doTerra MLM Review – Just Another Pyramid Scheme?

In this doTerra MLM review we’ll be taking a close look at this company which specializes mostly in essential oils as well as some other related products. We’ll be finding out all the nitty-gritty about this multi-level marketing business opportunity that seems to be one of the better ones.

We’ll cover all of the important bits and pieces that you need to know about doTerra MLM before you dive in with both feet. Is doTerra MLM a scam or is it worth joining? Will you make some money? Those questions and more are answered here today.

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What is doTerra?

doTerra was created by Emily Wright, Mark Wolfert, Gregory Cook, David Stirling, Robert Young, and David Hill in 2008. doTerra is based in Utah and they sell personal care, health supplements and essential oils via the MLM business model. 3 of the founding members of doTerra were previously involved in another MLM company called Young Living and this gave them the idea to set up their own similar business selling essential oils, etc.

Young Living took doTerra to court with claims that trade secrets were stolen. In 2014 a settlement was reached and doTerra went on to scale up their business over the years since. Fast forward to 2017, and over 3 million Wellness Advocates are involved in the doTerra MLM company. The word “doTerra” is a latin term meaning “gift of the earth.”

Are doTerra Products Worth The Price? – No Way!

I did a little bit of fishing around on the internet to compare some of the prices of doTerra’s products with similar products from other companies. It seems that doTerra’s pricing is quite expensive. In fact, I found some of their products were more than twice the price of comparable items from other manufacturers.

Let’s take “lavender oil” as a good example. I love the smell of lavender, don’t you? Okay. I went to doTerra’s website and looked for some lavender essential oil. I found their 15ml bottle here in the image below. 15ml is 0.5 fl oz.

The cost for doTerra’s lavender essential oil is $30.67 (retail) or if you get it at wholesale pricing it will cost you $23.00. I don’t know about you but I can see that doTerra is a LOT more expensive than comparable products.

doTerra MLM Review - Price Comparison of Lavender Essential Oil on doTerra Website

And then I went on Amazon and did a quick search for lavender essential oil. I found 2 different ones right away. Not doTerra branding but does it matter if the quality is just as good?

In the image below you’ll see a 10ml bottle, which is 0.33 fl oz. The cost is just $6.99. 10ml is just a little less than 15ml. Compare the pricing. Also, that 10ml bottle is certified USDA organic.

And in the image to the right is a huge 4 fl oz bottle of lavender oil which costs only $8.99. 4 fluid ounces is like having 8 bottles of the doTerra at 15ml each. Remember, 15ml is about half a fluid ounce.

And look at the massive savings when you buy the 4oz bottle from Amazon. I’m not going to do the math but I’ll bet that 4oz bottle for just $8.99 is going to last 8 times as long as a dinky little 15ml bottle.

My point is this…

Who the heck wants to pay way over the odds for almost the exact same product?

And with that in mind, just HOW would you convince anyone to pay a huge amount more cash for doTerra’s branding?

I’m no skinflint, but I’m pretty smart when it comes to saving money and not wasting it. I know I’d buy the 4oz bottle from Amazon a thousand times over. I don’t care how good a salesman you are, you are NEVER going to convince me it’s better to buy your doTerra essential oil at a huge markup just because of the brand name. That’s crazy.

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Wellness Advocates for doTerra would probably call me out and tell me that I forgot to mention that doTerra products are tested for purity. So what? I’ll still go for the 4oz bottle in the image below. Then I’ll laugh at all the people paying 10 times more for their teensy weensy little doTerra bottles.

I think I’ve made my point. How will you sell something so overpriced when there are similar products for a fraction of the cost?

doTerra MLM Review - Price Comparison of Lavender Essential Oil on Amazon

doTerra claims that their products go through a lot of testing that most other comparable products don’t and I believe this is why doTerra charge more for their product line.

