Many of you will probably remember the days when the only way to start a successful home business was to join some sort of multi-level marketing program or sell makeup at parties. In those days, people would have to buy a membership in the ‘program’ along with an inventory of sample products that they would then sell to friends and coworkers at ‘parties.’ Most people were not very successful at this and made very little money and usually alienated their friends and family. In the 1990’s however, all of that changed for the better with the advent of the Internet and a retail delivery method called wholesale drop shipping.
Wholesale drop shipping is when a wholesale distributor or manufacturer agrees to send out single unit products to customers for a retailer. Many will also even include the retailers name on the invoice so that the customer is never even aware that they got it from anyone else but the retailer. This, along with the Internet has changed the whole dynamics of home businesses in America, making it easier and more cost effective to start your own business.
Home business owners are now able to launch a business without purchasing any inventory up front and are able to open a ‘store’ without ever having to find a place to setup shop. Millions of Americans have setup ecommerce sites on the internet selling everything from Personal Computers to lawn care equipment all using wholesale drop shipping. As a matter of fact, according to eBay over forty thousand people make their full time living on their auction site alone; many of these are using drop shipping as their main method of product fulfillment.
The only problem for today’s small business owner is how to find wholesalers to drop ship. In general wholesale distributors don’t make it a habit of getting out there and advertising; obviously the whole reason they are in wholesale and not retail is to get away from doing all of that work. So it makes it very difficult for someone who has little or no business experience to make contacts with distributors when they aren’t even sure where to start looking.
To help out those small business owners I’d like to offer some advice for finding wholesale distributors:
- Look for trade organizations and magazines to help you make contacts. Many trade organizations out their produce some sort of listings of their members, many of whom may drop ship.
- Contact manufacturers. People don’t realize that if you call the manufacturer they will provide you with a list of their distributors; so if you are looking for a particular product, ask the manufacturer. The down side of this route is that they may have hundreds of distributors that you may have to contact before you find one that is willing to drop ship.
- Find wholesale chat rooms and message boards. There are many message boards on the Internet today that are devoted to a wide range of discussions. You may find boards on wholesale, distribution, supply chain, etc. All of these may lead you in the direction of a wholesale distributor.
However, if you want to get up and running fast, or just don’t have the time to go on a search for wholesale distributors much less ones that drop ship, then the way to go is drop ship directories. These are usually pay services that search out drop shippers for you then give you access to their contacts; there are many of these on the Internet today, and many are very good. As with anything on the Internet you must be very careful of the scams out there. Many drop ship directories will end up giving you an outdated list of wholesalers, or when you contact them you will find that they are a true wholesale distributor but they do not drop ship.
Here are some pieces of advice when looking for a quality drop ship directory:
- Stay away from the cheap ones! Obviously with everything else in this world you will get what you pay for. If you find one out their for three dollars, you probably are not going to get a good product. In general the one’s that offer the best information are charging $60 or more for a six month membership.
- Look for one’s that will do specialty searches! If you get into a drop ship directory and find that they do not have any products that you would like to sell, or think you can sell, then make sure they will go out and find it for you. If they do not do specialty searches then you will end up being stuck with whatever listings they have no matter what.
- Find one with a Satisfaction Guarantee! There are several drop ship directories out there that offer a guarantee that all of their listings are true drop shippers, but in my opinion this is not enough. If you get into their directory and find that they have five hundred listings for widget suppliers and they are all real wholesalers you are out your money and only have access to one product. Make sure they guarantee your satisfaction with their product no matter what, especially if you are going to shell out seventy dollars of your hard earned money.
- Look for ones that are going to help you out as well, not just give you a list. Do they offer articles and help material on starting your business or are all they just going to give you listings and nothing else.
However you choose to find wholesale drop shipping, keep in mind that as with anything else in this world knowledge is power. Try and find out as much as you can before you jump in to get your feet wet. It will make your startup smoother and help you get the profitability stage much faster.
Tony Keeler is the founder and publisher of The Drop Ship Connection – www.dropshipconnection.com - The web’s only drop ship directory with a step by step guide for the home business owner. He is also the owner of MAR Services which publishes these great sites: