I’d like to share a story with you. It’s a tale of opportunity and exploitation. An epic adventure about you, a dream of making money on your own terms… and a gleaming blade sharp enough to cut copper. It’s the legend of Cutco Knives 😀
Okay… so the real story of Cutco might not be so dramatic, but if you’re looking for an unbiased review, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re wondering if Cutco Knives is a scam… that’s also a topic we’ll discuss. The truth may surprise you.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for Cutco Knives (or Vector Marketing). This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What is Cutco
Cutco Knives is a manufacturer and distributor of high-quality kitchen cutlery, knives, and kitchen accessories. They also produce and sell sporting, hunting, and pocket knives.
Founded in 1949, Cutco (a joint venture between Alcoa and Case Cutlery originally called Alcas Corporation) manufactures its products in Olean, New York (visitor center and factory pictured below). Today, they claim to be in the homes of 16 million satisfied customers.
Cutco knives are known for their high quality and durability. They are also semi-famous for being able to cut through rope and leather. Their real claim to fame, however, is making a pair of kitchen scissors (shears) that can cut through a penny. Yes… a penny. More on that in a moment.
So the question is, why is a company that’s been around since 1949, that sells an exceptional product… being called a scam?
Cutco is what’s called a single-level direct sales company. Contrary to what some have said, they are not a multi-level marketing company or a pyramid scheme. As a Cutco Sales Rep, you cannot establish a downline and earn commissions from them.
In the early days, Cutco had hundreds of these small, independent, direct sellers.
One of these sellers was named Vector Marketing, and from 1981-1984, Vector Marketing sold significantly more than all other independent sellers.
So, in 1985, Cutco purchased Vector Marketing making them their premier seller, and in cookie-cutter fashion, they duplicated Vector's success all over the continent.
Today… if you see an Ad or receive a call from someone offering you a job to sell Cutco Cutlery… it's coming from Vector Marketing (not Cutco).
Vector has also had it’s fair share of controversy over the years. Along with a handful of lawsuits, including the state of Wisconsin ordering Vector to stop providing dishonest information to students, the Washington Post conducted a survey of 940 Vector recruits in 1996.
Almost half reported that they earned no money, or even lost money by working for Vector Marketing (again… not Cutco).
In 1996, The Washington Post reported that of the 940 Vector recruits surveyed, nearly half earned nothing, and some even lost money.
In fact, the dubious practices of Vector Marketing even inspired a group of students to form a group called SAVE (Students Against Vector Exploitation).
Despite the negativity surrounding Vector Marketing, they still operate today and are the premier seller of Cutco Cutlery.
And to be clear, according to some representatives, it is not the Vector Marketing of old. They have improved over the years, and just as importantly, your experience with them will vary depending on the branch and team you work with.
If you're reading this review for the income opportunity (rather than the Cutco products), but you're not sure selling is your thing, you can also earn money by doing simple things online like surveys with sites like surveyjunkie.com. You can also make money visiting websites, watching videos, and searching the web with Inbox Dollars.
Of course, surveys won't pay nearly as much as sales, but if you'd like to make money online they're a good first step.
If you want to make significant money but tend to be more on the introverted side or again… don't like sales, being able to leverage the web to work exclusively from home (and multiply your efforts in ways that are not possible with direct sales) is what you need in order to get what you want.
Is Cutco Knives A Scam?
Now that you know a little about Cutco’s history, I can tell you about Cutco Knives being a scam, but only you can decide.
Think about this…
It’s no coincidence that a company that makes scissors so powerful that they cut through pennies was also formed during the third year of the Cold War.
Is it obvious that Cutco is a covert US defense contractor and manufacturer of small weapons that Cold War spies once used?
Did they neve care about students or independent sellers?
The Cold War is over, of course, but a secret agent's need for a knife that springs from their sleeve or a blade that pops out of their alligator skin boot is still very real.
And if you think that sounds like a tale straight from one of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels… well, that’s because it's a far-fetched yarn that could only be a made-up story…
…. which, of course, it is.
I'm sorry, just having a little fun. I couldn't resist… 😀
To be very clear… NO, Cutco is NOT a scam.
Reviews are not the most gripping pieces of literature, so every once in a while I like to add a little color to brighten them up… I hope you don’t mind.
The cutting through pennies, though… that part is absolutely true.
So… Cutco is NOT a Cold War weapons manufacturer (well… that we know of). 😀
Joking aside, when it comes to the Cutco Knives scam, there is plenty to discuss.
First (and to be clear again), as I'm sure you can tell, Cutco Knives (the company) is not a scam. Neither is Vector Marketing. They've both been around for many years.
However… some people disagree with their predatory sales and recruiting practices, which is why Cutco is often called a scam (NOTE: Being called a scam is, of course, not the same thing as being a scam).
That leads us to a discussion about deception and intent.
The Vector Marketing Interview
Although the operational side of Cutco and their marketing division are not a scam (meaning they produce, sell, and deliver a quality product, as well as pay their employees, vendors, and taxes), their sales and recruiting practices have been called into question.
But I want to repeat what I said earlier. You experience with Vector Marketing today will most likely be different than what others have experienced in previous years and decades. Times have changed and so has Vector Marketing.
And, of course, not every Vector branch and team operates the same. References to it being a scam often come from experiences and perceptions that persisted years ago.
Merriam-Webster defines a scam as a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation. Wikipedia defines a scam as a “confidence trick” or an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their confidence.
When a Vector Marketing “receptionist” calls to recruit you as a sales rep for Cutco, they do it in a way designed to gain your confidence and sell you an opportunity in what some might consider a deceptive manner.
Vector employs telemarketers (also called recruiters) to get you in for an interview. The official job title they use is a “receptionist,” and there are different levels (receptionist, VIP receptionist, Elite receptionist)
The receptionist uses a carefully crafted script to gain your confidence. (It should be noted here that the use of script in selling is common to most sales professions, from real estate to car sales and even retailers and fast food… “would you like fries with that?”)
Even the process of getting you on the phone is an actual procedure they refer to as “3X’s a day is the Champion’s Way”.
The 3X means they must call you 3 times a day… morning, afternoon and before they leave the office at the end of the day.
