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How to Find a Supplier or Manufacturer for Your Product (Tips & Lists)

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Aleksandra -
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Chief of Content Marketing
Aleksandra teaches marketing and management at various levels in High School. She writes about marketing, the economics and logistics of the dropshipping business and ecommerce in general.
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Chief of Content Marketing
10 minutes

To find a manufacturer or supplier means to find a business partner. In other words, the wrong supplier can definitely cost your dropshipping business a lot even before making a start!

Since you got to this point in your dropshipping journey, you’re ready to start a new dropshipping business and make lots of money online.

You found the product, now, you are just waiting to find a supplier or manufacturer.

Furthermore, let’s not let your search for suppliers go to waste. In this article, we will be covering:

  • How to find a manufacturer for your product?
  • Where to look for dropshipping suppliers?
  • A few tips to find a dropshipping supplier.

What Is a Supplier?

A supplier is an individual or business which provides a product or service to another entity. The supplier is obliged to provide high-quality products from the manufacturer at a reasonable price to a retailer or distributor for resale purposes. Hence, the supplier acts as the middleman between the manufacturer and the retailer.


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What Is a Manufacturer?

A manufacturer is a company/business that makes products from scratch and sells them to retailers and wholesalers. Products are either requested to be made directly from a wholesaler and retailer or made without any requests.

Retailers may source products directly from a manufacturer for lower prices, or even are distributed by suppliers directly to them.

How to Find a Manufacturer for Your Product?

Manufacturers are divided into 3 parts:

  • Domestic
  • Overseas
  • Online marketplaces

Additionally, whichever manufacturer you choose, consider that they will never rely on selling you a few items.

Manufacturers are highly dependent on economies of scale in order to keep their production costs at a stable level.

Here, we are talking about hundreds and thousands of items to be sold, although, let’s not forget that you won’t find lower prices anywhere else!

Domestic vs Overseas Manufacturers

As we mentioned before, there are manufacturers overseas and domestic ones:

  • Domestic- sourcing products from domestic (local) manufacturers might be just as easy for you when your goal is to inspect products before ordering them. Although, domestic manufacturers are more limited in product options, meaning that you won’t have as many options to choose from.
  • Overseas- Many overseas manufacturers are usually located in China. There are much more options available compared to domestic manufacturers. However, product quality at times may be lower and the downside is that you can’t see the product.

How to Manufacture a Product?

Finding the right manufacturer for your product can be fairly difficult at times, but is essential for starting a dropshipping business.

In order to find the top manufacturers and suppliers for your dropshipping business, you should follow a few steps:

1. Do Research

Manufacturers are in full control of your product’s quality, costs, packaging, and shipping.

Furthermore, Alibaba is the #1 source in helping you find potential manufacturers for your dropshipping business.

You can use the platform to create custom products with manufacturers.

Although, when researching, in order to have maximum protection from scammers, you need to make sure manufacturers possess the following qualifications:

  • Verified – the most important part when seeking a manufacturer. Always make sure they are verified by Alibaba.
  • Gold supplier – maximum security, also means that the manufacturer is paying for Alibaba membership.
  • Trade assurance – a free service that protects your payment.

Other than Alibaba, you can seek into researching supplier directories too. Here are some popular online overseas directories:

On the other hand, we have the domestic directories too:

Google is considered another alternative too. Although, you won’t easily find suppliers on Google as they don’t follow up with its algorithm as much.

Moreover, if you search beyond the first page, then, you have a chance to find one.

2. Collect Information

This is where you come to a conclusion on how much everything will cost. Before you proceed further, you want to answer the following questions:

  • What are the shipping costs?
  • What is the minimum order quantity?
  • Can the manufacturer accommodate custom orders?
  • Are there any setup fees?
  • What is the cost per unit?
  • Are they trustworthy?

All of these questions need to be analyzed about the manufacturer before you start working with them.

3. Order Samples

Before you proceed with a full order, it is smart to test some samples. For any product in the world, testing is crucial for a manufacturer. Once you see the quality is there, then you can think of proceeding to the next step.

4. Negotiate

Before you come to an agreement, try to put yourself in the manufacturer’s spot and see how you would react. Your goal isn’t to get the lowest price ever, but to make sure to find a balance between what works for you and for the manufacturer. This is best for long-term and healthy relationships.

5. Place an Order

Finally, when you see that the quality check is done and you are satisfied with the goods, then, place the order. If the goods meet your standards, then, just go with it.

Where to Look for Dropshipping Suppliers?

The web is a powerful place to look for dropshipping suppliers. Although, there are many suppliers on the web and you obviously can’t ensure a partnership with all of them.

Hence, this is why we are going to show you where you can look for the right dropshipping suppliers.

Before going any further, we want to initially find out how to find a manufacturer in China.

