A manufacturers' representative (rep), also known as independent sales representatives or sales agent, is an individual, sales agency or can be a company that sells a manufacturer's products to wholesale and retail customers.
When a manufacturer hires a manufacturers rep firm, this usually means that a contract is signed between the two companies, which empowers the rep to sell, or solicit sales for, the manufacturer's products as an agent in a defined territory. The products are usually ordered directly from the manufacturer by the purchaser, who then pays a sales commission to the manufacturers rep firm. The commission rate varies according to the market and the product type. It can be anything from 1% to 50%, although a more typical commission rate would be 10% to 25% for low-cost or consumer products and 5% to 10% for high cost or industrial products.
An international manufacturers' representative may be responsible for, in addition to sales solicitation, handling inventory, dealing with tariffs, and complying with government regulations.