How to Become a Vendor
If you are interested in pursuing a career in sales, find out more about what it takes to become a Vendor. JobHero explains the skills and personality traits needed to excel in this field, as well as average pay rates and job prospects.
What Does a Vendor Do?
A Vendor sells goods or services to companies and/or to individuals. Some Vendors are self-employed and own their own businesses, while others are employed by companies, and work in stores, shopping malls, sporting events and fairs. Some Vendors sell items in carts on the street, while other go door-to-door. Additionally, many Vendors sell items over the Web or by mail.
To succeed as a Vendor, you need strong sales, communication and organizational skills. Typical responsibilities of a Vendor include:
- Describing products or services to clients
- Writing product descriptions
- Managing employees
- Ordering and keeping track of inventory
- Collecting payment
Being a Vendor requires many soft skills; persuasion is the most important skill because you must be able to convince clients to purchase your offerings, or you will not be successful. It is important to be able to actively listen to customers’ needs, be able to offer solutions and speak to a wide variety of people. Customers can be young or old, not have good command of the English language, and may not be in a good mood. Vendors must be able to work long hours, often standing, and keep a positive attitude even if they are tired, stressed or overworked.
Other key Vendor skills include:
- Sales skills to be able to sell your offerings
- Communication skills, such as speaking and listening to employers, colleagues and customers
- Organizational skills, such as keeping track of inventory, orders and receipts
- Marketing, such as advertising and promoting the business and related products
- Writing skills, such as writing product and service descriptions
How Do You Become a Vendor?
Education and Training
There are no universal education requirements to becoming a vendor. Anyone can start selling goods or services, even if they have not completed high school. However, as we reviewed job postings throughout the country, we noticed that many employers preferred at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, to advance in sales to senior or management levels, a college degree in business may be helpful. There are many internship opportunities in sales that can provide you with the skills necessary to excel in this industry. An internship or apprenticeship can also help you to find employment. If you plan to become a self-employed Vendor, you must obtain a business and/or a Vendor’s license in the city in which you plan to do business.
Finding a job
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a dip in the demand for Vendors, with only 660 new job openings in the next eight years in the United States. This means that there can be limited job openings in this industry for prospective Vendors.
A professional Vendor resume can help you secure a job in this industry. Make sure to include any applicable educational or professional experience that can be applicable to this field.
When looking for Vendor job openings, you may consider relocating to larger, metropolitan cities for better job prospects.
JobHero’s cover letter examples can be a guide to helping you compile a cover letter that will announce your interest in a Vendor position and outline why you are the right candidate for the job.
Insights from a Vendor
Yan Kriv, owner of Love To Snack, LLC and the greater LA Area distributor for Dippin’ Dots Ice Cream shared his insights about a career as a Vendor.
What is the common career path for a Vendor? What should someone consider before becoming a Vendor?
From my experience I can’t say definitively that there is one universal way of becoming a vendor. There are no university degrees or college courses to complete, so this career path is arrived upon mostly through trial and error. If you have an ability to recognize market needs and high demands for products, you are well qualified to become a very successful vendor. All you need is a way to find a cost efficient product, and put your marketing skills to use. The most successful vendors that I know are self-driven people who won’t take no for an answer, and are willing to take the risks of being self-employed with uncertain fluctuations in income.
What type of person excels in this job?
In my opinion the skills required to succeed in this profession are simple – the person must be goal-oriented, detailed, self-sufficient, results-driven, and outgoing. Ninety percent of success attained in this field comes from being friendly, understanding of your customers’ needs, and being service-oriented. There is no better advertising than a satisfied customer.
What are some of the most important skills for a Vendor to have?
I think the most important skills in being a good vendor are being a good listener and identifying your customers’ needs; not being too pushy but being assertive in reaching your own financial goals and needs from that particular customer. Being a good, tactful and respectful negotiator – as a vendor you’re always negotiating, either your low purchase price or the higher selling point to your customer. Hard skills you need are patience and respect. You need to respect your customers’ guidelines and timelines, but also have patience in order to wait for the results to come in.
What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Vendor?
The most rewarding aspect of being a vendor is being self-employed, having no authority to answer to, and having a flexible schedule. Also, making a big sale and profiting from it financially makes me feel that I am doing my job as a provider for my family, and giving my kids everything that is entailed in the American dream.
How Much Do Vendors Get Paid?
Vendors are typically paid hourly, with the average being $10.68 per hour in the U.S. The lowest paid Vendors earn $8.63 per hour; while the highest paid make $20.08 hourly.
Top 10 States for Vendors Salary
Vendors in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.
- Alaska – $15.80
- Pennsylvania – $14.51
- Maryland – $13.92
- Massachusetts – $13.03
- California – $11.61
- Oregon – $11.56
- Mississippi – $11.53
- Texas – $11.41
- Kentucky – $11.13
- Montana – $11.07
For more information about becoming or working as a Vendor, check out these resources.
On the Web
Association Alliance – Helps promote vendors to potential and existing clients within their respective industries.
Street Vendor Project – Project organized to promote the rights of street vendors.
Content 26 Blog – Helps vendors learn to launch a successful e-commerce strategy, integrating Amazon, syndication, and translation.
SalesBlog – Sales writer who strives to help each of his readers reach his/her full potential as a salesperson.
Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness – Packed with answers that people are searching for in order to help them make sales for the moment.
How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling – A business classic endorsed by Dale Carnegie.
The information in this article comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job postings and other online sources.