It’s also worth mentioning that with most MLM companies, you’ll have to pay a premium to get their products. This is due to the exclusivity element (you’re not supposed to be able to buy their stuff elsewhere, only through the MLM representatives). It’s also due to the fact than when you buy through an multi-level marketer (such as doTerra’s Wellness Advocates) then you’re paying more because those representatives need to earn a commission.

So, doTerra’s products are typically a lot more expensive than similar products from other companies that are not involved with the MLM business model.

How do Wellness Advocates convince their customers that doTerra is worth almost 2 times the cost of comparable products from other vendors? Maybe you’re a great sales person and you’d be able to persuade people into buying the more expensive options from doTerra rather than going on Amazon and buying something else? Think about this before getting involved in any MLM company.

The doTerra MLM Business Opportunity

Now that we’ve covered what doTerra products are all about, let’s take a good look at the MLM business opportunity available. Most MLM companies require that you join them via a current MLM marketer for that company.

However, you don’t have to join doTerra via one of their Wellness Advocates, you can join directly instead. You can sign up to doTerra using the internet. You’ll have to buy a starter kit as with any other MLM I’ve investigated so far.

When you become a Wellness Advocate with doTerra, you can get involved in social events and there is monthly training so you can keep abreast of all that is new with doTerra.

How Much Does it Cost to Join doTerra?

The cost to join doTerra is quite reasonable at only $35 to signup. This fee is non-refundable, so be sure you’re okay with that before you signup and then change your mind. You must also buy a starter kit, another common thing you have to do when you join an MLM company.

doTerra recommend that you also pay for some training which will teach you all about their products and how you can sell them. doTerra Starter Kits come in various costs when signing up as a Wellness Advocate using their website.

doTerra MLM Review - Starter Kits for doTerra Wellness Advocates

It’s really important to know this stuff if you’re going to be successful in selling lots of their products to your potential customers. You’ll learn stuff like how essential oils can benefit certain ailments, what the products ingredients are, as well as the best ways to promote the products so you can make as much money as possible.

The cost of the training will be around $119, so you’ll have to add that on to the cost of the starter kit and the signing up fee. After one year with doTerra, you’ll renew your fee for $25 which is $10 less than the first year you become a member.

Can You Make Money with doTerra MLM?

Most people do not make much if any money with MLM companies. I know that selling products that are more expensive than similar products from other manufacturers are going to be difficult to sell to someone who’s smart with their money.

Most people wouldn’t want to pay over the odds even though you tell them that your doTerra products are better quality and thus are worth the extra outlay. Don’t forget, MLM company products usually cost a lot more to cover commissions and because the products are usually a little more exclusive and hard to get a hold of other than through a member of the particular MLM.

Video – Why a 4 Year doTerra MLMer Chose to Quit

In the following video, this former doTerra MLM Wellness Advocate tells us all about why she quit doTerra MLM (and I believe any other MLM if what she is saying is still true for her).

It’s important to note that you will have to cover a lot of expenses such as telephone calls, and travel to and from your customers to deliver their products. This is not something that is covered by doTerra itself. Don’t bother trying to claim for these expenses because it’s never going to happen.

One good thing about most of doTerra’s products are they are small and lightweight, meaning you could easily have some samples available no matter where you go. Handy if you want to be more mobile and not have to worry about large or heavy products making daily working life difficult.

But the bottom line is this…

Are you good at selling overly expensive products and can you recruit other people into doTerra so that you can also make money from any sales they make? Do you mind covering expenses that will be incurred? You have to add all this up before joining any MLM company. You can click here to view the doTerra opportunity and earnings disclosure. It will open in a new tab so you don’t lose this page. Wellness Advocates will earn 25% on all purchases made by retail customers.

There are two main ways to earn money with doTerra. The easiest way would be to sell the products to new or regular customers. You will earn a commission from those sales. You’ll have to arrange gatherings, and you’ll probably have to start with friends and family first. Due to doTerra’s products being small and easy to carry around with you, this will give you extra opportunities to introduce your products to new people you meet.

