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There are legitimate wholesalers who will work with and for you to help get the merchandise and support you need in a professional manner. You need to know the facts about wholesale trade, wholesalers and middleman, and finally know the resources to explore in order to get started.

Wholesalers exist for the primary reason of moving the goods between the manufacturers and retailers. They normally take care of the logistics and shipment of the goods between the factory and those who sell them. Often wholesalers are the primary distributor for the manufacturer and may have an exclusive relationship with them. The most important fact to realize about most wholesalers is that they do not advertise. You will not find them listed in many search engines, or if they are listed, they are buried deep within the results. In addition, a wholesaler will not normally advertise in any media.

Wholesalers are in the business of moving large quantities of the goods to resellers and other retail outlets. Moving small quantities of goods creates overhead for them, as they are not setup to deal with that type of business. This is not to say they will not sell smaller quantities, but you may find that you will have to negotiate and pay a higher price per unit. Given all this, an honest wholesaler will work with you to find the right channel for you to buy the merchandise if you are willing to work with them. Often, they may direct you to local distributors whom they sell too depending on the quantity involved. You should not get discouraged if they do this as it is normally the best way given the quantity involved.

All too often people will come upon middlemen passing themselves off as a wholesaler. Middlemen often do not carry any inventory and merely enter your order into the system so the goods can be shipped to you. They charge a markup, often between 30-50 percent, and offer no value-added service for you. These are the people you will find cluttering search engines and advertising using every available method. They do not have your business interests in mind and are only there to push as much merchandise as they can while maximizing their percentage. To put it another way, they are like dialing the operator to make a long-distance call. Sure, you will get the call to go through, but you will pay a high premium over dialing direct.

So how do you go about finding a quality wholesaler? The best place to start is with the manufacturer of the product you are interested in. They can often refer you to their distributor and/or wholesaler. From there they will determine the best channel for you to purchase the goods through, whether it is from them or through a local or regional distributor. Remember, manufacturers want to get their product out there and have sales departments that assist you in such matters. Don’t be afraid to go directly to the source, you may be pleasantly surprised!

To get started making wholesale connections there are a few questions you should ask of yourself and your business. These will help define not only what you need for your business to grow, but also will help the manufacturer and wholesaler get the products to you:

What volume will I be doing? Is it ten units or ten thousand units?

What facilities do I have available for delivery and receipt? Wholesalers often ship in pallet quantities via commercial trucking and do not deliver to home addresses.

How often do I turn over inventory? You don’t want to have 10,000 units of an item sitting in inventory for months or years.

What is my market area? Don’t underestimate the answer to this. Wholesalers and manufacturers are very strict when it comes to what area you are marketing in because of contracts with other retailers and other financial agreements.

If you are just getting started in establishing a relationship there are a number of online sites that can help you understand the basics of wholesalers and purchasing. However, be very careful of using any type of search engine to gather information. They are flooded with middlemen and others who have nothing to do with wholesale trade and will often lead you down the wrong path before you even get started.

Some of the resources we recommend include:

  • National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
  • American Wholesale Marketers Association
  • Manufacturers Association Directory
  • The National Retail Federation

Wholesaler-Buyer relationships can be difficult to establish, but with a little bit of research and a lot of dedication to tracking down the details you will have a profitable relationship for both you and the wholesaler.

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