Choose your country

Or view all businesses for sale



How to Run a Wholesale and Distribution Business in Canada

Tips and strategies on how your business can thrive in the wholesale and distribution industry.

Canada boasts 389,116 small businesses in the sector, but now that you’re operational, you’ll need to gain a unique edge in a competitive market.

Strategies you can use to improve

Attributes like good inventory handling, as well as exceptional customer relationships, still stand in the wholesale and distribution industry. But technology is now readily being used to provide convenience and ease.

Employ B2B E-Commerce

More than half of the B2B retailers operating in Canada state that one-third of their sales income comes from channels online.

Thus, it makes sense for you to capitalize on this, as a large number of buyers are shifting towards the website of their wholesale distributors to purchase products in substantial volumes. These lead to secure transactions, provide a digital trail, and allow for ease of browsing.

Delving into Market Research

Market research helps you attain a wide array of information, such as highlights related to trading partners, as well as the fastest-growing companies in the field and the techniques they are employing. You can benefit from the tools being used in the wholesale and distribution industry in Canada by way of market research.

Euromonitor Industrial Report

This report provides detailed information on the wholesale and distribution business in Canada, from the suppliers to the buyers. It includes industry data with graphs, which entail statistics related to exports, imports, and profitability. You can pay for this report to receive the following:

● Forecasts of the last five years of the historical trends in the industry

● Detailed overview of the supply and demand structure of the industry

● The turnover and market size of the industry and the key factors shaping its current performance

Managing Equipment, Inventory, and Premises Effectively

Of course, you’ll need modes of transportation. A commercial motor vehicle (CMV) is used for this purpose. These include pickup trucks, semi-trucks, and box trucks.

The most popular pickup trucks in Canada are Ram Pickup, GMC Sierra, and Ford F-Series. The price of all of these trucks start from CAD 24,000.

Meanwhile, technology is readily being made the norm. Inventory management software, such as inFlow, is used in the wholesale and retail industry in Canada to allow businesses to synchronize their orders across multiple channels.

Last but not least, you need premises at low costs to ensure the success of your business. After the coronavirus pandemic, the prices of property in the country have been readily improving. However, the government is providing rent subsidies to help out businesses that were hit by the pandemic.

But you need to keep the prices of property in mind, as well. If you are operating out of a small town, such as Charlottetown, then a property on Prince Edward Island will cost you CAD 615,000. But you will have to incur substantial costs to transport your goods to any local store, such as Costco.

On the other hand, should you choose a province, which has 35% of the Costco locations in Canada, like Ontario, the rent will be considerably greater. Business premises in the region usually go for CAD 1,500,000.

A Glance at the Industry

  • It is a multi-billion-dollar industry. Between the years 1997 and 2004, revenues increased by 42%.
  • During 1997 and 2004, the sector was ranked at number three, coming in after professional, scientific, and technical services, and information and cultural industries.
  • In December of 2020, the total number of micro wholesale establishments alone in the country was 23,309.

Setting Goals to Increase Revenue

Being in the wholesale business, you earn when retailers purchase your products, but that is easier said than done. Here are some tips to help you increase revenue and develop your trade establishment.

1. Provide Excellent Customer Service

Be sure to always be courteous and professional with your customers to build lasting relationships with them.

2. Make the Process Seamless

The inventory management software will aid in streamlining complex fulfillment processes and reduce the requirement for manual labor. This will also give a boost to efficient customer service.

3. Make Recommendations

Suggesting additional merchandise related to the customer’s order is an automated process, which can help you lower costs and improve their shopping experience.


Businesses across the globe, no matter their sector, have shifted towards advertising on social media. It is cost-effective but does not eliminate the need for print media. Therefore, the real question is how you can market in a way to appeal to your customers. Below are some strategies to keep in mind.

1. Build Your Network Early

It is vital to understand the locations where your goods are likely to be bought. Keep an eye on mall redesigns and new store openings to put up boards or hand out flyers related to your business.

2. Offer Buying Incentives

You can easily persuade retailers to take you on in a competitive market in Canada by giving them good reasons to purchase from you. These include buy-one-get-one deals, as well as customer loyalty points and limited-time offers.

Financing Options

Given that the wholesale and distribution sector is a thriving one in Canada, there are numerous options available to you to benefit from when it comes to financing.

First of all, full-service corporate banks offer a wide range of financing solutions, along with services and tools that can be personalized according to your needs.

Meanwhile, the government is running 264 grant programs, 231 assistance programs, and 147 loan programs, most of which are relevant to the industry. 862 private funding sources are also available to work with startups, such as yours, in the wholesale sector.

Benefits and Training for Staff

Businesses in the wholesale and distribution sector are arming their employees with important information, such as customer order history, stock levels, and most ordered items. This is because they are aware that an untrained staff member can do significant harm.

Your team needs to be characterized by their skills and adaptability. For example, they should know how to operate an inventory management system. This can be done through on-the-job training, as well as cross-functional training.

However, training alone is not enough to retain employees. Ontario alone accounts for 38.6% of the wholesale employment in the country, which means it also pays out the highest number of parental and legislated leaves, pension, employment insurance, and PTO. This is because these have been mandated by law. In addition to these benefits, you can offer your staff flexible benefits, such as workplace canteens and healthcare accounts.

Considerations when you decide to sell

As an entrepreneur, if you are looking to sell a business, you will want to realize the greatest possible return. Here are some easy steps to follow.

  • The first is the planning stage, which entails building a team of personal and business advisors. You will need an investment banker, an attorney, and a valuation expert. The latter is quite essential for entrepreneurs looking to value a business, as they help evaluate a price for your hard work.
  • Next, you meet with potential buyers and consider various options. However, the most important thing to remember when you negotiate a business is to be patient. Weigh all the opportunities and choose an option that suits your expectations and retirement needs.
  • Now that the deal is done, you have to decide how to maximize the value of what you have earned. You may want to think about asset protection, estate planning, and trusts.

Megan Kelly

About the author

Megan is the Content Manager for Dynamis and researches and writes for She is an expert writer and aspiring digital marketer.


Subscribe to our email updates

Sign up to receive the latest advice, most popular businesses, special offers and much more.

I'm interested in is committed to protecting your privacy. We will use the information you provide on this form to send you marketing emails . Find out more about what we do with your information in our Privacy Policy.
Marketing Emails: You will receive newsletters, advice and offers about buying and selling businesses and franchises. We will also send you information about events relating to buying, selling or running a business.