All distributors pay 380 for a kirby. I worked for a New Mexico distributor and got to know all the people there (and stayed there longer than almost everybody; its a crappy job for those at the bottom). I'm an inquisitive person and very friendly as well which helped me learn more about how much things REALLY cost and how much distributors REALLY make. There are no discounts for buying in bulk. However, if you buy 600 in a year you get 40 for free. For anyone mentioning socialism, we aren't asking for socialism. We're asking for common sense about a product that obviously doesn't cost anywhere from 2400 to 3600 dollars (as the distributor can sell it for whatever price he/she wishes).
The distributor I worked for sold anywhere from 150 to 200 a month (he had a couple other distributor trainees). Our pay scale was based on how much we could sell the kirby for. Ours started at 2499. [continued below]....
..... The more we sold it for the more we made. However, the distributor made the same amount every time a kirby was sold. There was NO RISK AT ALL for the distributor. So if we sold it for 800 (which we sold many of) we made 15 for the demo, 15 for the kock-in, and the team leader got 80 (10% of the sale). The distributor made the rest purely as profit (taking away the cost of the kirby of course). Most of the time they sold for more than 1000. We got paid the same (15,15,100) up to 1000. So everything, like I said, was profit for the distributor after paying us.
So lets assume we sold 175 that month. The distributor will make a minimum of 500 off of each kirby (like I said, no risk for him/her) but for argument's sake lets say some were sold at 800, giving the distributor only 400 in profit. Using this calculation the distributor is making 60,000 a month. 60,000 IN A MONTH! and that's a conservative estimation since we calculated some being sold at 800.
I have recordings on my phone of distributors saying this along with other things. I also have recordings of distributors saying don't ever show people the interest rate on the paper and that when it's sold, slip the papers (like the warranty card, financing papers, etc) into the extra bag so that they don't look at it right away. One of the distributor trainees even said keep the customers phone number and make sure you don't answer it for 3 days (the time you have to cancel).
Now going back to what some people said earlier about profit, overhead, having to pay workers. Now, I'm a capitalist and I enjoy having my "things" just as most others do but for someone to be making 50,000 a month in PROFIT (as in after paying for gas for the cars, rent, payroll, etc) I don't consider this ethical. What's even worse is that I did it for a good length of time and I was barely able to keep my bills paid. Of course, the people who make a good of money say "its up to the person, and those who don't make it aren't working hard enough" or "kirby isn't for everybody". This is a bunch of BS. The vast majority of dealers (the guys walking around knocking doors and doing demos) don't make that much money unless they are really ok with screwing people over and having no ethical dilemmas about it. We worked from 9 am to 9 pm. For those counting thats 12 hours a day. By the end of the week I was lucky to have a paycheck (since some deals are sold low or the financing went through as what's call a B-loan and you only get 15/20/25 bucks depending on the distributor) let alone those rare paychecks that are like 600 dollars. Now, again for those counting you work 6 days a week multiplied by 12. That's 72 hours a week. If you calculated your paycheck you usually don't make minimum wage (something they get around by making you an "independent dealer"; basically saying you're self-employed).
There's A LOT of stuff these guys lie about.
-First things first, they never want you to see the box. They're told to set it up so that the price on the side is hidden by the bag. The box has an MSRP for the kirby, of which they say the kirby vacuum portion for 1349 and the shampoo system for 179 (pictures to prove it provided at the bottom). That's roughly 1500 for the vacuum/shampooer which is all of what they show you but I've seen NO DISTRIBUTOR show that price. They don't carry the rest of the stuff that you'll see in the picture most of the time.
-When at the door they say "we get paid just to show it to you" LIE, they are ALL paid on commission, hence the independent dealer. There are some stories of people getting paid salary. I highly doubt this as the distributor makes nothing if the person can't sell kirby's but still has to pay someone a salary. This is especially true for the new people.
-On top of it they go around in crappy cars, cramped, with no names on their vehicles indicating who they are. And if they do have a name, it sure as hell doesn't say kirby.
-Kirby has a lifetime warranty. LIE, They have a 3 year warranty, read the booklet that came with the kirby. You have a lifetime REBUILD warranty that YOU have to pay (currently) 175 to have it rebuilt.
-Most of the time when knocking on a door they never mention they work for kirby. They'll say "BLANK Enterprise" and that they're doing a free carpet cleaning to see the new dry foam system or something similar. There are many, many, many approaches and you can say whatever gets you in the door. They think that once you're doing a demo, you forget that they basically conned you to get into your home.
-Pneumonia is caused by dust. LIE
-The kirby is guaranteed to be leak free. LIE
-I just have to get all the dirt out to shampoo. LIE. They are told to pull 100 pads.
-DON"T TRADE YOUR VACUUM IN!!!!! THEY SELL THEM TO USED VACUUM SHOPS. They are tax deductable for the distrubutor AND they make pure profit off of them by selling them to used vacuum shops, most of the time 25 bucks a pop. Our distributor said he used a good tax office and they saved him $20,000 in taxes.
-DON'T EVER TRADE A KIRBY IN EITHER. They then turn around and sell them for three or four hundred bucks or maybe more to someone as used. Pure profit. I'm telling you, this is a shitty company.
