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If you?ve never dealt with a wholesaler online before, you may find it isn?t as you would expect. Robert Pugh, author of The eBay Business Handbook, suggests eight points to consider.

– Prices will not include VAT. Ensure that you factor this into any price calculations when working through your margins. It?s always best if you expect to pay 20% (the current rate of VAT in the UK) more than the published price.
– Check for minimum order values. Ask about order sizes and consider the impact on your cash flow and storage. Do not underestimate how much room you will need.
– Are they genuine brands? Ask for a sample before placing a big order, just to be sure.
– Prices do not include carriage. Check how much it will cost to have the items delivered to you. Postal expenses can add up before you realise.
– You may have to provide references.
– Some wholesalers will require references from your current business contacts and more often than not there?ll be a form to fill in.
– Mixed lots. As some manufacturers pack similar lines in the same box, be prepared for a delivery that almost has exactly what you asked for. The quantity will be correct, but don?t be surprised if the particular items vary each time.
– Be bold. Your wholesaler will also supply to other traders. If they have something you like that sells well and is the right price, buy in bulk ? it may all be gone when you want to re-order.
– Cash or account? There are two ways to pay for your goods: cash or on account. If you want to open an account, be prepared to fill in more forms and provide bank details.

Purchase Robert Pugh?s book, The eBay Business Handbook from (RRP £16.99).

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