How to Find a Manufacturer in China

Step 1: Explore and Research

Here are a few tips on finding a manufacturer in China:

  1. The internet – is the main source of every solution. We are just talking about a general search, but searching for B2B online platforms that are made in China, such as Alibaba, AliExpress, etc. These platforms will connect you to Chinese manufacturers.
  2. Industry Network – This may include your own industry network. Referrals from someone you may know, or even business contacts in your industry.
  3. Trade fairs- This may not be very common amongst dropshippers, but visiting a trade fair in China is a great way to find manufacturers and suppliers. China’s largest fair is the Canton Fair, which is held twice a year, in April and October. During this fair, you will see about 200 thousand buyers from around the globe that are looking for new products. Otherwise, if you aren’t thinking of traveling to China, you always have another option. Alternatively, you have trade fairs in the US that are filled with manufacturers from China; Held in Las Vegas every year. Additionally, there is another trade fair located in Chicago too, and this trade fair attracts new buyers and sellers from over 100 countries around the world!
  4. Sourcing Agents – are considered “assistants” in helping you identify suppliers. They can be really helpful when it comes to sourcing goods from other countries.
  5. Research online platforms – you can find manufacturers and suppliers from popular online platforms such as Alibaba, CJDropshipping, Spocket, Etsy, Walmart,, etc.

Step 2: Make a Shortlist

Before proceeding further, it is important you make a shorter list of potential suppliers you may contact. This can be done when you tell them your own requirements initially:

  • Your minimum order quantity.
  • The price per item purchased.
  • The material you are expecting to be used.
  • Details of the goods you expect to be used during the manufacturing process.

Briefly, you could ask them more about themselves too:

Step 3: Verify the Supplier/Manufacturer

Before concluding the procedure, you need to make sure that your supplier or manufacturer is verified and can fulfill your needs and expectations regarding production capabilities.

Moreover, you can do this by asking for product samples, identifying the manufacturer or supplier’s name, and even checking their VAT tax invoices.

Similarly, online e-commerce platforms allow you to easily check supplier/manufacturer verifications, such as Alibaba, CjDropshipping, Walmart, etc. They put them through a test and verify if they are legit or not, or on Alibaba, you can expect to see a “gold supplier” as we mentioned above.

Here is our ultimate Alibaba Dropshipping guide.

Alternative Step: Use Our Suppliers Directory

Furthermore, if you are so concerned about finding the right supplier, you may always check our supplier’s directory.

We have hundreds of suppliers that are all verified along with filtering search options.

Our supplier’s directory is composed of 10 niches, giving you the flexibility to choose from:

Likewise, all the suppliers in our directory are proficient in their niche and have been operating in it for decades.

Additionally, you can filter the country you are operating in and it’ll show you the suppliers that operate there.

Tips to Find a Supplier for your Dropshipping Store

Before you are looking to find the right company to work with, you need to make sure you know which products you are going to sell.

The moment you know what you are looking for, then, you can begin searching for dropshipping suppliers.

1. Find Your Industry’s Distribution Channel

Understanding your industry’s distribution channel and supply chain can immensely assist you in finding the right dropshipping supplier.

There are 4 different types of distribution channels:

  1. Manufacturer – purchases from small manufacturers.
  2. Regional Distributor – Sells truckload boxes filled with products to local wholesalers.
  3. Exclusive Distributor – sells smaller loads to local wholesalers.
  4. Jobber – Individuals are delivering daily to brick-and-mortar retail stores along with grocers.

2. Be Specific in Online Searches

Whenever you are doing research for suppliers, make sure to not include general words, but be more specific in your search.

For example, include keywords regarding your niche or product. Include product names, brand names, etc.

The more potential suppliers you find, the better chance you’ll have in comparing them at the end and seeing if they fit your criteria as well.

3. Research Online Dropshipping Platforms

Similarly, we mentioned the same thing with manufacturers. You may look into popular dropshipping platforms like:

Furthermore, you can trust these sites even more since they put each supplier under a verification process.

4. Check Major B2B Platforms

There are a few more B2B platforms you may research, where you may also buy large products at very low prices.

Again, Alibaba is considered the largest B2B marketplace for manufacturers, distributors, and importers. Here are some other B2B platforms/marketplaces you may check also:

In short, always use the sites in the country you are operating in. There are B2B platforms and marketplaces which serve in a single country or globally.

5. Join Professional Networks, Groups, and Forums

Professional networks and groups can usually be an effective source for finding dropshipping suppliers.

You will find experienced people in these areas, along with many recommendations that may come from your professional network.

Participating in online forums also can be a great source for finding free information and assistance from other people with more experience in your industry.

6. Attend a Trade Show

Trade shows can be the most powerful method of finding reliable dropshipping suppliers. These events are specially organized for retailers to connect with manufacturers and distributors.

Moreover, at a trade show, you will find many wholesalers and manufacturers within the day. Real-life conversations can be just as effective as communicating online.

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These were our tips and tricks on how to find a dropshipping supplier and manufacturer for your product.

Nevertheless, you can always follow and subscribe to our website for more daily updates on how to succeed in the dropshipping business.

About the Author

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Aleksandra Miteva
Aleksandra teaches marketing and management at various levels in High School. She writes about marketing, the economics and logistics of the dropshipping business and ecommerce in general.
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