The Company: Kirby
The Founder: Jim Kirby
Startup Cost: Unknown (possibly $1000's)
In this review I discuss an age old company and the 'life changing' work opportunity they are offering to people all over the world. The company and it's opportunity isn't a scam, but this is NOT a job offer at all. This is a multi level marketing business opportunity.
This is a direct selling business, a business model that is closely associated with multi level marketing and one that requires a lot of hard selling and hustling over a sustained period of time to make any kind of decent money.
It is possible to make money, but do not be mislead about this being an actual 'job offer'. It's not. You are signing up to become an independent contractor, plain and simple. The rest of this review will discuss the products and the opportunity from a business perspective to help you work out if this is something suited to you.
About The Company
The Kirby Company was founded in 1914 and has been developing and selling high quality vacuum cleaners ever since. They are a global company and leverage the direct selling model to distribute the products. They are BBB accredited and are a member of the Direct Selling Association.
The Vacuum Products
The products this company offer are actually pretty legitimate overall, at least it seems that way based on my research. They sell one core vacuum cleaner at a time and the latest is the 'Avalir' system. It boast aluminium construction, feather light movement and some pretty amazing cleaning capabilities among other things.
The cost is where things start getting pretty insane with this company though.
They can only be purchased legitimately through an independent representative and if you buy on eBay, Amazon or anywhere else you don't get warrantee or any kind of assurances. This makes buying elsewhere a little risky and people have been ripped off by unsuspectingly buying re-conditioned systems online.
Based on my research, the vacuums range in price from $2000-$3000... pretty sure thats at least 4-5 times the cost of a good quality machine.Personally I am not convinced the Kirby machines are worth that much money, I mean they do seem to be good quality but in my opinion the pricing is heavily inflated.
If you wanted to go al out and get the top of the line Dyson, it would cost under $1000 and you wouldn't have to deal with a pushy salesperson.
The Sales Tactics
This is where things really take a turn for the worse with this company with a lot of shady marketing and sales techniques are being used to sell their machines. At least, based on what I have seen. I am not saying all of the reps are like this, but it does appear many of them are.
The company is leveraging a personal sales approach to sell the products at such high prices, if they tried to sell these same cleaners in the open market they would never be able to demand such high prices. They essentially attempt to make the system seem super 'exclusive' with this approach and at the same time save a lot of money since they don't advertise or hire sales people.
They only pay commissions to independent distributors after a sale is made. I am not against working for a commission (not by a long shot) but it should be clear what this really is, it is NOT a job.
According to Wikipedia, there have been thousands of complaints about the company over the years, in particular their use of very high pressure sales tactics and taking advantage of elderly consumers. There have also been a number of investigations and claims made against the company by various consumer protection agencies.
When questioned about any of this the company seems to conveniently explain that they are 'not responsible' for the actions of their independent re-sellers and thus try and distance themselves from any kind of criticism.
Here is one of many complaints I found on the consumer affairs website:
I don't know about you but I hate being pressured by pushy salespeople, especially in my own home. I wouldn't hesitate to bid them farewell if they came knocking on my door I can assure you. When it comes to higher ticket purchases like this, I buy from helpful people that don't annoy me, unless I have absolutely no other choice.
The Business Opportunity
So far we've worked out that they have a pretty good product but it's being sold using some pretty aggressive techniques. What about the opportunity itself from a potential distributors perspective?
The company is very secretive about the details of the business opportunity and don't provide any information on product pricing either. One report by a girl posted on pissedconsumer.com claims she was told about a job offer by a rep that turned out to be an invitation to join the company as an independent rep.
This is another red flag because any company stating they have a 'job offer' that turns out to be you joining as a rep is completely misleading and very deceptive in my opinion. In short... you sign up for free, and hustle your vacuum cleaners to anyone and everyone that will listen via door knocking and family and friends.
To the best of my knowledge you have to buy the one yourself first at wholesale and then you can sell it for whatever you want, within reason. Since the company keeps everything so hush hush it's hard to know exactly how this works, but this is the general idea based on my research. One thing I do know for sure is that making any money with this will require some very good sales skills, an insane amount of hustling and being happy to work for months without earning a cracker.
It is entirely possible to make money with this company but in my opinion it's really not the best option in comparison to other methods of working from home that I have reviewed and made money with.
I do think that the products are high quality but potentially overpriced which could make for a difficult sale. This is underscored by the many reports of distributors dropping the price significantly after the consumer refuses to buy and asks them to leave.
Also, despite what you may have been told this is not a job, it's a business opportunity. To make any real money you'll need to be hustling very hard for a considerable amount of time. Often times this means chasing down family and friends before anyone else. And then their family and friends.
If direct sales is your thing and you don't mind being with a company with this kind of track record, then by all means give it a go. No doubt with enough hustling you could make a solid income. Personally, I believe there are better options to consider and ones that don't require hard selling people.