The other way to make money with doTerra is to recruit new Wellness Advocates into your team. This is typical of any MLM (and subsequently the main reason I don’t like the MLM business model.) When the people you’ve recruited make a sale, you will in turn make a commission. You can see why doTerra products cost a lot more than comparable products. They cost more because they have to cover all the commissions after all is said and done.

doTerra MLM Review - Screenshot of doTerra Compensation Plan PDF

You can check out this doTerra MLM compensation plan here. This opens in a new tab so you don’t lose this page.

doTerra MLM Pros

Fast Start Bonus

With doTerra’s Fast Start Bonus, you can earn loyalty rewarded free products.

Compact Products

Being such small products in small packaging, you can easily take doTerra’s samples anywhere with you. This might help you strike up conversations with potential customers and new Wellness Advocates.

Certification Training for Essential Oils

As I mentioned elsewhere in this post, doTerra have some training that they recommend you to take before becoming a Wellness Advocate. This training does cost you money, however. It’s good that they have the training, I just don’t feel that charging people to take the training before selling the product is a very nice way to treat your new “employees” who have opted in to help doTerra to grow as a business. Surely they should give this training for free?

Essential Oils are CPTG Certified

doTerra created a Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) testing system for checking the purity of essential oils. This process of testing for their essential oils is designed to ensure that their oils do not have artificial ingredients and are as pure as possible. (This may or may not help to reduce allergic reactions to doTerra essential oil products.)

doTerra is a Well Recognized Brand Name

I’ve been taking a look at the Better Business Bureau website to check out how doTerra is performing in the complaints department. They don’t seem to be too bad from what I can see so far. I always check out MLM company complaints around the web. The BBB is the first place I always check. Compared to other MLM companies the complaints aren’t too bad.

doTerra MLM Cons

doTerra Products Cost How Much?

This is the biggest issue I have with doTerra products. They’re EXPENSIVE. I wouldn’t be able to bring myself to paying up to 4 times the cost for any essential oils product. So, how would you persuade someone else to pay all that extra? You can find comparable essential oil products for a lot cheaper if you try places like Amazon.

You Got Demoted?

If within your first year as a Wellness Advocate for doTerra you do not manage to recruit other people into your down line as part of your team, you could end up being “demoted” by doTerra to the status of “Wholesale Customer.” If you don’t have any recruits in your first year this might happen to you. So be warned in advance.

Products Misrepresented

Many doTerra Wellness Advocates took a lot of heat starting in 2014 for misrepresenting doTerra essential oils as cures for cancer and many other serious illnesses. Some Wellness Advocates continued to make dubious claims about the benefits of doTerra’s essential oils even after the Food and Drugs Administraion (FDA) warned the MLM company not to make false claims with regard to their products.

Organic Vs Therapeutic Grade Products

Therapeutic grade products and organic products are not the same thing. Just because a product claims to be therapeutic grade and “pure”, it doesn’t mean the product is organic. doTerra can’t claim their products are organic, which means they would be free from chemicals such as residues from pesticides. If a product has been genetically modified, this would also mean that a product is NOT organic.

Is doTerra a Scam or a Pyramid Scheme?

In short, YES!

I’m sorry, doTerra.

doTerra is a pyramid scheme just like all other MLM companies. I’m tired of walking on eggshells so as not to upset a multilevel marketing company and get sued.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll look at all MLM companies as a scam. It’s not the product we’re discussing when we’re asking about doTerra being a scam or not. The business model is the most important thing to look at.

We’re looking purely at the MLM business side of things. I’m pretty convinced that their essential oils are high quality (I hope so because they’re darned expensive, aren’t they?).

But what about the MLM side of things? As you may know, I really really do not like MLM because of the pressure you’re put under to recruit others into your team. Obviously the more people you can recruit then the more income you’re going to make. But if you don’t get a lot of rectuits under your wing, you’re not going to make a lot of money.

