Some Things to Know Before You Sell Avon

An Honest Look

Selling Avon was a fun and broadening experience, but there are some things I wish I had known before I started.  If you are thinking about going into business for yourself either full time or as a sideline, read this hub before you make your decision.

You Will Have to Buy Your Own Catalogs

You cannot sell face to face without handing out catalogs. The catalogs are basically your storefront--they explain what's for sale and for what price. I was spending between $12 and $20 a month just for the brochures. This cuts down on your profit margin, and if you don't make any sales that month, you're losing money.

Processing Fee

There is an added 75 cent per customer processing fee that is tacked on to each and every order you take.  Avon "shares" this fee with the representative, charging half and letting you keep the other half.  Customers who think a price is a price are sometimes surprised and/or offended when there is an extra fee added on.  After a while I stopped charging this fee and paid it myself because I didn't think it was a fair and good business practice to surprise them with such fees.  Since Avon allows their reps a large amount of freedom in the realm of giving discounts to their customers and friends, I simply discounted the amount of the fee from my profits and kept quiet about it.

Headache Returns Policy

Under Avon's rules you must accept returns from customers. This is good for the customer, yes, but bad for the representative. Case in point: someone ordered a pair of shoes that were of unusual taste. That is, not many other folks would like them. Furthermore, they were in the customer's size, so not everyone else could wear them even if they would. This customer then decides that she doesn't want them, and I have to accept them back and give her a refund. Now here's the ugly part: I had to pay the shipping myself to return them to Avon, which meant I was now in the hole again for this order. I got my money back for the product, but the shipping to get it back to them cost half what the product had cost. Avon strongly encourages reps to sell returned items to someone else who wants them (if it's not something like a used lipstick that cannot be resold). But now you know the rest of the story. If you can't resell it, you're going to eat the cost.

Roach Boxes

The boxes in which the products arrived were made of corrugated cardboard.  After I had gained some experience with this, I would empty the box right away when it came and not let it enter my house or sit overnight indoors.  The reason?  Baby roaches would come out of the corrugated sides.  I'm not joking.  Now, I know the corporation doesn't have much say over the individual nitty gritty details of each and every warehouse, and I know warehouses have bugs.  It just annoys me that I pay top dollar for some of this stuff, and it comes in a smelly box full of bugs.  The products were well wrapped and guaranteed to be good, but it didn't help my image of them to have to deal with this issue.


In conclusion I would like to make it clear that I'm not against Avon as a corporation. I absolutely love their makeup. Some of their jewelry turns green (more honesty, sorry), but their makeup is the best I've ever used. It's hypoallergenic and comes in many useful formats and colors. It brings out the makeup artist in all of us to have such high quality tools as their professional brushes and their natural mineral blends. The training CD ROM that I bought from them and completed taught me many useful tips and tricks about makeup and skin care, and I'm not sorry I did the courses. My recommendation to you is, if you want to buy some of their excellent products, shop at their website and forget about being a representative. Or if you want to sell Avon, be aware of the difficulties and be ready to face the challenges. You're going to need a large customer base to make any money at it.

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Comments 34 comments

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

You are so right, they make it really hard to sell and to start you got like 40% but for years now, you get more profit on some things than another and I just washed my hands of them and there were a few things of theirs I really loved but we know most who sell it are going to use up all our profit or a lot anyway buying for ourselves and there are just too many things out there just as good and much less expensive. (I do love their Sweet Honesty!)

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


Sweet Honesty is my favorite scent! Also good is Night Magic. The former makes me sneeze; the latter doesn't.

Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

I like musk which the Night Magic reminds me of but it's just a little too heavy for me and the SH is light, I usually spray it down my back anyway so I don't get but a hint of odor. I wrote a hub on it, lol. In fact someone bought me the whole shebang of Night Magic for Christmas but I will pass it on for the next female birthday, so no big deal.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West By God

You are so right here. I wish I had known the changes they did in the 10 years I had between the time that I had to quit and this time around. If you have to send anything back it is NOT free like they tell you. There is a charge of just over $4.00. The point that they triy to make that it is teams is absurd. I have found it is more competition within the district then teams. I wil continue to stay in the business only because that was the only way that I could afford to get Christmas gifts this year.

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

Lady Guinevere: Sorry to hear of your rough experience. I agree with you about the competition. It is supposed to be teamwork but it doesn't always end up that way.

Pollyanna: If you think Night Magic is too strong, I should warn you not to open any samples of 007 Bond Girl!

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West By God

Oh and the new one: Outspoken. They say it did really well in the UK, but anyone who sampled it here didn't like it. It is strong. I accidentally rubbed my fingers across the new Imari and it smells pretty good.

I also wrote some articles on Avon products as well.

vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 6 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Wow! Good to know about Avon. Surprising stuff here. Very glad you shared this. Thanks. :-)

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 6 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

vocalcoach: You're certainly welcome. I want people to be able to make informed decisions. Thanks for dropping by!

elle444 profile image

elle444 5 years ago

Great hub! I sold Avon when I was in high school and it had its good and bad points! I agree - the beauty products are great!

