It's easier to find a wholesale supplier if you want to start a business. But it is hard to find a good wholesale supplier. Here are some tips for finding a wholesale source.
1. Know your industry's distribution channels
There are a lot of ways a product can go from manufacturer to retailer. Not all wholesalers serve the same market. Understanding your industry's distribution channels, and knowing where you fit in the supply chain, can help you find the right wholesale supplier for your retail business.
Each product industry has its own unique distribution channels. Some retailers will move enough volume to bypass jobbers, or maybe in a smaller industry, importers sell directly to retailers. (That's why it's easier to find a wholesaler when you already know the product you're looking for.)
When you first start you, you'll be buying from the smaller wholesalers at higher prices. As your volume increases, you'll be able to get better pricing and/or move up the supply ladder to a bigger wholesaler.
2. Get Referrals
In spite of the incredible amount of information online, word-of-mouth is still the best and most reliable way to find credible suppliers. Reach out to your network of professional contacts for recommendations. Even if your network doesn't have direct experience, people in your contacts' network may know someone.
3. Don't Be Cheap ONLY
Most of businessmen were tried or trying to find the cheaper products supplier. While cheap doesn't always mean less expensive. Don't select a supplier simply because they've provided the lowest rate. There are many more factors to consider. Do they have a good record with their other clients? Is it easy to work with them? Do they provide good after-sell service? Are they flexible? Do they have favorable payment terms?
This may be the most important question of all: do they deliver on their promises? One late delivery could irreparably damage your relationship with a client. Finding a reliable supplier to partner with will save you money in the long-run.
4. Ask Questions
Don't be afraid to be pushy. You're placing a significant part of your business's success in your supplier's hands - you need to do everything you can to make sure they're the right one for the job. Send your drawings or prototypes to them and make sure they understand what you need. Ask how they would be able to respond in different situations. Get to know them.
It's almost like selecting a business partner. You need to know you'll both be able to work together, especially when circumstances change or the market shifts. Taking time in the beginning to understand exactly who you're working with before making a final decision will save you time and money later on.
5. Ask for referrals
The best way to double-check their credibility is by speaking directly with their customers. If the customer is satisfied, they should be happy to speak with you about the supplier and highly recommend them. When you speak with them, listen carefully. While a satisfied customer may not directly voice a complaint, you can sometimes read between the lines. The most important thing is gain a better perspective on exactly how the supplier conducts business, and then judge whether it fits you.