Purchasing Agent - The Career

If you step into any typical store or business, you'll find various goods, products, or even furnishings that the business didn't actually craft themselves. Businesses thrive by entering into partnerships with each other, allowing those businesses to diversify the products or services they offer.

When one business needs to buy products or goods from another, purchasing agents help to facilitate the business deal. For example, grocery stores choose from multiple suppliers to stock their shelves. Purchasing agents are the professionals who analyze those suppliers and find the products that will best serve their needs.

What do they do?

Purchasing agents primarily evaluate various suppliers based on quality, price, and demand. They take into account multiple suppliers at once, and negotiate product purchases that give their companies the best quality product for the lowest possible price.

Location and Opportunity

According to Indeed.com, several locations across the country are in need of purchasing agents. Some of these locations include:

  • Houston, TX
  • Dallas, TX
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Chicago, IL
  • Everett, WA

As they consider various suppliers, purchasing agents monitor market conditions for any changes that would affect the availability and price of goods. This allows them to introduce their own market research in the negotiation process, giving them the ability to haggle down high costs.

Supplier may enter bidding wars to win the right to supply that company. Purchasing agents must carefully evaluate suppliers, and gain a greater understanding of the marketplace by attending trade shows, conferences, and other industry networking events.

Purchasing agents work with a variety of other business professionals to effectively arrange deals between companies and suppliers. Some of these professionals include:

Qualifications

Companies typically hire purchasing agents as entry-level business professionals, making the position a good choice for new college graduates or those interested in jump-starting their business careers. All purchasing agents must have great communication and mathematical skills in order to both work out contract negotiations, while also ensuring those negotiations give companies a return on investment.

Most purchasing agents earn bachelor's degrees in marketing or business administration, but any degree that gives candidates great business sense is highly valued by a company.

Become a Purchasing Agent

Companies typically pay their purchasing agents entry-level wages, though these wages are still competitive for new employees. The average salary for a purchasing agent in August 2012 was $50,000, though this salary may increase depending on experience and effectiveness.

If you're interested in learning more about life as a purchasing manager, contact schools offering degrees in marketing.

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