My Tommy Rodriguez Review
Automation Empire sounds great to those looking for a new passive income stream. Founder Tommy Rodriguez has an extensive background in digital marketing. His clients set up their account, returns preferences, and tax exemption status, so it's not entirely automated. Then, Tommy’s employees (not virtual assistants) do your product research, develop your product listing, and find a retailer. When a customer orders, they order from a supplier for you and handle shipments, returns, A to Z claims, and customer service.
The downside: Tommy follows a dropshipping business model, where account suspensions are extremely common. They help resolve account suspensions, but only if you pay for the right package ($30K or $45K). The package that does not include account suspension coverage costs $15K. Plus, you must pay for the products (an additional $15K-$20K). Plus, you could do what the team does on your own.
With Amazon FBA startup costs already high ($5,500-$13,000!) it might not be in your best interest to invest in automation, at least at the start of your Amazon business. Plus, it can take 12-18 months to regain your ROI.
So, is Amazon automation legit or scam? Is there a better business model other there for you, with less moving parts and a far less expensive startup cost, like local lead generation? Let's find out.
In-house team with employees, not VAs.
You avoid paying Amazon FBA fulfillment feeds.
Tommy’s team takes care of product research and shipping orders to customers.
They will also fight account suspensions, but only if you pay for this service.
Every package grants you access to in-person events, access to their community, a mobile app, and customer support based in the US.
Private Facebook group.
They fulfil orders within 40 minutes.
Amazon automation costs are high.
Profit margins are low (under 10% at times)
Tommy follows an Amazon dropshipping model. Dropshipping from retailers is against Amazon’s community guidelines, or terms of service.
Not all automated- you will need to set up your own Amazon Seller Central account,set up shipments and returns, and become tax exempt.
Recovering your ROI can take at least 12-18 months, depending on if Amazon suspends your store.
Suspensions can last months, if they are resolved at all. There is no guarantee a suspension will not happen.
$15,000-$45,000 for the service, plus $15-20K open on credit cards
Over 700 people have purchased and worked with Tommy’s automation service. Total clients’ sales = $1.4 Billion. Reviews are a mix of skeptical opinions and some success stories shared on Tommy’s platforms.
Visit Tommy's website: Automation Empire
#1 Trick to Success with Amazon Dropshipping (& How Tommy Rodriguez Does It)
Automation Empire uses Amazon dropshipping one of many Amazon FBA business models. It’s controversial, as Amazon dropshipping suspension is extremely common. When this happens, Amazon can hold your funds for over 3 months.
One of the easiest ways to get suspended on Amazon is by dropshipping from other retailers like Walmart and Home Depot. But using these suppliers is also one of the best ways to maximize your profits, as Amazon dropshipping profit margins are some of the lowest.
You shouldn’t do this unless you have a seasoned Amazon seller account. That way, Amazon is less likely to ask for a letter of authorization, identifying you as an approved seller of the product. Here's one way to season your account:
Read up on other opinions on this biz model here: Amazon Dropshipping Review: Worth Trying? Or Bad Business? 5 REAL Sellers Weigh In
What’s Different About Automation Empire Dropshipping? (Breakdown of Services)
Tommy’s team dropships from “retailers” on your brand new account. From my research, there is no set distributor that they consistently use, at least publicly.
Here’s what Automation Empire dropshipping looks like:
What Does This Mean for You?
What Tommy’s team does for you is nothing out of the ordinary, and will come at significant cost and risk to you.
The major benefit here is that Tommy’s team is in-house and employed by him, so his service is more secure than other guys.
But, from my research, this team does all the work, not Tommy. So, you won’t really know the experience level of the employee running your store and managing your money; they might be a newbie like you.
How Much is Amazon Automation?
You will need either the capital or the credit line to cover the cost of products for the first two weeks of sales. (It takes Amazon two weeks to pay you). The amount that Tommy suggests is $15K-$20K.
In addition, here is a breakdown of Tommy’s fees, and what he includes. Note that the cheapest package includes no automated help with suspensions, although they do share useful scripts in their inner circle access groups that will help you know how to handle it alone.
What If I Don’t Have $30,000+ Upfront?
Tommy heavily promotes using credit cards to pay for orders. $15K-$20K might be hard for you to get, depending on your credit score. Even if you get approved, it might have an extremely high interest rate.
In theory, using credit cards works. It takes two weeks for Amazon to release your funds from customer orders, and you won’t have to pay your credit card company for 30 days. Plus, you can take advantage of cash back and travel perks.
But, if Amazon suspends your account, you will only have credit cards to fulfill orders. And you will have no capital coming in to pay that credit card bill. Some Amazon account suspensions last for months, so you might need to build substantial credit card debt just for your business to stay afloat.
At least Tommy is straightforward about his pricing, unlike this automation agecy. Read my full review of Wifi Wealth.
The Success Story of Automation Empire’s Tommy Rodriguez
Entrepreneur Tommy Rodriguez grew up in Boston, where he had a tough life with little comfort. Tommy was in juvenile detention at the young age of 14-17. After, Tommy lived on the streets. But, at 24, he started making money online and was inspired to search for financial freedom.
