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Vendors are one of the many keys to success when you run a franchise. They provide you with the raw materials or finished products that you need to keep customers coming in. If you partner up with unreliable or unprofessional vendors, you won't be able to keep your profits rising. A serious interruption in the supply chain might cause you to close your doors for days or weeks at a time. Taking the time to choose the right vendor is important because most companies require you to sign a long-term contract.
Start by looking into the public reputation and history of any potential vendor. If you can, visit their facilities in person and see how they handle shipping and communications.
If you have contacts with other franchisees in the same industry or brand, ask who they work with. Getting a few good recommendations will make it much easier to narrow down the candidates.
Before you sign any contracts, discuss your needs with the vendors. Talking with a representative from each company will give you real insight into how they treat their partners. It will also give you a chance to rule out vendors that simply don't have the ability to provide the volume of supplies you need. Talk about issues like returns for damaged items or about delivery times.
When you receive a contract from a vendor, have a professional look it over before you sign it. You should already have a legal connection through your franchiser or an independent legal adviser to help you make business decisions. These helpful people can point out any serious issues with the contract before you sign it.
If you find that the supply chain is interrupted by issues with delivery or acceptance, consider adjusting the terms of your contract. Many vendors will be happy to increase the number of shipments or provide more products on request. Cutting back may be more difficult to arrange, but good vendors will help you find a way to improve your business.