And here is another video that explains why MLM is not good to get involved with. It’s cult-like.

Video – Multilevel Marketing Cults: Lies, Pyramid Schemes, and the Pursuit of Financial Freedom

There are other MLMs, some good, some not so good and some are just plain ugly. Check out some of my other MLM reviews like my Arbonne MLM Review, Amway MLM Review, Limelife MLM Review, Monat MLM Review or my Matilda Jane MLM Review.

Most people do not make any money with an MLM company. The number of successful people in MLM businesses are a tiny minority, and usually the first people to get involved in these companies which too closely resemble a pyramid scheme for my liking. I wouldn’t call doTerra MLM a pyramid scheme just yet though.

You can take a look at this PDF from a reliable source (The FTC) to see the success rates of people in MLM businesses.

For further reading, you can check out this post which lists 3 mind blowing statistics about MLM.

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Is There a Better Alternative to doTerra MLM?

Yes. Affiliate marketing which is a fancy pants name for internet marketing.

If you’d like to get your own online business off the ground, then check out my #1 recommendation on how to start an online business. You won’t have to recruit people, or arrange parties and you won’t have to listen to hassle from your sponsor (the person who recruited you).

And there is no need to stock any products and you don’t have to handle shipping and packaging, refunds, or any of that other annoying stuff. In fact, this better alternative is cheaper to get started and gives you the freedom to work when you like and where you like. You’ll have no boss, because you are the boss!

You can do affiliate marketing from your kitchen table, or your sofa or your bedroom. Heck, you can do it sitting on your balcony with a coffee to slurp on while you work.

Getting involved in MLM is a lot of unnecessary pressure that I’d rather not live with. What about you? How do you feel about MLM? Let me know in the comments below, even if you disagree with me. I won’t bite.

My Final Verdict of doTerra MLM

Although I believe that doTerra is one of the better MLM business opportunities available today, I don’t recommend it. MLM is not a good type of business model to become involved in. There are reasons for MLM companies are often called out as being pyramid schemes.

Many MLM companies are indistinguishable from a Ponzi scheme in the way they’re structured.

MLM companies will somehow manage to get around these claims of illegal business practices by structuring their business in a certain way to avoid being shut down by the authorities.

And just because the authorities have not shut down an MLM company, it doesn’t mean that it’s a legit business opportunity to get into. The authorities just might not have got around to that particular company yet.

The main ways to make money with any MLM are to-

  • You pay the MLM company for a “starter kit”
  • Then you “sell” their products
  • You must recruit others to sell their products and you receive a commission from their sales

It’s the recruiting others part that makes any MLM opportunity a no-no for me. Recruiting people under you is hard. It’s a full-time job in itself. Then you’ve got to train them up, motivate them, and get on their backs when you think they’re not pulling their weight.

All the while, you’ve got somebody above you in the “pyramid” who is no doubt going to be on your back to tell you to work harder and recruit more people and make more sales. Ugh!

It sounds like never ending hell to me. I’d rather be truly working for myself and only have myself to answer to. That’s why I started my own online business using nothing but the awesome training provided at Wealthy Affiliate.

If your passion is essential oils and other products in the doTerra product line, there is no reason why you couldn’t go and create a website all about health and well-being and then you could promote (sell) other people’s products on there as an affiliate.

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My name’s Jim, thanks for visiting my doTerra MLM review. It’s been great talking to you. Take care.

Be sure to check out my other MLM review posts. Coming soon are my Arbonne MLM reviewAmway MLM reviewMatilda Jane MLM reviewdoTerra MLM reviewHerbalife MLM reviewMonat MLM review and Norwex MLM reviews.

doTerra MLM
  • Pricing
  • Ease of Use
  • Support
  • Training


doTerra is an MLM company that sells essential oils. While their oils may be good quality, they are way more expensive than comparable brands. As an MLM business I wouldn’t like to be involved at all. Check out my better alternative – read my Wealthy Affiliate review here.

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