Post a new topic
    7 Replies Latest reply on Dec 20, 2008 5:55 PM by moreno

    New business and wholesale distributors

    elochka Wayfarer
      I am starting a new business and would like to know how to approach desired wholesale distributors. I also would like to know the process after you send in your application, for example, what should I expect after this? (I sent in one already and haven't heard anything yet.)
      I have not worked with any previous distributors. I have the business licenses but am nervous that the wholesalers are going to ignore me because I don't know how this part works yet and I have no trade references.
        • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
          Lighthouse24 Ranger
          A little more info would be helpful. Who are the "desired wholesale distributors" you mention? What products? Who/where is your retail market? Thanks.
          • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
            elochka Wayfarer
            The distributors are selling pet products and my business is internet retail. I'll be renting an office in Ohio after I establish a wholesale account.
              • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
                Lighthouse24 Ranger

                Pet supplies take a variety of different paths to retailers -- manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, merchandisers, and jobbers. I think all but about six of the 8,000+ on-line pet supply retailers are associated with either (a) the major chains (PetCo, PetSmart, etc.), which utilize the same sources as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, or (b) the home-based business firms (like Top Dawg), which utilize their own closed wholesale network.

                The few independents (who are doing what it sounds like you have mind) tend to select one wholesale distributor and affiliate with them. Buying from too many suppliers takes away valuable quantity discounts and awards that you need in order to keep prices competitive -- especially if you're just starting up. So my advice would be to request and shop a variety of prospective wholesalers' catalogs, choose the one that has selections, prices, and so on that best suit your business model, and then contact them to request the necessary forms or paperwork to establish a new reseller/customer account. From there, they'll provide whatever information you need to get things set up and running. As your business grows you can always expand to include additional wholesalers (and your customers' feedback will help you know which to consider).

                A final tip -- this is a very competitive business if you're just selling general pet supplies (same stuff people can get in stores or through other on-line retailers). Creating a niche -- such as specializing in supplies for trendy pets or exotics -- would allow you to stock items that local pet stores don't (which could help you build a more viable business more quickly, and ensure repeat purchases).

                Hope that helps. Best wishes on your new enterprise.
                1 of 1 people found this helpful
              • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
                LUCKIEST Guide
                New business and wholesale distributors, Welcome

                Have you started this business?? Have you developed a Business and Marketing Plan??

                Do you know about SCORE?? SCORE is FREE and can help you succeed/

                Good luck, LUCKIEST
                • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
                  elochka Wayfarer
                  I am not worried so much about my marketing plan as I am getting the people with the products to sell to me, being a new business and naive about this aspect. For example what I should say if they didn't reply, and should I put a lot of details in my letters? I tend to just ask the main question and keep things short and to the point.
                    • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
                      Lighthouse24 Ranger

                      Most (if not all) pet product wholesalers who sell to independent retailers have an established process for creating a new reseller/retail account. You simply request the forms (often, you can apply on-line), return them, and once you're approved, they'll walk you through the process of doing business with them.

                      As I said initially, for a new/small store, you won't be dealing directly with manufacturers or first tier importers and distributors. The second tier wholesaler/distributors that you'll contact can only move more product if they add more retailers -- so it's not in their interest to ignore you or turn you down. If they do, it will almost certainly be because something in your application (about you or your business) has caused them concern. If that's the case, you correct the problem or try the next wholesaler. Beyond that, if you don't get a response to an inquiry, I would just assume that they're not interested in dealing with a small or new seller (many large wholesalers with established distribution networks have a lot of technology built in those operations -- and they will assume that a small one-person retailer can't afford the IT investment you'd need to make to integrate seemlessly into their centralized warehousing, order-entry, and merchandising processes).

                      Does all that make sense? Good luck!
                    • Re: New business and wholesale distributors
                      moreno Wayfarer

                      I have a home decor business and like yourself I'm starting a new business. Basically, no one will give you credit if you have no business credit. They'll say things like, "you have to have at least one year of dealing with us before we reveiw your account again for credit". I have been doing business with a couple of distributors but I always paid with credit card or debit and that wasn't a good idea because when I applied for credit with companies, my references responded with histories of having good credit card/debit establishments with them but no Net Terms of 30, 60, or 90 days and that wasn't what they were looking for. The distributors wanted references that replied with Net 30... terms who said I had a good pay back records with them.

                       


                      My advise is to reach out to your vendors and let them know that you are a new company who's trying to establish his/herself and ask if they can put you on Net terms (no matter how low it is) just to get established in the game and to create some sort of history with a company for future references. This worked for me with at least 2 of my vendors but not all.

                       


                      Good luck!