Hi, and thanks for stopping by to check out my Team National Review. I'll be honest up front, I'm not a fan of network marketing, but if building an MLM business is something you're considering... and it's a viable business opportunity for you, there are reasons Team National is worth looking at.
There are some good things about this MLM, and some not so good things. I'll discuss both. I'll also go over the Team National compensation plan, membership program, and the points system; hopefully providing enough information so you can decide if Team National is for you.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate of Team National. This review has been researched with information and testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any conclusions drawn by myself are opinions.
What is Team National (TN)?
Team National is a network marketing company that sells memberships to their savings club. They also have a line of private label products (photo right). Located in Ft. Lauderdale, it was founded in 1997 by Dick Loehr and is now run by his daughter Angela Loehr Chrysler.
Depending on how old you are, 1997 doesn't seem that long ago. In many ways it feels like yesterday… but it's 20 years. When you consider giants like Google, Facebook and Tesla have only been around since the early 2000’s, Team National’s 20 years in business is a long time.
While these associations, along with their 20 years in business add to Team National's credibility, there are still some concerns you should consider if you’re thinking of joining.
How Does Team National Work?
The Team National website provides very little information.
Just to access the Frequently Asked Questions section, you will be asked for your ID# and login information. So, unless you're up for some serious research, or you sit through the Team National presentation and sign-up, it’s going to be tough to get some solid information about them.
Having said that, I was able to track down the important details so you don't have to.
How Much Does Team National Cost?
They make it clear that becoming a Team National Distributor costs nothing to join. However, the membership is not free, There are two options.
Premium Membership - $2195
- This is a lifetime membership that covers your immediate family including Grandparents, Children and even Grandchildren, and if you own a business it can be shared with up to 5 employees.
Standard Membership - $795
- With this membership you get 2 years of savings and it also covers your household.
If you’re deciding whether or not to pursue the Team National business opportunity, although it's free to do so, it should be noted that selling a product (with enough conviction) to your friends and family will be difficult if you haven’t already purchased it and tried it yourself.
And these memberships aren’t cheap. There are other methods of starting a business and making money that are a lot cheaper, and in some cases, you can start for free.
What if you don't like recruiting?
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Team National’s Compensation Plan
Each membership also comes with “points”.
3 points for the premium plan, and 1 point for the standard one.
The purpose of these points is described below. Rather than me trying to interpret their compensation plan and almost certainly getting it wrong, I'll provide the document here for accuracy. You can read it in their words below,
Team National Membership Savings
1. Factory Direct.
Under this furniture division of Team National, which bypasses retailers/wholesalers and goes straight to the manufacture, you can buy furniture at savings up to 65%. This includes indoor and outdoor furniture as well as things like spas, saunas and flooring.
The type of furniture here isn’t clear however. If you’re accustomed to buying your shelves at IKEA for a hundred bucks or less, then 65% off of an $800 custom oak shelf might not be of any value to you.
2. Group Buying Power
As a large group, Team National negotiates with wholesalers, distributors and manufacturers to secure exclusive discounts. One example they give is 5% to 30% savings through the Sears Commercial Online Program.
In addition, by logging into the Big N Auto Mall, there are discounts on cars, trucks and recreational vehicles such as watercraft and ATV’s.
I could not find specific discounts, and to be honest, big ticket items like these rarely sell for their sticker price anyway (which is the only price the discount would qualify for).
I wouldn't count on negotiating a price that you and the dealer agree on, and THEN using your discount. Likewise, if you use your discount first, it’s unlikely you will be negotiate additional discounts that wouldn’t normally be available to the general public anyway.
It might seem like you're getting a better deal, or maybe a discount for upgrading vehicle options, warranty etc. But dealers are good at negotiating and giving the illusion you came out on top. At the end of the day, they have a minimum price they're going to sell for, and they rarely drop below it. Discount or no discount.
With the regular discounts, incentives, and things like roadside assistance and extended warranties that dealerships and manufacturers offer anyway, I personally don’t see any added value in the Team National’s savings membership when it comes to vehicles.
However, if you’ve had an exceptional or unique experience here, please add your comment below my review, it would definitely be helpful for others.
3. Business Exchange.
While it’s great to get discounts from big box stores and popular retailers, the business exchange is for small businesses in your local area to participate. Examples that Team National provides are in areas such as construction, home maintenance, real estate, personal care, automotive, insurance, travel and more.
Again, the benefits here won’t be the same for everyone, if you’re considering buying a membership for this reason, it would be worth doing some research to find out if local businesses in your area participate.
4. Online Shopping
Team National has their own private label brand of consumables such as nutritional, kids and automotive care products.
