Frequently Asked Questions for Agents

Q: I’m interested in finding new lines to represent. How can MANA help?

A: There are several ways we help manufacturers and reps hook up with each other. In the back of Agency Sales, our monthly magazine, you will find a number of classified ads from manufacturers looking for agents. As a member, you will also receive e-mails alerting you to new online ads placed by manufacturers with products that match your classifications.

Alternatively, you can also search the online RepFinder® that lists about 700 manufacturers who joined MANA looking for reps. Many of these member companies don’t advertise in Agency Sales, so searching the RepFinder® in the member area is the only way to find these prospective principals.

Q: I’m looking for a sample contract. Does MANA have one?

A: MANA has available a number of contract packages, including a Manual for the Creation of a Rep-Principal Contract. The package includes a background and rationale section explaining the need for all the included clauses, a guideline section and sample agreements. It’s free with membership and $149 for non-members.

We also have similar packages for international agreements, sub-rep agreements and for employees of rep firms.

Q: How much commission should a principal be paying me?

A: The answer depends on what products you work with and whether you are selling to an end-user customer, an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) or distributor. To help answer the question, MANA conducts a survey every few years and publishes results that give you the commission range by product classification and customer type.

Q: What if I need help with a specific issue?

A: MANA’s management is made up of experienced former reps and a CPMR (Certified Professional Manufacturers’ Representative). Members are encouraged to pick up the phone and discuss the specific issue with one of them. In addition to having their own experiences in the rep business, they are in contact with other members on a daily basis and learn from them as well.

Q: How much does it cost to join MANA?

A: The annual dues are $299 and include Agency Sales magazine, access to the member area of our website where you will find the Online Directory, the contracts package, commission survey results, and an archive of Agency Sales magazine articles sorted by subject. Membership also includes the counseling benefit and discounts on the seminars, ads and printed publications.

Q: I’d feel more comfortable having a knowledgeable attorney help review my contract, rather than doing it myself or having my lawyer who doesn’t know much about reps do it.

A: This is sound practice and MANA has a list of knowledgeable and experienced attorneys we can send to you as a member.

Q: I’m a little confused about the product liability issue. Who is supposed to cover what?

A: It is manufacturers’ responsibility to cover product liability for their reps. Your principal might be surprised to learn this can be done at minimal, if any, cost through a broad form vendors’ endorsement. As a rep, you should also have a clause in your agreement indemnifying you in the event of a product liability lawsuit

Q: What kind of insurance can I get at MANA?

A: We work with a rep-knowledgeable broker who offers a number of different rep insurance needs.

Q: Does MANA have a local chapter program?

A: Yes we do, and in addition we are part of an alliance of rep associations that sponsor rep events in many major cities in North America. Click here for a full schedule.

Q: I’ve looked at the MANA website and there is so much there. How can I really understand all that is available to members?

A: There really is no way you will get to know it all. The best way if you are a member is to pick up the phone and call, tell us specifically what you’re looking for and we’ll bring up the exact resources to help.

How to Become a Manufacturers’ Sales Rep:

  1. Contact an organization for independent sales reps and their principals such as MANA for information, guidance, and support.
  2. Attend trade shows in the field that you want to represent.
  3. Invest in training, and consider certification.
  4. Become involved with a Networking Chapter.
  5. Create a business plan.
  6. Call (877) 626-2776 and talk to a MANA business counselor.

What are NAICS and SIC Codes for Independent Sales Reps?

  1. NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) is the 6-digit business code classification system used by the IRS.
  2. The U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system was the forerunner of NAICS, which replaced SIC in 1997.
  3. Manufacturers’ reps who also buy and resell must choose the code that most closely fits their business when filing their tax return.
  4. All reps need to use the appropriate NAICS code when filing federal taxes.