited affiliate placed directly under them (level 1):
If any level 1 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 2 of the original affiliate’s unilevel team.
If any level 2 affiliates recruit new affiliates, they are placed on level 3 and so on and so forth down a theoretical infinite number of levels.
AdvoCare cap payable unilevel levels at three, with commissions paid as a percentage of sales volume generated across these three levels.
How much of a percentage is paid out is determined by an affiliate’s combined PV and GV:
- $500 to $749 combined PV and GV = 5%
- $750 to $999 combined PV and GV = 6%
- $1000 or more combined PV and GV = 7%
The Leadership Bonus extends payable unilevel levels beyond the initial three offered.
To qualify for Leadership Bonuses, an AdvoCare affiliate must have a combined PV and GV of at least $1000 and qualify for residual commissions.
The Leadership Bonus itself is paid out using a generation model.
Each unilevel leg is tracked independently of the rest, with a leg generation defined when an affiliate of equal or higher rank is found within the leg.
The Leadership Bonus is paid out as a percentage of generated sales volume by Advisor affiliates within this generation, with how much of a percentage paid out determined by the following qualification criteria:
- Silver (earn at least $100 in residual commissions during a pay period) – 3%
- Gold (earn at least $500 in residual commissions during a pay period) – 5%
- Gold 3 Star (earn at least $500 in residual commissions during a pay period, $300 of which must be sourced from three individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg)) – 7%
- Ruby (earn at least $1000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $300 of which must be sourced from three individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – 9%
- Ruby 6 Star (earn at least $1000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $600 of which must be sourced from six individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – 11%
- Emerald (earn at least $2000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $600 of which must be sourced from six individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – 13%
- Emerald 9 Star (earn at least $2000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $900 of which must be sourced from nine individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – 15%
- Diamond (earn at least $4000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $1200 of which must be sourced from twelve individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – 19%
The above Leadership Bonuses are subject to a differential of their own, with the difference between rank levels paid out to higher affiliates in the upline.
Eg. if you’re an Emerald and your downline a Ruby, you will earn the 4% difference between 13% and 9%.
Note that an affiliate or affiliates in your upline will earn the remaining 10% difference between Ruby and Diamond.
Each rank percentage difference is payable once, with a higher rank seeing an affiliate qualify for a higher differential (up to 16%, the difference between Diamond and Silver).
Beyond the Diamond rank an AdvoCare affiliate can qualify for an additional bonus percentage on all Advisor qualified affiliates in their unilevel team as follows:
- Platinum (earn at least $8000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $1800 of which must be sourced from eighteen individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – bonus 0.25%
- Double Diamond (earn at least $12,000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $2400 of which must be sourced from twenty-four individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – bonus 0.5%
- Triple Diamond (earn at least $24,000 in residual commissions during a pay period, $3600 of which must be sourced from thirty-six individual unilevel legs ($100 min each leg) – bonus 0.75%
Note that the above bonus percentages are also subject to differential payouts as the regular Leadership Bonus percentages.
Eg. a Triple diamond can pick up a bonus 0.25% or 0.5% if their downline earns a Leadership Bonus as a Platinum or Double Diamond respectively.
Affiliate membership with AdvoCare is $79 and then $50 annually.
AdvoCare has one of the strongest retail focuses I’ve seen in MLM yet.
Affiliates are required to submit retail customer details to the company, with fixed numbers of retail orders required on an ongoing basis.
From time to time, AdvoCare may contact the customers listed on your Retail Sales Compliance form to verify that the sale took place as reported.
If you provide false or inaccurate information, your Distributorship may be suspended or terminated, at the sole discretion of AdvoCare.
Do note that I couldn’t find any information on how frequently or widespread AdvoCare verify submitted retail customer information.
Theoretically an affiliate could rig the retail requirement, but the hassle of setting up five bogus customers just to qualify for commissions seems hardly worth it.
You’d be far better off actually retailing AdvoCare’s products, failing which you probably should instead find a company whose products interest you.
AdvoCare’s product lineup is in the health and wellness niche and is quite robust. Price wise you’re going to have to compare with what’s available locally.
Given the retail commission requirements and years AdvoCare has been around, there’s a good chance you’ll find them to be competitive.
AdvoCare’s compensation plan as a whole seems pretty well balanced, offering upfront retail commissions, a three-level unilevel and expansion based on a rank generation and 0.75% infinitely at the Platinum, Double and Triple Diamond ranks.
Note that recruitment is required to advance in AdvoCare’s ranks from Gold 3 Star, however chain-recruitment is not an issue due to no mandatory purchase of product and/or incentives for recruiting affiliates who purchase product.
Any recruited affiliate orders do count volume wise, but at the end of the day an affiliate’s own PV requirements must be satisfied in order to qualify for commissions.
$500 PV to qualify as an advisor is far easier achieved through retail sales over the ongoing self-purchase of product.
Furthermore, AdvoCare employ a 70% rule on top of the retail customer requirements already in place:
Overrides, Leadership Bonuses and the 70% Rule AdvoCare pays Overrides and Leadership Bonuses, and other bonuses and incentives based on your representation that you have sold or consumed 70 percent of all products purchased by you.