I did not find any specific products to compare, but the claim is that they are 50% lower on average than industry standard products. Without examples, however, and considering they’re competing against online retail giants like Amazon, I can’t say I’m convinced that claim is true… but that’s just my opinion.
They also offer personal websites for $12/month or $99/year. As a comparison, you can get 2 free websites here, along with training to set up and make money with them.
There is also the Big N Marketplace where members can earn commissions on products they buy. It’s not clear if they can earn commissions from others, and if not… it’s not really a commission as much as a rebate.
Examples listed include things like restaurants and ink cartridges.
Mention is also given to co-branded credit cards although the benefits versus countless other credit card options aren’t clear.
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Can You Make Your Money Back?
Although both memberships are on the expensive side, the pitch is that you will get your money back in savings.
In theory, this is true. But, the problem with most of these discounts is you’re not comparing apples to apples. Most percentage claims can’t be substantiated, and to do so would require considerable research.
And, if a discount convinces you to buy something you had no intention of buying anyway... it's an expense, not a savings.
I believe if you were diligent, and paid attention to (as well as compared) everything you purchased, over time you may get your money back.
However, my gut tells me that what Team National has created here is a“walled garden” of consumers that purchase as much as possible within their own ecosystem, never really doing deep research to compare prices. Team National gets the benefits of the membership sales, private label products, and I'm making an assumption here based on my own business experience... rebates, gifts and kickbacks from the larger brands they negotiate with.
I'm guilty of shopping this way myself (in Amway) many years ago. Like most people who sign up for these opportunities, I would justify my investment, as well as my commitment to the business I thought was going to bring me freedom and riches.
So, when I was told the reason toothpaste was double the price of anywhere else is because it was "concentrated", I believed them. You just need a pea size amount I was told... which is true for any other toothpaste.
It's funny (if not a little embarrassing) looking back, but it didn’t stop at toothpaste. It was the prepackaged dinners I bought through Amway, the energy bars, the Amway voicemail system, and the overpriced “super” supplements I had to take… because my upline took them (I know... but I was young and gullible).
Similarly, if you commit to paying $2195 for a savings membership, you will probably find ways to twist realty and justify your purchase.
But again, all of that is just my own opinion and my own thoughts regarding the membership price and benefits.
Is It A Scam?
Strictly speaking, no… it’s not a scam. They operate within the boundaries of the Direct Selling Association and follow the guidelines approved in the landmark Federal Trade Commission’s Amway decision.
Having said that, there is a legal definition of a scam, and there's also a personal one.
What do you consider a scam?
Companies push the boundaries of deceptive practices all the time. MLM’s are particularly susceptible, because the company is not there to supervise each and every distributor.
I have a negative history with multi-level-marketing so I'm not unbiased. I've been a victim of their subtle deceptions. I've also traveled throughout BC, Canada doing in-home insurance sales many years ago and quit because of the unethical tactics that were being used. So, just because something is technically legal, doesn't always mean it's not a scam.
As far as Team National goes, from some of the documents I've read it appears they take a strong stance to operate within the boundaries of the law.
And, just because I'm sharing some of my negative experiences with MLM's, does NOT mean you won't have a positive one with Team National (as well as achieve your goals).
Is it A Pyramid Scheme?
Again, we have a legal definition of a pyramid scheme, and a personal one.
Legally they are not a pyramid scheme, but the law is only a result of decades of lobbying from these powerful companies. They’ve effectively written the legal definition of what a pyramid scheme is. If you’re comfortable with that definition, then there’s no reason to look any further.
My personal opinion is that it is a pyramid scheme, and here are my reasons why;
When a traditional company is looking for salespeople, whether they are employees, independent contractors, or part of an external firm… they have hiring standards. They don’t offer that job to anyone, and the only time they would ever “push it” on someone is if that person was exceptionally talented and qualified in their field.
Not only does Team National (or any MLM for that matter, I'm not just picking on them) overlook an individual’s ability to sell, but their entire business model is dependent on recruiting more salespeople, regardless of their qualifications. In other words, the business can’t sustain itself on retail sales alone. It needs to keep adding distributors and bringing new people into it.
Finally, each distributor’s compensation is directly affected by the people they bring in, and then the people those people bring in and so on (which is not the case in a traditional business).
I know, legally they are not a pyramid scheme, but in my opinion, they (as well as all MLM’s) are.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make money with them, or that they’re evil. It’s just calling it what I consider it to be. If there is an upline, a downline and the money you earn is dependent on the number of people you recruit… it's a pyramid.
But enough about that, I've shared my view.
Can You Make Money With Team National?
Statistically speaking, the odds are stacked against you. Are people making money with it? Absolutely, yes.
There are also events and contests you can take part in.
