Several years ago, I actually helped a friend who had a side job stuffing envelopes. It wasn’t a lot of money – but all we had to do was write people’s names and addresses (hundreds of addresses!) on envelopes, stuff them, and then give them back to her friend who mailed them out. This was a very small scale side business for what appeared to be local real estate or insurance companies.
The legible, pretty handwriting on the envelopes was probably meant to make it look like personal mail instead of “junk mail” that would inevitably get dumped in the trash before even getting opened. That was the one time I had any experience with actually stuffing envelopes, and honestly have no idea whether or not it was completely legit at the time. But Legit or not, it still felt a little sketchy!
So let’s look review this envelope stuffing stuff you see online.
How Envelope Stuffing Jobs Work
Now, the old school envelop stuff job was simply that — you worked IN an office, stuffing envelopes with whatever mail is suppose to go on them, attach the stamp and you’re done. This all happened in a COMPANY — likely a large enough company that send out enough mail to merit hiring staff to do this.
Those days are long gone (we’ll talk about why later on).
In 2015, a version of this envelope stuffing job has made it’s way to the internet — specifically as Craigslist or internet ads promising beaucoup bucks for buying a start-up kit with “supplies and instructions.” (Which may very well have been where my short-lived envelope stuffing afternoon actually came from.) It sounds like the perfect gig for a single mom: work from home, stuff envelopes while watching t.v. (yes, that really was in the ad – lol).
From one VERY lengthy Craigslist ad, this is my understanding of the info I found that one envelope stuffing employer advertises, which might vary a little from company to company.
As an “envelope stuffer,” the company considers you “an independent home worker” – and your first job is to distribute the fliers sent out in the start-up kit you have to pay for off the bat.
When people respond to the company from the fliers you put up or passed around – the company will then, and only then, directly mail you self-addressed stamped envelopes that you then actually stuff with other materials in the start-up kit and mail them back to the company.
This particular company promises that you will get paid $5.00 for each batch of envelopes you “secure and stuff and mail back to us” – with $250.00 paid for 50 envelopes. They also guarantee you will get paid even if the “prospect” (potential customer/person who ultimately gets the envelope in the mail) doesn’t buy anything.
Doesn’t sound too shabby does it? Just remember – you are not only stuffing envelopes, first you have to get out there and tread the pavement distributing as many fliers as possible and hope that people will respond to the company with your information. Then hope that the company sends you all the leads in the form of self-addressed envelopes for you to stuff and mail back to them… I might be a little skeptical, but that sounds like a lot of free advertising from the get-go.
The above is just one type of envelop stuffing. I’ve seen other types that don’t even have you distributing anything. You simply PAY for a package telling you how to stuff envelopes and make money by selling this package to OTHER people (yes, the same package that only tells you how to make money stuffing envelopes, but only pays YOU for selling the package to someone else).
It Just Might Be a Scam If…
It’s too good to be true and…you have to PAY MONEY for something up front without getting anything in return.
Look, if you could make an easy 100 or 200 dollars a day by simply stuffing envelopes, don’t you think this job would be a bit more popular and more people would be doing it. Instead, you see ads thrown around on sketchy websites or posted to the likes of craigslist. Realistically, who is going to pay you 5 or 10 dollars to stuff a single envelop!
The answer is no one. No one is going to pay you 5 bucks to stuff an envelope.
Simple as that.
Here’s what turns me off the most about these envelope stuffing advertisements: you know right off the bat that you will have to distribute fliers for the company (or if there are no fliers, you have to ‘sell’ the package to some other sucker to make a commission on it), but the company still charges an upfront fee of nearly $30.00 just to register as one of their “independent home workers.”
So, basically, you have to pay a company just start advertising their services, if there are even any services at all (which there are not). As I said before, sounds like a lot of free advertising – but it’s not free! You have to pay them just to start distributing their fliers. Any “work from home” job that requires payment without any guarantee that “prospects” (customers) are going to be interested in the company’s services – and the start-up-kit only contains fliers and instructions that market the company you are buying into – throws up a huge red flag for me!
This is a perfect deal for the ‘envelope stuffing employer.’ You get people to PAY you money to work for you. And what is that work? Well, it consists of SELLING other people the envelop stuffing package. Yes, that’s right. You are not actually stuffing envelopes yourself, but selling OTHER people the idea of selling more envelope stuffing packages, which turn out to be selling OTHER people the same thing.
Sound familiar? Yes, we call it a multi level marketing scam. And my dear ladies, this is exactly what the Envelope stuffing job really is: a scam to sell other people the packages to sell other people the packages.
Not all multi-level marketing models are scams. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of direct sales companies that require you to purchase a consultant or representative start-up kit, or even a sign-up fee – but these almost always include
a) a good amount of sample products plus marketing materials or
b) a minimal start up fee with personal discounts on products and little to no fees (monthly website, quotas, etc.) for internet marketing based companies.
Anytime you are asked to pay for something that you are not directly being compensated for (in terms of kit products or tangible products or services from a legitimate company that helps you market your own home business) – run screaming in the opposite direction! (But not in front of the kids, it might freak them out.)
So is “stuffing envelopes” while the baby is napping, or kids are at school, totally a 100% scam?
Maybe not, actually it is a scam.
Another Reason Why Work at Home Stuffing Envelopes is a Scam
I’ll give you another good reason why it’s a scam. Why would companies pay you to stuff envelopes when you can for a few hundred dollars buy a machine that will do it for you. Look, I found this video online of a commercial envelop stuffer. And this is back from 2011.
This 4 year old envelop stuffer can stuff over 3600 envelopes per hour. Now I don’t know about you, but I certainly can’t do that many envelopes in an hour, let alone a day.
So, if you can buy a machine to do this, what’s the need to pay people to do this same thing way less efficiently?
The answer is…there is no need.
Hence, it’s a scam.
Why Pay a Company with No Guaranteed Income?!
So now you’re thinking: ok, then I guess investing in a direct sale company or network marketing gig is a safer bet… not necessarily.
Whatever business you invest in to start earning your awesome single mom income, you HAVE TO RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH!!! There are some seriously sketchy business “opportunities” (*cough* SCAMS!) all over the internet. The same rule applies: why put money into “get rich quick” schemes that don’t provide products or services from a legitimate company? You’re chances of making a livable, or even part time, income get slimmer and slimmer when you waste your limited, hard earned cash on a company or product that you can’t sell. There are plenty of other work from home opportunities for single moms that you have more control over – ones that allow you to invest your valuable time and energy into growing your own legitimate home business.
While it always takes money to make money (sad, but true, I know), you can still find affordable start-up or kit costs with direct sales or MLM companies that have proven income potential.
Even so, you always need to research the company you are considering – you can’t blindly believe what a rep or consultant trying to sign you up says, you need to actually go to the sites and read all the fine print. The same goes for any work at home ads you read. The best use of your time in finding the perfect work from home opportunity is to research all of your possibilities, ask questions, research company reviews, and ultimately find something that you are passionate about, know you can do – and ROCK IT!