Readers Questions: Dropship or Wholesale?


This question comes from Mike via YouTube, Mike writes:

I’m 14 and trying to set up an online aquatic store selling aquariums and all the accessories including filters and heater but im stuck. Im not sure whether to use drop shipping or wholesale. Im living at home still obviously meaning I don’t really have alot of money for a warehouse but I do have a garage the size of a bungalow not used so I could try and use that and when I get back from school at 4.00pm I could get the addresses and run up to the village post-office everyday before 5pm, which will be a task. But where can I find wholesale companys that sell aquatic products?

Dropshipping was an idea but I don’t feel its that flexible. I would like my logo on the box not Doba or whatever company and I would also like to have different delivery ideas. I’m also not sure whether I can trust the company’s. I was put off Doba when I found out that the support is a bot and that you have to put in your credit card details just for free trial. Could you help me please


Thanks for getting in touch Mike, it sounds like you have thought this through quite well and have made some pretty good observations.

In this situation I think budget is more important then space, a big double garage is more than enough room to carry enough stock to get started, a wearhouse only comes later when you want to offer a bigger range of stock but for now a garage is plenty, you could even set up a table and shelves in the corner and have a packing bench with brown tape and boxes set up so you are ready to go when you come home each day, once you have packed a few up you should find it pretty quick and if you can’t make the post that day it’s not the end of the world, a two day turnaround is perfectly fine in most cases.

So that’s the space point taken care of the next issue to tackle is budget, being 14 I can understand that this is going to be the hard part. Normally I would suggest a minimum of a £200 first order to start with, but in your case if you can get together £50 that should get you a few of the smaller things to start with and then you can keep re-investing the money back into stock so you can build up your stock levels.

In this situation where money is short I would say that DropShipping might be a good idea, as I have said in the past it doesn’t have as big profit margins but it does mean you can advertise many items without paying for them up front. If you did this for a few months you could then build up enough money for your first wholesale order. Then keep building as mentioned above.

This will also give you time to work out what are the most popular selling items so when you do come to investing larger sums of money you will have a better idea of what you should buy, this is important as you don’t want money tied up in stock that is taking a long time to sell, it’s just dead money then. So you need to be always looking for popular items that you can turn around quickly and keep the money flowing, that is the key.

Once you have been trading well for a long time you can afford to buy much bigger quantities of stock and then it wont matter so much if some stock take a while to move as you will always have other items moving too.

You mentioned that you weren’t sure about DropShipping because of not having your logo on the box, I understand your point, it’s important to have a strong branding awareness but if you think about Dropshipping as a stepping stone to bigger things it’s not much of a compromise to have non branded boxes delivering products for a few months while you build up your investment capital. You are lucky enough to be starting young so you have plenty of time to build your aquatic store empire!

It’s a great time to learn the ropes as you go and understand the business so when you do have a big warehouse you will know everything about your market because you started from the very beginning and built up with solid foundations.

Next you mentioned that  you weren’t sure if you could trust the suppliers, again this is a very sensible approach, it is good to be cautious when dealing with a supplier for the first time, there are many scammers out there waiting to take your hard earned money so you should always check out the supplier first as much as possible and try to get recommendations from other businesses that have already used them.

These desisions you make now will decide how your business will perform for years to come so take your time and get the basics right first because a well built company will be around for a long time, one that was started too quickly with a bad supplier and poor products will not last long.

Lastly is your question where can I find a safe and profitable wholesale supplier? – This Mike is the $100,0000 question and by far the MOST asked question in the 4 year history of this site. So I decided to build a definitive list of the top wholesale suppliers around the world, it is my own personal contacts I have used over the last seven years of building businesses online. Each one has a run down of their strengths and my own personal recommendation that they are tried and tested as being safe and profitable.  UK contacts, USA and the far East for Importing too. It is continually being updated as I find new safe suppliers that are verified and tested.

