Is Southwestern Advantage A Scam? 165 Year Old Company Still Utilizing Door-To-Door Selling?

Southwestern Advantage review

Welcome to My Southwestern Advantage Review!

As we know, a lot of direct sales companies are around the business scene for a long time. So in this post, we will be discussing a brand that has been a long-standing one and has been even birthed before we existed, yes because this company has been over 100 years. 

Southwestern Advantage Review Summary

Name: Southwestern Advantage


Founders: Reverend J. R. Graves

Product Type: Direct Sales Company

Price: Free

southwestern advantage logo

Quick Summary: Southwestern Advantage is a direct-sales company that goes for aspiring university students and hires them as independent contractors for a season (internship) in exchange for profits. Their products are with great reviews but dealers will have to go through door-to-door selling. 

In short a lot of work! Unlike most companies, especially MLMs, Southwestern Advantage is one of the few companies that simply focuses on sales revenues rather than recruitment. Joining is free. However, you will have to pay for travel costs and living expenses.

Overall Rating: 3/10

Recommended: No

In fact it’s one of the oldest companies we’ll be making a review with and it’s called Southwestern Advantage. 

This company is one of those few companies that accept sellers for free and are more focused on sales revenues than recruitment. Now, that’s refreshing for a multi-level marketing (MLM) brand. But will this be a great business opportunity to earn a big or it’s just for the purposeful experience? Does the program only favor the students? Is this 100% legit or just another scam?

We’ll discuss more in this honest Southwestern Advantage review!

What Is Southwestern Advantage About?

Southwestern Advantage (formerly known as Southwestern Company) is a direct sales company that focuses primarily on selling educational resources. It’s a direct seller and publisher of educational and reference products including books, CD-ROMs, and a subscription-based website. 

It was established in Nashville, Tennessee in 1855 and thus considered as America's oldest direct selling company.

For their affiliate program, they tend to go more for College students, preferably a university student seeking a job internship. However, the process of selling their products is quite obsolete because independent contractors/ sales representatives must do the traditional door-to-door selling. 

The company began more than a century ago, established in the year 1855 and founded by Reverend James Robinson Graves, an American Baptist preacher, publisher, evangelist, debater, author, and editor who as well-founded other Southwestern family of companies. Since 1868, Southwestern has helped college students run their own businesses to offset their educational expenses. 

Students from over 300 colleges and universities in North and South America and Europe participate, many earning college credit hours as an internship opportunity. Between 2,500 and 3,000 students participate in marketing and selling books and software each summer. The student representatives have over 4 million personal interactions with families and customers each summer all over the United States and Canada.

The company has indeed come a long way to reach this point. Southwestern Advantage is primarily focused on sales rather than recruitment. However, with that issue rose with regards to students’ conditions -- there were reported working conditions and financial difficulties. 

Yet the students chose not to mind these issues and rather continue to sell, mostly in suburban and rural areas. They are working long hours for low pay. With this, people in the US and the UK raised their concerns for these students. With the controversy brought up in the business industry, there are some states in the US, who initiated the call to stop these door-to-door selling tactics. And so it has as well affected the Southwestern Advantage independent contractors' usual business method. 

But throughout the years, Southwestern advantage has developed. The company now offers sales training to help students work as a door to door representatives in their summers out of college. And unlike other direct sales companies, there is no compensation for recruiting people into Southwestern Advantage’s income opportunity.

Southwestern Advantage Product Line

Southwestern Advantage promotes and sells various educational materials. Their main products are their books and website.  

Southwestern Advantage product line

 These are a few different categories of their products:

  • Just for parents- ideas, advice, and inspiration
  • Pre-K through 2nd Grade- fun words, reading, shapes, colors and number books
  • 2nd Grade through 6th Grade- explore and learn
  • 6th Grade through 12th Grade- college entrance advantage

There are also online tools and a heap of physical books on offer with DVDs. Their products also come from third party companies such as McGraw-Hill, Princeton Review, and National Geographic. Southwestern Advantage products can also be found on Amazon and eBay. 

However, when it comes to the cost of products, It's very hard to determine since there is no information about that on their website. Probably, one reason is for orders to only be done through independent contractors.  

How To Make Money With Southwestern Advantage? 

As to their compensation plan, unlike a typical multi-level marketing (MLM) company with a definite compensation plan with regards to their rank or sales standing, Southwestern Advantage doesn’t have that. And that's one of the reasons why Southwestern advantage is not a multi-level marketing company.

Their profit depends entirely on what they can make on their sales in their entire internship plus the deductions from the travel and living expenses they made during the whole period of the program. Well, it’s not that complicated compared with other companies. With Southwestern Advantage’s opportunity, there is a 40% commission on sales made. You can indeed make income by selling Southwestern Advantage’s educational resources. However, it can be as well possible to spend a day without making any sales, or in worst cases, students may end up being broke.

