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Getting Supplier Quotes When Your Business is New

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 2 Sep 2010 | comments*Discuss
Quotations New Business Suppliers

When you start your new collectibles business, you will need to go through the process of getting quotations from suppliers. As a new business, you may not have much experience in this, or at least not with the new suppliers you’re attempting to get stock from. There are a variety of methods that you can employ to ensure you get the best deal and develop a productive relationship with suppliers.

Locating Suppliers for your Collectibles Business

As a new business, it can be difficult to locate suppliers, especially in a niche market like collectibles. One of the first things you’ll have to do is research where you are able to get the stock you need from and make initial contact with those suppliers. In many cases, the best way to do this is through a combination of three main areas.

  • Research Online.Use the internet to look up as many different keywords relating to collectibles as you can think of. Search for wholesale, trade, suppliers, distributors and more along with this and you’ll no doubt find a few different suppliers who you can use.
  • Trade Magazines.Can be one of the best sources of information on wholesale suppliers when you’re starting out your business. Look for them in good newsagents, or ask other retailers which trade magazines they subscribe to.
  • Product Information.Look on the back of collectibles in other memorabilia and collectible stores. They often have information on them regarding the distributor and most even have a contact address and phone number.

Making Initial Contact with Suppliers

When you first make contact with suppliers, they can be wary of new business, yet welcoming at the same time. They of course want your business rather than having it go to other companies, but are fearful that you’re unable to pay or perhaps won’t be a regular customer. Often, even when getting a quote, you’ll be required to sign an agreement stating that you’ll be able to pay upfront. Most suppliers don’t offer credit accounts to new businesses, so expect this as part for the course. When you contact them, explain you’re unaware of the exact numbers yet regarding stock, but that you’re hoping to try out a certain figure and see how that goes.

Most will be happy to offer you a smaller initial order, especially when you’re not quite sure of how well you’ll sell certain items. Always provide them with full contact details and make sure that the address is correct. Delivery drivers have a lot of stops to make and if you’re not there, they’ll return to sender or take back to the depot.

Asking for Quotes from Suppliers

Don’t be afraid to ask for a quote when you’re a new business. As previously mentioned, suppliers will be keen to get you on board and will often give you a quote based on quantity. You’re likely to be able to negotiate a bulk buying discount, but don’t be offended if you can’t. Many collectibles are sold at a set price and bulk buying often only goes to chain stores who are ordering a multitude of similar items for all their stores. Try and plead to the suppliers conscience and explain that as it’s just a test, a quote is essential before you’ll agree to having them be your supplier. Call around as many people as you can and price as many similar items as possible. The downside is that often in collectibles, certain distributors will be given the exclusive rights, so your bargaining power when looking for quotes is diminished slightly, but it’s always worth a try.

Agreeing on a Quote

If you’re happy with a quote from one or a few suppliers and decide to agree on it, try and ensure you’re not tied into a contract. Good distributors are happy to deal with you whenever you need an order and don’t usually require a minimum monthly order. Smaller distributors may require a minimum order amount, but you can try and negotiate this with them. Once you’ve placed your order and are happy with the quote, the terms and the delivery details, sit back and watch your shop fill up with lots of stock that hopefully customers are desperate to buy.

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