Learn the Basics

11 Important Things To Know Before Starting A Wholesale Business

wholesale business

So, you have your great idea. The one. The plan that will make you your millions. Now what? How do you get started? What should you be aware of? What do you need to look out for? It can be a daunting time trying to turn your dreams into a reality, so we’ve pulled together this handy guide of important things that you should know before you start your wholesale business for you to learn the ropes.

1. What is Wholesale?

Wholesale is buying a large amount of something and then selling it on. There are lots of ways that wholesale can be incorporated into a supply chain but put simply, wholesale is basically bulk buying. Often, because goods are bought in large quantities, the price per unit is much less, which is how wholesale business become profitable.

2. What is the Workflow of Wholesale Business?

It’s a broad umbrella as you can buy wholesale and sell to another business – which would make you a distributor – of you can sell it on directly to your customers, which would make you a reseller. You could buy wholesale directly from a manufacturer or from a distributor. For the purpose of the rest of this guide we will mostly focus on what you need to know when your end goal is to sell to customers, that is, you become the retailer.

ways of wholesale selling

3. You Need to Know Your Market

This is arguably the best place to start, but it is also the most commonly missed step. It’s all well and good knowing what you want to sell, and how much you want to make. But that might not be realistic. Check out what your competitors are offering. Is it all brand names? Is it all in one particular colourway? Could that be because it’s easier to produce or is that just where the demand is? What are they charging? Most importantly, what can you offer that they simply don’t? If you can then this is a great place to try and work out what sells well and what doesn’t, see what they are offering in their clearance range – chances are that it didn’t do as well as they were hoping.

Trade shows are like little hidden gems. You can often find a wholesaler there to purchase from, and you can usually compare a few as they’ll flock there, all with their shiny proposals to try and bring retailers on board.

know your market

4. Your Supplier Matters

Choosing your supplier is a multi-part process within itself. There are so many new terms which you are likely to run into, and there are multiple things to consider when choosing your own wholesale supplier. You need to consider where they are, in proximity to you. Perhaps, less so where they are than how easy, how quick and how inexpensive it will be for them to ship the stock to you. Another thing to consider is quality. You want to be offering high-quality goods to your customers, which means that they need to be offering high-quality good to you. Do they have minimum orders? What are their prices, what do their discounts look like?

It’s a task within itself choosing your supplier. One of the benefits to wholesale however is that you don’t necessarily have to order everything from one place. You might find that company A is perfect for everything, but they just don’t stock that one particular product that you want to offer. Well, that’s not a problem, because you can order that specific product from company B instead. If you’re super lucky, you might find a company C that stocks everything that you’re looking for. But, if you don’t, then there is no need to stress, as ultimately you hold all of your stock, so you can get it from as many places as you need to. Which brings us nicely onto…

5. You’ll Need Storage for Your Wholesale Business

With the wholesale business model, you’ll be holding your own stock. This leaves one burning question, where are you going to put it all? Now, the space that you need is going to depend massively on what it is that you intend to be selling. If you’re looking at jewellery and keyrings, then you’re going to need less space than you would if you were selling furniture.

Whatever it is that you’re selling, you need to work out exactly how much space you’re going to need, and where that space will be. When you start your wholesale business, you’re likely not going to go in all guns blazing, you’ll start a little smaller and build yourself up. It’s worth at this point considering scaling and having some kind of plan of action in mind.

Consider where you will be selling your products? Do you intend to open bricks and mortar stores? Are you going to visit craft fairs and boot sales? Is your ultimate goal to be an online retailer? Perhaps even a mix of all three? This will also have some influence on where you’ll hold your stock, as well as how much of it you’ll need.

you'll need storage

6. Your Pricing Should be Reflective and Fair

Pricing – the big one. This is often a careful balancing act. You want to be competitive, but you also want to make money. The supplier that you have chosen will affect your pricing, on multiple levels. You need to mark up the wholesale price that you have bought your products at. One of the benefits of wholesale buying is that you often get discounts, usually based on the quantities that you buy.

However, you also want to make sure that you’re offering quality goods. If you’re offering £10 t-shirts, then people are likely going to consider how long it’s going to last – will it even make it through the first wash? Also, for you to be able to sell for that, means that you bought it for less than that. What were the working conditions of the person that made it? But if you offer that same quality t-shirt for triple the price, then people are going to notice – and they’ll feel like they’ve been ripped off.

Ultimately, you need to set your prices at a level which reflects the quality of the product, makes you a profit and is fair. Pretty simple.

7. You Need to Consider Shipping

Well, you’ve already worked out how the stock is going to get from your wholesale supplier to you. The next challenge is working out how you’re going to get your products to your customers. There are multiple different options out there and you need to see which is going to work out the best option for you. Just as we said with suppliers, remember that you don’t necessarily need to choose one postal service to ship everything that you sell. You also need to work out if you will charge your customers for the postage or if you intend to offer free delivery. If you’re offering free delivery, then you’ll need to absorb that cost somewhere.

