One of the most common questions I am asked, is do you need an ABN (Australian Business Number) to buy from Australian wholesalers?
The answer is yes, you do need an ABN to purchase from most genuine Australian wholesalers. Some may also require you to have a registered business or company name. A few genuine wholesalers will sell to people who don’t have an ABN, but they are few & far between & usually don’t stock particularly popular products. Don’t worry though, keep reading & you’ll find out how anyone can easily meet these requirements for little or no cost!
Why won’t they sell to people without an ABN?
A wholesaler uses a potential customer’s ABN to confirm their business identity – to help verify that they truly are a business customer, & not just an end consumer (general public) trying to get discounted products. This is also why some Australian wholesalers prefer to only deal with people who have a registered business name (though many don’t require this).
The job of Australian wholesalers is to sell to Australian retailers…& NOT to the end customer or general public. If a wholesaler started selling products to end customers, bypassing the retailers, they would not only make the retailers very angry, but would also probably lose many valuable retail customers/shops. They would effectively be cutting into/stealing the retailers’ market share – not a good business move.
Some wholesalers/distributors, especially those of popular brand name products, also like to make sure that their products are only stocked by reputable wholesalers that they consider to be ‘of a high enough standard’. By ensuring that they only sell to people who meet certain minimum requirements – namely an ABN & most likely a business name – they’re helping to ensure that their product is only available in what they consider to be quality outlets.
If someone tries to tell you, that you don’t need an ABN to purchase from the Australian wholesalers listed in their wholesaler list, the alarm bells should start ringing. Either they aren’t telling the truth, or most of their so-called wholesalers are nothing more than discount retailers.
Isn’t it expensive & hard to get an ABN?
No, anyone who is a resident of Australia for tax purposes can apply for an ABN at no cost – you don’t need any registrations other than your Tax File Number to be eligible for an ABN. You can apply for one online at the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) website, www.ato.gov.au, or by calling them on the phone.
A business name costs a little more, but can be registered for no more than $100 to $200 in most states. For most retailing activities in Australia, you’ll find that you don’t need any specific licenses to operate, however you should check the licensing regulations in your state before you register your business name. You can learn more about ABNs, business names & licensing requirements at the Australian Government business website, www.business.gov.au.