How to become a soft-drink distributor

pouring beverage image by Alexander Ivanov from

A soft-drink distributor is a purchase-supplier. The soft-drink distributor purchases a variety of beverages from a manufacturer, then supplies the products to grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations and corner stores, among other outlets. Basically, as a soft-drink distributor you are the middle man. You help businesses connect by supplying the product offered from one business to another business. In order to become a distributor you need to write a sound business plan, acquire the appropriate business licenses, and rent a building to store the product and house the trucks.

Write a sound business plan that will pitch your distribution company to the beverage supplier; this is a competitive business and a good business plan will distinguish you from the competition. Include your company overview and legal business description, the location of your warehouse and its capacity, and a production and delivery plan. Incorporate the financial analysis detailing the budget and a marketing and sales strategy, as well as your distribution channels and customer profile. Sum up your distribution proposal with an executive summary page and a management team page; an exhibits page that includes project implementation graphs and financial projection charts add an impressive touch.

Obtain the proper business licenses by contacting your local city or county clerk's office; contact the IRS for an Employer Identification Number (EIN), if your business is a corporation, partnership or a proprietorship with employees. The clerk's office will tell you what operating licenses you have to acquire for the trucks, as well as, the business fees and taxes you have to pay; for example, a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) is a requirement to operate freight trucks. A soft-drinks tax and a carbonated-beverages tax may apply, along with local taxes, state property taxes and federal taxes; taxes and fees vary from state to state.

Contact local insurance companies to inquire about the types of insurance needed for truck coverage, warehouse coverage, workers' liability and business insurance. Get more than one quote and request a detailed explanation of each policy. Purchasing insurance is for the safety of you and your company; insurance will cover any damaged equipment, product recalls, lost or damaged products and worker's compensation if an employee gets hurts.

Secure your warehouse location by looking in an area where industrial businesses normally do business; look into refrigerated coolers to keep the beverages from going bad. You may get a good deal on a warehouse building because warehouse space is not prime realty. You also want enough space to park your trucks.

Purchase the trucks and office equipment for your warehouse building. Refrigerated trucks, hand dollies, crates, clipboards, invoices and basic office equipment are essential for the success of your company. Hire an office manager. Also hire seasoned delivery drivers who have their CDL.

Contact the beverage manufacturer or wholesaler of the soft drink you want to distribute. Numerous manufacturers are looking for new distributors to handle the storage and distribution of their beverage products. A good way to research beverage manufacturers is by looking online and in the Yellow Pages.

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