Vector Marketing Scam | Cutco Knives Scam Review

Vector marketing review

Consumers hate them… don’t fall for their simple trick.

If you are between the ages of 17 and 24, you might have heard of Vector Marketing. They recruit students between these ages for “$12-20 an hour” summer jobs. Beware, we all know about things that are too good to be true… do you expect to get $12-20 an hour with zero experience? Read on to find the dirt on Vector Marketing.

About 2 years ago, my son was looking for a summer job and seen an ad on CraigsList that guaranteed $12-20 an hour jobs for students. The ad stated that you needed to be 17+ with a high school diploma or 18+ without a diploma. It did not include a list of daily activities and was very, very vague. The ad was more like a landing page telling my son to fill out a form and apply. If you’ve been working for awhile and are a professional, you will realize that a $12-20 an hour job with no real requirement (GED) is a little far fetch.

**[Update May 27, 2013] Vector Marketing is Trying to Manipulate You Online **

This post picked up quit a bit of traffic because our SEO man is very good at search engine optimization (SEO). He informed me to inform you of Vector Marketing’s “reputation management” campaign. Reputation management, long name “online reputation management” (ORM), is when a company attempts to drown out negative reviews on the search engines. For example, lets say the CEO googles “vector marketing scam” or “cutco knives scam” and sees tons and tons of *real* people stating how Vector Marketing is a scam. This is bad news because around 8,100 people google “vector marketing scam” every month. That is a 270 people a day! Wow, Vector Marketing must be scamming a lot of people! That number is obtained from Google’s Keyword Tool, a tool that shows how many people google which keywords (mainly used by SEOs and advertisers).

Click on photo to see full size. This is taken from Google's Keyword Tool, a tool that reports how many people search for a term.

Click on photo to see full size. This is taken from Google’s Keyword Tool, a tool that reports how many people search for a term.

So, to the CEO, 270 people a day are finding out the *real* image of Vector. That is not good for recruitment (read rest of post for why). That is 270 potential contractors who are not going to become workers. Because their business model involves having college kids selling to family and friends, this really means 270 lead sources are lost. That is a huge drop in advertising reach.

Therefore, Vector does what any other shady company does: hides their dirt. Instead of listing to the outcries and changing, they are only manipulating information. Below is a screenshot of the search engine results page as of May 27, 2013. The sites I highlighted as fake are sites operated under the purse of Vector Marketing. Do not listen to the claims on these website. Also, Vector Marketing has been posting in the comment section of this page as well as other pages online with fake testimonials. Basically, if someone seems to be *too* happy to be working at Vector, it is fake. (Why else are they taking their time to promote their employers? It is not like they are getting paid… oh wait, they are).

Watch out for fake reviews.

Watch out for fake reviews.

You Can Help Stop Vector Marketing Scam!

If you don’t want Vector misleading other people, you can end this by sharing this page on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and any other social networking account you have. Social signals are used by search engines to determine rankings and, therefore, if this post becomes #1, Vector losses ;-). If you have a blog, you can also blog about Vector Marketing and link to this post within the blog post. That, a backlink, also helps rank sites.

Now, back to the rest of the article…

When I read it my mind screamed BizOp. That is industry speak for business opportunity. It is a niche where people sell to other people the idea of making money. They get your hopes up on living the life you want and than feed off of your work. Or they sell you junk. Vector Marketing does both.

I told him what I thought about it and told him he should just go to the interview anyways (surprise, he got an interview… ). He might learn a few things about marketing from seeing how they work–like how they can get young folks motivated to work for them without telling them what they are going to be doing.

The interviews are all group interviews and that all the company has about 3-4 group interviews a week. The interviews had about 10 people. That is 30-40 new employees earning $12-20 an hour a week! Again, this sounds like either the company is 1.) a non-profit, 2.) super bad at finance, or 3.) a scam… the company says it has annual sales of over $200 million and is based in 250+ locations… if a company is that big, I’m sure they know how to manage their finances, so it is probably option 3.

Once you arrive at the nondescript business building, you will be given an intro on the company, Vector Marketing. Vector Marketing is the child of Cutco Knives. What Vector Marketing does is market Cutco products. You, the new sales rep, will go around and find leads, conduct in-home demonstrations, and sell Cutco knives.

What is Cutco Knives?

Cutco is an old US knife maker that used to go by the name Alcas. Cutco owns the Cutco Knives line, Kabar knives, Vector Marketing, as well as a few other companies. Cutco is privately owned and based in New York. Cutco makes pocket knives, folders, kitchen knives, machetes, balisongs, tomahawks, and a ton of other blades.

What is Vector Marketing?

Vector Marketing is a multilevel marketing company that sells Cutco Knives. You can not buy Cutco Knives from retailers like Sears–hence it is “exclusive.” Vector Marketing targets college students as well as recent high school graduate to sell knives for them. In my son’s group interview, the interviewer talked about how easy it is to sell to parents, relatives, neighbors, teachers, and friends. He paints a clear picture at how you can easily make money selling knives to people you already know.

