finding manufacturers
finding manufacturers

Finding Manufacturers for Drop Shipping and Stocking Products

Finding manufacturers or distributors can be quite difficult depending on the products you are looking for. Many times they do not advertise to the general public. Knowing where to start your search will save you hundreds of hours of research. Some of the best places for finding manufacturere and distributors are in trade magazines and business directories.

If you do a search online you should be able to find industry trade organizations and its member directories. You can also do a search for convention centers that hold trade shows will have a roster of distributors and manufacturers that attended previous conventions. Find out if they had a convention within your industry

Depending on the item, you might even be able to find the product in a store and check the packaging for the suppliers information such as website, phone number and address.

Finding Manufacturers of Handmade Items

If your product is unique and handmade, you will want to talk to people who are creating it. They may need an online storefront or would like to find distributors to market their products on and off line. They may be selling their items on e-Bay or locally in the paper but not on a website or in a store.

Hand made items are unique and you can find people making them at fairs, flea markets, pow wows, craftshows and small shops. After finding manufacturers you will want to approach them about your home based business drop shipping or stocking products for them.

It could open up another way for them to expand their business as well as helping you get quality products.

The sky is the limit to the various types of products to sell. Something to keep in mind before finding manufacturers is that the more passionate you are about the products the better you will enjoy your new business and your customers will pick up on your enthusiasm as well.

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Questions to ask after Finding Manufacturers

  • Does your company do drop shipping? (ignore this question if you are going to be stocking products)

  • What type of payments is accepted for the product? (Visa, Master Card, AMEX, Discover)

  • Can you set up terms and if so what is required?

  • What type of shipping do you use? Can I get overnight, 2nd and 3rd day as well as ground shipping?

  • Are there any other fees for drop shipping? Do you have a minimum order size? Is there any additional handling fees?  Am I going to get your shipping rates or do you increase them for drop shipping?

  • What is your return policy?  See note below.

Note:  The above question is very important because you will have to come up with guidelines similar to the ones you will have to follow in order to be able to get your money back and still provide your customer with the product they want.

  • What happens with damaged shipments and defective merchandise? How does your company handle this? Will you send out another one with an RMA label (Return Merchandise Authorization) and not charge me? Or do I get charged until the original defective or damaged product comes back?

  • If the product has to be returned and you have issued a label what type of follow up will be done to verify the item is credited to my account? (This question is if you have to pay for another item to be shipped again.)

  • How long do credits normally take?

  • Do you private label? (use your company logo) If so what is needed to get into the program?

  • Does your company offer specials, newsletters etc.?

  • How are orders placed? Can I email instead of faxing and if so, will I have two people to email to in order to make sure that the order gets in even when one person is out?

  • What is your cut off time for taking orders and shipping?

  • Is your cut off time different for drop shipping then stocking products?

  • Do you have charts telling me how long the ground service takes to different parts of the country? Do you ship international and if so what are your requirements?

  • Do you sell retail or just wholesale? This is an important question because if they sell retail, what would stop them from stealing your customers? On the other hand if they sell wholesale only to dealers then you know that they are not likely to take your customers away because you and your customers are their business.

  • How are invoices sent to me? Mailed, faxed or emailed?

  • Do I get a discount for stocking products?

I have found that normally you will end up with many more questions for the manufacturers as the conversations unfold.  If you forget to ask them a question you can always contact them again. Many will send you an email or fax with their application to become a vendor.

If your industry has many manufacturers and/or distributors and is large, you will probably have so many options for different suppliers that you will need to just contact a few to get going and then continue to look once you have a better understanding of prices and order amounts.

Finding manufactures isn't hard and if you use the questions above you will be able to get the most from your conversations with them. Whether you are drop shipping or stocking products, your home based business will benefit from a good strong relationship with your manufacturers.

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