They are also instructed to call you twice in row, and if you answer the second time, a recruiter (receptionist) will work from a script…
“Hey thanks for picking up! I know it’s a little weird that I just called you twice… we’ve just been so busy here and I wanted to make SURE that I got a hold of you right away because you (filled out an application on line for example…) or else I would have never gotten a hold of you.”
Once they have you on the phone, a strategy of building rapport is used. It begins with some friendly banter which leads to,
“Oh, I just got off the phone with someone who…
– also has a part-time job.
– also lives in your area.
– also goes to your school, etc.”
The purpose is to establish commonality. To further gain your confidence, they will seek a point of connection by mentioning your friend.
“you were referred by [friend].”
And, If you have no idea who this “friend” is, they again go back to the script. This time, they even include laughter.
“(laughter), Oh, [so-called friend] may have went through their phone and recommended whoever they thought wanted to earn some extra cash. Maybe you met them at a party…”
As the conversation continues and you ask questions, they (the recruiter) will tell you that they are only receptionists, and for any questions you have, the “canned response” is “My Manager is the best person to answer that” or “I know my Manager does cover that in the interview” or “Something as sensitive as that you should really speak to a Manager about”
It’s all part of a carefully orchestrated play to keep the “engine” running. The “engine”, in this case, is a steady supply of recruits and leads, which they of course need, because most people quit (if they show up for training at all).
And… with each new lead comes the opportunity to sell more cutlery, knives, wooden blocks, kitchen scissors, and so on (to the new recruit’s family and friends).
The Script Never Ends
Your journey began with the script, and as you progressed to the second and third interviews (more accurately described as presentations), the script continued.
I sold insurance for a short while about 15 years ago, and I can tell you… even though the conversation seems natural, everything is planned to the finest detail. In my case, selling insurance… everything was scripted and had to be performed on video before we were approved to go out in the field.
If you stick it out and become a Cutco Sales Rep, you'll learn this in your training. When recruiting and selling Cutco, they have it down to a science.
You'll be presenting from a script, hitting your marks, asking specific questions to obtain a desired response, and memorizing canned responses to handle objections.
Whether you consider this a deception is up to you. One thing it is not in my opinion… is sincere.
The truth, though… if we call it a scam, is that we would also have to call every car dealership a scam, every insurance salesperson a scam, every real estate agency a scam, and so on… Because they all use a script. And they all use tricks to gain your confidence.
Maybe it's capitalism at its worst (or its finest, depending on your attitude towards capitalism). But how often does advertising tell the truth? Think of any fast food restaurant. The real burger never looks like the one pictured.
And… Budweiser will not get you your dream partner (If you do get your dream partner, it's YOU, not the beer.)
Sales and marketing always walk a fine line between truth and deception, even if it's subtle or in jest.
So, whether Cutco Knives and Vector Marketing are a scam, I’ll leave it for you to decide. I personally don't think they are, but I also can't speak for all recruiters (nor can Cutco). Some overly aggressive recruiters can easily wander into scam territory with false promises or statements.
I'm not saying it happens, but it's possible. At least you know the game they are playing.
If it's a game you don't feel like playing, as mentioned earlier, you can earn money by doing simple things online like surveys with sites like surveyjunkie.com. You can also make money visiting websites, watching videos and searching the web with Inbox Dollars.
Again, surveys won't pay as much as sales, but they're a good way to get started if you want to make money online.
For a bigger home-based paycheck, using the internet to multiply your time and effort in a way that's not possible with direct sales is what you need in order to get what you want.
Cutco Knives Compensation
Being a single-level direct seller, the compensation structure for a Cutco Sales Rep is quite simple.
Unlike most direct sales companies and MLMs… Cutco offers a guaranteed wage of approximately $12.50 to $17.50 per appointment (depending on location). Notice I said per appointment. Although each appointment (or presentation) is approximately one hour… this rate does not translate into an hourly wage.
In fact, when you include the props needed for demonstrations, fuel to drive there, parking if required, and your time to and from appointments… your hourly rate is closer to half (or less) of your per-appointment rate.
Nonetheless… it’s more than most direct sales companies offer, which is usually a big ZERO.
In addition to your guaranteed wage, you earn commissions on your sales.
- $0 – $1,000 (sales) = 10% (commission)
- $1,001 – $4,000 = 15%
- $4,001 – $7,500 = 20%
- $7,501 – $12,000 = 25%
- $12,000 – $24,000 = 30%
- $24,000 plus = 30% + (the “+” is unspecified)
To get paid, you must submit a completed qualified presentation report weekly to your office manager for tracking purposes.
In addition to that, I should also mention you are required to sign a standard Sales Representative Agreement and put down a security deposit ($200) for your demonstration knives.
Making Money Selling Cutco Knives
Cutco has a high employee turnover rate. One reason is that they are aggressively recruiting people who were not looking for a sales job the in the first place. People, 85% college-aged, sign up reluctantly. And, once they realize what they've got themselves into, they feel buyer's remorse.
Another reason is that people just don’t like to sell. They especially don’t like selling to their family and friends, which Cutco has encouraged in the past.
The opportunity is made to sound great, so of course… they get excited and fantasize about the freedom and earning potential. But they lose interest quickly when they realize it's a lot tougher than it sounds.
Sales, particularly in-home sales, is not an easy game. It requires a unique personality, uncommon energy, and the ability to handle regular doses of rejection.
While some people are suited to it, and will certainly make money selling Cutco Cutlery, the majority are not.
It's true, hard work can be a game-changer, but as someone who spent 10+ years in B2B (business to business) sales, and a few more doing both Amway and insurance sales… I feel compelled to say, “DO NOT beat yourself up if sales is not for you”.
Seriously… I spent many years feeling guilty and miserable because I refused to accept that I hated my career as a sales rep. I made selling my life, but it was actually a distraction that made me intensely unhappy, steered me away from the career I actually wanted, and it even ruined some relationships.
I'm not saying that will be your experience, but if you think selling is not for you… it’s not a big deal. Take from it what you can learn, and move on.
Don’t like selling? Check out my number one recommended program to make money online.
