Unicity is a Utah based company which sells a wide range of dietary supplements and cosmetics. They have been promoting their products through network marketing since 2001. Here at The Finance Guy, we believe that you can't make money with MLM, but we'll give Unicity a chance to prove us wrong.
What Does Unicity Do
There is a wide range of over 400 Unicity products, which are being sold in more than 50 countries by their network of MLM distributors. They say that the products were developed using Unicity science, which helps 'improve health and quality of life'.
Like most MLMs they like to promote some products more than others. They call these the Unicity core products. Based on what we read in the brochure, these products might:
- Improve muscle strength, mental clarity and bone structure
- Optimize blood sugar and lose weight
- Support healthy cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Ensure you’re getting 100% of your recommended daily intake for many essential vitamins and minerals
- Contribute to normal, energy-yielding metabolism
- Clear your body of toxins and other wastes
How Do You Make Money With Unicity
We looked at the official Unicity Opportunity page, which only had some very limited information. We did learn that this was a system which costs US $40 to join and can 'improve your health and build your wealth'.
In true MLM tradition, there are 8 ways to earn income with Unicity. As expected, the the amount you can earn will depend on your rank. Unicity tell us that they have a 'simple rank advancement system'. They go on to tell us that you will 'receive a detailed guide after you enroll as a distributor'.
While this lack of detail might be explained as 'not wanting to confuse new recruits'. It could also be explained as 'Unicity is trying to sign you up before you see all the details'. We believe that this sort of lack of transparency is an early warning sign that the opportunity doesn't work.
We didn't pay the $40 joining fee, but we did find a library which included the 2017 Unicity Compensation Plan. This is the MLM document which explains all the different ways to earn, and how you qualify to earn them. We will go through the ways to earn with Unicity below:
1 - Retail Profit
You can earn a profit margin if you buy products at the distributor price, and sell them at either the full retail price or the preferred customer price. The amount you can earn from each product is shown on the 2016 Unicity price list. We believe that retail margins are the best way to earn income with any MLM. At the end of the day when you join network marketing, you become a commission based salesperson. Unfortunately, like all MLM compensations plans, Unicity only gives a 2 sentence mention to retail profit.
As we saw in the price list, each product also carries a Personal Volume (PV) value. In order to earn any commissions other than retail profit, you will need to order at least 100 PV worth of product per month. We estimate that it will you will need to order +/- US $125 per month at distributor prices. Dr Jon Taylor would say that this raises Red Flag 3 - Pay to Play
2 - Personal Rebate
Starting in your second month as a Unicity distributor, you can receive monthly rebates. This is like a refund on money you paid to them during the month. We think charging you a lower price would make more sense, but that's just our opinion. To qualify for the rebate you must order at least 100 PV worth of product. The more you order each month, the larger your rebate will be. The table below shows the different rebates and the PV needed to qualify for them:
3 Fast Start Bonus
The reason you can't earn rebates in your first month, is because your PV will go toward a Fast Start Bonus. Unlike other MLMs there is a chance that you will not actually earn this bonus. Depending on how qualified they are, your up-line will get bonuses of between 38% and 53% on whatever you spend in your first month with Unicity.
It is possible for new distributors to earn the 15% 'Enroller' bonus. To qualify for this, you'd need to order 1,000 PV worth of product in your first month. In other words you can get a a 15% refund if you spend US $1,250 on Unicity products in your first month as a distributor. They might say that this is an incentive to get you started. We might say, it's a way to get you to spend a lot of money before you really understand the products.
4 - Unicity Lifestyle Bonus
You can qualify for lifestyle bonus payments for the first 6 months after you have achieved specific Unicity ranks. The ranks and the lifestyle bonus payable are shown below:
5 - Infinity Share Bonus
This is the commission you can earn from the PV generated by all the distributors in your Unicity downline. You can earn an infinity bonus of 5% on the PV of distributors in your downline. As you achieve higher ranks in the Unicity hierarchy, you can earn this on greater 'depth'. Once you reach the rank of 'Presidential Diamond', you can earn 5% on up to 9 levels in your Unicity downline.
The infinity share bonuses paid at each Unicity rank are shown below:
6 - President's Club Bonus
This is very similar to the lifestyle bonus. The only differences is that it's paid at higher ranks, and the payments are a lot higher. The potential bonuses you can earn if you achieve the presidential ranks in the Unicity hierarchy are shown below:
7 - Additional Distributor Position
If you reach the rank of Presidential Diamond, you will qualify for your first additional distributor position. If you make it all the way to the rank of 'Global Ambassador', then you will have earned a total of 5 additional distributor positions (ADPs). The advantage of these ADPs is that you can effectively become part of your own downline. Unicity will also let your new position qualify at the presidential levels.
