What a Purchasing Agent Does, and How to Kick Butt at it

Purchasing agents in usa

Is retail therapy your favorite hobby in life? If searching out good deals, researching products, and making purchasing selections is something that you have a knack for, you might be the perfect candidate for a purchasing agent certification. With a purchasing agent certification, you would work for companies to source the best products or services for their business.


Once you have a purchasing agent certification, the purchasing agent job description includes the following responsibilities:

  • When a product or service is needed by the company, the purchasing agent certification prepares you to weigh out the best candidate, based on the quality of materials or services rendered, the cost, and the turnaround time of the product or services.
  • Although you aren’t a private investigator, your purchasing agent duties will include conducting interview questions with potential suppliers and examining the products they provide, to identify the best match for the company you’re working on behalf of.
  • Another important item on the list of purchasing agent responsibilities is staying in the know on trends that impact your industry. This entails going to conferences and trade shows within your industry, so that you know what’s hot in your industry, and your company is right in the thick of it, before everyone else catches on.
  • Part of being a purchasing agent is understanding the value of the products or services that you’re scouting out. This involves evaluating proposals, reading over financial reports, and watching trends.
  • After you know the going rate of a product or service that you need, it is your job to secure the item at the lowest cost to your company as possible (without sacrificing quality or time). Being a purchasing agent requires great negotiation skills, and sometimes a little bit of charm.
  • Once an agreement is worked out, you’ll work with the supplier that you chose to ensure a smooth acquisition of the supplies or services that were purchased.
  • If there were any issues with the goods that you purchased for the company you’re working with, you would serve as the point of contact for your company, and would be responsible for working it out with the supplier.
  • You would also oversee the contracts that you negotiated with vendors, to ensure compliance and to recognize if any adjustments to the terms become necessary.

If the job description we just outlined sounds like something you would enjoy doing, you should pursue a career as a purchasing agent.


However, just giving you the low-down of what a purchasing agent does is not the only thing we’re going to do for you today. If you become a purchasing agent, we want you to really kick butt and take names at it. And so, we’ve also put together a list of tips and tricks that will make you successful.


Nine Laws for Being a Successful Purchasing Agent

  1. Always put the interests of your employer first. To maintain the integrity of your profession, you should avoid engaging in any purchases that are a conflict of interest, whether they are real or perceived.
  2. Communication with your company is critical for creating successful deals. You should never make a purchasing decision without talking it over with your internal clients.
  3. Do not make the cost the only deciding factor when making a purchasing decision. This could cost you far more in the long-run.
  4. You should remain ethical in your dealings. As a representative of your company, if you shortchange a vendor, it is the reputation of your company that suffers.
  5. It is important to embrace technology and change in your industry. If you cling to what you are familiar with, you will quickly become obsolete.
  6. Establish rapport with your vendors. You will need to work closely with them over the long run. Ruining a relationship to save a little money will come back to bite you.
  7. Always be open to meeting with new suppliers. You will never know every single supplier available to you, you might come across one that is advantageous to your company.
  8. Be a proactive problem solver. Your management is responsible for the strategy of the entire department. You shouldn’t have to run to them every time you hit a snag.
  9. Commit to being a lifetime learner. There will never be a day that you know everything there is to know about being a purchasing agent.

Do you have questions? Add below!

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