What I Like About Cutco Cutlery
- The Cutco brand is known for being high-quality. As both a consumer and a seller, this is extremely important. Half the sales battle is won simply by having a solid product to sell, which Cutco is.
- If sales is your thing, the guaranteed wage (per appointment) is more than you will get from most (if not all) other direct sales companies. It’s not a lot of money, but it’s something… and it will cover some of your expenses.
- Whether you enjoy sales or not, whether you make money selling Cutco or not… everyone can benefit from the sales training they provide.
You may never have a career selling products, but throughout life, you are always selling yourself. It might be a job interview, an important client, or your boyfriend/girlfriend’s parents.
Possessing a decent set of people skills will make your life a lot easier.
What I Don't Like
- Aggressive and deceptive recruiting tactics. Of course, each manager is responsible for the culture within their own branch, and some will be more honest than others. A few may even be more sincere and helpful.
But, Vector Marketing has a reputation, and if you’ve been recruited by them, make sure to go in with your “eyes wide open.”
- It’s a limited opportunity because it’s not suited to most people. And, because Cutco and Vector Marketing know that, the recruitment process and lead generation strategy has become a revolving scheme.
- Although you qualify for some tax deductions, unlike a real sales job, there are no reimbursements for your vehicle, your insurance, your meals, your cell phone, etc.
- Cutco knives are expensive. They’re impressive, particularly compared to a typical family’s knife set that never gets sharpened. But I'm not sure everyone needs a steak knife that cuts though leather.
That's just my opinion.
And who needs shears that cut through coins? They may last for years, but I'm not entirely certain Cutco solves a problem that a $15 knife sharpener can’t. Again, just my opinion. Cost aside, it's hard to compete with or argue with the quality.
Where Do You Go From Here?
Do you need an expensive set of kitchen knives? Do your friends or family need an expensive set of kitchen knives? Maybe you do. I'm certainly in no position to judge.
Update: in one of the comments below, Dusty mentions that Cutco Knives are great for someone who has difficulty cutting due to a medical issue such as a muscular disease. Someone with an injury or arthritis, for example, would also benefit)
In most cases though, I think the answer is that it's not a necessity, but they would be niche to have. And many of us own a lot of things we don't need.
So, I wouldn't say it's a product that sells itself (despite what some trainers or recruiters may say). There is no question about the quality or the desire to own a set of Cutco knives. It's more about whether someone needs a new set of knives and has the money to afford them.
You can make decent money selling Cutco, but it will likely require some aggressive tactics and a lot of appointments. You'll be hunting down leads, making many calls, driving (or taking an Uber) to many homes, and talking to many people.
But to be fair, none of this is unique to Cutco Knives. This is just sales in general.
One big advantage to selling Cutco Knives though is that you won't have to defend the product. It might not sell itself, but the quality definitely does speak for itself, and if you enjoy person-to-person sales… it's a product you can be proud to sell.
There's no way around it, though. Selling is all about running numbers, and for the right person, it's a great career. Some people are also very helpful and ethical when it comes to sales.
Sales is hard work though, which is why many today are automating the process online. For those who don't enjoy person-to-person sales, it's possible to sell something once online… sit back, and have it do all the work for you?
Okay, maybe “sit back” isn't exactly accurate because it takes time to get to that point in the first place. But there is no question the internet allows you to leverage and multiply your efforts in ways that in-person selling can't.
I certainly don’t want to discourage you from selling Cutco. If you think it’s a job for you, it's worth giving them a shot (and it's a great learning experience).
I will suggest, however (having spent many years in sales), that there are easier ways to earn extra money in my opinion. Again, for the right person. It's a matter of matching what you do to your own skill set or personality. You could take a part-time job, do babysitting, mow lawns, or as mentioned above, start your own online business.
Cutco Knives may be the real deal, but Vector Marketing is the one that may stab you (NOT literally of course, just my attempt at a clever play on words because, you know… they sell knives… 😀)
Okay, bad joke…
The truth is though, if you're not sure about selling… you won't know unless you try. And if you're on the fence, it doesn't hurt to give them a chance.
If you already know it's not your thing and you just want some extra spending money, you can do that with online surveys with sites like surveyjunkie.com. You can also make money watching videos, searching the web and visiting websites with Inbox Dollars.
Of course, surveys won't make you rich so what if you still want to make decent money without becoming a salesperson or recruiting others?
As mentioned above, you have options.
If you want to be your own boss and not deal with the BS, then creating a full-time income online is what you need in order to get what you want.
My Top Recommendation For Making Money Online
Getting a job, even if it's selling Cutco Knives, is a step in the right direction. There's a lot they can teach you and it's not a scam.
Finding legit systems with all the scams out there, though, can be a pain. I spent many months testing different training programs and my number one recommendation is Wealthy Affiliate.
I hope my Cutco Knives Review was helpful. If you have any comments, questions, or a personal experience with Cutco that leads you to believe they are (or are not) a scam, please share in the comments section below.
67 thoughts on “Is Cutco Knives A Scam? The Edge of Deception – Cutco’s Slice of The Truth?”
You failed to mention Cutco also has a program in Costco. I work thru Kelly Services for Cutco and we sell a small portion of the same product offered by Vector and their students at factory direct prices for just 10 days maximum twice a year per store. Customers that have purchased from students probably their son or daughters friends talk about how they had to help the kid but years later they remember that kid and how they helped them because the product lives up to its reputation. And the free sharpening and replacement 5 or 10 years down the road is fantastic. It’s a sustainable and all made in America product. I’ve heard stories from 3rd generation children that sent the original set back for sharpening and Cutco replaced it with a brand new set of knives. The scissors stay sharp for years but when they do go dull Cutco replaces it with a brand new pair of scissors! Now that’s worth the investment! Warren Buffet says poor people can’t afford to buy cheap and when people discover Cutco you should see them smile when the DD edge cuts thru leather and a tomato. All people deserve Cutco. It’s worth every penny because you only spend your money once and it lasts forever. You should treat yourself to some Cutco because you will fall in love with it. When I first discovered Cutco my sons were selling it and they bought me a set. I thru away the $1000 of dollars of knives away I had in my drawers in the kitchen and only have Cutco in my kitchen and keep buying more. My friends love it and today when we all spend so much time cooking we deserve quality and it’s just the Best!
