Having worked with lots of producers/artisans who are new to wholesaling, I know some of the most common issues. Lots of pre-planning needs to be done before you make your first sales contact. I have seen too many overly excited people wanting to wholesale, but were just not ready.
The first policy to look at is your pricing structure. I will not be addressing pricing in this article, but you can find info on this here: Pricing Your Products. After making sure the pricing works for the wholesale market, we discuss terms and policies. Nothing will make you look more unprofessional when giving a presentation or contacting a potential buyer than not having your ducks in a row with your terms and policies.
- What type of payments will you accept: cash, check, credit/debit card?
- What is your minimum order? 12, 24, 50, ??
- How do you plan to ship or deliver the order?
- What type of guarantee will you offer?
Many of these policies will require some extra work on your end before you are ready to wholesale. Here are some tips:
— Should you decide to accept credit/debit cards, you need a Merchant account and/or a PayPal account.
— In determining your minimum order, often, whatever works to make in a batch amount should be your minimum. As a gourmet food producer, that was 12 as 12 bottle/jar are in a case when you purchase them empty.
— Online shipping accounts for most major carriers can be set upwhere you can print labels right from your computer and save money as well.
All these terms and policies should be in writing and added to your order form, brochure and website.
Once you have determined the basic policies, you will want to look at the following:
- How will you handle late payments?
- Will you allow returns and under what circumstances?
- What happens if a store receives a damaged shipment?
- Will you be offering custom products, labeling or custom designs?
You may need to spend some time thinking these through as they can solve issues before they become problems — when formulated successfully. Including these policies in your ordering information is also a good idea — especially if they are complicated instructions.
More on this topic can be found in an article by the Arts Business Institute.