How to Become an Independent Distributor

by Crystal Lewis; Updated September 26, 2017
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Independent distributors contract with companies to sell their products or provide services without becoming traditional employees. Such distributors seek these opportunities because they enjoy representing reputable companies and desire to own their own small businesses. They may also prefer the entrepreneurial business arrangements these contracts can offer, such as the opportunity to work from home or the challenge involved in marketing a new product. Aspiring independent distributors should prepare themselves to invest several hours per week into their ventures. A financial investment may also be required.

Search for testimonials or complaints written by your chosen company’s current and former distributors. Websites such as, Epinions, and have sections devoted to consumer reviews about companies that offer small business opportunities to independent distributors. Search for trends in the complaints that may indicate a potential problem.

Visit the website for your secretary of state to find information on whether or not small business registration will be necessary. While independent distributors are often permitted to operate without individual licenses, it is important to research the laws in your area. Please note, you may be required to pay a fee if business registration is necessary.

Go to your chosen company’s website to research its intake requirements for independent distributors. Take special care to search eligibility or experience requirements. Make note of the information required by the company. If required, gather items such as your resume, tax identification (or social security number) and professional references.

Search the website for important contact names, email addresses, or phone numbers of regional managers who may assist you with the application process. If his or her information is available, contact the recruiter who manages your territory. Ask her to meet with you concerning your goals. Ask about the commission involved as well as bonuses that may be available.

Locate the enrollment application on the company’s website. If necessary, print and complete the forms and submit them via fax or mail. The company may offer an online application. If there is one available, then apply online to submit your request to the company more quickly. Be prepared to wait several days while your application is reviewed.

Pay your enrollment fees online or through the mail. You may be required to submit your payment along with the application. Failure to do so will slow the application process. Wait for confirmation that your payment and your application has been processed. Many companies will provide written verification that your independent distribution privileges are active.


  • Ask about success rates. Find out how many independent representatives at your potential company are still active 6 months or 1 year from the date they start.

About the Author

Based in Washington, D.C., Crystal Lewis is a former insurance professional who has been a freelance writer for a variety of online publications since 2009. She holds a bachelor's degree in business and is currently pursuing a master's degree in theology at an East Coast seminary.

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