So, I have been selling Cutco knives in Costco with their roadshow program for almost 7 years.
I also have owned these knives for almost 6 years. They are the absolute best knives I’ve ever owned and I still haven’t had to sharpen them.
In my job, I meet people all the time that have owned Cutco for 50, 60, 70 years and THEY STILL OWN THEM. It’s the best kitchen tool investment you could ever make!
If vector is such a company as you say, and I believe they are, why does Cutco keep them, I guess it works and they get their profit. Seems odd that a very good manufacturer would partner with such a sleazy sales group. I just had a sales call from a nephew referred to us by his “rich” aunt. (see comments below) So we signed up and bought knifes “which were very good but really did not need”, but still happy we bought them.
It was perfect and I do want to try!
Good article, but it leaves out some important things. For reference, I worked at Vector one summer about 10 years ago. Some of these details will cross over into what’s in the article, but I feel it’s important to share the full picture. I’m not trying to say it’s an illegal scam or that you can’t make money selling Cutco, but it is a very shady business practice to say the least.
1. You’re an independent contractor, not an employee. You’ll have to constantly attend sales “trainings”, sales meetings, and even conferences that are pretty far away WITHOUT being compensated for any of it. You can try to get out of these things, but you’ll be shamed for it and your “loyalty” will be questioned as a result. Your manager will constantly call you, harass you about sales, and somewhat coerce you into attending these unpaid events. Training is also unpaid, like the article says. Several ppl walked out of the interview/training after realizing how weird this was, which should be a red flag to anyone. The “kit” you use to sell is also several hundred dollars.
We used to have these “phone parties” where we were supposed to spend 6-8 hours (unpaid) cold calling leads, friends, and family (even if they’d already declined an appt) either trying to sell them knives or get them to come work for Vector. If they didn’t answer, we were told to call again 10 mins later. It just felt like harassment to me. Maybe some people are cool with that… but if it sounds awkward/cringey to you, it’s because it is.
I had to pick up/watch my little sister one day during this calling frenzy. My manager made me feel like sh*t for it and said I could “just bring her back here” and to be right back. This is how the culture was… they basically ask you to hand over 25-40 hour of your life every week without paying you. On top of that, you were expected to go out and do as many presentations as possible. I never went back and quit after that (I’d had enough by then).
2. You can basically only be successful at this job if your parents/family are wealthy and/or have wealthy friends. That might sound like a cop out… but it’s like 99% true. Selling a $1000 set of knives to people struggling to make ends meet is weird, somewhat impossible, and just left a bad taste in my mouth for some reason. The products are good quality (albeit overpriced), but it’s just difficult, both morally and practically, to peddle this stuff onto people who can’t afford an unnecessary expense like that. We were highly encouraged and pushed to pressure people to buy at least 1 thing each presentation (after pushing the pricier sets). If you couldn’t sell them anything, you turn in your signed “slip” and get your “$15/hr”, which a again, doesn’t include your commute, time spent calling people, or the numerous meetings. If you’re turning these in instead of making sales, however, they will make you attend more unpaid “trainings” and even more cold calling sessions. If you have rich parents/friends and don’t mind being a pushy, borderline harassing salesperson, this actually might be the job for you. If that sounds unpleasant to you, that’s because it will be.
3. The culture is very “cult like” and if you’re not buying what they’re selling you, the “employee”, 100%, you will be treated like an outsider. They will poke fun at you in meetings for not meeting sales goals and for not “being a team player”. It was a pretty toxic environment that directly results in the extremely high turnover you see. They have a poster board up in every office with everyone’s names/sales data. The high performing ppl have obvious type things like gold stars/fireworks etc. The lower performing ppl have notes like “not a team player”, “needs improvement”, “underachiever” etc. Might not happen everywhere, but that’s how it was in my region. My section said “the sometimes worker” because I had basically realized this was all BS at this point, stopped attending unpaid meetings the best I could, and just stayed “employed” for the off chance I could make a sale now and then. I was constantly texted and called by sales reps, managers, and receptionists every day when I stopped caring about the job. It just felt “off” to me, right from the start. Only stuck around as long as I did cus I needed money. In the end, I probably lost more than I made. Vector called me 10x after I quit, saying that I owed THEM $285 because a person had supposedly returned their knives. I called that person and they said they hadn’t, that they needed a new set because something was wrong with the one they received. Vector basically tried to make me, a person who quit months ago, pay the cost of dealing with this issue. I told them to shove it and after ignoring their calls for another month or so, they finally left me alone.
All in all, it’s not impossible to make money doing this job, but it’s a very weird, shady, and deceptive hiring/employment process to say the least. Anytime someone I know mentions getting a job “opportunity from them… “it’s $15/hr!”… I strongly advise they steer clear. The company literally makes money off of deceiving, overworking (largely unpaid), and bleeding contacts out of young/naïve high school and college students just looking for a job. Stay far away
Thanks for the advice. Told my son to quit “right now”, “immediately”. You are 100% right.., I felt like they were deceiving him. Trainings for free??? What the heck! Never heard of that. I’ve had multiple trainings and home works that I was paid for. They made him listen to the trainings from 11am to 5pm. They kept asking him to refer “cutco” to his friends and family. His managers are kids (about 18-early 20’s). I finally told him to concentrate on something more useful in life.
this has been a giant help to me as I have been contacted by a receptionist to be recruited and it was great to get all of this information. Thank you so much
I can’t say anything about the marketing except in 1962, after I graduated from high school, a sales person visited my home and I purchased my Cutco knives on a no interest payment plan and i am still using them to this day and I LOVE THEM. I sent them to be sharpened one time about 12 years ago, which they probably didnt need but because they sharpened them with no charge I sent them in. This was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. The cutco knives have served me and my family of 6, for 60 years, better than I ever could imagine. My children are now trying to decide who will get them when I pass on. When you hear you have a lifetime guarantee do you really think the product will last till you die? I’m 78 years old and I’m sure my Cutco knives will still be serving my family long after my lifetime. Thank you Cutco
Very helpful review. I got real confused at the point you started talking about spies but I got a good laugh out of it. I think I may have a knack at the sales biz, so I’m gonna keep at the Cutco job. Just wanted to hear a few other people’s opinions.
