5 Questions to Ask Buying Agents

Before choosing a buying/sourcing agent it is important to do your research and make sure that you are working with a reputable and experienced company that can provide the value added services you and your business need.

What services do you offer?

A buying and sourcing agent should be more than just an intermediary between you and suppliers. Buying agents provide very significant value added services in the production and procurement process. At a minimum a good buying/sourcing agent provides the following services:

  • Close Communication and open dialogue regarding pricing and quality relating to the buying process
  • Quality control measures and procedures
  • Warehousing of orders and multiple orders
  • Packaging and FOB included in pricing contract
  • Importation and customs assistance

Your buying agent is there to make the order process as painless as possible for you and your company. Be sure that the buying agent you are choosing will do so.

In what types of products and materials do you specialize?

Some agents specialize in certain products and materials. This is attractive for some buyers but the problem may lay in future orders when additional types of products are needed. That agent would not be able to assist you.

A good buying/sourcing agent should have experience and suppliers in a wide range of furniture and home accessory products. Also an agent should be able to source alternative options for products and materials if needed.

What is the size of your team?

In order to truly provide all of the services required of a buying agent – sourcing, samples, quality control, shipping, etc. – there must be a decent sized team. The staff should be experienced and in full time positions within the company. Agents that draft in part time QC staff and/or support staff are not as consistent and/or reliable.

Depending on the volume of your existing and/or anticipated production in Indonesia, you should be looking for an agent with a minimum of 10 full time team members.

Are you able to do customized orders?

Customized product is crucial for many buyers. Any good buying/sourcing agent is able to work with factories and suppliers to make customized product for their clients.

If you are interested in customized product, be sure to request detailed design boards from the buying agent before proceeding with any order. If the buying agent is truly experienced in customized product and orders these sorts of materials should be no problem for them to provide to you.

What credentials and experience do you have ?

It is important that you work with a trusted and experienced buying/sourcing agent. An experienced and trusted agent should be able to provide client names, references, factory lists, pictures of past projects, etc.

Time is often an indication of reputation and quality, so look for a buying/sourcing agent that has been in business for at least 5 years. This ensures that the business has too much to lose by not providing quality and professional services to its clients.