Finding a good product manufacturer is one of the most important things you can do to help your business succeed. The process can be hard, though, if you don’t know where to start.
You’re in luck, because this guide tells you everything you need to know about how to find a manufacturer and how to do each step.
Are you ready to find the right partner for your business in manufacturing?
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Manufacturer
Before we talk about how to find a manufacturer for your products, let’s talk about what you should look for in a manufacturer.
This is important because when you have a clear list of requirements, it will be easier to find not just a manufacturer but a good one.
As you compare different manufacturers, you should think about:
Your Manufacturing Needs
Here, you should think about what services you need from a manufacturer.
For example, if you’re in the coffee business, would you rather buy ready-made coffee blends from a manufacturer or roast your own? Or, if you sell T-shirts, do you want them to be plain, with your logo on them, or both?
Here are some other things to think about:
Material: Do they use the materials you like? Can they find materials that fit your needs? Do they offer different kinds of materials?
Services that go along with the product: Does the company deliver to your location? Warehousing? Or, if you want to drop-ship items, do they offer fulfillment? What about making changes to products?
Production capacity is the number of units a company can make of a product in one day. This will tell you if the manufacturer you choose will be able to meet your needs.
Working with a manufacturer with a large production capacity is best because:
They’ll be able to keep up with your orders easily and on time.
Even if your business grows and you get more orders, you can still work with them.
Because of economies of scale, large manufacturers can often offer better prices.
The Quality of Their Work
Whether or not your business grows or fails can depend on how well the products your manufacturer makes. This is because your customers won’t like your product, no matter how good the idea behind it is, if it’s not done well.
Test the quality of the company’s other products by taking your time to look at them.
It might also be a good idea to find out if they have ever made the type of product you want them to make before.
Also, find out how they make sure the quality is good. This will show how serious they are about meeting quality standards. It will also make sure that your customers don’t get goods that haven’t been inspected or are bad.
Your profits are directly tied to how much it costs to make your product. The profit margin gets smaller as the cost of making something goes up.
You could also pass that cost on to your customers, but that will probably make your product more expensive and cause less people to buy it.
Look for a manufacturer that can make your product at a price you can afford without sacrificing quality. The easiest way to do this is to get quotes from more than one company and then choose the best deal.
Minimum Order Quantity
Some companies will only take orders for a certain number of items. This may be written as “MOQ 500 units” or something similar on the quote you get.
MOQs can also be based on how much money they are worth. A manufacturer could say, for example, that they only take orders over $1000.
MOQ terms are different for each manufacturer. You may also find that the cost of making your order varies depending on how much you order. Larger orders often attract friendlier rates.
Make sure you know what the MOQ terms mean so you can make a good decision. The terms should also fit your business’s needs. If your business is still new, it would be best to have low or no MOQs.
Most of the time, you can choose between local and overseas manufacturers. It’s best to weigh both choices.
But be sure to ask potential manufacturers if they can send orders to the place you want. Having the ability to ship orders all over the world is always a plus.
Find out what shipping options they have and how much it will cost. If the price is too high for your budget right now, it might be better to work with local manufacturers.
Intellectual Property Regulations
Any manufacturer you work with will be able to see everything about how your product is designed or made. The problem is that manufacturers work with many different clients in the same industry.
So, there is a chance that they will give your intellectual property to your competitors or use it to make money for themselves.
Working with a manufacturer who is willing to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement is the only way to keep this from happening. If they don’t want to sign such a contract, they might not be the best choice for your business.
There are rules about quality and safety in every industry. In the US, for example, the FDA makes sure that food and medicines are safe. There are also lists of certifications for the EU and other places.
Before you work with a manufacturer, you should make sure that their production standards and certifications meet the rules in your area. This is especially important if you want to work with a company in another country.
How Do I Find a Manufacturer For My Product?
Now that you know what you need from a manufacturer, you can start your search with confidence.
Here are some ways you could look for a company that makes your product.
An Internet Search
Say, for example, that you want to find a company that makes custom T-shirts. You just need to open your browser and type in those search terms exactly.
If you want to narrow down your search results, you can add details like size or location: “custom plus-size t-shirt manufacturer” or “custom t-shirt manufacturer Malaysia.”
The great thing about an internet search is that you can do it from anywhere at any time. Also, instead of having to go to each manufacturer individually, you can compare hundreds of options all at once on the internet.
It does have some pros and cons, though.
It takes less time than going to see someone in person
You can choose from both local and international manufacturers.
You can read what other customers have to say about possible manufacturers.
Not every company has an online presence.
Online, it can be hard to tell the difference between scammers and real manufacturers.
Online Supplier Databases
An online supplier database is a website with a hand-picked list of companies that sell or make products. Unlike a search on the Internet, this method will give you clear, well-organized results.
Alibaba, AliExpress, and thomas.net are just a few examples of online supplier databases.
Each of these platforms is set up in a different way. So, the way you use AliExpress to find a manufacturer might be different from how you use another site. Still, they are easy to use and have a search bar most of the time.
They give results that are more polished.
You might not meet as many con artists or fake sellers.
The search results are usually well-organized, making it easier to sort through them.
Some databases require you to join or pay to join before you can see their lists of manufacturers.
Trade fairs happen once or twice a year in most fields. Most of the time, only manufacturers from your country can take part in local trade shows, but a lot more people can go to international trade shows.
Still, you can talk to a lot of manufacturers face-to-face at both local and international trade fairs. You can ask as many questions as you want, get quotes on prices, and look at samples of their work.
