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M&J 11-02-2018 11:41 PM

Dealer fees - ouch!
This is in another industry though it shares a similar feeling to having a fee schedule for another's service. I hope that this does not transition into knives because the feeling is quite souring.

For a good spell this dealer was priced at 20%. I felt this was reasonable and they had a good share of clients that would allow them to sell their goods. They had a decent flow of items that generated revenue. I stopped in to discuss some items and was told that they now are 30%!

The week prior I had some items up FS and there will be that individual that wants to smack you upside the head and basically take the stuff. Not only was I to absorb the PayPal fees, I was to include a discount and shipping for the items. :mad: Anyway...

I suspect that the shop wants to get out of that side of the business or they are playing for any 'client/suckers' willing to submit to 30% out of desperation.


Bob Hatfield 11-09-2018 10:45 PM

If I were to use a dealer to sell my knives and he told me that he would take 30% of the sale. He would end up talking to my backside as I walked out the door.

Ed Caffrey 11-12-2018 07:19 AM

30% is the "going rate" for purveyors. Personally, I've never understood, nor figured out how to deal with this.... the knifemaker always comes out on the loosing end. That being said, I set my own rules when it comes to purveyors..... my rules are they get a 10% discount for a single knife, and 20% for 2 or more. All other costs, such as shipping, photos, etc. is on them. If they don't want to play by my rules, we don't do business.

There are a couple of purveyors out there who should be avoided at all costs..... they are predators... seeking to lock new or young makers into "exclusive" situations, which is just another way of saying getting robbed.

M&J 11-13-2018 09:11 PM

The crafts circle can be pretty tough. We don't mind working for less than $1 an hour, we don't need food, nor other expenses associated with daily life. As you say, there are predators waiting to take advantage given the opportunity. Sad...

Les Robertson 08-10-2020 04:53 PM

Speaking as a custom knife purveyor, for 34 years (25 of it full time). Every maker out there is right to question why a dealer gets the percentage off your knives as they do.

What is it that your business partner (yes, that is what they are...with the emphasis on business) brings to business that you can't or don''t want to do?

As a business owner, everything you do, good, bad or indifferent is your fault.

That said, let's face it, there are about 10 custom knife dealers (These are dealers who only sell custom Randall's are not custom knives). Most of the dealers out there are knife dealers (meaning they sell any kind of knife. Factory, mid-tech and custom knives. in the beginning a knife maker will work primarily with knife dealers...not custom knife dealers.

Let me say this up front. I have never ever seen a custom knife dealer hold a gun to a makers head or threaten them or their family to get a discount. The discount to a custom knife dealer is a business transaction, pure and simple.

The question becomes, what are they going to do to earn this discount? Without a doubt the knife maker will have more experience making the knives. But a custom knife dealer with 10 years plus experience will know more about selling custom knives.

Speaking for myself (granted Im close to 35 years of experience), looking at your knives and talking with you at a show. Within 10 minutes I can tell you what your position is in the market you are trying to sell knives in; i.e. hunters, folders, Bowies, etc. Consequently, I know what your knives will sell for...not what you think they should sell for...not what you hope they will sell for. No, what they will sell for.

I can also tell you materials, styles, blade lengths, etc. that will help you sell your knives. Lets face it, no maker once to become the best collector of their work. You would be surprised how many their are of those.

The reason I and other dealers know this information is because (at least the full timers) is custom knives is all we do. Imagine how many collectors I will talk to in a week. How many I will talk to at a show? All the questions I get about trends, pricing, whats hot, new makers to look for, etc. This happens every day. How many collectors do you talk to in a day, week, a year?

Do you have a website? Are you employing Google Analytics? This helps you track, which knives, where the buyers are from, how long they stay on your site, etc.

Judges at shows. I have judged at Blade 28 times, usually with other dealers. The reason? Imagine have to pick the best fighter out of 50. Then the best Bowie out of 50. Best Damascus, Best Folder, Best Art Knife, Best Sword, Best Hunter, Best New Maker, Best Innovation, Best of the Show, Best of the Rest and other categories. It helps to have experience with all of these edged weapons.

How about getting your knives into magazines; guaranteed. How much is that worth?

What the discount is for, is the dealers experience, their knowledge and their expertise.

Remember, the relationship is a two way street. What do you as the maker bring to the table? Thre are about 3500 custom knife makers in the US and about 10 custom knife dealers. Most custom knife makers will never work with a custom knife dealer. Many more will work with knife dealers, which may benefit both.

Too many custom knife makers view custom knife dealers as someone reaching into the pocket and taking their money. If they can't tell/show you what you are getting for the discount...don't work with them.

BTW, 30% discount is excessive.

sheathmaker 09-01-2020 04:19 PM

Nicely explained and well said, Les

Les Robertson 09-01-2020 04:21 PM

Thank you Paul.

Stealth 08-25-2021 04:04 PM

cant make money making without selling

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