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Job Description of a Vendor

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Vendors sell or supply goods and services to individuals and organizations. They sell goods door to door, at places such as trade fairs and sporting events or on the street. If you have a good business sense and strong customer-service skills, you could become a successful vendor.

Mastering the Skills

Vendors need a combination of excellent math and analytical skills to perform their duties competently. They can use these skills to accurately calculate the cost of purchased goods or discounts and evaluate the market demand to determine the correct amount to stock. Vendors also need good negotiation skills to effectively discuss and agree on product prices with buyers, and interpersonal skills to build lasting relationships with customers.

Selling Goods

The primary responsibility of a vendor is to sell goods and services to buyers and receive payment. For example, an ice cream vendor may attend a sporting event where she can sell her ice cream products. On the other hand, vendors working in a grocery store may inform customers of the prices of various groceries and help them select the best groceries before selling and packing them appropriately. These vendors typically inform supervisors or business owners when the stock is running low. When suppliers deliver a fresh stock, these vendors also place the item on the store’s shelves.

Making Supplies

Organizations often contract with vendors to supply a wide variety of products or services. For example, a small law firm may contract with a stationery vendor to supply pens, copier papers and files. In this role, the vendor has a duty to provide information on new products, provide demonstrations or samples when requested and make prompt deliveries. In some instances, these vendors may have to submit bid proposals detailing their prices for evaluation by purchasing firms.

Getting There

To qualify for employment as a vendor, you need to hold at least a high school diploma. Completing a customer-service course can improve your employment prospects. After gaining vast work experience, you can be promoted to an administrative position, such as supervisor or vendor manager. If you want to start your own vending business, you require more than experience and sufficient capital. You may need to obtain various licenses, depending on the items you intend to sell. Generally, you might need a sales tax permit from your state government’s revenue agency, a tax certificate from your local government revenue agency and a general business license from your city or county government.


Based in New York City, Alison Green has been writing professionally on career topics for more than a decade. Her work has appeared in “U.S. News Weekly” magazine, “The Career” magazine and “Human Resources Journal.” Green holds a master's degree in finance from New York University.

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