To learn more about Southwestern Advantage, you can watch the video below:

Is Southwestern Advantage A Scam?

what is Southwestern Advantage about

Being on the run for more than a century, Southwestern Advantage is indeed not a Scam. It’s a long-standing direct-sales company, selling and distributing legit educational resources through students who can as well earn from the sales they made. Southwestern Advantage products even have positive ratings and reviews. 

They are also a Better Business Bureau (BBB) accredited company and they do hold A+ rating which simply indicates its legitimacy.  


Joining as an Independent Contractor is free. However, it will still cost you to pay for travel and general living expenses as you will live with a host family in a new area since they are assigned to a specific location. That’s why it was probably referred to as a seasonal internship or that you’re called an Independent Contractor because you're indeed on your own. And preferably, the company hires students- college or university students.

But to those who joined, they are then provided with a five-day training camp before sending them out to do door-to-door selling. Typically these independent contractors are connected with former affiliates (alumni) to find a host family to live within a new area. 

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Established Company

Imagine, a company that is 165 years old? Indeed, Southwestern Advantage is an established long-standing company. It will not go this far if it’s not doing good. With all those years, they have as well helped students. 

Positive Product Reviews

Their products are even patronized by people and do have positive reviews because if not, they’ll not come this far selling the same set of products. 

Students New Skill Set

Though the work is quite hard and challenging for students, they will In return be equipped with experiences and they can develop some great sales skills. And on top of that, they can also make a commission from their sales. And I do commend them for helping out students not only gain new skills but as well as an opportunity to gain income.


A Lot Of Work

Yes, it will require a lot of work to really earn big. Skills in sales and communication will be greatly exercised in this program. Imagine the work of going from house to house and selling and promoting the same products. It’ll be really tiresome. Yes, you could probably earn at times but during unfavorable times, students may finish all the houses on the list for the day and still can’t get a sale. In these cases, students may end up broke because they too have to pay for living expenses as well as travel costs. 

Living With A Host Family

Not only that independent contractors will have to spend on their travel cost and living expenses, but they’ll also have to face the challenge of living with a host family. 

Seasonal Job

It’s a job not for a living. It’s good as a part-time job but only in the Summer. So, it’s basically not a job to sustain a living. 

Obsolete Business Strategy

It’s apparent to many that door-to-door business strategy is one of the most frustrating and the most difficult tactics existing versus earning money online. It will take a lot of work and it will be inconvenient considering in today's generation where it's already hi-tech and things can get as easy just by one click. 

Independent Contractors, Not Employees

That alone can be seen as a red flag. Yes, joining is free but Southwestern Advantage won’t provide enough to finance the students’ travel costs and other expenses needed on their stay. It’ll be in their pockets. Well, that’s probably one bane of not being an employee, you don’t have the benefits.

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Who Is It For?

It’s a job purposely intended for College or University students who are seeking job internship opportunities and at the same time earn income. Well, it is only indeed a seasonal job but not for a living. It also favors more those who are extroverted since you’ll have to do a lot of sales talking and you’ll have to meet and make new friends.

Training Tools/Support

Southwestern Advantage provides their Independent Contractors with a 5-day training camp before sending them out to the field and does door-door selling. They are as well connected with former Southwestern Advantage Independent Contractors (alumni) to find a host family to live within the area of their assignment. 

Final Opinion/Verdict

To summarize, Southwestern advantage is a legitimate long-standing company that sells educational resources. It’s not an MLM but it’s a direct sales company that mainly focuses on sales. Their products are even patronized by buyers for the past century.

However, the opportunity is not for all because the target of the program is college and university students. Well, I do commend them for helping out students not only gain new skills but as well as an opportunity to gain income.

But this opportunity is a lot of work because it still utilizes the traditional way of door-to-door selling. And with that, chances of high sales will be uncertain. You may get good sales at times but during unfavorable chances, you’ll end up having no sales in a day of hard work.

Lastly, the term these students as INDEPENDENT CONTRACTORS rather than employees and that alone can be seen as a red flag. Though it’s free joining, students will still have to spend money for their travel and living expenses- literally independent! That’s one downfall of not being an employee, no benefits. So definitely, not recommending you this one!

What’s Next?

Making money is not easy; it always involves hard work. You can’t just join any brand and earn cash the other day. If there’s an opportunity that claims that, I bet it’s a scam or just a low-quality program.

But if you’re not comfortable making money by knocking on doors (who is?), I suggest that you sign up with our #1 recommended program. This opportunity is one of the best options when you want to make money online and the best part is you can take advantage of these perks:

  • The best business tools and support you need
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I hope you’ve been enlightened with my Southwestern Advantage review and if you have questions or comments, please feel free to share it below.

Thank you!

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Caroline So

I'm a stay-at-home mom always on the lookout for ways on how to make LEGITIMATE money online. I also love to write; when not working as a content writer, I create blogs about skincare, makeup, motherhood, and digital marketing. I joined Vasiliy as a writer for Best Lifetime Income blog.

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