You get a cut of the sale and, as you increase in sales, your cut increases. You also get a cut from sales done by people under you. What this means is if I tell my brother about Vector and he signs up and starts selling, I’ll get a cut of his sales. “Its a great way to earn passive income” they say.

The company also has cool things like trips to Cancun and scholarships. Wow, what a great job for a college kid!

How are Cutco Knives?

Cutco sells overpriced knives in my opinion. They use 440A steel which, for their three digit price, is very expensive. You can find 440A steel in budget knives at Wal-Mart.

What Cutco does that other knife manufacturers do not is that they offer free sharpening program. You can get your knives sharpened by the factory for as long as you want. This makes the 440A steel a lot better because, as I’m sure Vector knows, most people never both to sharpen their knives.

No matter how great the steel is or how amazing the kitchen knife is, it will need to be sharpened sooner or later. Kitchen knives are almost always made of stainless steel. Stainless steel resists rust very well but dulls quickly. Sharpening it will bring the edge back.

How does Vector Marketing Train Young People to Sell Knives?

First, you start with people immediately near you like parents and close relatives. You show them a 1 hour long presentation. You are paid a base rate of $12-20 per presentation. Yes, of course your relatives will sit there and listen to your 1 hour presentation.

The presentation will show you a $200 set of Cutco Knives (that the salesperson must buy with their own money). They often compare it to your kitchen knives. Most Americans do not sharpen their kitchen knives so the the brand new Cutco Knives wins by a long shot.

They than go into the Forever Sharp guarantee and a few other great sales tactics. Basically, the person is reciting what they heard from their boss.

If the target buys or not, the seller will ask for 10 referrals (What?! I didn’t even buy your product so why should I tell my friends about you?). Most people agree because they are too nice. Than the process happens all over again.

Why is Cutco Knives a Scam?

  • The scam with Vector Marketing and Cutco Knives is that you won’t make $12-20 an hour. That is the base rate for an appointment but most sales people do not take the base rate because that is like saying “I am inept.” Cutco feeds off of your desire to get a job and make money so that they can get you to promote their brand for almost nothing.
  • You also must spend $200 on knives. Have you ever seen a college kid who needed a $200 knife set? Or have you ever seen a college kid who cooks? Me either. They could of just give out demos to their employees. That is at least 10 appointments (or 2 weeks of work) for a new employee to break even.
  • You are using the niceness of your family. How can an uncle say no to a niece? That is how Cutco gets you to buy their knives. Most people don’t need a new set of knives (most people just need to sharpen theirs).
  • There is nothing special about their kitchen knives. Yes Ka-bar is one of my favorite knife brands but Cutco kitchen knives are overpriced. You are better off buying a professional knife set with the same amount of money.
  • You are not reimbursed for travel expenses. Yup, if you drive across the state, you won’t be paid for it and, for in-home sales, you will do a lot of driving.

Conclusion on Cutco Knife Scam

Don’t do it! If you are a college student looking for a part time job, I recommend you get a REAL job or, better yet, do something that will be a stepping stone for your career. It might not pay the best right now but, if you make $5,000 more a year after college because of it, it’ll be more valuable than any college job you could of gotten.

Real College Jobs

Good college jobs that pay well and are often overlooked are:

  • Lawn work. You can cut grass for residential and commercial properties. They are always looking for English speaking summer help. You will easily get 40 hours a week and a good tan. Look for places like golf courses if you want to earn a lot. I’ve seen ads for $12 an hour (as of summer 2012).
  • Kitchen work. You might need to start doing dish work but, after being there for awhile, you can move up to a waiter/waitress. Tips can earn you easily $100 a night. It all depends on your ability to befriend/flirt with your customers.
  • Pizza driver. $20 an hour at least, guaranteed. Most pizza orders are $20+ and, with a $2 tip and 10 stops an hour, you will get at least $20 in tips. If you want to make more, be a driver for a high end pizza joint.
  • Grow house. If it is legal in your state, work in a grow house trimming MMJ. One of the best jobs ever. Flexible hours and everyone is very laid back.
  • Bartending. This is the ultimate college job. You might need to start bartending at restaurants before you can move up to bars and clubs. Most bars will not hire people without experience. Bartenders can make $100+ a night in tips.
  • Lab work. If you want to work in the sciences like medicine, psychology, or chemistry, look for lab work at your school. You might need to be a volunteer at first but there are paid positions for students. It is a great thing to have on grad school resumes.
  • Donating plasma. You can earn $100/week for two 30 minute sessions.

Just be weary of stuff that say you can make a lot of money with little work. If that was true, everyone would be rich. Also stay away from unpaid “internships” at companies–they are just using you for free labor ;-).

Comments

  1. Catherine

    haha. I have worked for this company for almost a year now. I calculated by pay and I make on average $100 per hour. I was 20 years old and a full time student when I began! on top of my paycheck, I have been to many international conferences that include dinners out, comedy shows, limo nights, and boat cruises- all on the company. Yes Vector is multilevel.. so is every other company that sells something. Get your facts straight before you turn many young, impressionable people away from a fantastic opportunity!

    1. RonJohn

      “Vector is multilevel.”

      By multi-level, do you mean passive income from salesmen that you recruit?