But, very few people reach the type of income levels that could create the lifestyle that there messaging implies. According their 2016 income earnings disclosure, the average income of the top .1% (1 in a 1000) was $272, 240.
What I found even more surprising was that number only accounted for 35 distributors in total.
The numbers get even worse though. The high end of that average exceeds a million dollars, so, for the "average" to only be $272K (relative to a million), quite a few of those 35 IMD’s would have had to make much less than that… with only a minority exceeding it.
To illustrate that point, there is a saying; If Bill Gates walked into a bar, the "average" net worth of everyone inside becomes 50 Million.
So, if the average income for the top 35 distributors is $272,000... it's entirely possible that only 10 made over a million leaving the other 25 with an estimated 20K per year (which is not a big house and fancy car income). I'm sure the numbers are more spread out than that, but the overall takeaway here is that even the top .1% (only 35 distributors) are not necessarily living the lifestyle one might imagine.
Continuing on, although there are various 4 and 5-figure income claims... 78.4% had an average annual income of just 30 cents.
That doesn’t include expenses such as hosting and driving to/from presentations, as well as attending meetings and conventions.
Is Team National For You?
The income disclosure agreement clearly shows that making money as an IMD is possible, but as I mentioned above, the odds are against you.
But that’s the case I’d guess with any business opportunity. I certainly don’t think Team National is any worse than other companies in this respect, whether it’s MLM’s where talking about, or making money online.
What the real problem is, and reason most people fail, is a mismatch between a person’s personality type, skills/strengths to the business they’re trying to build.
If you’re not skilled at sales, then selling stuff is going to be hard. It's hard enough for those who are experienced and love doing it. If you're not good at it, and you hate doing it... what do you think your chances of sticking to it are?
The unfortunate reality is that you need to enjoy what you do (because starting and building a business is hard)… and the truth is, most people don’t like selling and they expecially don't like recruiting.
They do it reluctantly because they believe in the dream of freedom and more independence… but when they run out of friends and family to approach, and they don't see results, eventually they give up.
It's like trying to stick to a diet only eating things that disgust you. It's not sustainable.
And the numbers prove this. Very few people make it.
It's Not Just MLM's
There are ways to make money that have nothing to do with recruiting and they don’t require any sales skills. In fact, they don’t require talking to people at all.
But, they also require more time at a computer screen and hammering on they keyboard.
For those who prefer getting out there, talking to people and shaking hands, these methods of making money may not be for them either.
To shift the odds in your favor, it's absolutely critical to choose an opportunity that suits you. Find something you don’t mind doing, especially when it gets difficult (because it will).
What I Like
- A very big plus here (and the reason I first mentioned that Team National is worth trying) is that there are no products to deal with. You’re simply selling memberships, which means there are no inventories, deliveries or physical returns.
- Although they can’t control every distributor, Team National is diligent about staying within the legal boundaries of the network marketing model.
What I Don’t Like
- Like all MLM’s, the business you build and the organization you develop belongs to them. If the product or price changes in a way you don’t like, there’s nothing you can do. You can’t change suppliers without going to a different company and starting over. In a way, you are building dependence... not independence.
- I’m not convinced the membership offers the significant savings they claim, and there’s not enough information provided for comparative shopping.
- Lack of transparency. The website offers very little informaton regarding their products, membership, sales training etc. Even after reading what seemed like a hundred or more comments and testimonials, specific details are hard to come by.
Success in network marketing requires a unique skill-set, and let’s face it… certain personalities are better suited to it than others. Not everyone is comfortable and has the confidence to recruit people, especially their family and friends.
In addition, you need a thick skin and the ability to handle a lot of rejection.
Having said that, if you’re a good fit and you're considering a network marketing business, I would definitely recommend giving Team National a try. While I have concerns regarding the true value of their membership, you can’t overlook the fact that there is no physical product to stock.
This is a huge benefit that allows you to skip the logistical headaches of a company like Amway or Avon for example... and get straight to building your organization.
What If You Don’t Like Recruiting People?
If sales is not your thing, and the idea of building a down-line doesn’t appeal to you, you might consider an online business. The exact method and strategy I’ve used to build my online business is a simple process (although it requires effort), and it doesn’t cost anything to get started.
As I mentioned earlier, I think the biggest reason people fail in their entrepreneurial journey’s is because they’re doing something they don’t have a passion for, and they’re not leveraging their strengths.
Doing your own thing and building a business is not easy, so it’s critical to stack the deck in your favor from the start, which means choosing the right opportunity.
I hope this Team National Review was helpful and thanks for stopping by to check it out.
Please leave a comment below; I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you a member or have you tried Team National in the past? What is your opinion of MLM's?
If you found this article useful, or think it might be helpful for others… Please share 😀