Consider a number of things when researching this. A lot of postage costs are based on weight, but that’s not always the case. Size also plays a huge part in the postage cost equation. If you think of large stuffed toys, for example, they are pretty lightweight all things considered. But you won’t get as many of these on a lorry as you would terracotta flowerpots because they take up more space. You also need to consider where you want to ship to. Again, some services will specialise in overseas deliveries. You’ll need to weigh up cost, speed and quality of service when choosing your courier. 

multiple payment options

8. There are So Many Types of Payment

You need to consider how your customers are going to pay you. When you start your wholesale business, you’ll have some kind of idea of how you intend to carry out your sales. If you’ve got a store, then you’ll probably need to look into cash and card payments. There are many options out there, from portable iZettle style systems (great if you intend to take to craft fairs and events) to PDQ machines that are a little more fixed to just the store.

If you’re thinking that you will more likely be running your business online, then you’ll need to consider your payment options here. Bank transfers, card payments or even credit plans are worth looking into and doing your research on. There are so many providers out there that offer so many things. Perhaps the most popular is PayPal.

Bear in mind though, that these too, are businesses, and there will likely be a charge for the service. Some of these charges are worked out on a cost-per-transaction basis, some as a subscription and some are done on a percentage. Explore all your options and work out what is most likely to suit you.

9. Customer Service Really, Truly Matters

When you start your wholesale business, you’re not just a store, you’re a service. People aren’t just buying a product from you, they are buying a promise that the product will arrive on time, as described and that it will do what it is meant to. In a perfect world, everything will all go smoothly, and it will be a seamless transaction. But it’s not a perfect world.

That being said, with the right supplier, right courier service and seamless planning, more often than not things will go swimmingly – most of the time. What you need to do is make sure that on the odd occasion where it doesn’t, that you look after your customers. Otherwise, the moment there is flooding, and the delivery can’t make it, or your supplier is out of stock of a specific item, your customers will start to stray.

Think about your returns policy. Make sure that you manage your stock levels, and that you inform your customers if something becomes unavailable. Stay up to date with your couriers, especially around bouts of poor weather or the holiday season. These things happen, and that can’t be helped. What can be helped, however, is how prepared for it you are, and how you deal with it.

customer service matters

10. There Are Both Pros and Cons of Wholesale Business


  • Bulk buying discounts, buy more save more
  • You see the products before you sell them
  • You’re more in control of the whole process
  • You can add thank you notes, or seasonal greetings
  • You can quickly and easily stay on top of your stock levels


  • You often have to order large quantities
  • You need somewhere to keep your inventory
  • There are likely to be more costs (overheads, packing, staff etc)
  • There is a certain amount of risk, you buy the product with no guarantee you’ll sell it
Get started

11. There’s a Simple Way to Start Your Wholesale Business

Now that you have your own lost of important things you should know before you start your wholesale business, we are here to offer you a solution. Contrado wholesalers benefit from a whole range of exciting benefits that can really help you hit the ground running. Don’t believe us? Take a look!

Huge Range

We offer a massive range of over 450 products that you can design yourself. From fashion to homeware, stationery to furniture and even a selection of more than a hundred fabrics and leathers, all made-on-demand just for you, with your very own designs and artwork beautifully printed exactly as you specify.

Tried & Tested

The products that we offer with our exclusive wholesale benefits are the same ones that we sell ourselves. They are tried and tested, and we know they’re popular, they do what they should and that people love them


We are demanding when it comes to making sure that we offer only the highest quality goods. Everything that leaves our facility undergoes stringent quality checks and if it’s not good enough then we make sure that it is before we send it out.

Finest Materials

As part of ensuring amazing quality, we use only great quality materials in our processes, from FSC certified wood and card to EU woven fabrics. We make sure that your print-on-demand products are made to last.


And when we say made to last, we literally mean made. Everything is handmade to order in our bespoke facility, exactly to your specification, which means that you can offer your customers exactly what you want to.

No Minimums

That’s right. None. Nada. With a Contrado Wholesale Account, you’ll start receiving your wholesale discount even if your order is just for one single product (perfect if you want to order a sample before placing a bulk order).

Amazing Discounts

That being said, wholesale literally means bulk buying. So, the more you order, the more you’ll save. With Contrado, it’s based on the number of products you order, not the number of one specific product. This means that you can mix and match your custom printed products as much as you like.

Quick Production

As we make everything to order, here on-site, we don’t have to wait for things to come to us. Most products are ready to ship within just a couple of days.

Fast Shipping, Worldwide

We work with a number of different couriers, so no matter where you are, we can get your order to you in just days. If you’re based in the UK, we even offer next day delivery options. For those a little further afield most of our international deliveries arrive in just 3-5 days – with major cities often receiving their orders in as little as two.

Want to get started?

Sounds pretty good right? Better still, it’s super easy to get started, simply fill out our wholesale account form and you could be up and running in no time.

open a wholesale account

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