By Tommy Stabosz
Beef jerky. It’s not just for hunters anymore. Today, it’s devoured by runway models and wrestlers alike. The market is chock full of jerky manufacturers vying for shelf space; but not all beef jerky companies are created equal. When determining which one with whom to partner as a beef jerky distributor, consider these items:
How long has the beef jerky maker been in business?
It’s critical the company has a solid, positive reputation regardless of their years in business. Ask for customer or other beef jerky distributors’ references and contact the corporation’s local Better Business Bureau to ensure their legitimacy.
Does the jerky maker offer options to help you differentiate?
To grow your beef jerky distributorship, you’ll want a bevy of beef jerky varieties to tempt retailers and consumers. Though you may win taste buds with one type of jerky, it’s best to have many options plus a brand name that can’t be found on any street corner. And look beyond flavor - meat thickness, tenderness, and dryness/moistness are important selling qualities.
Does the beef jerky maker offer complementary products to round off their offerings to beef jerky distributors?
Don’t forget about the beef smokie stick, those profitable sausage-style snacks which come in a range of flavors and sizes and tend to outsell jerky 2:1. They can be sold prepackaged or loose in an inviting, “help yourself” container. Look for flavorful sticks which “snap” when you eat them, not squish.
How will the beef jerky be ordered, shipped and stored?
As a beef jerky distributor, can you order beef jerky using a “just in time” (JIT) delivery method, or will you need to estimate how much you’ll sell, storing considerable quantities at your site? What about minimum order quantities? These are crucial items to know, especially if you have a small space. Don’t forget about product shelf life and warranty, too.
Ask yourself these questions before signing any contracts to become a beef jerky wholesaler or beef jerky distributor:
Will you receive special consideration as a beef jerky distributor?
Work with a business that treats you well; ask about beef jerky distributor discounts, suggested retail pricing, available brochures, credit terms, and agent percentages on large volume direct deals. Look for a manufacturer that focuses on making, not just marketing, jerky products. And be wary of manufacturers who claim to “do it all”; chances are, you’ll be disappointed somewhere down the road.
Are there other beef jerky distributors in your area?
It’s tough to sell a “unique” product if you’re not the only beef jerky distributor in your community enticing retailers to stock your merchandise. Make sure your jerky manufacturer can give you a specific sales territory to maximize your growth and earnings potential; however, don’t expect to be handed the county, city or state of your choosing without a business plan, some related experience, or solid purchasing history.
How much creativity will you have to market your beef jerky products?
As a beef jerky distributor, you’ll most likely have innovative marketing ideas; hence, it’s critical to have the freedom to sell using your “gut”. At the same time, why reinvent the wheel? Ask your partner for ideas that work best in the areas/markets you plan to serve.
Have you tried the beef jerky products you are considering selling?
Finally, try the product before becoming a beef jerky distributor. If you aren’t blown away by the taste, texture, and eating satisfaction of the beef jerky, chances are it’ll be a tough sell. If you can’t say, “This is some of the best beef jerky/beef smokie stick I’ve ever tasted!”, how can you sell it to your customers?
Be prudent, and you can make a decent living as a beef jerky wholesaler.
Tommy Stabosz is the owner of Toxic Tommy, maker of beef jerky products, based in Cleveland, Ohio. Toxic Tommy offers many flavors and varieties of beef jerky, beef smokie sticks, smoked meats, popcorn and candies. Interested in beef jerky? Become a beef jerky distributor
with Toxic Tommy today.
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