  2. Wise guy

    I worked with Vector for about a week. Decided I hated sales! However, the few experiences I had makes me believe this is NOT a scam. I did make a little bit of money but I lacked the motivation to sell. The product on the other hand, was absolutely awesome! 20 years later I decided to purchase the $700 knife set and never looked back. The ‘interviewer’ sold me on it back then with a few demonstrations. The blades are shapes as such(patented D pattern) that they will not dull as quickly as most. 8 years later and they can still cut on a mason block for 5 minutes then slice a tomato with the greatest of ease.

  3. Josh Landers

    So i just wanted to post as well! I worked for Vector Marketing and the two things to say are: 1) its not a scam its a sales job, but a very hard job (more on that below) and 2) you don’t have to buy the sample set! Now to the good stuff, its a hard job. The only way to be successful in it is to be a good salesman. But you need to do more that that: you have to treat it like a business. At the end of the year you will pay taxes in a 1099 form. This is not a W-2, like a normal job. You work for yourself, and after the 2 day (non-paid) training you must act alone to make money. The best way to do this is to be very persistent in getting leads. You are at the customers house and you must ask them to hand over other peoples phone numbers. In the 80’s when this job was just getting started that was an easy thing to ask, but now cellphones are personal. By this i mean its is with you nearly all the time, so unlike a house phone that you could only call morning and night to talk about an appointment you can call anytime. This makes you look like a telemarketer. Thus people are reluctant. After you get a huge list of numbers (100 is best) you will see results. The statistics are as follows

    * 20% of the time no one picks up
    * 80% of the time they do, and
    * only 1/3 (33%) will say yes.

    That means that out of 100 calls you have 33% chance of an appointment. NOT a good stat, but that is sales in general and not VectorMarket specific. Now you are in the door and you have to try to sell them the homemaker set, a $800 set of knives that starting out earns you $120. Sounds easy but its not! If you are able to get them to say yes then you want to see if they want more! At the end of the day only 13% on average will say yes. 13 X $120 = $1,560.
    This all sounds nice but its harder then that. You will need to spend your money on gas, food to cut, and your normal living expenses.
    Now more about taxes! During all of the phone wrangles and knife cuts you need to track your mileage, money spent, and CUTCO trips made. Yes your office will try to make you go to conventions to learn how to do better in your job. However, your the boss! Just tell your manager NO! Unless you want to go… its around $100 or more, and is a tough thing to swallow. But more on the tax stuff!
    You will receive a 1099-MISC form around march. The amount you made will be in Box 7. Next you need to reduce this amount by subtracting any expenses related to them. Hopefully you are keeping receipts and documents. Currently the per mile deduction is 57.7 cents. At a $1.95 per gallon of gas thats a fair amount. But lets say with that $1560 you made you only drove about 100 miles. That’s only $57.50 off! And with food (one orange per appointment) about $10. So your at $1,492.5 you will pay $245 in taxes leaving you with $1247.5 to live with.

    My recommendations: if business is your thing GO for it! It’s a valuable learning experience. But take a separate job. You live in America to make money. If it works out great! Find out what you did that made you successful!
    HOWEVER! If you have no plans to go into sales, retail, real estate, or similar… don’t do it! You will be unhappy with the results. The company will not give you anything but encouragement an mental pushes to work as hard as you can.

    The company is not a scam, but it can look very devious. However it costs nothing to you, even if you make $0 but spend $300 on gas you will get a 1099-MISC and you can report losses and Uncle Sam will give you a refund (to a degree). Please take my advise: If you want to go into Business, then try this to learn, but you will not likely make money. That being said there are success stories abound, and your work ethic will show minus your skills.

  4. Kevin Bronander

    I’ve worked with Cutco for 6 months and made $10,000 as a senior in high school. I did not have to buy my presentation set. Many of the offices are not the nicest looking because they are owned and operated by young college graduates given the opportunity to do something bigger than a desk job. Everyone is guaranteed a base pay if they complete a demonstration and do not sell anything so they get paid no matter what. Sales isn’t for everyone and many kids who don’t understand that complain when they don’t make as much as someone who works twice as hard. Cutco gives an oppurtunity to almost anyone who walks through the door. If they succeed that’s great if not that okay too but everyone gets paid and everyone is treated fairly and that is not a scam by any means.

  5. Vector/Cutco Mom

    I’m a parent of a very successful Cutco rep. There is so much incorrect information in this website my head might implode. Our son never had to spend one cent on knives. They loan you a starter set so you can begin your presentations. As long as you are actively selling, you may use the loaned set. If you do not sell or decide to quit, you must return your loaned set back to your office manager. If you decide to keep the set, after numerous notices, you will be charged for it. Believe me, the knives are worth far more than what you are actually charged. His other knives were given as incentives for his sales. I can give you endless actual examples of Cutco success stories. Many college educations have been paid because of Cutco jobs. Collectively, this is one of the most impressive group of young people I have ever encountered and I have business experience with several highly successful corporations. Yes, it’s not for those looking for an easy buck, but they will give you the training, tools and the encouragement to be successful. Slackers won’t survive, but will they anywhere?

Leave a Comment