Dropshipping is the ultimate business model, it has low upfront costs, no stock, no shipping, low risk and has the potential to make a lot of money all without leaving home.
The problem is that most people dropship from China which is full of potential problems including long shipping times, inferior product quality and unreliable suppliers. The solution is to dropship domestically using suppliers from the USA (these methods also work outside the USA).
In this article, I’ll guide you through the best ways to find local dropshipping suppliers from the USA for free. Platforms such as Salehoo and Spocket are an easy way to connect with dropshipping suppliers in the US, however, they both charge a fee. The methods below are ideal if you’re on a tight budget and often they are methods other dropshippers don’t do.
If you’re considering dropshipping abroad I suggest you read my article Is Dropshipping Outside the USA Worth it?
Below are the 6 best ways to find free dropshipping suppliers based in the USA.
1. Google Dropshipping Suppliers
This is the most obvious way to find local dropshipping suppliers, but one most people get wrong. Most people who are looking for dropshipping suppliers type into Google “Dropshipping suppliers USA” and look through the first few pages.
All you’ll get is a bunch of websites listing their top 10 or 20 dropshipping suppliers (they all list the same suppliers) plus some directories which will cost you to see their list.
Be more specific with your search. Let’s say your niche is camping and you’re looking for suppliers who dropship camping products. Type in camping followed by:
- Camping Dropship
- Camping Wholesale
- Camping Manufacturer
- Camping Supplier
- Camping Distributor
- Camping Reseller
After each keyword variation, type in USA followed by the major cities throughout the USA. Then scroll through several pages of each as many suppliers may not be on the first few pages of Google. Yes, this is time consuming but it’s important to be thorough so you find the suppliers others may not have.
Don’t assume because it doesn’t mention dropshipping on their website that they don’t dropship. Many suppliers don’t want to advertise the fact that they dropship as it will attract the wrong type of retailer. Contact them and come across as an experienced online retailer, even if you’re not.
2. Inventory Source Dropshipping Suppliers
Inventory Source is a great free resource for sourcing dropshipping suppliers worldwide. It has a paid version which you really don’t need if you only want to source dropshipping suppliers.
You will need to sign up for a free account which will then give you access to their supplier directory. You then have several options to filter the results to find the supplier you want by:
- Supplier type
- Allows dropshipping
- Minimum order
- Ships from
- Ships to
This really helps you find the exact type of supplier you’re looking for instead of sifting through suppliers that don’t fit your business needs as you do with Google.
They currently have 2,069 dropshipping suppliers on their platform and 1,603 of them dropship from the USA. You can then click on each supplier and you’re given a profile of each supplier and with many, you get a list of the products they stock.
This is without a doubt one of the best free dropshipping resources available.
3. Contact Local Dropshipping Brands Directly
This step is important as it will give you the best person to work with and hopefully help avoid dealing with any unnecessary middlemen.
Contact the manufacturers of the brands you want to work with directly and tell them you’re an online retailer and want to sell their line of products on your eCommerce store. This way you may be able to work with them directly, and if not, they’ll give you the details of their main distributors in the locations you plan to dropship to.
But how do you find out which brands are within your niche and which ones will work with dropshippers? Go to your competitor’s websites and make a list of each brand they are selling and contact each one of them.
Your main competitors are online-only stores as many brands will only work with brick and mortar stores. You can still contact these other brands and find out if they dropship but it’s less likely you’ll be accepted. If online-only stores sell specific brands, it means you can too.
The best way to find out if they are online only is to check if they have a physical address on their website. Some online-only stores will have an address listed so they appear more legitimate, however, often they are online only. Type their address into Google maps and check out the street view to see if they have a physical retail store.
4. Find Local Suppliers on Other Marketplaces
Another option is to find suppliers on other online marketplaces such as eBay and Etsy. Often you’ll come across suppliers listing their products on these platforms which makes them easy to find.
You can type in a niche or specific product in the search bar and then click on each product listing. You will generally have an option to click on seller information which will then take you to a profile page of each seller in which you can contact them.
Most people don’t try this method as it may require you to sift through several sellers until you find a good supplier. This also means you’re more likely to find a supplier other people haven’t found providing you access to unsaturated products.
5. Find Local Dropship Suppliers on TSNN
TSNN (Trade Shows News Network) is a very popular directory for trade shows worldwide. Suppliers from all over the world showcase their products at various trade shows and you have the ability to check which brands will be at the different trade shows.
You simply use the search function on the right-hand side of the screen and type in your niche and the location you plan to dropship to. This will then give you a list of all the tradeshows that have events coming up.
You can then click on the website for each tradeshow and go through the exhibitors that will be attending. All these suppliers don’t necessarily dropship, however, it will give you a large list which you can then contact to find out. You will be surprised how many suppliers can be persuaded into dropshipping when you explain what’s in it for them.
The other option is to attend the tradeshows listed. This way you can meet various suppliers, build relationships and actually handle the products so you can get a good idea of the product quality.
6. Steal your Competitor’s Dropship Suppliers
This method may be slightly unethical but may be your last resort. You may want to try this if your competitors are selling a line of products you also want to sell but can’t seem to find their supplier. If their running ads for the products, you know it must be profitable.
You can order the product from your competitor and when the package arrives, you’ll have a return address. You can then Google the return address and there’s your elusive supplier.
This will also give you a sample of the product which you can inspect for product quality and check how your competitors are packaging their products. You can then either keep the product yourself or use it as a spare for when one of your customers requires a replacement.
If you’re used to dropshipping from AliExpress, you’ll find dealing with US-based suppliers a welcome change. Generally, the product quality is better, the shipping times are faster and it’ll be much easier dealing with suppliers in your own country.
Before contacting suppliers read my article on how to get approved to dropship by suppliers first. This is important as you may get rejected to dropship initially.
It really is worth trying all the methods listed above to find suppliers. Put in the work and you’ll come across suppliers that other people haven’t which are generally the best ones to work with. The more mainstream suppliers are the ones that are more likely to be saturated and everyone will be selling their products.
If you’re interested in dropshipping pet supplies in the US, check out this article where I provide 50 pet dropshipping suppliers.
Hopefully, this really helps you source the right local dropshipping suppliers for your business.