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

Thank you, Elle. I am glad I tried it. I learned some things. :)

katherine 5 years ago

hi im with avon but i just wanted to know because they said that i get 25% of the money from what i sale but how do i take it 25%from the people once they pay me and send the rest to avon or do i send the full amount to avon and they give me money or check im confused

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


You will receive an invoice from Avon telling you how much you owe them. You only pay the amount on the invoice. Anything you receive above and beyond what you are billed becomes your profit.

I never made any profit, because I gave people discounts in the form of paying for their taxes and fees, and what little was left was invested in the purchase of more catalogs.

Good luck on your venture!

Lynn 5 years ago

Avon is ridiculious!!!! I ordered something and returned it! It cost me $4.00...for something I didn't even get. I could've just threw $4.00 out the window, and the rep was kinda rude. She said what happened, you don't have the money?...........Please, Avon is still tacky, and old fashioned.

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 5 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

Lynn: Sorry to hear about your bad experience. In spite of the difficulties I've had, Avon still offers some amazing products. It's just hard for a rep to make any money at it.

Marvi Marti 4 years ago

WOW...sorry those of you have had bad experiences. I've been in just under a year, made Unit Leader and President's Club and I LOVE this job! I've been fortunate I guess, as I have not only not had these issues but I'm making money and having a blast.

Lynn - sounds like you had a bad rep. My customers get top notch customer service from me. Even on returns, a smile and full refund and then a small gift from me for their inconvenience.

Des 4 years ago

I would like to ask a question representing the a mans point of view , I have grown up around a family of ALL women who love AVON's Products . Which lead me to want to sell AVON due to the fact I now Serve at a local restaurant and family and friends( Customer Base). My approach to this is like any business venture I encounter (the countless that are out here) I do numbers, research and also look at blogs like this one. Now, here is my question ,I am about to invest in a 3000$ Intergraded marketing strategy for my business a mailing list, alternate website, Cards,(not from Avon they are very prices) ,Brochures, Promos..etc. Do you think that that will dramatically boost my sells not to mention the leg work I am doing at work ? I figure they make the price so low to make selling AVON for everyone. Honestly the truth is my rep seems to forget a lot of things for her age and I think she knows I can make her money so she continues to stay in contact. SELLING AVON IS NOT FOR EVERY the Price is but some either lack the motivation to hit the ground running so to speak or just do not have the lines of income to invest like myself .Nevertheless, I feel that with a background in modeling and make up (family biz) I as a single man no kids can do this. Just looking for some feed back on this subject .

Thank You

Des L

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


Men can and do sell Avon. Be careful about printing brochures. You may not legally use the Avon logo without their expressed permission. Also be careful about selling by an alternate website. Avon wants you to pay to sell on THEIR website. You have to pay them about $15.00 a month to sell online, whether or not you make any sales.

moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

Glad I don't sell it anymore. I did for years than stopped. I just wasn't making enough from it. If you want samples for customers it's to much but I did buy them. I would also just not charge some fees. I also gave very good customer service in the dead of winter in snow storms. Finally said that is enough. We live in a rural area so it took lots of gas. Good Hub.

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

Moonlake: Delivery is a major issue. If the person who orders from you is a neighbor or a coworker it's not so bad because you have many chances to hand it over to them. I disabled the option (at least you can do that) to let people order from the website and request ME for delivery because I simply did not have the time to drive long and far after work.

Shy 4 years ago

I sell Avon and I just read that they charge you $15 for using their website. Is that true? I received my invoice and everything said free but when I looked at the total it said it was $15.65 I had no idea they charged for that.

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

To sell as a rep from the Avon website you will pay about $7.50 per campaign. Each campaign lasts two weeks, so your invoice sounds about right.

Amy 4 years ago

I am currently selling Avon but have an issue my bank took the money automatically out for other bills and now I'm terrified I will o to jail because I can't pay them what I owe do you have any advice please.i don't know what to do it will take me months to pay it off

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

It is recommended that when you first begin your Avon business you set up a separate bank account and use it just for Avon. Also you won't be able to sell the next campaign until the previous campaign is paid off. You might want to discuss this with your regional manager, or maybe you can call Avon's toll free number and negotiate setting up a payment plan to get things all paid up.

Becky 4 years ago

I have sold avon now 3x's only quit the other 2 cuz I moved & didn't know anyone. This time I am selling it I am doing A lot better. I don't know any home base business that you don't have to buy books or supplies. I pay $20 for 100 books I order 2 campaign books together so I get 50 for each campaign. I have an inventory because I like to do vendor shows & fairs. but it is not a required thing like some home business. It cost $10 to start & doesn't require a minimum order to be put in unless you want to earn money, doesn't require that you have to have inventory & IF you have a good leader then you have the support you need. I think a lot of peoples problems come in because they just go to avons web site & sign up to sell it. If you do that then you get the district manager as your leader & they don't have as much time as some of us lower leaders because they have like 800 reps to look after to where us Unit Leaders only have 20-30 etc. I have NEVER had a problem with bugs in my boxes. & Avon doesn't charge the 75c per customer any more its a one simple fee to cover the cost of your web store & shipping which is around $6-7 & then you charge your customer the 75c still to off set the cost. I have never had anyone complain cuz I charged them 75c shipping. As far as returns in my own business if a customer don't have the money or don't like the item I ask if they would mind helping me with the rtn fee & have them pay me $2. only 1x in the past year has this happen. any other time I have needed to rtn something it was because the person was allergic to it, or avons error & with that type of rtns Avon don't want an item back that someone has used & if its was there error they pay for the shipping you just call & tell them it was their error & they take the fee off your acct that they charged you. I really think the people that have had bad experiences with Avon didn't have the help from a Leader they needed. I encourage my girls & guys if they need help with anything to let me know. I am hear for you!!!! if you have any more questions msg me my web site is or to join my team go to reference code beckyciciora (all one word) I love selling Avon!!!!

