First, any company can claim to sell “wholesale” banners or signs or decals or displays, but where the rubber hits the road, if you’re purchasing a product to re-sell to your client, is pricing, timing, and quality of the finished product.
Cost is a major factor in wholesale pricing. If you can’t compete with other companies, either by producing your own banners in-house or purchasing them at a competitive price, you’re not going to stay in business for long. For re-sellers, cost is almost everything, but not quite, because if the quality sucks, you’ll never see the client again, and no one likes it when that happens.
So, how do you know if you’re getting wholesale pricing? Well, as the previous paragraph states, price is going to be the number one indicator. Many companies sell to brokers at a lower rate than end consumers, and true wholesalers only sell to brokers or sign shops or the like. There are some companies that sell wholesale to anyone who walks through the door or calls on the phone, but these companies quickly become unpopular with re-sellers because of the potential of selling against them.
No one in any re-selling business is friendly with companies that they buy from then find that they just lost a large bid to that company. So, if you’re a re-seller, you want to make sure that your vendor is giving you special pricing, and that you won’t see their name on the same bid list you’re on for the product they sell to you.
Wholesalers, though, are not always the manufacturer. This is an important distinction in some industries, although in the banner printing industry, there are so many small shops that can print banners that most “Mom and Pop” businesses (small companies) will usually shop at these types of print shops because they can go in and talk to someone.
With larger companies that want to purchase wholesale, they will often drill down on pricing until they believe they’ve found the lowest possible pricing, then they’ll ask for samples or pay for prototypes enroute to purchasing a large quantity of double-faced PVC banners or the like. An experienced re-seller will often know by reviewing pricing (like I do), whether the banner is produced in-house or he is 2nd or 3rd in the food chain.
With our company, we sell wholesale two-sided vinyl banners, but we don’t print in house, having developed relations with offshore printers. We can often compete toe-to-toe with large printers in the US because our costs are low, especially on very large (as in container shipments) product orders.
So, why not just go offshore yourself? You could. However, I would caution you that it is not as easy as it sounds. Dealing with cultural norms from the Far East are not the same as Western cultural norms. Countries that read books from back to front think of things about opposite of how you think of them. It has taken many years and headaches to be able to work offshore.
Most of the brokers we deal with know we’re not the printer, but because of pricing and quality will work with us. Many have even tried the offshore route, but most have given up as it is difficult. I will admit it IS difficult. Even for an experienced offshore wholesaler it is very challenging, and even when you think you’ve learned a lot, you’ll run into a new cultural wrinkle that can sometimes throw you for a loop purchasing wholesale double-sided vinyl PVC banners or other printed materials.