How to Find eBay Wholesalers

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How to Find Wholesale Suppliers

By teaching you how to find wholesalers on your own, you'll never need to worry about having some old directory listing getting outdated. Pay attention, and I'll show you just how most wholesale directories you find for sale on the internet get put together.

Don't worry. It's actually a very easy process. Once you learn this, you'll wonder why anybody is actually willing to pay money for wholesale directories.

First, go to your favorite search engine. For this example, I'll use Yahoo! Search at:

From their main page, simply click the "directory" link.

Yahoo! Directory

In the directory search, type an appropriate search term such as "liquidation" or "closeouts".

When the results appear, each listing will have a link to the directory category it's listed in. The image below highlights the link.

Yahoo! Directory results

You can browse through the directory search results for wholesalers that look promising. For even more results, click the directory category links beneath each listing, as highlighted by the red arrow in the image above.

This works the same at Google. However, you have to click the "more" link from their homepage, as the "directory" link doesn't display from there. You can also simply type in the URL to go directly to the Google Directory:

Many web directories are actually powered by DMOZ Open Directory Project, which boasts the largest human-edited directory on the web. You can reach DMOZ at the following URL:

Searching through these directories works very similar to a regular search. Simply type in what you're looking for to get related results.

A few more words you can search for besides "liquidator" and "closeouts" to find wholesalers have been listed below:


You can also use these words in combination with the type of product you're looking for. For example: "cosmetics wholesale".

You can also find directories at the Yahoo! directory under the category Business and Economy > Business to Business > Trade > Directories.

In addition to directories, specialized search engines are also a great place to find wholesale suppliers:

Go Wholesale
Wholesale 411
Wholesale University
Wholesale Central
The Wholesale Trader

The search technique spoken of above works particularly well in conjunction with wholesale search engines.

Another supplier search is You can search for suppliers that are located in a specific country or region, or for suppliers that ship to specific locations (regardless of the supplier's actual location).

You can also contact multiple suppliers at once using their "Power Request".

A great place to find a great variety of closeout wholesalers is at the following website:

At the above listed site, you'll be able to look through featured dealers, and subscribe to the Closeout News publication. By subscribing, you'll start to receive the Closeout News which lists hundreds of closeout dealers in a magazine that's typically over 100 pages long!

Many of the dealers you'll find in the Closeout News are companies familiar in dealing with eBay sellers, and will welcome your business.

Trade Shows

For many wholesale distributors and product suppliers, finding retailers willing to carry their product is no easy task. One method companies use to get in contact with retailers is through wholesale trade shows.

Trade shows are an excellent place to find wholesale suppliers of just about any type of product you can imagine. At trade shows, wholesalers often advertise trade show specials, selling their display products at deep discounts and extending the specials to their entire product line.

Trade shows are more than just a way to meet up with new suppliers, they are also a great place to purchase actual product at great prices! Keep in mind that you want to see the whole show before committing to a product purchase on the spot. You may well find that there are several other suppliers of the same product with even better pricing.

Keep a notepad with you so you can make note of the exhibitors that interest you, and so you can mark their location. Trade shows are often large, and it's easy to forget where you saw a particular exhibitor if you haven't written it down.

The biggest wholesaler's trade show in America is the ASD/AMD Tradeshow held multiple times throughout the year across the country. I've been to the show held in Las Vegas twice, and let me tell you, these events are HUGE!

The show is held in multiple buildings, with jewelry, dollar store, and giftware suppliers being some of the main categories that are gathered together in the same area. There is also an area for Asian sourcing. If you ever wanted to get in with Asian suppliers, this is a great place to start.

The ASD/AMD Trade Show, in addition to being held twice annually in Las Vegas, also regularly has shows in New York, Atlantic City, Orlando, and Houston. When I last visited their website, I noticed they were also having shows in Los Angeles and San Antonio.

Find out everything you need to know about the largest wholesaler's tradeshow in America at the ASD/AMD website.

Again, the internet is a great place to find trade shows specific to your market. Simply visit a directory (as discussed earlier in this chapter) and type in a search for "trade shows". By browsing through the categories, you'll be able to find what you're looking for.

For example, at the Yahoo! directory, I was able to find trade shows under Business and Economy > Business to Business > Conventions and Trade Shows.

International trade shows can also be found through Global Sources at:

The following websites will help you find trade shows being held in your local vicinity, or around the world.

When attending a trade show, you need to act the part of a retailer. Dress and act professionally, but don't lie about who you are. If you are new to selling on eBay and are looking for product sources to help you get started, then tell people that when asked.

If you try to make yourself appear to be more than you are, you'll eventually be found out and your relationship with the supplier will be on rocky ground from the start.

Some things to look for are new and innovative products. As discussed in a previous chapter, talk with the exhibitors to get a feel for what market trends are, and look for product trends at the show.

When you see a distributor or wholesaler that looks interesting, take their business card and make a small note on the back of it to remind you who they are and what they sell, and what it was that impressed you about them. If they seem really interesting, take more detailed notes in a notepad.

If you have a notebook or pocket PC with wireless access, you might want to bring it along so you can check eBay for pricing on the spot. This can help you decide whether or not an exhibitor is worth your time.

If the pricing you are quoted just isn't quite good enough, remember that pricing is always negotiable. See if you can't talk the distributor into getting you down to a better pricing, or provide you with some kind of special trade show pricing.

Finally, one thing to keep in mind is that many trade shows restrict access to those with a tax I.D. number, or some other document that identifies you as a retailer qualified to buy from a wholesaler. Make sure you have the documents required to get into a trade show before registering to attend one.

Get Close to the Source

Ever wondered where products come from? Typically they are manufactured at a manufacturing plant. The original manufacturer of a product is called, as you might guess, the manufacturer.

