Vetting Your Vendors – Questionnaire Template

Selecting product suppliers can seem like a daunting task and depending on your product specialty, there are lots of vendors from which to choose. In addition, every vendor has a different way of conducting business.

The checklist helps you ask the right questions to determine if a manufacturer or supplier is a good fit with your business processes. The questions in the attached document will serve as the basis for your vendor profile system, which will help you to quickly identify how best to work with any new vendor. Keep an individual form for each vendor or provider so that you or your staff can always refer back to it.

Please give us feedback and let us know if there are other questions that might be helpful.

  1. How does the vendor want your orders placed? Fax, email, electronic data
    interchange, online, by phone? Figure out which one best fits your processes.
  2. How do they charge for drop ship fee? Per item or per address/billing?
  3. How many days from receipt of PO do they ship? What is the cut off time?
  4. How do they bill? By monthly statement or per transaction, to match your PO issuance?
  5. How do they send the bill? By email or snail mail?
  6. How do they prefer to receive payment? By check or will they take credit cards
    for 1 lump payment? Do they bill against a credit card per transaction?
  7. What’s their policy for pricing? MAP or MSRP?
  8. Who else carries the product online?
  9. Are they okay with blind shipping?
  10. Do they ship internationally? Ask how they charge and if there’s a cap.
  11. What does the label or paper work look like? Ask if they provide custom papers.
  12. Do they fill out W-9? Ensure that they are a legitimate vendor and issue 1099.
  13. What are the payment terms? Net 30, 15, or is there a discount if invoice is paid
    within 5-10 days?
  14. What’s the policy for damage claims for both drop ships and inventory items?
  15. How do they notify accounts for out of stock items and items that are to be
    adjusted on the website?
  16. Do they provide product images and descriptions? Is it web-based or on a CD?
  17. Do they pad shipping charges? Can you use your own UPS/FedEx account?
  18. What’s their way of sending tracking numbers back to customers? Can they
  19. provide text file transfer so that it can automatically go into your order
    management software like StoneEdge Technologies, saving you tons of time?
  20. How do you know what orders are still open or shipped? How would you know
    an order has been shipped?
  21. What is their backorder policy/process? Do they ship backorders? What is the
    communication process so that you are informed?
  22. What is their return and exchange policy?

Below is the pdf version that you can download and use in your ecommerce business today. Please subscribe to our weekly checklist to get valuable tips on how to save time and make more money with your business today.

By: Shirley Tan


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