He joined an MLM scheme (MLM Empower Network) to learn how to drive traffic. He also got experience in CPA marketing (cost-per-action marketing) and reverse marketing.
Then, he learned about dropshipping by ordering an item on eBay. It arrived in a retailer’s box. He researched the product and saw that he had paid double. After talking to the seller, he started eBay dropshipping, but soon realized that the Amazon marketplace was much bigger.
Now, Tommy has combined his talents for driving traffic and selling products on Amazon. He has made millions marketing and selling his service to other aspiring entrepreneurs on social media. If you buy this service, his team (not him) does all the work for you. You won’t have to do anything, but he will collect your hefty upfront price and a large percentage of your profit margin.
My Issues with Tommy Rodriguez Automation Empire
1. Tommy Doesn't Do the Work- His Team Does.
From what I can find, there’s really nothing special about what Tommy brings to the table. In fact, I get the impression that he has very little to do with the actual creation and management of stores.
Regardless, he collects most of your sizable start-up fee. After all, his offices are in Bogota, Colombia, where the monthly minimum wage is about equal to $300. (In the US, the monthly minimum wage is over 3 times this amount.) So, even if he pays his workers really well, he is making bank off their backs.
He may not use VAs (anymore), but the concept below is still true:
2. You Can Find Software Yourself.
It seems like the most special part of their process is the software they used to find profitable products. You can find countless tools to do this yourself online, and many are free. Zoro can help you with product research, or try eComDash.
The draw of automation means that you don’t want to do this yourself- but I would not pay for a service that I can find online and do on my own with little to no expertise.
3. You Take on All the Risk.
Last, some gurus say they have to do Amazon automation because Amazon only allows one store per person. This isn’t exactly accurate. They could ask someone to use their name, offer them a cut of the profits, and build from there.
But, then they would have to take on risk. If you are paying Tommy’s team to manage your money and paying for inventory and covering all other costs, you are taking on 100% of the risk while he collects 100% guaranteed money.
So, is Tommy Rodriguez Empire Ecommerce LLC Scam or Legit?
Automation Empire is not a scam, because if you pay for one of Tommy’s packages, you will receive a service in return. However, the thousands of dollars you will spend and the risk you will take on is not proportional. Yet, you can decide for yourself if the risk is worth it by reading reviews.
Many Amazon automation agencies require their clients (and members of selective groups) to sign an NDA. This could be why Tommy has very few negative YouTube reviews and even fewer success stories published away from his platform.
Link: “Today we’re looking at someone who apparently earns millions…we actually don’t have any sort of proof other than he owns a lot of cars.”
Tyler: “I thought his service was a no-brainer. It’s going well now, I have no complaints with the service.”
Adrian: “We reached out to [Tommy] through Instagram, reached out to some of [his] clients, asked them questions, is this a scam? Is this the real thing? And everybody had great things to say.”
I would be extra wary of listening to Tommy’s clients. After all, he’s very interested in investor relations. Just look at what he recently paid an affiliate to promote his Amazon franchise:
Plus, on his Facebook page (username is Haterswillsuffer) I’ve noticed that he’s hidden many comments.
Just look at this image. What is Tommy Rodriguez hiding?
Automation Empire Alternative
The Amazon Automation service Cody Clay from Market Modern sells is an alternative option to Tommy Rodriguez's course. Cody guarantees that you will be profitable, which is something other programs don't offer. Cody's team will create your business from start to profit and once you make money, the profit split is 70/30 in your favor. There are no refunds with this program and Cody only takes on 8 people each month.
Price: Market Modern's Amazon Automation service costs $25,000 and 30% of the profit.
More Info: Cody Clay Automation Review
Conclusion: Should You Use Tommy Rodriguez for Amazon Automation?
Tommy Rodriguez' Automation Empire might work if you:
- Already have a seasoned Amazon account,
- want to dropship,
- have the capital to invest. (at least $30K up front)
- are in a position to focus on another business stream or digital asset.
Do not use Amazon automation if you have a brand new account or if you cannot survive a long account suspension.
If you’re interested in a life of entrepreneurship, learn all you can about the risks and disadvantages of selling on Amazon, especially with dropshipping. Then, sign up for an Amazon dropshipping course to learn more.
If you’re still sold on the business model, try it on your own first. Many of the clients Tommy shares on his channel had a store before reaching out to Tommy. Really, that’s your best bet. Why?
- Your account will be seasoned.
- You will be more confident.
- There will be less of a chance that Amazon will suspend your account.
To wrap up, don’t buy into automation without digging deeper. It's not just freeing up your time and making millions of dollars. There’s much more to it than that.
My Online Business Portfolio in 2023
Amazon FBA: $15K NET per month (After 50% split with a partner)
Local Lead Generation: $52K NET per month
Amazon FBA is a great business model but like all businesses it has its challenges, particularly how competitive it's becoming as more big brands & suppliers began selling on FBA themselves 2-3 years ago.
Another business model I've had a lot of success with is local lead generation. It's simple and less competitive. It might be a better fit for some people.
Click here to learn all about it: Local Lead Generation vs. Amazon FBA