Canada’s consumer goods market is more widely dispersed than its industrial market, so there is a growing need for distributors and wholesalers who can bridge the gap and ensure that necessary goods and services reach every part of the country.
A distributor is a wholesaler that carries and stores a wide range of products and sells them to retailers. Note that instead of having to deal with each product manufacturer individually, a retailer can just negotiate a single deal with the distributor and easily get access to a wide array of products.
For retailers, the value cannot be overlooked. Dealing with a distributor saves them from the challenge of product selection and negotiating with numerous manufacturers. Most often, these distributors can also collect back unsold products, extend credit, and help retailers achieve more business success.
For manufacturing companies and product creators in Canada, these middlemen provide easy access to a network of retailers. Note that instead of having to deal with hundreds of different stores, these companies can genuinely negotiate a deal with a single distributor. This distributor is then tasked with ensuring that the product gets into retail stores, where can be purchased by the consumers.
Although it may seem challenging to some small to medium-sized business owners, growing your business by acquiring distribution contracts with a bigger multinational corporation is not only possible, it can be very lucrative. A good number of SMEs in Canada are in a position to grow their business by becoming international distributors or outsourcing providers to large companies.
Steps to Find Companies Looking for Distributors in Canada
Indeed, there are many ways a distributor can find a company to become its distributor. To help achieve this purpose in Canada, here are steps to consider;
Table of Contents
- Familiarize Yourself with The Target Company’s Operations
- Receive a Request for a Service Quote
- Respond to an RFP/RFQ
- Differentiate Yourself from The Competition
- Make Yourself Visible
- 1. Referrals
- 2. Search by NAICS code
- 3. Online Manufacturer Directories
- 4. Forums and Social Media
- 5. Google
- 6. Message boards
- 7. Company website
- 8. Business exchange marketplace
- 9. Business to Business portals
- 10. Join Industry Groups, Forums, and Other Professional Networks
- 11. Subscribe to Distributors Trade Publications
- 12. Attend a Trade Show
- 13. Distributor directories
- 14. Trade Associations
- Canaglobe Advertising
- UR Worth It
- FlexPrime NK Inc.
Becoming a distributor for manufacturing companies is much bigger than just being able to sell their products. A distributor is a partner in the manufacturing company business’ growth. There are several ways you can find companies looking for distributors in Canada:
- Trade Associations: Most industries have local trade associations where manufacturers, retailers, and distributors can come together. This should be the first stop on your journey to find a manufacturing partner. Consider the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) and Canadian Council for International Business.
- Trade shows: This is another viable way to find companies seeking distributors. A large trade show can bring together hundreds of distributors and manufacturers under the same roof. Always look out for Trade Shows where you can get a quick idea of the distribution landscape, available options, and industry best practices.
- Google search: You can also leverage Google to find companies looking for distributors. By searching keywords like [Product Category] manufacturers in [Local Market], you can find product creators and wholesalers covering your industry at the top of the search results. Reach out to them and ask about their requirements, terms, and results.
- Company websites: Many companies also have websites that enable any potential distributor to register. Note that these websites may also list the conditions that the company will impose on distributors and the requirements they are expected to meet, like a credit report.
Familiarize Yourself with The Target Company’s Operations
Once you know the products you will like to distribute and the companies that make them, it is recommended you take time to analyze if you have something to offer them. Do they require the distribution service you intend to provide?
How can your small business fulfill one of its needs? One very viable way to start the process is to go through the corporation’s website carefully. This will lead you to understand what they require and also analyze how your company fits in.
Receive a Request for a Service Quote
If your marketing strategies have made your company visible, a manufacturer or product creator might request a one-off quote. Note that how your company responds to the quote will dictate whether or not a deal is made.
