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Where can I find a good wholesaler for computer parts/electronics?

Posted on 2011-03-03
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I recently started my own business and I'm looking for a reliable wholesaler of computer parts and electronics.  I have my resellers number and now just need to find a place I can do business with.  Does anyone have any suggestions or could you point me in the right direction?  I am in Chicago if you know any places around there.  If not, any online shops would do!

Thanks so much!
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Question by:tchristman
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14 Comments
 
LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35027095
I have used Tech Data and MALABS for over 15 years.
TD had a good website and MALABS has a little better pricing.
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Author Comment

by:tchristman
ID: 35027153
Thank you so much for your quick response!  What is your typical markup on products you resell?
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Expert Comment

by:sii
ID: 35027171
ebay can be a winner - occasionally!
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:Aaron Tomosky
ID: 35027267
Use monoprice.com for all your cable needs.

The problem with wholesellers is newegg, buy.com, ad amazon seem to offer the same or better pricing. You can sign up with newegg as a reseller, same with microcenter and some other websites. Monoprice I'm not sure about but after a little volume with them they will automatically start to discout you.
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Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35027551
I will periodically check NEWEgg to see what the client can get it for and set my markup accordingly.
Usually 10 to 15%
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Author Comment

by:tchristman
ID: 35027967
I mean realistically, even with a resellers number, customers can get anything we can get for about the same price.  The markup is for any support or miscellaneous things that come with buying the item from you.  Right?
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35028062
The markup covers my time researching the products, making the orders and shipping.
The customers get a single point of contact not a bunch of online providers with little support.
Do not forget to stay ontop of the sales tax payments they can turn into a pain quickly.
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Expert Comment

by:notacomputergeek
ID: 35028107
As a small business, you're not going to compete with larger companies by reselling computer parts and electronics. The economies of scale just won't work for you.

What I suggest you do is add value to what you're selling. This would include pre-sale service,  installation, service after the sale, etc. I usually check to see what my clients can get it for off the street and at least try to match it. I don't make alot of money on the sale, but I'll make money on the other service I provide - usually in the form of managed services.
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Author Comment

by:tchristman
ID: 35028132
Wow....you have been a great help!  Is there anything you use to keep track of what you've sold, how much you purchased it for, what your profit was, etc?  I also do repairs so I would kind of like to keep this separate, you know?  

Originally I had hopes of starting an eBay business retailing parts that I purchased wholesale.  I quickly learned that is not the route to go.  I don't know if you do any of that but if you do, how do you stay profitable?
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Accepted Solution

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AustinComputerLabs earned 500 total points
ID: 35028279
Really the sale of hardware is not much of a profit, more of a service I offer.
the profit I make comes from the labor charge to build and/or configure the hardware.
I use Quickbooks for all my bookkepping. For the price it is pretty reasonable for what it does for me.
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Author Closing Comment

by:tchristman
ID: 35028334
Awesome and took time to answer additional questions.  Thank you!
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LVL 13

Expert Comment

by:AustinComputerLabs
ID: 35028738
Glad I could help.
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Expert Comment

by:Lee W, MVP
ID: 35028859
You need a reseller account to sell many types of software and software, while its not going to support your family, can provide a reasonable markup.  I sell Microsoft volume Licenses - typical markup is about 10%.  Only resellers can resell volume licenses and volume licenses offer certain benefits that retail and OEM licenses don't.

If you sell just ONE copy, then yes, it's not worth it... if you sell 5, you typically cover your time costs.  If you sell 50, you've made a nice profit on a single sale of licenses.  (Think Office, CALs, Windows Upgrades or single sales of larger ticket items like Server).

Ingram Micro is one of the largest and best known.  D&H is another and TechData is another.

You MAY occasionally see a few items at prices below newegg and the like.  But GENERALLY they are, at best (for small business) just competitive.  (Although sometimes things can be truly insane at the distributor - I've seen HP Printers that Ingram won't sell for less than $350 being sold IN STORE at STAPLES for $249 with no rebates.
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Expert Comment

by:MidnightOne
ID: 35779534
I'm surprised no one mentioned CDW. I've seen even small shops get great help from their sales department when it comes to server and hardware builds.
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