How to Become a Dog Food Distributor

by Lynette Arceneaux

Dog food distributors get their product directly from a manufacturer and distribute it to customers. This sort of business venture can be especially reliable, because repeat business is virtually assured. Your customers' dogs will always need to eat, so if your product is good and your service is great, your customers will probably keep returning. Before embarking on your new career, you'll need to do a bit of preparation.

Step 1

Assess yourself. While a sales background can certainly help in your distribution business, it's more important that you have the communication skills needed. You should feel comfortable talking with people, explaining the benefits of your product, and convincing possible customers it's the best choice for their dogs. The operational background needed to run such a company is also important. Customer service skills, financial and marketing savvy, and an understanding of business management can provide a strong foundation for your business.

Step 2

Research the product choices available to you. You must believe in what you're selling. A passion for the dog food, based on a solid conviction about its quality and benefits, will strengthen your product presentations. If potential customers sense your enthusiasm, they are more likely to decide you are offering valuable advice, and not just trying to sell something. This can increase their trust in you and their eagerness to try the dog food.

Step 3

Research the dog food manufacturer. Both the manufacturer and the product should have an excellent reputation. When you contact the company, pay attention to how you are treated. The response of the manufacturer's personnel should be prompt and professional. Talk to people who are already distributing the dog food. Ask about their experiences as distributors for the company, and determine whether what they describe sounds like something you would excel at and enjoy doing.

Step 4

Know your market. You want a promising territory with a sufficient number of potential customers. The dog food you intend to distribute should not be readily available through other local sources. If your potential customers can buy the same product from several other local people or stores, you'll be facing a large challenge right from the beginning.

Step 5

Study the details of the manufacturer's proposed agreement. Review the terms and conditions the manufacturer expects you to meet. Will you be required to make a certain number of sales? Will you be expected to keep an inventory on hand? What will your profit or commission be, and how is it earned and received? Be certain that the agreement is not unfairly tilted in the interests of the company.

Step 6

Determine whether and how much the manufacturer will assist you. Find out if the company will provide a business plan or help you with one. Ask if it offers training programs or a support system, such as distributor meetings and updates on products and services. Ask if the manufacturer will provide you with a website, samples, and marketing materials.

Step 7

Market the food, and build your customer base. Visit the places where you will meet dog owners, including dog parks, dog shows and dog sporting competitions. Contact local dog organizations, including breed and obedience clubs, clubs for dog sports such as flyball, agility, schutzhund and herding, and search and rescue groups. Ask if you can make a presentation and provide samples at a meeting. Building a customer base isn't difficult, but it does take work and efficiency.

About the Author

Based in Southern California, Lynette Arceneaux has worked as a writer and editor since 1995. Her works have appeared in anthologies, such as "From the Trenches" and "Black Box," in the magazine "Neo-opsis," and on numerous websites. Arceneaux, who holds a Master of Arts degree, currently focuses on the topics of health and wellness, lifestyle, family and pets.