I can appreciate all of the information that’s displayed here which I believe to be about 95% accurate. However, you are not forced to buy anything as a sales rep! They encourage that if you buy something, it will help you to sell, however it’s actually the opposite. They will give you free Cutco products after you’ve sold a certain amount of products in the first 10 days. Also, vector marketing didn’t find me, I found them. I never spoke to a recruiter, I found them online through a job seeker when I was looking for a work from home type of job.
Thanks for the update Amy, I appreciate it. It’s helpful for others as well so I appreciate you taking the time to share 🙂
You Definitely 100% Have to do unpaid weekly meetings and unpaid training and buy the $200 demonstration kit. You can get a refund for the kit, but they make it a pain for sure on purpose. Also if you go too many weeks only making the per appointment money they start researching your appointments looking for reasons not to pay you. You can also earn opportunities to go to conferences or trips all of which you actually pay for.
Yeah! It seams like they’ve opened opportunities to doing zoom presentations! Super cool and part of the reason I joined too. Also the team I’m working with is not scammy at all. Very genuine people not trying to push me too much whatso ever. Really enjoying this job.
Do you thing paying $200 for the down payment was worth it? I’m thinking about getting into this.
It’s not a down payment. That implies that you are going to have a monthly payment to make, like on a car, which you don’t.
Haha, all the people that worked at Cutco or Vector should try to sell life insurance!
Apparently sales are not for you – it is the HARDEST job out there, but commison ones are VERY rewarding in terms of money, experience, self improvement and self-esteem!
You don’t even get paid for a meeting, at all. You actually pay for a laptop you use and still have to attempt the stupid meetings!
The reason – you are a commissioned contractor.
You make very good money when you sell, but you gotta work your bum off.
I actually made great money, but it takes few years for your name to be known, I needed to make lots of money faster. Great experience still.
I would advise anyone that want to challenge themselves to get a commissioned sales job, may be at CutCo themselves, not Vector, or try to sell life insurance!
I think you did a good job looking at both sides of the argument, Vector is not for everyone but it can definitely be a life changing opportunity for a lot of people. I am a manager at Vector and I have been working here for about 1 year. The people are great, it is the best environment in which I have ever worked, and the product is the best I have ever seen. Tons of my family and friends bought Cutco from me and as far as I know, none of them have regreted their purchase. So we can all agree that the product is quality. As for the Vector side of it, I understand where people are coming from but there are a few things I would like to clarify. In today's Vector no rep is required to purchase a sample set or go to any homes for demos. Everything can be done virtually from home. So reps do not lose any money when they get started. As for the deceptive recruiting tactics, the quote in the article is used in the phone approach. Managers use this approach to get potential recruits into the informational interview. During the interview, recruits are given all the information about the job including that training is unpaid, that the $18 is per appointment not hour, and that they are responsible for getting their own customers from their own personal network. So every recruit that comes to training knows exactly what the job entails. In my experience, Vector has been the best decision of my life financially as well as personally. Through Vector I have been able to remain debt free through 2 years of college at a private university, if I was working a typical part time job I would be in at least $15,000 in debt at this point. Also it introduced me to the idea of personal growth which helped me get through some mental health problems in the past year. So even though it is not for everyone, it is a great opportunity for many college students that is not available almost anywhere else. Thanks for reading my opinion, I hope it was informative.
Thanks Cale, your feedback is definitely informative and I appreciate you sharing your insight and personal experience with Vector. I absolutely agree it can be the right opportunity for the right person and a learning experience for someone who might not be the right person but will benefit from the training and experience in their future careers.
I love the monthly credit purchase plan. I like that they mention it like it’s a Cutco credit account but it’s a monthly charge to one of your credit cards. The really best part is taking advantage of relationships to make money. The company is not the scam it’s the recruits they transform in to scam-formers they are more than meets the eye.
My 18 year old son is talking to Vector currently and he has been told that he will be given leads for people that have already shown interest in the product to get his appointments from. So what you are saying is that he is on his own to find people to get the appointments with? There are so many sketchy companies out there it is hard to trust anything. My mother always taught me that if it seems to good to be true, it likely is. Do you have any good information for me to tell him. Mind you he is a 1st year college student which seems to be the target age group for this company. Also are you a 1099 or W2 employee.
My son is also talking to Vector currently and has been told that he will generate his own leads from friends and family. They issue a 1099, so he will have to pay 15.3% federal self employment tax as well as any state tax due.
I do have advice stop reading these forums and experience it for yourself. As someone who currently works for vector Marketing and is apart of this, I can say 100% these Do not say everything and are misleading. Vector Marketing today has changed alot and ot depends on office, location, and team. You’re best bet is to get off these and go experience with a open mind and heart!
I felt this was a very well done thorough unbiased article on cutco/vector but having gone through the interview, training, and selling process of CUTCO (through vector) I believe it is somewhat deceptive and in the end uses/exploits the sales rep(especially since they are targeting a very naive group). I first found issue with that until you get into the training you do not really know what it is about. I have to say i was skeptical but optimistic about it at first and i did like that i was selling what i thought was a quality product. I found great issue with the fact that you must ask for referrals (or else you will run out of numbers to call) without those being referred consenting to having their contact information given out, i find this a very deceptive tactic. For me this alone was enough to make me eventually leave the company after about a dozen appointments since i felt this crosses a line, especially to ask this from family and friends since vector is basically using your family/friends to network through for their own gain. I also found issue with the (in my area at least) $18 hr pay since it’s $18 an appointment and they do not compensate for time spent calling potential clients and if clients go over the one hour mark. I also feel that a minimum wage job anywhere else would be more worth it because of the consistent hours and that there is no need to cross ethical lines. Furthermore within the training they try to convince you that “anyone can afford cutco” which is not necessarily untrue though i feel if there was strong evidence to show that families spend more money Over time on worse knives they would have told us and include it in our script toward clients (as in quantitative data). I also have problem with the script since it acts as if this is always some sort of training run (at least with the only script they provided) even though it really isn’t and you get commission for this. Lastly if you are “hired” by vector you are not an employee of CUTCO/vector but more of a free agent, and with the high turnover the managers tend to be very fake/disconnected. Furthermore throughout this whole process i couldn’t help but feel somewhat used (for example when they push for you to put as many contacts as possible so they can send a faux personalized spam message to get more recruits). Overall i think that the product speaks for itself but vectors role is extremely controversial (and in my mind) crossed ethical lines whether it’s with the hiring of mostly teens or the reliance on friends/family/clients to give out contact information without them previously consenting.
