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The Wholesaler's Bible

the wholesaler's bible

Welcome to the definitive online resource for all things wholesale. We’ve scoured the web and handpicked the following articles, videos, guides, calculators and other tools to put all the information you could possibly need on the subject in one neat place.

Including the best news, blogs and forums we cover everything from how to start a business, to the best articles on improving marketing and sales, along with commentary on the pros and cons of using an ecommerce platform and the latest trends in the industry.

  • If you know what you’re after use our quick links to drop down to a relevant article.
  • If you want to browse under your own steam use our neat table to get straight to each article from its title.
  • If you want a little bit of blurb before you launch into each resource click here for accompanying write ups.
  • What is wholesale?
  • Defining pricing terms and different types of wholesale
  • Setting up a wholesale business
  • Setting up a business basics
  • How to set up as a sole trader
  • How to set up as a private limited company
  • Forms, registrations & useful tools for setting up a business
  • How to set up a wholesale business
  • Importing
  • How to choose the right product to import
  • China specific importing
  • The Absolute Basics

    How To Set Up A Wholesale Business



    Sales and Marketing



    General Advice

    Case Studies and Real Life Stories





    The Absolute Basics

    Brand new to wholesale or just want to learn about what it is? Here we cover the absolute basics from the fundamental definition of wholesale, through the basic business terms you need to be familiar with.

    Covered are different types of wholesalers, an explanation of dropshipping and a simple introduction to pricing terminology.

    What is wholesale?

    Defining Terms:

    Differences between Wholesalers, Distributors and Retailers
    Smallbusiness.chron.com provides a quick explanation of the differences between the three.

    Different types of wholesalers
    Resellers Network define their seven different types of wholesalers. This is useful to help you start to envisage what kind of business you want e.g. do you want to base your business at home or do you want to get a warehouse?

    What is dropshipping?
    A quick, simple definition of dropshipping from ecommercefuel.com – useful for the uninitiated.

    What Price to Use When Talking to Retailers
    This is a basic introduction to financial terms from The Design Trust. The article is aimed at individual designers selling to retailers, but the summary of terms such as cost price, wholesale price, RRP, margins and the like is useful for anyone who is a complete beginner or who wants to double check their terms.

    Pricing, Markup, Margins and Mass Confusion
    This is an incredibly useful article specifying the differences between markup and margins which is relevant in understanding how wholesale and retail prices are set.

    Setting up a Wholesale Business

    Curious about how to actually set up a wholesale business? This section has all the tools and knowledge you need to get going. We cover the basics of setting up any business and then get down to the specifics of wholesale.

    Setting up a business basics:

    How to choose the right business structure
    How to figure out whether you should be a sole trader, limited partnership or limited company from a general business point of view. It also includes a handy calculator at the bottom to figure out how much National Insurance you will pay as a sole trader or limited company based on your profits.

    How to set up as a sole trader:

    How to set up as a sole trader
    Advice from gov.uk - a good place to start.

    How to become a sole trader
    A more detailed guide on the steps you need to take from smallbusiness.co.uk

    How to set up your business – part one- sole trader
    Simply Wholesale take a look at the pros and cons of being a sole trader and offer advice on how to set yourself up as one.

    How to set up a private limited company:

    How to set up as a private limited company
    Again, advice from gov.uk.

    How to set up your business – part two – partnership
    Part Two of Simply Wholesale’s series – this time they tackle partnerships, again with actionable advice as to how to set up as one.

    Setting up a limited company
    Useful advice from the start-up donut including dealing with things like how to choose your company name.

    Forms, registrations, useful tools for setting up a business:

    HMRC Calculator and tax checker
    Check whether you’re paying the right amount of Income Tax and estimate how much Income Tax and National Insurance you’ll need to pay this year.

    VAT Registration, self-assessment, registering your company
    Use this link to register your company and pay your VAT and tax.

    Wholesale specific:

    How to Start a Wholesale Distribution Business
    This is a bumper guide from Entrepreneur.com. Visit this for advice on operation costs, day-to-day routine, an analysis of customer base, stock, pricing and mark up. We recommend scrolling down to the “Starting Out” header to get down to the good stuff.