For trade shows, it’s best to plan ahead, since you may have to travel. Online trade show calendars can help you find out when and where different fairs are happening so you can decide which ones you can go to.
You can get answers to all of your questions in real time.
You might be able to try out samples of what companies make.
It saves you time and money because you can talk to a lot of manufacturers all at once.
Costs can sometimes make it impossible to go to an international trade fair.
Top manufacturers in any field have a name that goes before them. You might have heard about them:
Recognition or advice from trade groups and government regulators
People I know in business in the same field
If you want to use this method to find a manufacturer, you’ll need to know what’s going on in your industry. You can do this by reading trade magazines, going to networking events, or looking at how other companies are doing.
The advice you get will have been tried and true.
It can be a slow way to do things.
Sharing manufacturers with your competitors needs to meet very high standards of privacy.
High-ranking manufacturers in different industries are often in high demand and may have higher prices as a result.
A Sourcing Company/Agent
Buying companies act as a link between you and the people who make the goods.
Most of the time, they know a lot about the manufacturers in their area and what they have to offer. So, if you give them a list of your needs, they can give you a short list of manufacturers who can meet those needs.
Using a sourcing agent is a good idea if you want to get a quick answer without having to do much of the work yourself. They also work well when:
You want to hire a foreign manufacturer but can’t go there.
You and possible manufacturers can’t speak the same language.
A sourcing agent can not only help you find the right manufacturer, but also act as your representative. In this kind of deal, they may:
Get products from
Help you get better deals
Check out the factory and see how they make their products.
Take care of logistics, such as requesting samples of products
It can be hard to find real sourcing companies, especially in international deals.
To use the services of a sourcing company, you will likely have to pay.
How Do I Get in Contact With a Manufacturer?
If your possible manufacturer has a website, you could start talking with them through email. In fact, written correspondence is a good idea because you can look back on it whenever you need to.
On the other hand, if you can’t reach them online, you could call them or go see them in person. For overseas manufacturers, you would need a sourcing agent to go on the trip for you.
How Do I Get a Product Idea Manufactured?
When you talk to your possible manufacturer, you will be able to talk about your product idea.
But you should have a confidentiality agreement in place before you talk about anything that isn’t public knowledge. This makes sure that the manufacturer can’t use your idea or copy it.
Once you’ve taken care of intellectual property issues, you can set up a meeting to talk about your product idea and whether or not it could be made. You should get ready for this by:
Drawings with exact sizes and measurements
A prototype (if possible)
Detailed notes about the product’s idea to help the manufacturer understand it better
Idea for a product
A good manufacturing company should have experts on hand who can look at your idea and talk with you about whether or not it will work.
Product design or manufacturing engineers may suggest changes to your idea that will make it better. They might also tell you how much each unit costs to make.
If the feedback is good, you can then talk to the manufacturer about how you will work together.
How Much Does it Cost to Manufacture Goods?
There is no clear answer to this question because the cost of making something depends on:
Products that are made to order or have a high value often cost more to make.
When high-quality or rare raw materials are used, prices tend to go up.
The length and complexity of the steps needed to make a product affects how much it costs.
The size of the order: orders for a lot of goods have lower costs.
Your costs of making also depend a lot on the manufacturer you choose. For instance, products made in China are often a lot cheaper than those made in most other parts of the world.
How Do I Find Manufacturers in China?
Every year, the Chinese government and trade groups put on huge trade shows to boost the country’s import and export trade. One example is the Canton Fair, which is held every other year in Guangzhou. This is a great chance to talk to Chinese manufacturers.
Find Chinese manufacturers.
You could also check out a sourcing company in China and work with them. They could help you find a manufacturer that fits your needs.
Still, as more companies look to China to make their products, Chinese manufacturers are trying to be easier to reach. You might still be able to talk to them directly through their websites’ phone numbers or email addresses.
The only bad thing is that not all companies have people who can speak English. Also, most sourcing companies have been working with manufacturers for a long time. Because of this, they may be able to get much better deals than you can.
How Do I Verify Manufacturers From China and Other Overseas Countries?
You can find out a lot about most manufacturers around the world with a quick online search. But before you make a decision, it’s best to find out more from an official source.
China is one of the countries that has a Chamber of Commerce. This is a trade group whose goal is to improve trade between companies both locally and internationally. They keep a record of almost every company in the country that is registered.
So, if you need to check on a manufacturer, you can send a request to the China Chamber of Commerce or one from another country. Most of the time, if it is a real company, they will know how to register it.
Another option would be to ask a possible manufacturer for real certificates. This would let you check their status and make a note of the certifications they have for making things.
Choosing the Right Manufacturer For Your Product
Making a short list of manufacturers to compare is one of the easiest ways to find the right one. You could put the following on this short list:
The costs of production offered by each good possible manufacturer
When they get back to you
Any services that add value, like decorating or making products fit different markets,
Logistical services and costs, such as shipping costs, options for storage, and just-in-time delivery.
How to Choose the Right Maker
With these details, you’ll be able to find the right manufacturer for your business. Still, if you can’t decide between them, you could ask them to make samples of your product for you.
Samples would give you real information about each manufacturer’s quality standards, how well they make things, and how they get them to you. Then you would be able to make a good decision.
As a business owner, you probably already have an idea of what kind of product and user experience you want to offer your customers. The only way to reach these goals is to find a manufacturer who gets what you want and can make it happen.
We’ve worked with manufacturers in China for a long time and know how to get the best prices for you. Our agents will give you a price quote based on what you want to do with private labeling. We also provide a full range of order fulfillment services all over the world.