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Home Business Comparison Report - Worksheet

When you start your search for the perfect Direct Selling or Network Marketing business, here are some valuable questions to ask when comparing companies and opportunities:

1) Start up cost should be minimal. Start up cost in direct selling and network marketing companies are usually modest and mainly to cover the cost of the sales kit.

Q. What is the company's start up cost?
Q. What comes with a new Distributor/Consultant kit?

2) Some companies require a monthly purchase.

Q. Is there a monthly minimum purchase requirement and if so, how much is the monthly investment?

3) Most companies submit the local state sales tax, however, there are a few that do not.

Q. Will I be required to submit my own state sales tax?

4) Check with each company regarding their return policy. This will be vital to your business.

Q. Can I return unwanted or damaged products and if so, what is the company's return policy?

5) Do you have a "buy-back" policy? Some companies offer to "buy-back" unsold marketable products purchased within the 12 months prior, should you decide to quit the business for 90% of the price you originally paid.

Q. Does the company offer a "buy-back" policy?

6) Some companies require Independent Representatives to pay for portions of the Hostess gifts, etc. You should know up front whether part of your commission earned will go to cover these cost. This will reduce the actual amount of commissions earned.

Q. Will I be required to cover part of the Hostess Gifts or pay admin fees, etc.?

7) It is always smart to compare catalog and supplies cost as they vary by company.

Q. What do company catalogs and paperwork cost?

8) Customer shipping charges are important to your business and can vary greatly from company to company.

Q. What are the customer shipping charges?

9) It is customary for companies to have a monthly or quarterly sales requirement to stay active and/or receive overrides.

Q. What, if any, are the monthly/quarterly requirements?

10) If you plan to participate in local fairs, festivals or events, you will want to know whether the  company allows you to sell "cash & carry." Many will not as they prefer Representatives to provide one on one customer support and book to increase sales.

Q. Does your company allow Representatives to sell products "cash & carry" at local fairs and events?

11) Many companies provide Representatives with a company approved website. If you plan to  market your business online, this will be vital to your success.

Q. Does your company provide a website and if so, what is the cost?

Q. If they do not, can I design my own?

Q. Are Consultants/Representatives allowed to market online and what are the company guidelines?

12) Some companies authorize Representatives to deduct their commissions prior to sending in their Show Order, while others require all monies collected forwarded to home office and then commission checks are issued monthly or twice per month.

Q. How are you required to submit payment for a show?

13) How often are commission checks issued..monthly, bi-weekly or weekly? My experience has been that most issue monthly. Be sure to ask as there are a few that offer twice monthly and weekly.

Q. How often are commission checks issued...monthly, bi-weekly, weekly?

Q. At what time of each month will I receive my commission check? 

14) Many companies now ship their products directly to the consumer or Hostess, however, there  are few that require Representatives to deliver a Show or products.

Q. Will I be required to deliver products?

15) With some opportunities, Representatives are encouraged to stock products to have on hand for eager customers.

Q. Will I be required to stock or carry inventory?
Q. If no, will my business be more successful if I elect to have on hand "hot sellers?"

16) Most companies allow their Representatives to purchase products or display items at a special discount. 

Q. Are Representatives allowed to purchase products at a discount and if so, what is the discount?

17) Have them explain the commission structure and levels of achievement as it varies greatly by  company.

Q. What is your commission structure?

18) Do they offer additional incentives, such as trips, a cash bonus and etc.?

Q. What additional incentives does the company offer?

19) What type of support is available?

Q. What type of support can I expect?

As with any business, finding what works for you and your lifestyle will be the key. Take time to research opportunities and consider whether the business and support team are a good match for you. Another wise decision is to consult with a home business tax professional before launching your home business.  Learn what can and cannot be deducted, as well as, good record keeping.

This article courtesy of Diane Drayer,, and  If you would like to reprint or publish this worksheet, please send an email.

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