You won’t learn about this in public schools. If you haven’t been in business before (or if you are new at it) I feel compelled to educate you a little on the facts of life.
It’s quite common that a small dealer will call us for the first time, and want to order one or two items at a dealer discount. When we inform them that there is a minimum buy-in for dealer pricing, sometimes they’re just fine with it, but other people act all disappointed.
I have to wonder why they think it is that we offer discounts to dealers in the first place. Maybe they just don’t think about it. This is not the manufacturers being nice, or considering dealers to be part of some good-ol’-boys club or something. We offer discounts because it benefits us to have our product stocked and promoted at the local level. We could sell direct only, taking the same money we offer as the dealer discount, and put it all into advertizing, but we feel it is a better value to have certain dealers invested in the product and thus promoting it for their own benefit. When done right, it’s a symbiotic relationship.
If all you want is one or two units, you’re not a dealer, by definition. You’re just some guy who wants a discount.
Our buy-in is pretty easy, even for the smallest mom & pop store. One of the branches of Yamaha that I’ve dealt with for decades has an annual purchase requirement (or did) of $100K to consider you a dealer. Part of the language in their dealer agreement (which must be signed and witnessed) states that the dealer must “promote the product in such a manner as to elevate its perceived value”. Yes; that’s what they’re paying you for, in the form of a dealer discount. You’re expected not only to stock a “representative selection of the product line” but to maintain it, keep it looking nice, display it in an attractive setting, know the product and be able to demonstrate it, and you’re expected to advertize. Some manufacturers want to see your advertizing budget and see your ads. Our current, one-time, minimum buy-in requirement is around 500 or 600 dollars (five hundred or six hundred dollars– not thousands) more or less, depending on the model mix (it’s a unit count minimum). You want to tell me you’re a dealer, but you can’t produce a few hundred bucks for something you say your customers want? Seriously.