Thanks for sharing Aleksander, that’s a lot of great insight. I worked for a short time with an insurance company in the early 2000’s using a similar model and I can certainly relate to your experience. The product was good, I just wasn’t on board with the marketing, recruiting and sales tactics. Having said that, I think I was in my thirties at that point, but there were a lot of younger people there just getting started in life, and that experience probably helped them in whatever careers they went into later.
Thanks again for your feedback 🙂
Very interesting article. I was one of the sales guys but way back in 1974. Vector unheard of back then. I had one supreme advantage, I’m English and. Londoner, so I only had to open my mouth and that was that! My conversion rate was between 70 & 80%. I think the culture back then was very different and there were extra commissions payable if you became a team leader of 4 or 5 and more if you became a group or area manager. The knives are really good and match those from Japan and Germany. They did come with a sharpener for the straight edge knives but the serrated ones you had to send back for sharpening which I think was free back then. But I’m not entirely sure my memory is that good nearly 50 years on!! I’ve still got my full set and although the ones with what I believe were called the Double Dee edge (serrated) have dulled somewhat they still cut well.
They were well crafted and have stood the test of time and as you say Cutco is a well respected brand name. I’m proud to have sold it and many of my friends out there still have their sets and swear by them. And lastly just before I returned home I came third out of I don’t know how many thousands of sales people combined in the 3 west coast states in total sales from Jan to June 1974. And I’d never sold a thing before and it allowed me to continue in sales here in England for the next 10 years. So yes maybe I was born to it, I just needed a nudge with a great product which certainly did what it said on the box!!
Yours Colin Moss
Hi Colin, thanks for sharing your story, and what a great story… conversion rate of 70% to 80% ???? A lot of people reading this will be envious. And 1974? You’re getting close to the year I was I born and I’m not young anymore, lol. I really appreciate taking the time to read and add your insight and feedback.
They still offer free sharpening, but you do have to pay shipping. Give them a call, and they should sharpen the Double-D blades for you too.
Are Cutco knives good? HMM..I have my own set (since 77 or 78) and my mother’s set which she purchased in the 50s.. She is missing some after use by 10 kids but the ones from her set do work. Cutco should use this in their advertising/presentation book.
Hi Denise, thanks for your insight and I agree, your experience with Cutco knives seems to be consistent with others who have owned and used them for decades. It reminds me of another brand called ElectroMaid which I’m not sure is around anymore. My Mom still has a skillet from the 70’s that works, lol.
I appreciate you taking your time to share and provide feedback 🙂
I’d just like to say I enjoyed this review however there are a couple of inaccuracies. The commission levels are 0-1000=10%, 1001-3000=15%, 3001-6000=20%, 6001-10000=25%, 10k-20k=30%, there are more levels above up to 50% once a rep reaches 150k in career sales. There is also no security deposit for the sample kit used to sell (there used to be quite some time ago but not in the last 10 years or so). I’ve been with the company for 3 years and am currently at 45% myself with a little over 100k in sales working between semesters in school.
Oh sure, there's no deposit. But the lead trainers sure as hell try to convince you that you need to BUY your showing set because he "Needs to leave state for another class of trainees".
Can't have their own hires having knives without bleeding them somehow.
I tried Cutco sales back in college but I was very shy so it was not a smart move for me. I would recommend it for anyone who is outgoing enough to do cold calls/sales. I have had the knives for 20+ years and they are the sharpest in my kitchen. I actually did the Google search looking for a seller lol.
I have a festival business and am always on the lookout for product lines to sell. I’m one of those talkers you mentioned – standing at the front of the booth striking up conversations.
Would Cutco allow me to “enhance” my line with their products? Or would I have to be an exclusively-Cutco booth?
Hey Steve, great question. You would definitely have to discuss that with Cutco as well as the company where your booth is located. Every so often I’ll see a booth in places like Costco and even if Cutco said it was okay, Costco would likely be the final say. If I had to guess though, it’s probably not something allow as it would be a difficult to policy to manage with a lot of grey area. Your product might be a good product and compliment Cutco but someone else might have a competing product or a low quality product that Cutco wouldn’t want to be associated with in which case they’d have to explain every time they approved or decline such a request. That’s a lot of time and energy for something that doesn’t benefit them financially and it’s easier for them to just have a blanket policy forbidding it.
It never hurts to ask them though. The worst thing they can say is no.
In the early 1980’s, I was deep in debt and needed an additional job. I got “scammed” into a Vector Marketing Cutco tutorial and they got approx. $100 from me, which they only mentioned at the end of the class as they handed me the set – yes, I can cut pennies with my scissors. I was so mad at myself at the end of that evening for feeling I got scammed that I never answered another one of their calls and never provided them with a contact list of family and friends, which they tried to get from me that evening, making it feel even more like a scam.
Here it is, 35 years later, and my $100 Cutco set is well worth close to $1,000. I use the knives daily, especially the table knives (bought more of these since I only started with 2 or 4), never needed a knife sharpened, and absolutely LOVE the entire set. If I had been older then and the internet were available like it is now, I would have known they were a quality item and would have tried selling them.
I have heard of issues with some knives my friends bought in the last 10-20 years. Cutco repaired a broken tip of a paring knife by cutting the blade back to eliminate the tip… which doesn’t seem right. Though the knife works, it’s shape is changed.
It’s nice to hear they only require a deposit now on a rented set, and that they will sell a set to their salespeople for 75% off. I wonder how hard it is to return that demo set and get that deposit back, especially after wear and tear of cutting pennies, etc. Overall, I would prefer to sell Cutco over other items if I were looking to do something like this again, but only because I now have decades of experience with the knives.