If you sign up new distributors under your new ADPs, then you can earn multiple infinity and lifestyle bonuses on any PV generated. Effectiely you can increase your share of commission from each distributor in your downline by up to 400%!
8 - Chairman's Club Bonus
This is another bonus similar to the lifestyle bonus. You can earn these one off payments if you hold down a rank of double diamond or above for 3 months. The bonuses paid at each level are shown below:
9 - Founders Club Bonus
Even though they told there were 8 ways to earn, there is also a ninth. If you achieve the rank of 'Global Ambassador', then Unicity will pay you this bonus in every month that you provide a Unicity training seminar.
How Much Are Unicity Distributors Earning
The compensation plan has shown us that it is possible to earn money with Unicity, but that doesn't mean that it's probable. To find out how much people are making, we looked at the 2015 Unicity Income Disclosure Statement, which is the most recent one provided. It could be that the years since have not been as good but even in 2015 we see that the Unicity opportunity is just another MLM.
It starts with the familiar claim that the Unicity opportunity can 'Make Life Better by getting Unicity's quality products at a special distributor price'. We later see the claim that 'A large majority of people sign up as Unicity Distributors just to get the product discount'. If that is true, then why do people become preferred customers?
We don't believe we've ever seen an income disclosure with as little detail as this one. Despite the vague data provided, we were able to produce a table showing the commissions earned by Unicity Distributors in 2015:
We did our best to construct the above table with the limited data provided by Unicity. We included expenses of $1,500 per year to show the cost of 100 PV per month. Remember that this is the minimum spend required to qualify for commission. Based on our calculations, 97.3% of Unicity distributors lost money in 2015.
Even though Unicity offers many ways to earn, only 0.2% are making as much as a regular job. In other words only 1 in 500 Unicity distributors is earning a full time income. The opportunity which claims to 'improve health and build wealth', appears to be failing for 499 / 500 distributors.
Why is it Difficult to Make Money With Unicity
We believe that the problem is with the network marketing business model. It's not designed to help people make money or gain financial freedom. The system is designed to promote and sell products. MLM is profitable for the companies which produce the products, but not for the members who join the business opportunity.
MLM is a way for companies to sell products without employing a sales force and without having to spend money on traditional advertising and promotions. Instead they build a network of loyal believers who are willing to pay unusually high prices for the added hopes and dreams of financial freedom.
Another problem is the generous compensation plan. If you reach the Presidential Diamond rank, you can earn up to 45% in infinity bonuses. the problem is if you aren't at this level then these bonuses are included in the distributor price you pay for your Unicity products. As a new distributor 45% of what you pay to Unicity goes to your upline as commission.
Dr Taylor would say that this raises Red Flag 4 - Most of the Rewards go to your upline. The depth of the bonuses also raises Red Flag 5 - More than 5 levels in the payout plan. According to his 5 step MLM evaluation, the chances of turning a profit are less than 1% when these flags are raised.
Is Unicity an Illegal Pyramid Scheme
Even though network marketing systems closely resemble pyramid scams they are legal as long as there is a product or service attached to them. That being said, there is a difference between legal and ethical. By attaching the smoke and mirrors of future financial freedom, Unicity is able to charge substantially inflated prices.
We already identified that at least 45% of the distributor price goes to the compensation plan, and this doesn't include all the lifestyle, presidents and founders bonuses. Even if we ignore all these other commissions, then we still see that Unicity only gets 55% of the distributor price to cover all the costs of production and to turn a profit for themselves. Based on this we can see that Unicity distributors are paying close to double the traditional wholesale price
Should You Join Unicity
If you are looking for an opportunity to replace your income, then we suggest you research all your options before making a decision. It's quite likely that you might find one where your chances of success are better than 1 in 500. If you are considering joining just to get the products cheaper, then we recommend researching competitors products. With most MLMs, we find that you can get products of equal or better quality at lower prices from regular stores. The over inflated distributor prices are often more expensive than competitors full retail prices.
This review is an expression of the opinions we formed while researching the Unicity opportunity. We'd love to hear your opinions in the comments section below, especially if you can share your experiences with Unicity.
For more posts like this, look at our list of mlm reviews.