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How to Kick Off Your Ice Cream Business with the Right Suppliers

Starting an ice cream business can be an intelligent, lucrative decision -- provided, that is, you go about it the right way. From your marketing strategy to your supply chain, a variety of factors can go into making your ice cream business a success or a costly failure.

One of these factors is your choice of supplier -- or more accurately, your choice of suppliers for different items, equipment, ingredients and other materials.

Even if you do everything right from a marketing, pricing and promotional perspective, the wrong supplier can be all it takes to set your ice cream business back. From late deliveries to products that aren’t what you expected, a bad supplier can cause numerous issues for you as a business owner.

Because of this, it’s important to kick off your ice cream business by choosing the right suppliers for your needs, expectations, and objectives.

Below, we’ve explained how you can select the right suppliers for your ice cream business, all while avoiding suppliers that aren’t a good match for you. If you’re hoping to start an ice cream business, these tips and tactics can play a major role in getting off on the right foot.

Compare Multiple Suppliers Before Deciding

You’ve thought up your ice cream business’s name. You’ve selected a location. You’ve worked with a professional designer to create an eye-catching, attractive brand identity. Now it’s time to select the right supplier for your business.

As a new business owner, it can be tempting to go straight into business with the first supplier you meet. An engaging sales pitch and attractive pricing can make any supplier seem like an excellent choice, making it tempting to say “yes” right after your first meeting.

There are several problems with choosing to work with the first supplier you meet. First,  as a customer, you have a surprising amount of leverage. Meeting with multiple suppliers gives you an excellent position from which to negotiate terms favorable to your ice cream business.

Second, meeting with just one supplier doesn’t give you a full picture of the supply options that are available to your business. Instead, by meeting with multiple suppliers, you gain a far more thorough understanding of pricing, delivery times and other important information.

Instead of meeting with just one supplier and rushing into business, take your time and research the options available to you as a business owner. Then, schedule meetings or calls with multiple suppliers to discuss your needs and objectives.

This way, you’ll be able to negotiate a deal with a full understanding of standard industry pricing, delivery services, support and other factors that are crucial for making sure your business runs smoothly.

Ask For Competitive Quotes From Multiple Suppliers

When you meet with suppliers, ask them for a quote for their products and/or services based on your needs. Most suppliers will be eager to earn your business, meaning you can often receive a favorable deal after meeting with their sales representatives.

When you request a quote, list exactly what you need for your business. For example, if you’re purchasing cups and ice cream containers for your ice cream products, provide exact specifications and quantities to make sure the supplier can provide an accurate quote.

If you’re buying in bulk, you might be able to negotiate a discount. For example, we offer bundle and save deals for certain product types, such as paper cups and spoons, which can lower your costs and help you maintain higher margins as a business.

As always, it’s important to request pricing information from multiple suppliers. This way, you’ll be able to compare the deals to which you have access and find out which suppliers offer the best value for money for your business.

Assess Suppliers Based on Support and Service

After meeting with multiple suppliers, it can be tempting to choose the company with the lowest prices. After all, lower pricing means higher margins for your business, helping you get closer to profitability (or achieve profitability) right from the start of opening your ice cream store.

In reality, pricing is just one factor that contributes to a good relationship between supplier and customer. One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a supplier is their level of service and support for you as a customer.

For example, if a supplier offers pricing that’s 10% less than their nearest competitor but rarely answers the phone when you call them, can you rely on them to supply your business? What if they deliver your order weeks behind schedule, costing you valuable sales in the process?

On the other hand, if a supplier offers prices that are 10% higher than their nearest competitor but picks up the phone every time you call, provides you with your own account manager and treats you like royalty, is the small extra price increase worth paying?

Ultimately, the right answer to this question is something that you’ll need to decide after you meet with several suppliers. However, in most cases, it’s best to focus on reliability, support, service, and dependability over price alone when selecting a supplier.

Aim to Use as Few Suppliers as Possible

Just like electronic equipment or industrial machinery, businesses work best when they have few moving parts. In this case, the moving parts are suppliers -- third parties responsible for helping your ice cream business operate effectively.

When you depend on different suppliers for your ingredients, cups, cones, spoons, containers, lids and other essential items, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the numerous relationships you need to maintain as a business owner.

It’s also easy for one point of failure -- for example, a late delivery from one supplier -- to bring your business to a standstill.

Because of this, it’s best to minimize the number of suppliers you work with and instead focus on building strong relationships with a few essential suppliers. As a business owner, this helps to simplify your supply chain, letting you focus on running and growing your business.

Buy Custom Supplies for Your Ice Cream Business

Do you run an ice cream business? Are you interested in starting an ice cream brand, store or other business? We offer a complete range of custom supplies for ice cream businesses, from cups and containers to lids, spoons and more.

You can view our entire range of ice cream business supplies online. Or, for more information or to request a custom quote for your business, please contact us to talk to a member of our team.