So it’s a blatant plug for my Gold membership Mike but that’s because it’s an amazing resource it does have pet and aquatic supply contacts. I needed to put this information into the paid area as it’s my own personal black book of contacts and I can only share it with those whom are serious about building a profitable business and I can’t afford to keep it out in public.

So if you want to make use of the Gold membership it is a one time payment of £37.95, no monthly subscription. Lifetime access for a one time cost.

If you haven’t already you can get free Silver level membership by clicking on any of the menu items above and it will take you to my free registration page.

I hope this has been helpful Mike, and good luck with the new business.



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Leave A Reply (6 comments so far)

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  1. Michael Theobald
    7 years ago

    Thanks alot Andy!, much appreciated, will look into the gold membership, this answered all my questions,
    Thanks again

  2. wholesale
    7 years ago

    You’re welcome Mike. Good luck. Andy

  3. Despo
    6 years ago

    Many thanks Andy. It anwered a lot of my questions. But how is Mike going to start a business at 14. I know that wholesalers need us to give details about our company (registry no. etc) so they will cooperate with us and in order all things to be legal.

    I have for the time stopped just before the design of the e shop becuse i need €1.200 to register a company.

  4. wholesale
    6 years ago

    It’s a fair point, 14 is a young age to start building an online business but it’s great to see young people wanting to learn about online commerce and the best way to do that is to try it for themselves.

    Mike may indeed come across issues when setting up a wholesale account but if he has understanding and supportive parents they may offer to set up a PayPal account on his behalf that he can use to start his new business with.

    Indeed at his age I would recommend that his parents be actively involved and help guide him in the right direction and encourage him to explore his interest in this field as it may serve him well in his future. There is no reason why it could not be the start of his future career.

    Regarding your own situation, I don’t know the requirements for starting a business in Europe but here in the UK there is no requirement to register a business name unless you wish to open a Ltd. (limited) company. You can start as a sole trader and this costs nothing, you only have to notify HM customs and Excise that you have started your own business. this is just so they can send you a self assessment form for tax declaration at the end of the year.

    But for just getting started there are no registration costs in the UK, it might be an idea to research further to see if you can do a similar thing in your own country. 1200 Euro seems allot of money just to start a business.

    All the best,

  5. Donald
    5 years ago

    Hi Andy,

    Great post mate. Good ideas there mate, I thank you for that. Never mind anything else, that young lad will go places. Good on him, I honestly hope he succeeds. A lot of todays youth get bad press but this is an inspiring story of a young lad wanting to make a go of things. Hope you keep up with him and let us know of his progress.



  6. Nhu-Y
    5 years ago

    Hi Andy,

    This is for Mike. I tried so many companies using dropshipping and it’s not worth it. Here are the reasons:

    1. You work hard to get your customers and they will only order 1 time from you. Afterwards, they will order from the dropshipping company. Why? because dropshipping company is very tricky. They insert their company coupons/flyers/specials as they ship out your order to the customer. Your customers do not remember your site. They have all dropshipping company information so they will call and order from the dropshipping company.

    2. My advice is to place an order with a company using one of your family address (not yours) or trusted friend address. Then see what they actually send with the order. I did that many years ago and found out – dropshipping was not for me.

    3. Go to local supplier – ask them if you can apply to be one of their retailer. What percentage will they give you? Calculate and making sure you make money after shipping and handling cost.

    4. Do not use any Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Asian countries, etc… They will steal your customers without hesitation.

    5. Find a company that will ask you to send them your company flyers, coupons and invoice for them to insert with the order. Some trustable smaller supplier will do that for you not the BIG GUY. And repeat step #2

    6. My advice – START SMALL – I was 10 when I started my first business. I borrowed my aunt money, I bought 1 item and then sold and made a profit. Using the money, I bought 2 items and sold with profit. Then bought 4 items and sold and on and on…… And now I have a wholesale distribution center for Health, Weight Loss and Beauty products in Virginia.

    7. Always put yourself in your customer position – then you know what’s the right thing and handle with care even if you lose money for that transaction. Believe it or not, my customers came back.

    8. Be honest to yourself and your customers.

    Good luck with your new venture,



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