Manufacturers rarely sell direct to the public, or even to retailers for that matter. Typically a manufacturer will sell in huge quantities to a distributor. The distributor will break up their purchase into several lots to sell to wholesalers. Finally, wholesalers break things up into even smaller lots for sale to the retailer.

Sometimes there is even a middleman that connects wholesalers with retailers. The retailer then, naturally, sells to the end consumer.

These steps that a product goes through, going from manufacturer to distributor to wholesaler etc., is known as the product lifecycle. At every step of the product lifecycle, someone is taking a cut of the profits.

As a retailer, the closer you can get to the manufacturer, the more middle-men you will cut out, and the better your pricing will be. As a result, you'll experience higher profit margins on your sales.

This is what I mean when I say, "Get close to the source."

Once you've figured out what it is you want to sell, find manufacturers of that product. It's not always easy to do this. Many manufacturers have a website that can easily be found by searching for them at a search engine.

Some manufacturers don't have a website, or if they do, they don't provide contact information. One place you can go to find contact information for manufacturers is the Thomas Register:

Something to remember: Manufacturers are accustomed to doing business with distributors who purchase in huge quantities. This could mean hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars worth of merchandise. Clearly, most of us are not in a position to make that large of a purchase.

However, some manufacturers are willing to sell directly to a wholesaler. The first thing you'll want to find out is what a minimum purchase is going to cost you and how much product you're going to get for it.

Getting GPS units that retail for $600 for just $250 each is fantastic! But if the minimum purchase is for 10,000 units… well you'd better consider how difficult it's going to be to sell 10,000 GPS units on eBay.

Ten thousand units at $250 each is a $2.5 million purchase! Even if you managed to sell them for $400 each (which is a generous estimate considering that on eBay, many GPS units sell for as little as half the suggested retail price) you'd have to sell over 6,200 units just to break even. That's a lot of units, and not something you should expect yourself to be able to do on eBay; particularly considering the rate at which technology items lose their value.

Of course, you could become a distributor or wholesaler, reselling the items to retailers. But since this is a book about selling on eBay, we won't get into that.

If the manufacturer has a minimum purchase that is simply unrealistic for you, ask them for a list of distributors. Remember to specify that you're a wholesaler, and are not looking for retailers or other wholesalers.

Once you've got your list of distributors, start contacting them. Go through the same process as you did with the manufacturer. That is, find out what their minimum purchase is and figure out whether it is realistic for you to be able to make that purchase and still sell all of the items on eBay for a profit.

Remember, it's not just about cost per unit, but whether or not you'll actually be able to sell what you buy. Contact as many distributors as you can so you can compare pricing.

Again, if the minimum purchase is too high, move on to the wholesaler and start the process over again.

When you do find somebody in the chain that's willing to work with you, there are several items of information that you'll want to obtain from them:

A Price List
This is an obvious one. You can't know how profitable an item might be if you don't know your cost.

Get Shipping Information
How do items ship? You'll want to know which carrier they use, whether insurance is included, how fast orders are processed, etc.

How do they handle billing? Do they bill every 30 days, expect payment at the time of each order, or expect prepayment?

Return Policy
This is very important. The more volume you do, the more likely you are to end up with a return. Many eBay sellers incorporate a return policy that is the same or very similar to that of their supplier.

Ask if They Drop Ship
If you're interested in drop shipping, you can ask companies at each level of a product life cycle whether or not they are willing to do so for you. Most will likely tell you know, although it is gradually becoming a more popular way of doing business.

If a company does drop ship, find out what their drop fee is. As discussed earlier, a drop fee is an additional handling fee drop shippers charge for the extra cost of handling smaller orders. This is also sometimes called a pick fee. They may have a tiered system. For example, the more product you order in a month, the lower the drop fee will be.

Additionally, find out if they do what is called "blind drop shipping". This simply means that they don't put their information on the address label. Often times, someone who does blind drop shipping will put your information in the return-address portion of the label. This is important because you don't want your buyers knowing who your supplier is.

Finally, regardless as to which of these levels you buy from (manufacturer, distributor, or wholesaler), you'll always be asked for your tax I.D. number assuming you are in the U.S.

Unfortunately, I'm not that knowledgeable about international business, so if you're outside the U.S. I'm not sure what the requirements would be. But laws typically require you have some form of documentation that allows you to buy items tax free.

However, whether you are in the U.S. or not, it's always a good idea to consult with a professional about the necessities of business. Doing so will ensure that you are always within the bounds of the law.

In the U.S., the government has an organization whose purpose it is to help small businesses. It is the Small Business Administration, or SBA. The SBA has offices all over the U.S. Visit their website at:

You can get great business advice for free from your local SBA, which often has local offices in colleges and universities.

Next: Finding Manufacturers in China and Other Asian Wholesale Suppliers


The Basics
eBay Drop Shippers
Government Auctions
Garage and Yard Sales
Liquidation / Closeouts
How to Find Wholesale Suppliers
Finding Manufacturers in China and Other Asian Wholesale Suppliers
Selling eBooks and Other Digital Media
Chapter 7 Summary & Takeaways

Jump to another chapter:

Chapter 1: Driving Traffic to Your Auction Listing
Chapter 2: Listing for Higher Profits
Chapter 3: Does Any of this Stuff Work?
Chapter 4: eBay Stores
Chapter 5: Auction Management
Chapter 6: What to Sell on eBay
Chapter 7: Finding Products to Sell on eBay
Chapter 8: Mining eBay's Traffic
Chapter 9: HTML Tutorial
Chapter 10: Acting Like a PowerSeller
Chapter 11: Final Words