Finding wholesale sources is one of the major stumbling blocks facing small business start-ups. A casual search on the internet reveals hundreds of thousands of companies, but upon closer inspection, most online suppliers aren't true wholesalers at all. Many are small business start-ups themselves, selling off-brand products at inflated prices. Others are members of one program or another, all designed to rake in as much money as possible for the actual wholesale company while using re-sellers as middle men. Some directories charge members a monthly or yearly fee for finding wholesale sources for them, but there is really no need to pay for the information. Wholesalers want your business; they just seem to "hide" in order to discourage the public from shopping in their stores and on their sites. Look online for wholesale directories, then weed out those that charge a membership fee. You will still end up with a lot of wholesale listings that aren't true wholesalers, but it doesn't take a lot to spot a re-seller. Look for over-inflated prices, excessive shipping charges, and websites that do not ask for a retail ID, and eliminate those companies from your list. What you'll have left are good wholesale suppliers. Another option is to join a retailer's group, and subscribe to magazines that cater to small business and retail shop owners. Both options will net you a plethora of wholesale supplier ads, which you can browse through at your leisure. Many retail groups remove scam ads from their pages as soon as they get a complaint, so your chances of finding legitimate suppliers are better than if you look for companies on your own. Your local library's business section is also a good place for finding wholesale sources. There are several print directories available to choose from, which list not only business names and addresses, but also give a short review of each company. Print directories are usually found in either the reference or business sections of libraries; if your local library doesn't have any, ask if they can order them for you. Don't forget to check your local Yellow Pages also. Most metro areas have at least one or two local wholesale companies, and many are worth checking out. Working with a local wholesaler has several advantages; you can buy smaller lots, try products before you sell them, and in many cases, build up a personal relationship with your supplier. Some local wholesalers offer in-store credit to loyal customers, and will special order products they don't normally carry on their shelves. This allows you to offer your customers better service and better merchandise without adding to your costs.
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