According to experts, before a quotation is prepared and sent out, you must carry out an inquiry to determine what is being asked. Have it in mind that your quotation will have to be written in such a way that the requested information is explicitly provided. At a minimum, it should contain the following information:
- A comprehensive service description
- A description of the packaging
- The price
- The currency of the quotation
- Duration of the quotation and agreement
- The place of origin of the quotation
- The terms of sale and delivery
- The terms of payment
- Any special labels or permits that will be required
- The amount of service offered
- A description of quality processes and any guarantees
- The mode of transport, transit requirements, and shipping or delivery dates
- Frequency of delivery
- Customs responsibilities
Every other special detail concerning the export process will also have to be included in the quotation, and ensure the quote is vetted and verified before being sent to the potential client. Don’t forget that your quotation is a binding agreement and an acceptance by the client is seen as an unconditional agreement to the conditions noted in the offer.
Respond to an RFP/RFQ
A good number of companies that are looking for distributors will sometimes send an RFP/RFQ to potential distributors or post an online request for bids. RFPs/RFQs are long and comprehensive documents that will include specific requirements. For smaller companies, it can be quite challenging to respond to RFPs/RFQs. However, here are top guidelines to help you respond to RFP/RFQs:
- Read the RFP/RFQ carefully; ensure you understand the deliverables. Note any inconsistencies or items that are unclear.
- Establish a schedule to meet the deadline for responding to the RFP/RFQ.
- Review the requirements extensively. It is very pertinent to consider whether the mandated specifications are ideal, whether your business can meet the required specifications and deadlines, whether you can add value to the project, and if you can carry out the required tasks cost-effectively.
- Ask employees with expertise or knowledge on requested elements to put together content for the RFP/RFQ.
- Get the support of company senior management.
- Put out an outline. The RFP/RFQ will have a very specific structure and the response should follow this exact structure, including the numbered headings.
- Any questions should be forwarded immediately to the requesting company. Most RFPs/RFQs make available a specific time for clarifications and questions.
- Finalize a presentation and prepare supporting documents. Companies looking for distributors will in most cases request financial background information, details of the time in business, information about business processes and quality management procedures, employee qualifications, and the details of references.
Differentiate Yourself from The Competition
Don’t forget it is a buyer’s market and the competition can be very intense. The corporation that you are striving to get a distribution contract with must already have other businesses on its shortlist. Note that it is even possible that there’s already a deep-rooted supplier that boasts of many years of association.
Remember that large companies don’t want to take any chances. As much as anything, they despise missed deadlines, failed promises, and unpleasant surprises. If you can convince the person that you are dealing with that you are reliable, you are definitely on the winning end.
Make Yourself Visible
A good number of companies in Canada are actively seeking diverse businesses to inculcate into their supply chains. It is imperative you make it easy for them to find you by ensuring you remain as visible as possible on the platforms and at the events where they can find you.
Ensure your business is registered on the supplier portals of your targeted partner’s leverage. A good number of them will surely have their own portals, but you’ll have to check manually.
Where to Find Companies Looking for Distributors in Canada
There are numerous ways you can find and approach a company looking for distributors in Canada. Here are the top options;
In the world of business, getting the right referral can put you on the right path to success. If you have any connections in the field or someone in your professional network that may have some insight, you should consider approaching them for recommendations of potential partners.
If you don’t have the right connections, you can start up conversations with other professionals on LinkedIn. Have it in mind that manufacturers who don’t need the service you offer and may refer you to others who need them. Don’t be scared to ask.
2. Search by NAICS code
This is another very viable option to consider. Note that by identifying a product that’s on the market, you can easily find the manufacturer who created it. You can do this by using the already-made product’s NAICS code. Just look up the NAICS Canada code, which is used mainly in Statistics Canada databases and publications.
You can search by keyword or browse by sector. Almost every product in Canada has a NAICS code and you can use the NAICS directory to look up any product, or simply Google the NAICS code.
With this method, you may be able to find the manufacturers of products you already know, ensuring quality and professionalism beforehand. You can then reach out to these manufacturers and request a quote for the services you intend to offer.
3. Online Manufacturer Directories
Have it in mind that one of the most convenient ways to find a company that manufactures the product you intend to distribute is through online manufacturers’ directories. Note that the top directories offer thousands of manufacturer profiles you can browse and choose from.
Also, note that companies found in these directories are in most cases vetted and reviewed. This can give you some assurance that your contact is legitimate. Most directories focus primarily on domestic manufacturing, and this will surely help you find a manufacturing company near you, others include a wide range of international suppliers.
