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How To Negotiate With Professional Skin Care Vendors

By: Jay A. Shorr
Posted: January 2, 2013, from the January 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Rebates. An additional way of receiving money back for total volume purchases is through rebates. The greater the volume, the greater the rebate. If the supplier doesn’t offer rebates, negotiate the wholesale price in advance, taking volume purchasing into consideration. Most vendors would rather give you a better price for volume instead of having you go to other vendors, and it keeps you locked into their products, as well.

Shipping and handling. When it comes time for you to take your profit percentage into consideration, remember the shipping and handling fees can be a minimum of 10% of the order. When you have a specialty item or an item that does not meet the required minimum purchase with your vendor, there may be an additional service charge. Be careful—shipping and handling, and minimum order charges have been known to exceed the cost of the purchase alone in certain instances. These need to be negotiated upfront.

Return products. Have a policy with your vendors for return items. Determine who is responsible for the postage/freight to and from your facility and, most importantly, if there is a service charge for returned items. Items may need to be returned for any number of reasons, including defective packaging, past expiration date, broken packaging or simply client dissatisfaction. Many vendors will not accept client returns, and this must be negotiated, because you cannot guarantee a client’s satisfaction or lack of allergy to a product.

Cooperative advertising money. If there are funds available from your supplier for marketing and advertising costs, enlist the support of your vendor representative. Many companies offer advertising dollars for promoting their product. This isn’t always made public, but may be made available if you ask about it.

Credit card and banking fees. Yours is a business with office-related expenses. Every time you sell a product or service, someone has to pay for it. Minimize the fees you have to pay in order to process the revenue. Many clients pay with credit cards, so negotiate the best rates possible. It is also not impossible to negotiate with your banker for a no-fee checking account, and no per-item/per-deposit fees, as well.