I ll cover three topics in this post about sample management:
- Sample costs
Once you have settled on a supplier for your new product it is time to purchase a sample.
Most suppliers will charge you for sending a sample. There is usually no way around this unless you have worked with the supplier for a longer time.
Even for me, being here and dealing with suppliers on a daily basis I can’t guarantee that I don’t have to pay for a sample.
Here are some Insider tips to “try” to get a sample for free.
- Introduce yourself as an assistant of a large company. Suppliers tend to smell money when a large company is interested and are more likely to give away samples for free.
- State that if the sample is OK you will place a large order
- State that you have especially chosen this supplier to be your exclusive supplier for this product and he has the chance now to do business with you.
- Ask him to put the sample cost on top of the official order that may follow if the sample is what you are looking for.
- State that it is company policy that you/your company don’t pay for samples and if he wishes to do business he should agree to your sample terms.
- Split the costs. Offer to pay for either the samples or the freight costs.
If none of these work I recommend you to agree with the supplier to deduct the sample costs from the official (larger) order. At least this way you save the sample costs if you decide to order from this particular supplier.
Be wary of sample costs in general
On one occasion I was sourcing for a textile accessory. The item itself can be made for approx 2 USD.
I screened around 10 suppliers and eventually narrowed my selection down to 5 suppliers. They were all in a similar price range.
When it came down to ordering samples one of the suppliers (who was also the most expensive) asked me for a sample fee of 100 USD to be transferred to his bank account. That didn’t make sense.
I immediately knew it must be a trading company with no factory background.
They probably outsource the work to a factory because they have no own facilities. Eliminate suppliers that have high sample costs right in the beginning.