I still wouldn’t hand over a list of contact information for my friends and family unless I’ve sold someone a knife, and only what information that person said I could provide.
Hi Barb, thanks for sharing your story. I agree, if I were to sell something in person I’d consider Cutco as well. It’s definitely a product you can stand behind. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment 🙂
Thank you, Jay, for an exciting roller coaster review. I assume that you consider your readers are intelligent; by their comments, they read your entire article where you concluded that Cutco is not a scam and Vector Marketing is not a scam. You are spot on. Not everyone is cut out for Cutco! My apologies, I could not resist!
(I finally figured out that the letters WA stood for Wealthy Affiliates not Washington!)
As in any industry, church, or organization, people exist who do scammy things.
In the end, there are three areas to consider in the economy of relationships in or out of business:
What’s the truth?
Are people involved trustworthy?
What level of vulnerability are you willing to extend yourself based on the first two questions?
As a 56 year young senior citizen, my experience has witnessed that personal “eye to eye” contact will be diminished in future business dealings. I predict that most people younger than I am will be uncomfortable sitting and talking without a phone in their hand for a whole day. Time will tell if my prophecy is correct.
Jay, I agree with you. I think Cutco (Vector Marketing) do provide the youth an education in the art of “one to one” presentation! Also, I have bought Cutco. Their pizza cutters are amazing!
Sadly, I know people in their 70’s and 80’s who have had “bad apple” experiences so they have a prejudice against Cutco. They consider it a scam and rely on the failures of others to prove that the business is not legitimate. You can’t convince them otherwise. Even reality won’t convince them! 70 years in business and the military trusts Cutco to manufacture Ka-Bar?
Have a wonder life all! It’s not about luck. It’s about willing the good for others. Love is a decision!
Blessed Virgin Mother, Mary under the title of Our Lady of Good Success, triumph and reign!
Nothing succeeds like failure on the cross!
Not here to comment about the way they do their business or Vector Marketing, but solely about the quality of their knives, which I have written review about, since I was really interested if Cutco knives are scam because of all the stuff you can read about them online. The answer is pretty simple. Their knives and scissors are really good, but just little bit over priced. You can get even better stuff for the same money, but Cutco knives are still good quality knives for every day use.
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I agree, Cutco knives are very good.
I’m 60, and was just reminiscing about my freshman year at Hofstra University, when I briefly became a Cutco sales rep. I later heard that my ex-husband and our son sold Cutco as well! So it’s sort of a rite of passage for college kids.
What I remember the most is my mother’s reaction. She was horrified. “Don’t they give you any leads??” she asked. I told her we were supposed to build our own lead bank.
I had sold Girl Scout cookies and chocolate to support school teams, but my mother thought I didn’t stand a chance of succeeding with Cutco and encouraged me to stop wasting my time — before I even got started. With that type of support (and the fact that our family was basically quite timid and not the least bit entrepreneurial), she was right. I was doomed to failure. Never sold so much as a bacon-turner.
But here’s the thing: All these years later, I see Cutco as an excellent opportunity for a college kid to experiment and see if this type of selling is for them. They may have a hidden talent for persuasion. They may “think outside the box” and come up with novel ways to get sales. YOU NEVER KNOW UNLESS YOU TRY. There’s no risk to it. You learn how a direct-sales company operates. This is important, especially for business majors. I hope Cutco stays around for another couple of generations. My grandkids are only 3 and 1, but I believe in them and will gladly buy some merchandise and help them build their lead banks.
Thanks for sharing your experience. I love your perspective as well and I have to agree. As I’ve mentioned, this type of selling won’t be for everyone… but like you say, you won’t know unless you try. There are other benefits as well, even if you discover it’s not your thing. The skills someone learns here are valuable in so many areas of life, whether its a job interview or convincing their kids that brushing their teeth is crucial, we are all always trying to “sell” something, lol. Having sales experience is also helpful for those times you’re on the other side, like negotiating at a car dealership and recognizing the tricks and tactics they’re using.
Also, many companies people work for as they get older will have a sales team and being able to understand their challenges and relate to them is a big advantage for so many reasons. It helps inter-office cohesion and relationships (which is also helpful for managing stress in the office and positioning yourself for a promotion). And, knowing what we don’t like doing allows us to appreciate the jobs and careers we do like after having been on the other side so to speak… so the experience is valuable.
Anyway, thanks again for your insight and I really appreciate you taking the time to share your story and perspective,
Do people always buy 2 knives? How do people manage if the knife need sharpening?
How do Cutco products compared to products in the same price range?
Most people dont want to waste time sharpening knives… so they buy cutco which you do not have to sharpen for 7-10 years if used properly. Its half the price of top brands but twice the value. And if the knives ever do go dull you can send it back to them and get them sharpened for free, although you still have to pay for shipping.
How about the product itself from a consumer stand point? Is it a good product? Can you negotiate on price?
Cutco is known to have a very good product. As far as negotiating on price I think it would depend on the individual you were buying from.
I can answer this question as both a Cutco Sales Rep and I was also an AM in one of the offices for a while. Reps are encouraged to give away free product with every purchase, at first they start with preset deals and they as they gain confidence and experience they are shown how to make deals on their own. They are also encouraged to call and talk to a manager if a better deal is wanted. The catch is, when a Rep gives away free product it come straight out of their paycheck. It’s pennies to the dollar but it adds up. Therefore some rep try to not give away as much as they could.
A tip for anyone looking to purchase cutco, if 25% of your total order is not being given to you for free, ask for a better deal.
As a rep i pride myself in giving every single costumer the absolute best deal possible. I would be open to helping anyone look at Cutco options and I openly acknowledge it is not for everyone so I’m not going to force you into a purchase. If interested comment below.
HA! I lost 1 table knife from my set. My rep “paid” for one, so I could buy the 4 set instead of just 1. I jumped on it, because it’s nice to have backups in case of loss. I own 11 right now. LOL.
I would like to talk to you about purchasing some Cutco products.
I love Cutco!
Please let me know how to contact you. Thanks
Hi Gavin, I am possibly interested in a purchase. Are you still with Cutco?