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


I'm glad you were able to make a go of it! As I said before, I'm not against Avon as a corporation. Unfortunately I've had to throw out a lot of their costume jewelry because it breaks easily or turns green with corrosion, but their makeup and skin care products are top notch!

Avongirl29 4 years ago

I'm selling Avon now for almost 16 years and in just the last couple of years Avon is getting really bad. The Jewelry looks like it comes out of a Bubble gum machine, the shoes rip easily, most of the things I order are on back order and Customers have to wait up to 6 weeks to get their products. Also if you return items, there are almost every time two items Avon will not receive and we have to pay for those. I don't know what happens from the time I return my items to the time they get them. Also sometimes if you order 1 of 1 Item, it could happen that Avon sends you 7 instead of one. Or you have items in your order you did not order. The item numbers change from the ones you put on your order form to different ones on your invoice, also check your prices, if you back order for a better price Avon sometimes will not acknowledge this and you have to ask for a price adjustment.

We are paying fees over fees - add on order fee, late order fee, return fee, brochures, samples, bags on top of the gas we need to deliver our orders, there is not much money left over as profit. Avon is one of the 10 companies that will be our of business in 2013, the new CEO has no clue what she is doing and the money Avon throws into the MLM could be used by the company. Also if you win a prize for selling so much of something, Avon will tax you for the full amount this prize cost them. So why work harder if I have to pay for my reward anyway. Be aware of your recruiter, they only tell you half the truth, will help you ones or twice and than let you hang. Avon is not what it ones was - right now it's a company build on lies. They will make money not matter what, but will you make any money?

For me it's time to leave, all the trouble Avon will put you trough is not worth my time anymore.

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


I empathize with the difficult time you are having. I also had the trouble with backorders and incorrect pricing. I ordered a deal in one campaign, it backordered, and when it arrived in the next campaign they charged me full price instead of sale price. Almost seems suspicious. I do like how Avon supports various charities for women. I wish someone knew how to fix these issues. It's a shame to see a good thing fall apart.

jasmine 4 years ago

i just started avon on tuesday, i just found out i have to pay 15 a month and 10 for more books. That don't make any since. I came to avon to make money not spend money

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


In any business you will almost always need to invest money in order to make money. Avon's initial investment is modest and within reach, but I found many of my friends gave no thought to the fact that they just paid $1.50 for a lip gloss at a department store when they could have bought a similar gloss from me for only 99¢. One of the frustrating things in business is how only a few friends will inconvenience themselves even a tiny bit to help you out.

Good luck with your sales! :)

Jehan143 4 years ago

Hey everyone. Struggling Avon Rep here. I just wanted to add that Avon now has a minimum order of $50 per campaign. This is after your first 3 campaigns when you first start. Demo orders, orders from your website, and sales tools count toward the minimum order, but you still have to get it up to $50 to be able to submit it. Just wanted to let everyone know in case they didn't

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author


Thanks for the heads up! When I was a Rep they didn't have that policy. In fact when I resigned their very polite telephone technician kept asking me to stay on with the assurance that if I even ordered one lip gloss per campaign it was enough to keep up my end of the bargain. Things change, I guess.

Silver Poet profile image

Silver Poet 4 years ago from the computer of a midwestern American writer Author

Added note: some recent comments have been erased due to their argumentative nature. One person told me it was ridiculous that I said there were roaches in the boxes, and that it wasn't true. I am sorry she feels that way, and I am sorry she sees fit to try and tell me what I saw or didn't see. Another contradicted what I said about a few other things. I am not here to argue. I have spoken my piece, fairly I think, giving credit where credit's due.

I love Avon's makeup, skin care, and hair care products. I really do! I think people can and do make money as representatives. I think it does no harm, however, for them to take a realistic look at some of the challenges they are going to face.

Best of luck, whether you sell Avon or whether you don't!

Dorthia 4 years ago

Hi my name is Dorthia and I am a college student selling Avon for the first time. It is scary I am not going lie but I have a great mentor so I am hoping to be on her level one day. I am very sorry to all of you who have had a bad experience buying or selling Avon. If you change your mind about ordering or joining try my site.

Sharicey profile image

Sharicey 4 years ago from Rhode Island

I gave it a try and it did not work for me. Good thing I didn't get any roach boxes though. I'm sorry to hear that happen to you. If customers knew the condition of some these warehouses I'm sure they wouldn't want their cosmetic purchases.

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