Reopening Your Business: Buying PPE and Hand Sanitizer Wholesale
For months, businesses across Canada and the U.S. have been shuttered in an attempt to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. But now that the curve has begun to flatten, these same businesses are slowly beginning to reopen their doors to the public.
The problem is, a flattened curve doesn’t mean that its time to go back to business as usual. The threat of COVID-19 is still very real and businesses that reopen will need to take extra precautions when it comes to preventing a second wave of infections (and a second wave of stay-at-home orders). Part of those precautions means stocking up on health and safety supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
But as many business owners are finding, getting a hold of PPE and hand sanitizer is easier said than done. With thousands of businesses set to reopen at the same time, these products are in high demand and short supply.
This is where wholesalers come in. Unlike traditional retailers, wholesalers can accommodate the bulk orders of hand sanitizer and PPE that businesses desperately need to reopen. Not to mention buying wholesale is often more cost-effective—which is a major consideration as businesses recover from months of lost revenue.
To help you navigate the process of buying PPE and hand sanitizer wholesale for your business, we’ve created a comprehensive guide. In it, we’ll cover:
- The health and safety supplies you need to reopen your business
- The benefits of shopping wholesale
- Buying PPE wholesale and what to look for
- Buying hand sanitizer wholesale and how to vet potential suppliers
With this valuable information, you can find a trustworthy wholesaler to provide you with the supplies for a safe reopening.
The Health & Safety Supplies Needed for Reopening
Though COVID-19 has touched virtually every part of North America, some provinces and states have been hit much harder than others. With so much uncertainty about reopening the economy, the CDC has recommended that all businesses—regardless of where they’re located—take extra precautions.
Part of these precautions involve stocking up on supplies that can reduce the transmission of the virus from person to person. This includes products such as:
- Tissues and no-touch trash cans so staff and customers can properly cover coughs and sneezes
- Soap and water for handwashing stations
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol
- Touchless hand sanitizer stations where handwashing is not possible
- Posters that encourage proper hand hygiene
- Disposable disinfecting wipes so that employees can wipe down commonly used surfaces
- No-contact payment terminals
- Signs, tape, or other visual markers to provide social distancing guidance
- EPA-approved disinfectants for cleaning high-touch surfaces and objects
- Alternative disinfectants for when EPA-approved disinfectants are not available (ie. bleach solutions)
- Gloves appropriate for the type of chemicals being used for cleaning and disinfecting
- Face masks and other types of PPE based on the occupational hazards (ie. isolation gowns, N95 respirators, etc.)
While all of these supplies are necessary to safely reopen business across North America, PPE and hand sanitizer are the hardest to come by.
Why Buy Wholesale?
Knowing what supplies you need to reopen is one thing, but actually finding them is another. With both big box stores and independent retailers struggling to keep safety supplies in stock, wholesalers can be your saving grace.
What Does It Mean To Buy Wholesale?
Buying retail and buying wholesale are two different things. Put simply, when you buy a product from a wholesaler, you’re making a purchase from the middleman between your business and the manufacturer. For instance, if you make a purchase at Costco, you’re shopping wholesale.
Wholesale purchases are almost always made in bulk and there may even be a minimum order threshold that you need to meet before you can place an order.
The Benefits of Buying Wholesale
While your first instinct may be to head to a big box retailer like Walmart for items like PPE and hand sanitizer, there are many benefits to shopping wholesale instead.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of shopping wholesale is the money you save. While traditional retailers mark up their products, wholesalers are able to offer lower prices because customers are purchasing in larger quantities.
Take the example of toothpaste. You can buy a single tube of toothpaste for $3 at Walmart, or a five-pack of toothpaste for $10 at Costco. Though you definitely don’t need all that toothpaste immediately, purchasing a larger quantity upfront saves you more money in the long run. The same logic can be applied to just about any product, including PPE and hand sanitizer.
The other benefit of buying products like hand sanitizer wholesale is that ordering in bulk will help you stock enough supplies for the long haul. This means that instead of rationing what little you can find from traditional retailers, buying wholesale gives you the peace of mind of knowing you have enough to last for weeks and months at a time.
Buying PPE Wholesale
PPE is not only vital to keeping staff and customers safe, but it might actually be required in order to reopen your business. For instance, many states and provinces are requiring the use of face masks and eye protection for employees that interact directly with customers, including stylists, dentists, and servers in restaurants. And even when PPE is not required, it’s strongly encouraged by most government bodies.
The challenge is, these new regulations and recommendations have caused the demand for PPE to skyrocket, making these products harder to find and more expensive to purchase from traditional retailers. This means that for many small business owners, buying PPE wholesale is the only option.