    It’s written for a US audience but has useful advice for everyone.


    How to choose the right product to import:

    Importers – here’s the real reason why you can’t find a good product
    This is a great article from Start Up Bros about how to pick the right product for importing taking into account contexts such as marketing, your actual capital and who your contacts are (or will become). It takes a more strategic angle than others and is a good place to visit when you think you’ve settled on a product to assess its viability.

    How to find products for your import business
    Entrepreneur.com work through their six options for selecting the right product.

    Basic checklist for importing into the UK legally:

    Gov.uk checklist

    How to Import Goods Useful Tools and Guides:

    How to find the correct commodity codes for your goods
    Number one on gov.uk’s checklist? Using the correct commodity codes. Unfortunately this is a lot harder than it sounds. This article takes you through the process step-by-step with an actionable example to demonstrate how it works and links to useful tariff lookup tools. Also has the number of the Tariff Classification Service.

    Tariff lookup tools
    These tools are really useful, but beware - if they make an error you are responsible for it. So the best option is to get your tariff from here (if you are bamboozled by working it out from scratch) and calling the Tariff Classification Service Enquiry Line to double check it’s right.

    Paying VAT
    A quick guide to paying VAT if this is relevant to you.

    How to gain access to the CHIEF system registration
    If you are importing from outside the EU then you’ll have to register with the CHIEF system. Like finding commodity codes, this isn’t always as simple as it sounds. This article takes you through the different options available for accessing it.

    Live trending import items information
    Duty Calculator have a huge table which allows you to see the most popular imported products between any combination of countries.

    China specific importing:

    How to import products from china
    Importing from China is always popular. Andrew Minalto uses his experience to talk about the pros and cons of using a freight forwarders as well as what payment options you have.

    Advice on freight forwarding
    This is a really useful discussion on wholesaleforum.com about freight forwarding which gives you everything you need to get started.

    Directory of freight forwarders by country
    A useful list of freight forwarders organised by country if you want to get in touch with a forwarder direct.


    How to set your prices:

    The average profit margin for wholesale
    This is a very basic overview of what kind of profit margins you should be aiming for. It lays out the parameters of the kind stuff you need to take into account when figuring out your price. Start here, then move on to some of the more intricate guides below.

    The Not-So-Dark Art of Wholesale Pricing
    A quick, actionable, easy to read guide to setting wholesale prices from Aeolidia’s consistently informative blog. It includes some useful reminders as to all the costs you need to include in your pricing formula.

    Figuring out your wholesale price
    This is written with food in mind but there are lessons here for all types of wholesalers.

    Wholesale pricing tips for launching new products
    Setting your initial price is just half the challenge. This article looks at how to price when you’re trying to launch a new product line analysing the effects of lowering prices in a wholesale context and taking the reader through four pricing strategies.

    Useful tools for working out pricing:

    Price Calculator
    From CalculatorSoup.com, this tool will help you calculate your selling price based on cost of item and desired margin.

    Sales and Marketing

    How to Generate Sales:

    Top 10 ways to increase your wholesale sales
    Trade gecko uses real-life examples to illustrate some common-sense, productive marketing ideas for wholesalers backed up with actual evidence.

    How to sell to retail stores – 27 tips
    Launch Grow Joy is a blog run by Andrea Ayers who blogs about her experience of starting a t-shirt business. This article collates tips from wholesalers themselves - a great way to get advice straight from the horse’s mouth.

    How to sell more to existing customers
    Sometimes increasing sales isn’t about building brand new relationships but selling more to your current customers. This article from Marketing Donut gives a rundown of how this works and what knock-on benefits you can reap from such an approach.

    Wholesale Sales Needs Wholesale Change: Wholesale Business Tips

    E-commerce Wholesale Advice

    The risks and rewards of wholesale eCommerce
    Evosite looks at the opportunities an eCommerce platform can open up but pays due attention to the challenges these new opportunities can bring.

