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A manufacturer’s representative is an individual or small business that represents manufacturers' products in the marketplace. These representatives are engaged in selling products for other companies. They can choose to represent one manufacturer or several manufacturers of complementary products at the same time. Whether you choose to become a manufacturer’s representative for one or several companies, there are steps you must take. Here is how to become a manufacturer’s representative.
Invest in a college education and earn your college degree. These days, most manufacturers prefer their representatives to have college degrees before employing them. Unlike in the past, sales experience alone is no longer enough.
Visit your local library or log onto the Internet and research manufacturers of various products through the National Association of Manufacturers or the International Association of Manufacturers’ websites. Pay attention to how long the manufacturer has been in business, the type of products it offers, the manufacturer’s code of ethics and its compensation package. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website and research the manufacturer’s industry. Check the future prospects of the industry and products. See Resources below for additional information.
Visit and participate in forums dedicated to manufacturer's representatives like Manufacturers Reps Forum. Sign up and attend conferences, browse offers from various manufacturers and exchange ideas with other manufacturer's representatives. Note the manufacturers of interesting products. See Resources below for additional information.
Contact manufacturers of your choice and request information package about becoming a representative for their products. Complete the application and mail it to the company. Most manufacturers have these application forms online. Attend the company’s training once the company approves your application.
Join professional organizations like Manufacturers’ Agents National Association (MANA) and Manufacturers’ Representatives Educational Research Foundation (MRERF), and enter your information in their national database. This allows manufacturers looking for agents or representatives to find you. Participate in these organizations’ educational and certification programs, and establish your reputation. See Resources below for additional information.
Your success as a manufacturer’s representative depends on the success of the manufacturer and products you represent. Choose the manufacturer wisely and conduct thorough research into its business activities. Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) office of the manufacturer’s city if it is located in the United States or the professional association the manufacturer belongs to if it is located outside of the United States.The International Association of Manufacturers’ website lists worldwide manufacturers associations. See Resources below.
Register your business with your local county clerk’s office, and obtain your Doing Business As (DBA) or Assumed Name certificate. Visit your state comptroller’s office and incorporate your business. Open a business bank account with a local bank using your DBA certificate or Article of Incorporation.
Find a suitable location and open your business. Contact your local telephone company and sign up for telephone and broadband services. Your local cable company may also provide these services. Furnish your office and hire your employees as necessary.
Obtain your Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if you have employees or if your business is incorporated. Your Social Security Number (SSN) will suffice otherwise.