However, if you’ve never purchased PPE wholesale before, there are some important steps you should take before placing an order.
Selecting the Proper Type of PPE
To determine the proper type of PPE you need, the following should be considered:
- the degree of protection required, and
- the appropriateness of the equipment to the situation
It’s important to consider the above because you should only be purchasing PPE that matches the hazards your workers will face. For instance, dentists will require different PPE than those working in a restaurant because the occupational hazards their level of contact with the public is different.
Vetting PPE Wholesalers
Once you’ve determined what you need, now you need to find the right wholesaler. With counterfeit products and PPE scams increasingly popping up, it’s more important than ever to do your research before you buy.
Before purchasing PPE wholesale, ask the following questions:
- Who is this company? Consider where the company is based and how long they have been in business. Legitimate businesses should have their own email addresses and not use gmail, yahoo, etc.
- What products are they offering? Consider whether they have the supplies you need and the quality of the products. You may also want to consult the original manufacturer for authenticity.
- Can you verify the company’s information online? Look for legitimate websites and business emails. Verify the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and confirm “https” in the web address. If you notice a lack of security certification (“https”) it can be an indicator that the site is insecure or compromised.
After doing some research on your own, reach out to the company for the following information:
- What is the link to their company website?
- Can they send you further information about their products?
- Can they send you their Employee Identification Number (EIN) so that you can look up their company information?
- Are they listed with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
By asking the questions listed above, you can better identify legitimate vendors or businesses before making a PPE purchase.
Buying Hand Sanitizer Wholesale
Unlike PPE, hand sanitizer may not be required for you to reopen your business. However, hand sanitizer should still be a significant part of your health and hygiene routine moving forward.
On the one hand, it’s important for your employees to have access to hand sanitizer during situations where hand washing is not an option. For instance, a retail employee working at a cash register won’t have time to wash their hands between each customer. However, if they have hand sanitizer, they can disinfect their hands after scanning each customer’s items.
And it’s not just your staff that rely on hand sanitizer. Customers will also be looking for hand sanitizer before interacting with high-touch surfaces such as door handles, shopping baskets, and payment terminals. Providing hand sanitizer for customers not only helps to reduce the risk of infection, but also gives your customers peace of mind.
That being said, hand sanitizer is increasingly hard to find—especially in large quantities. To make a bulk order of hand sanitizer, your best bet is to work with a wholesaler.
Vetting Hand Sanitizer Wholesalers
Much like purchasing PPE, it’s important to do your research before buying hand sanitizer wholesale. Remember, wholesalers often act as the middleman between you and the manufacturer, meaning you need to trust that the company you’re working with is selling safe and legitimate products.
In Canada, companies that sell hand sanitizer wholesale must have a product license to distribute products made by another company. In the U.S., the rules around the production and distribution of hand sanitizer have been temporarily loosened, however, firms need to at least list their facility and their products in the FDA Drug Registration and Listing System.
With that in mind, consider asking the following questions before purchasing hand sanitizer wholesale:
- Who is this company? Consider where the wholesaler is located and what companies they have previously worked with.
- What products are they offering? Consider whether the company offers the supplies you need and the quality of the products. Be wary of companies that use a lot of hype and exaggerated claims to promote their products.
- Can you verify the company’s information online? Look for legitimate websites and business emails. Websites riddled with grammar or spelling errors can be an immediate red flag.
Though it may not be as simple as running to Walmart for a big bottle of Purell, taking the time to vet hand sanitizer wholesalers can ensure you find a legitimate company to purchase products from.
Selecting the Right Hand Sanitizer
Once you’ve found a trustworthy hand sanitizer wholesaler, the next step is to verify the quality of the products you’re buying. With such a significant shortage of hand sanitizer available, counterfeit or ineffective products have flooded the market. Though Health Canada and the FDA have been cracking down on these products, many smaller brands fly under the radar.
To ensure the product that you’re purchasing is not only legitimate, but also effective, look for the following:
- The active ingredient should be alcohol (alcohol-free hand sanitizers may be less effective)
- The hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol
- The product should an expiry date of about three years after the manufacture date
While these guidelines can help you weed out ineffective products immediately, don’t be afraid to request more information on a product before making a purchase.
Reopening your business in the wake of COVID-19 is a scary process and it’s made all the more stressful by the ongoing shortages of PPE and hand sanitizer. But by buying PPE and hand sanitizer wholesale, you can avoid those trips to multiple sold-out retailers and paying premium prices just for a handful of products. Buying wholesale not only allows you to access enough supplies for the long-term, but it also helps your business save money at a time when every penny counts.