If AdvoCare later discovers that you did not sell or consume 70 percent of such products, AdvoCare may deduct the amount of the Override, Leadership Bonus or other bonus or incentive previously paid from compensation due to you in subsequent pay periods, or AdvoCare may deny payment of any Override, Leadership Bonus or other bonus or incentive in addition to any disciplinary action that may be taken, including suspension or termination.
How strictly the above rule is adhered to is unclear, but at least on paper AdvoCare work to prevent inventory loading.
I’ll point out again that an affiliate purchasing $500 of product each pay period is hardly going to be viable for most affiliates. Ditto having a recruited affiliate purchase the same.
Nonetheless, I would encourage a prospective affiliate to ask their potential upline for a copy of their last few Retail Sales Compliance forms.
Check the details don’t look suss (I’d advise against calling any of the customers due to privacy reasons), and ask the upline what the customers ordered, how long they’ve been customers and perhaps how they became customers in the first place.
That should eliminate any suspicion of shenanigans with regards to the details on the form being fudged.
All in all with AdvoCare you’re looking at a stable company that’s been around for twenty-two years, a large product lineup to market and a retail-orientated compensation plan that pays deeply at the upper tiers.
If you’re interested in the products, have checked out their viability against what’s availably locally and think you can carve out a customer-base to market to, AdvoCare might be the MLM opportunity for you.
the advocare plan is as close to ‘perfect’ as an MLM plan could get. it is quite close to the amway model.
the MLM industry should dump the autoship model and run with this kind of plan. it is a good way to avoid the FTC coming after it with a pitchfork.
And there you have it, folks.
If anyone wondered about which companies would theoretically get the BehindMLM.com seal of approval, this one would be one of the few.
A company with a fair and lucrative comp plan with an emphasis on company verified retail sales.
I might add, having been around 22 years also helps in the credibility department.
Kinda makes you wonder why do some companies have to resort to shenanigans when it *could* be ran ethically (at least on paper).
The answer is, BECAUSE THEY DONT. Its there incase the regulators come calling.
At THAT point they would do it so they can put the blame on the affiliate instead of the company.
Its also quite simple to get a name and phone number (phonebook, fake number etc). Real or not they can easily create a customer and assign some orders to them. It takes about 20 seconds.
They actually “off the record”, show people how to do that. Ive heard the conversations.
“well if you dont have enough sales then just do “this”……
I applaude the effort, and it is very good for a company to introduce accountability. BUT, In this case, its more like lip service.
yes, there is valid cynicism about whether these retail rules are followed, and how they can be fudged easily.
these days, MLM rely on ‘direct fulfillment’ ie orders are shipped to retail customers directly. this will make it more difficult to just provide fake addresses. i don’t know if advocare ships directly to retail customers.
however, when a product is competitively priced AND there are retail rules, one has to assume that some retail IS taking place. maybe some retail data is fake, but some will be real too.
the FTC does not insist on a particular volume of retail especially in an MLM designed like advocare [buying club style], it just wants to make sure that the products are retailable and are being retailed.
To the best of my knowlege, I seem to recall a $200 requirement per quarter, to an end user that is not in the pay plan to be FTC compliant. That could be directly or indirectly.
They do not ship to customers. All customers are in the pay plan. “sales” to them would obviously create an automatic, “legit” sales reciept.
BUT you can also sell from your “stock” and create a manual reciept.
I need to correct myself on the “customers being part of the pay plan” They are not. For some reason I remembered it that way but I was wrong on that.
But STILL, i can see anywhere that they ship directly to customers. They sell paper reciepts through their back office to be scratched out by hand. Any name or number will do.
I dont know a way where this can be enforced and properly audited without being a big expense.
I definitely appluade them for the requirement though. It may not be perfect but its a whole HELL of allot more than most companies do.
The only way to tell for sure, is to multiply the number of active distributors by the amount of the “autoship” then compare that to the net sales of the company.
If the Net is not at least 4 times what the autoships add up to, they are not doing much retail.
actually you were partially correct in stating that ‘customers being part of the pay plan’.
MLM companies like advocare have a large mass of distributors who join to enjoy the discounts. since the retail prices are comparable to similar products in the market, there is credible logic to support the argument of discount customers in the pay plan.
the absence of any autoship requirements for fresh distributors further reinforces the idea that these distributors are purchasing ‘primarily’ for the discount.
further, these discount distributors are ‘in the pay plan’ so that they have an opportunity to increase their discount levels on the product [if they were shunted into a ‘preferred customer class’, they would lose the opportunity for deeper discounts on their product usage]
after purchasing the joining kit at approx 80$, they are free to order any quantity of products as and when they like.
they may either consume the product or retail it. they can recruit downline distributors and sell product to them to reach a particular volume, where their discount level will increase, thus making their wholesaling profitable.
one thing i liked about advocare, is that once you qualify for a particular level of discount, you stay at that level just by paying your annual fee of 50$. you do not HAVE to repeat the same quantity of sales every month just to remain qualified for that discount level.
this^^ system further discourages inventory loading and financial loss.
i agree with you. at the end of the day most systems CAN be abused. but if you begin with a good plan and have a strong compliance department, you can try to keep it as honest as possible.