Questions To Ask A Potential Supplier

Businesses of all kinds are reliant on their suppliers. Cafes and coffee shops would have little to offer their customers without the services of their regular coffee suppliers. Construction firms would fall by the wayside if they didn’t have a supply firm on hand for their tools and materials.  And office-based businesses would come unstuck if they didn’t have access to a company that provided printer ink, paper, and other types of office supplies. 

These are just a few examples but consider your business needs. For the running of your business and for the needs of your customers, you might be reliant on a supplier yourself. To ensure you find the right supplier, these are the questions you need to ask before purchasing from them.

What are your green credentials?

If you were to use a supplier who had little concern about the world around them, your business would, by default, be contributing to the environmental problems that are prevalent in the world today. You might also damage your business as if your potential customers know of the bad practices of your supplier, they would be less likely to buy from you. 

So, ask potential suppliers about their green credentials. Where do they source their products? What materials do they use? Are they committed to ethical compliance? Find out what they are doing in aid of environmental sustainability and only work with those who can showcase their credentials. 

How happy are your clients?

Most businesses have a record of happy clients. They may have obtained testimonials for use on their business website, or references that can be used to showcase their credentials as an effective business. You should ask for such evidence as proof of their happy clients. By doing so, you will avoid working with those suppliers who may have a bad reputation. We are thinking of suppliers who are late at making deliveries, for example, or suppliers who continually sell goods that are damaged and ineffective.  

What are your prices?

You don’t always want to go with the cheapest supplier, as their low prices could be indicative of poorer quality services or products. However, you do want to work with somebody who is reasonably priced and offers competitive pricing when compared with similar supply firms. 

So, ask them about product prices, delivery costs, and any discounts that might be on offer. Compare these with other companies and try to get a better deal from the supply firm if you find lower prices elsewhere. Many supply firms are willing to negotiate terms as they can net more clients this way, so don’t be shy about having a conversation.

These are just 3 of the questions you should ask a potential supplier although you could ask them other questions too. As examples:


  • How well do you understand the needs of my business?
  • Are you able to meet my requirements?
  • What processes do you have in place to meet deadlines?

Include these and other questions that are important to you. By doing so, you will narrow down the list of potential suppliers and hopefully, get the opportunity to work with somebody who will support the needs of your business.