-All I (or he/she) need(s) is one more to make this trip. Vast majority of the time a lie.
-If you have to have one, buy it used for more than a couple hundred and not from a used vacuum shop. They make great money off of you too but I'd rather support a good, local business than kirby. Try craigslist, amazon, ebay, or something similar.
-If you've had a bad experience, report them to the BBB or your local authorities.
-Lastly, if they are in your area, call the police just to make sure they have their business permits. Most of the time we didn't have on with us or didn't have one at all for the area we were working. We'd go to other towns a couple hundred miles away and work without a business permit for the area. Just call the authorities to be safe.
The list of lies goes on and on and on. The recruiting tactics are shitty too. It's odd but kirby does have a way of attracting people who aren't really the best to be in someone's home. There are "good" people in kirby but soooo many of the people I saw go in and out of kirby (and most of the ones I saw IN Kirby) had good long records or some serious developmental/personal problems. One of the guys who became a team leader was convicted of possession with intent to distribute marijuana. He was the biggest marijuana distributor in the New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas area. If you wanted weed in any of those areas, it probably originated from him. He mentioned this and his connections with the mexican drug dealers. They brought it over the border. All he had to do was sell it via his network. I'm not trying to trash the guy but like I said, there are A LOT of people with records in kirby. The only people they don't want to hire are those with felonies and only because it becomes an even bigger liability.OH YEAH. The young woman who had sex with a minor and had a child with him was also hired and worked at our office for a couple of weeks. I don't remember her name but she was in national news. I believe it was El Paso, Texas where it happened. I'm certainly not saying ALL people in kirby have records but based on what I saw, the vast majority of people recruited were not people I would willingly let into my house.
Chances are, if you are hearing a horrible story about kirby, its truth. And chances are, if you're hearing a GOOD story about kirby, they work or have worked with kirby and screwed or are screwing a lot of good people out of their hard earned money to make themselves or their distributors insanely rich. The weed guy said that's "what he does"; that he's a "hustler" at heart. He also said he liked kirby because it gave him a way to get around paying child support that would be directly taken out of his paychecks anywhere else.
So once again, I'm not opposed to people making money or a decent living. But the way kirby is setup like paying the small people actually working hard virtually nothing while making those on top EXTREMELY rich or lying to get into doors, or lying about the kirby's capabilities I have a huge problem with. I will never have anything positive to say about kirby. I love the product but I will NEVER have anything positive to say about kirby as a business. I'll never pay for a new one (if I did I wouldn't pay more than 450 for it) and I don't want to own one because I'd be advertising for them every time someone saw I had a kirby. I know people have to make a living selling kirbys and 500 won't pay commission but if most people pay a low cost it will change the structure of kirby. Maybe reasonable profits will be made. People will quit because they can't make enough money (just like it is now) profit structures will have to change, maybe dealers could get paid fairly for the absurd amount of time they put in basically advertising the kirby. Just don't assume everyone at your home is a low paid dealer. Distributors and distributor trainees do demos for large commissions too sometimes.
So let's get down to the nitty gritty. If you don't want them at your house or if you want a kirby there are some things you can do:
-Tell them you're unemployed (they can't finance you one)
-Tell them you've had a bankruptcy in the past 7 years (they can't finance you one)
-Tell them you won't pay more than 500 dollars (and tell them you'll pay cash)
-You don't HAVE to have a kirby. Many vacuums do a pretty good job (and some were pretty hard to beat with the vac kill since we got so little dirt out). We don't have to have EVERY SINGLE little piece of dirt out of our floors. Yeah, we don't like dirt but a little bit of brown dirt shown on a white pad (or in a rag that makes it look like a bigger problem than it is) doesn't mean you have a lot of dirt in your house or that your health is at some sort of serious risk. And if you had A LOT of dirt on those pads/rags just buy a new vacuum (hopefully not an overpriced kirby though). But most of the time, if you don't have some $20 vacuum, you're really doing ok.
These people rely on your emotions. They want to sell you when emotion is high. They don't want you to think about this purchase. They want you then and there and will usually do almost whatever it takes to sell you a kirby from free supplies, TWO free rooms of carpet shampooed, lower the price some more. Whatever it takes. You make more money the more you sell since the regional managers are all about numbers, not distributor profit. The only thing they really try to stay away from is lowering the price too much especially too quickly cuz then they look like idiots showing you a price sheet at 2500+ dollars and they dropped it to 800 by the end.
Bottom line - the kirby is a good product. Unfortunately the disadvantages like sales pressure, price markup, lies, financing, lies, unethical behavior, lies, etc, etc, etc, etc FAAAAAAR outweight the benefits of owning a kirby or working for such a horribly structured and unethical company. I hope I've given enough information to make at least SOME form of an educated decision whether its to get one or not. I just hope you're informed of what is going on, the facts, and what you're supporting or not supporting. You can own one if you like, just remember that we live in capitalist society and you decide what business structure/ethics you'd like to have in the marketplace via what you willingly decide to purchase. I personally can live with the little bit of dirt I'm not currently picking up to not support the Kirby business.