This is a great way to find information in your niche. You only have to search engines to find forums that deliberate on the type of product you’re looking to distribute. In the world of business, an active forum is a viable resource. Also note that you can find threads discussing manufacturers, or you can start one yourself.
You should also consider leveraging social media. You can start by looking up Facebook or LinkedIn groups primarily for the type of product you are looking to distribute, or even groups dedicated to sourcing products. Although they aren’t as straightforward as online supplier directories, but they can provide you with some unexpected benefits.
These days, just anything can be found with a Google search; however, finding the sort of information you seek can be a little more difficult. A good number of factories, especially overseas, are known to have outdated websites that aren’t optimized for search engines, and this can make it harder for them to be found with Google’s algorithm.
So, when googling, ensure to use different search phrases, such as “manufacturer”, “supplier” or “factory”, coupled with the name of the product or its source materials.
6. Message boards
A message board is an online discussion site where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporarily archived. Due to the simplicity and uncomplicated accessibility, message boards have become an excellent source of discussion and communication on the Internet.
In these friendly discussion spots, members are able to view posts, post new queries or respond to existing queries posted by other members. Every day hundreds of entrepreneurs post their distributor needed ads in Distributor Wanted message boards that are found online.
The key to using a message board is to find out the particular one that caters to your local area and the one where the kind of distributors you want can be found. There are message boards that cater to wholesale distributors, business product distributors, manufacturing companies, and manufacturing exporters. You only need to insert your ad to get started.
7. Company website
In fact this is one of the first places a company should advertise their need for distributorship. Of course, it is expected that every company should have an online presence. The first thing for you to do is to place a notice on your website that you need distributors. It will interest you to know that a lot of distributors do scrounge manufacturer’s websites in a bid to find business deals for themselves. This is a good way a company can find distributors in Canada.
8. Business exchange marketplace
Both the sellers and buyers of businesses benefit from having a central place to evaluate potential deals and transactions. This need for a centralised marketplace, alongside an increased use and trust of the Internet, has seen the growth of online business exchanges across the world.
Simply put, a business exchange is an online database of businesses. The database provides basic but important financial and operational information about each business. Potential purchasers typically have to register with a business exchange to access more detailed information about each business.
The database, which may list thousands of companies, can be searched in many ways including industry specific searches, geographical searches and finding businesses with a particular price range.
Though the business exchange marketplace deals with buying and selling of businesses, but there are also provisions for you to run adverts of your distributorship needs. This can indeed get to the right audience as many online business marketplaces have such features.
9. Business to Business portals
Although the trend of a Business to Business portal is not new but the evolution of technology has indeed changed the way they function. Additional digital trading features and branding has taken the place of traditional outreach methods to get in touch with targeted buyers, sellers or distributors.
By advertising on a business to business portal, a company can easily come across wholesale distributors. Some other benefits that business-to-business portals contribute to the companies involved are:
- Speed and security of communications.
- Direct integration of the data of the transaction in the computer systems of the company.
- The possibility of receiving more offers or demands, expanding the competition.
- Depersonalization of the purchase with which avoid possible deals of favor.
- Minimum Hassles: fewer commercial visits, faster negotiation process, etc. Therefore, buyers may ask for a price reduction or sellers can increase their margins with a single click.
Look for a marketplace that serves your country or region. There are also industry-specific B2B marketplaces; these can either serve a single country or a global population of retailers.
10. Join Industry Groups, Forums, and Other Professional Networks
More experienced manufacturers in your industry or niche are often the best source of information about distributors. Invest time in networking to build the trust and connections that will help you find the best possible distributors for your small business.
Participate in online forums which can be a great source of free information and help from other people with experience in your market or industry. You can also build your LinkedIn profile, subscribe to industry newsletters, and join your local Chamber of Commerce or small business networking groups to build your professional connections.
11. Subscribe to Distributors Trade Publications
Trade magazines are a wealth of information about businesses and relationships in your industry. Nearly every advertiser in the magazine will be a product manufacturer or distributor looking to reach you, and a single issue of a trade magazine can provide the names of dozens of distributors in your location.