I have lived on this planet for 74 years, and I have learned that many of the direct sales companies consider their “reps” their customers. When their “reps” have to shell out money – $200 for Cutco – to buy their “demonstration” product, in reality, the company doesn’t give a rip about whether or not the reps sell any product, the company has already made a $200 sale.
You make a good point and for most MLM’s I can’t argue with it. But just for clarity, Cutco requires a $200 deposit for your demonstration knives which is refundable. But I agree, in a lot of MLM’s their sellers are also their best customers. Having spent more time than I should have in Amway, I (and my downline) were definitely our best customers. Thanks for reading and sharing 🙂
Hi Jay, just updating you that, at least in my area of the country, reps no longer have to pay a deposit on their knives. I guess Vector realized that it’s hard for a college student to come up with an extra couple hundred dollars. However, if the rep doesn’t return their knife set at the end of their time working there, their manager is responsible for the cost.
Thanks Seth, I appreciate the update 🙂 That’s a little risky for the managers though, I don’t imagine they were to excited with the policy change.
This is not true. As a current sales rep/manager for the company, I can say that I never had to purchase any start-up kit of any sort. You are given a $400+ sample kit that you are responsible for. You are asked to return the kit when you are not doing demonstrations. We give the reps the option to buy the kit if they would like for a 75% discount but it is not mandatory.
Hi Jared, thanks for stopping by and sharing. This is good to know and definitely sets Cutco apart from many other MLM’s.
I’ve used Cutco and I have sold Cutco through Vector Marketing. Yes, the product works amazingly and it can help individuals who have muscle diseases to use these knives with ease. The downside is that it is illegal to deface coins, which made me very uncomfortable to sell for them so I stopped.
It’s a penny, what about all the places you go and can put a penny in a machine that smashes it and prints words on them? Fairs, museums etc have this all the time.
False: This is from U.S. Treasury Website. Pay attention to last sentence…
Is it illegal to damage or deface coins?
Section 331 of Title 18 of the United States code provides criminal penalties for anyone who “fraudulently alters, defaces, mutilates impairs, diminishes, falsifies, scales, or lightens any of the coins coined at the Mints of the United States.” This statute means that you may be violating the law if you change the appearance of the coin and fraudulently represent it to be other than the altered coin that it is. As a matter of policy, the U.S. Mint does not promote coloring, plating or altering U.S. coinage: however, there are no sanctions against such activity absent fraudulent intent.
Any United States coins in your possession actually belong to the US Government. You are allowed to possess the coin of the realm (that you are ‘borrowing’ (or being rewarded with for the labors of a ‘job’), in order to carry on the ‘trading’ needed to live your life (e.g. $1 dollar in coins to buy a loaf of bread on a good day). If you lose a penny on the ground – too bad for you (but it’s only a penny – right). If you cut a penny in two and still keep it in your pocket, it’s ok, but you try to give it to anyone as a ‘whole penny’ for a transaction, it is ‘defaced’ (gee, I have 99 cents for the loaf of bread – will you take two halves of this penny to make the one dollar, it’s still ok because both pieces are there?) [ READ John’s correct comment from August 28, 2019). Not much different than if you lose it in the couch, or on the ground, or bury it in your back yard and forget about it – ‘it’s only a penny’. Not illegal to cut it in two, since it was only yours ‘for-now’ unless you try to spend it after you cut it in half with your CUTCO scissors, or a hacksaw… If you melt a 99% silver dollar coin to make a ring for your finger, you can’t spend it as a ‘dollar’ anymore, but you’re not subject to legal action, because after you ‘altered’ it, you didn’t try to spend it.
It’s only illegal to use defaced coins as currency. If it was illegal to deface coins all those mechanical squeeze machines you put a penny in to squeeze with multiple quarters and then crank out a souvenir would be illegal.
I really was thinking of a new product for Cutco. Since I have had several of their knives for years and have never had a problem with any of them, even my fish skinning knife.
I m wondering. Should a sometimes inventor get involved with Cutco or perhaps investigate another company. Perhaps one with less of a questionable marketing reputation?
Well, considering that there’s a 25 year waiting list to work at the factory, that would be very difficult.
Brilliant review. I think you got the training from Cutco Knives as a receptionist! The way you drive the reader to WA is very tactful. You have transformed a negative review into a positive one. Also, we get to know about Cutco knives as well.
Thanks, for a Great review
Lol… I definitely recommend WA, but it’s an entirely different business than Cutco Knives. Cutco is suitable to for an extrovert and someone who enjoys person-to-person sales. This review is definitely not intended to be negative. There is no question that Cutco knives are great quality and the training you get is valuable experience. It’s not going to be for everyone, but WA is not for everyone either. And, as far as deception and sales “tactics”, that’s really at the recruiter’s level and possibly the culture within an individual branch (and that particular manager is responsible for that, not Cutco).
WA on the other hand is online, and suitable to someone who is the complete opposite (again, not for everyone). It’s for someone who doesn’t mind spending their time at home. That’s probably the reason I enjoy it so much. I prefer my alone time, sitting here with a coffee and working on my online business. Having spent a lot of years in sales though, I’ve worked with people (and one I can think of in particular) who were talkers. They couldn’t step into a grocery store without starting a conversation with someone… it was just their personality and if they were selling Cutco they’d probably make a fortune (and go crazy if they had to sit at a computer trying to build an online business).
Thanks for stopping by Prabakaran, and for the compliment… I think 😉
What a great article and review of Cutco knives. I have heard of the knives mostly because of the cutting the penny deal but not the whole selling and independent rep thing and the Vector marketing. The thing that does sound positive about selling for Cutco is that it sounds it’s a good training program with some very nicely defined scripts so if you are dedicated to following those you could probably make some good coin. Thanks again for the great article, Mat A.
Hey Mat, I agree. I would look at Cutco more as an education than a job or money making opportunity. The experience alone is a good indicator if that type of work is for you or not. And, if you’re younger and still deciding on a career… you may learn from this that dealing with people, objections, rejections etc constantly is not your thing… which might help narrow down your choices and pick a more suitable path.
Or, you may discover it’s exactly your thing and make some money here.
Thanks for stopping by and the kind words 😀