Start a Safety Wear Supply Company

A safety wear company sells safety and protective clothing such as overalls, steel toe shoes, hard hats, protective eyewear, dust masks, gum boots, and various other products including reflective items and even first aid kits.

The best place to get into this from a small business perspective is on the supply side: you are a retailer that that buys from trade suppliers: either manufacturer or importers and supply to the end users – or rather the company the end-user works for.

Market Need
Workplace safety is paramount, some industries are required to equip their staff with various safety wear, this is not only to look after their staff and keep them safe but also to keep production going as if a staff gets badly hurt it will affect the company productivity.

Your Solution
A safety wear supplier supplies businesses with various safety and protective wear, it is not just used in industrial industries, any company that has a warehouse can be a potential client. Even when a company has shelves and forklifts, there are various hazards: falling items (hard hats), visibility (reflective clothing) etc. But don’t just think of the industrial market, a lot of business will be for uniforms. Look for niche users as well such as the crime scene clean up industry.

Target Market
This is important as in some areas you might have existing competition. Look at the various industries that will need the products in your catalogue and segment them accordingly. Example: Make a different catalogue for Mining, Construction,  Welding etc.

Sales & Marketing
Using the list above from the target market, you then target your marketing to that industry. And this starts with your product mix: what safety products in used in mining, then you send them your mining products, same for construction etc.

You also need to tailor your sales channels, if you dealing with large companies you have to ask them if they have a supplier database you can be listed on. Even if they have existing suppliers, if that supplier can’t deliver they revert to the database. A website is important if you want to be found on the internet, if you selling to small business you can advertise on platforms that small businesses use such as Gumtree.

Sales strategy
This is a retail business. You will have your supplier catalogue, which you will add a markup to. A client will usually ask for a quotation and they will provide what they need, sizes and quantity. You then provide a quotation. If client accepts, then it depends on what payment terms you offer: starting out C.O.D is best, later on you can offer 30 day credit accounts as you grow.

You will often be faced with a request to brand the items, that is put the company logo onto the products you supply, starting out it is better to outsource this to a reliable screen-printing or embroidery company (you can even make a profit on the printing as well).

Branded uniform

This is an excellent business with a lot of potential, the only issue you will face is competition, and there are already quite a few suppliers in this game. But if you can segment your marketing as above you can look like a specialist, it is far better to send a mining house a catalogue that they need than a general catalogue containing stuff they will never use. You are currently living in the biggest market for this business on the continent; South Africa is Africa’s most industrialised economy, there is no bigger market.

This business can also be expanded to include safety equipment and other safety products.

Type Retail
Sector Safety wear