In addition to magazines, subscribe to online newsletters and blogs. These are often the best way to keep up with daily or weekly industry news and updates.
12. Attend a Trade Show
Trade shows are one of the most powerful ways to build and grow your business. These events are designed for retailers to connect with distributors and other manufacturers. Trade shows allow you to meet and speak with dozens of distributors in a single day.
These face-to-face conversations often avoid misinformation or communication difficulties that can occur when contacting people online. The Trade Show News Network is the largest directory of trade shows online. You can search for a trade show by industry, date, city, state or country and/or event name.
13. Distributor directories
There are plenty of directories where you can find distributors who cover your industry. While they’re usually positioned towards retailers, they’ll be happy to hear from manufacturers wanting to work with them.
14. Trade Associations
Most industries have local trade associations where manufacturers, retailers, and distributors can come together. This should be the first stop on your journey to find a distributing partner.
In the US and even in Canada, the National Association of Wholesalers (NAW) offers a list of regional and local chapters of different trade associations. Use this to find distributors that serve your industry and region. Marketing Mentor has another list of trade associations for different industries. Find an association that serves your industry and become a member.
Once you join a trade association, try to find how other manufacturers sell their products. What distributors do they use? What markets do they target? What kind of results do they get from their efforts? In most industries, there will be best practices, proven players, and established channels. Adopting these best practices is recommended for any new entrant.
Top Companies Needing Distributors in Canada
Wholesale and distribution is a complex business, and will most often require smart management of supply chains, costs and pricing, and more. However, when done right, it is a very profitable line of work. Here are some companies currently seeking distributors in Canada:
Currently, this company welcomes independent distribution firms with contracted drivers across Canada to help deliver catering orders. Being in a very demanding industry, you’ll be able to earn more with DeliverThat than other delivery platforms, with less time taken from your already busy schedule.
With this company, you own your schedule. With over 7,000 zip codes serviced across more than 90 major US and Canadian cities, DeliverThat offers you the platform to earn almost anywhere you go.
Canaglobe is currently seeking independent distributors and sales representatives to help contact local business owners and decision-makers for online coupon advertising and traditional print services, across the Greater Toronto Area. These distributors are expected to offer the following services;
- Prospecting, using canvassing, telemarketing, digital and social media methods.
- Helping retailers decide on their coupons and offers.
- Processing and filling out clients’ orders and credits.
- Providing professional service and taking care of customers.
This is a very popular dietary supplement company that’s renowned for its 30-day weight loss programs. It works by reducing caloric intake through meal replacement shakes and cleanses. Over the years, Isagenix has since grown its product line, adding a wide range of dietary supplements, including probiotics, collagen powders, and bars, as well as essential oils and beauty products.
Note that people are drawn to Isagenix since it promises a quick-fix solution for weight loss. Indeed, trying to lose weight can be a tough task and daunting, therefore a straightforward 30-day program that’s promoted as simple and easy to follow is without doubt enticing.
UR Worth It
This company is known to offer a hybrid Compensation Plan that rewards business owners for selling products and provides a solid foundation to help you achieve your business goals. Currently, they are seeking individuals and/or married couples to come on board with the company as distributors to help the company grow as they bring to the market multivitamin and supplements meant for those that need some help getting healthy.
FlexPrime NK Inc.
As an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP), FlexPrime NK Inc. is seeking independent businesses to help grow their supply chain. Note that they provide contracted delivery services to Amazon and are hiring Drivers and Distributors to meet growing customer demand as they throttle back from the pandemic era.
DSPs offer competitive compensation, benefits, a great company culture, and growth opportunities. Have it in mind that no delivery experience is required – apply today to schedule your in-person or virtual interview.
Indeed, companies are actively seeking certified businesses to integrate into their supply chains. Note that a good number of top manufacturing companies send personnel from their supplier diversity or procurement departments to matchmaker and networking events around the country.
You should consult with your local supplier development council for a list of upcoming events and who is expected to be there. Take your time to carry out your research, practice your pitch, and make judicious use of every opportunity to align with decision-makers at your targeted companies.