    2015 Wholesale Technology & Sales Survey Report
    Handshake sell e-commerce software to help you manage your orders and expand your sales. Their recent survey report on the use of technology by wholesalers has some juicy stuff in it. It’s a must read if you want to find out what kind of technology your competitors are using (and what you should be taking up).

    The dangerous downside of digital: are wholesalers misusing technology
    A thought piece on how technology is being used. It’s not an anti-technology piece but gives some food-for-thought about getting the most out of new tools.

    Infographic: E-commerce trends in 2015
    A quick overview of the latest trends in B2B ecommerce for different industries.

    How to Find and Deal with Suppliers on Alibaba
    Caththeniche.net walk you through how to find suppliers on Alibaba.


    The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping
    This is Shopify’s comprehensive guide to dropshipping, packed full with everything you need to get started.

    Dropshipping – things I learned when starting out
    This is one ebay seller’s personal story of droshipping. Learn valuable lessons like why you don’t need to buy lists from other ebay users.

    Why dropshipping isn’t as easy and simple as you think
    If you’re serious about dropshipping this article is worth a read to establish what difficulties you can expect along the way.

    General Advice

    11 reasons great wholesalers leap out of bed in the morning
    If you need a little bit of motivation to keep going.

    24 great ides wholesalers use to be more productive and memorable

    Case Studies and Real Stories

    How one paper designer made the leap from wholesale to omni-channel retail
    Fiona Richards has a really interesting story to tell about how she took her wholesale greeting card and stationery business to the next level.

    What I learned from selling wholesale
    Jenny Ford of Monkey Toes tells her story of setting up a wholesale company selling baby products. She’s been at it for over eight years so has a lot of expertise to share.

    Stay in the Know

    News sites:

    Wholesale Manager
    This site has a focus on cash and carry and food and drink wholesaling but it has useful sections on business technology relevant to all wholesalers and another section called “The Warehouse” which offers up news about distribution management – so there’s something for everyone here. It’s also got a lot of content on e-cigarettes.

    The Grocer
    This has a food focus so is most relevant to those working in wholesale food, drink and tobacco lines.

    Federation of Wholesale Distributors
    Wholesale news is the official magazine of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors which serves the grocery and foodservice wholesale sector.

    Gift Shop Wholesalers
    This is also a directory to link up suppliers and wholesalers but it has a good news & trade info section.

    Market Trade News
    This is a trade publication dedicated to helping wholesalers, market traders and market managers.

    Modern Distribution Management
    If you want news or advice about distribution operations then this is the place to go. It includes wholesale distribution news, expert analysis and useful market research.


    Handshake Blog
    Handshake sell e-commerce software to help you manage your orders and expand your sales, but their blog is full of non-promotional, useful articles about technological possibilities within the wholesale industry.

    This is a blog that covers all kinds of start-up business opportunities but has a lot of useful advice about wholesale and dropshipping. Well worth a browse.

    Andrew Minalto
    Andrew Minalto styles himself as an e-commerce expert and business coach. His site has some good advice particularly on how to make a go of it on ebay.

    Launch Grow Joy
    Launch Grow Joy is run by Andreea Ayers, an entrepreneur who started her own online t-shirt business. It’s probably most useful for its advice about ecommerce.

    Again, more advice about running an online business from personal experience.

    Shorespeak Blog
    This is more specifically focused on wholesale advice.

    The Wholesale Forums Blog
    The Wholesale Forums is one of the most informative places to visit on the web and has an excellent reputation for just that reason. The forums are endlessly useful, and their blog is up there too.

    Etsy’s Wholesale Blog
    Want to sell on Etsy? Get some advice straight from the horse’s mouth.

    This is the number one site to visit if you need advice about selling on eBay. Expansive and thorough, this is advice you can trust.

    Ebay for business
    The official blog from eBay frequently features personal seller stories which you can learn a lot from.


    The Wholesale Forums
    This is the number one forum for wholesale and is the go to place for wholesalers starting out or with questions. The community is very active and offers genuinely useful advice if you have questions. It’s worth searching through before asking your question as its likely it has been asked before.


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