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Become A Buyer

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Working As A Buyer

  • Getting Information
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Repetitive

  • $50,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Buyer Do

Buyers and purchasing agents buy products and services for organizations to use or resell. They evaluate suppliers, negotiate contracts, and review the quality of products.

Duties

Buyers and purchasing agents typically do the following:

  • Evaluate suppliers on the basis of the price, quality, and speed of delivery of their products and services
  • Interview vendors and visit suppliers’ plants and distribution centers to examine and learn about products, services, and prices
  • Attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers
  • Analyze price proposals, financial reports, and other information to determine reasonable prices
  • Negotiate contracts on behalf of their organization
  • Work out agreements with suppliers, such as when products will be delivered
  • Meet with staff and vendors to discuss defective or unacceptable goods or services and determine corrective action
  • Evaluate and monitor contracts to be sure that vendors and supplies comply with the terms and conditions of the contract and to determine the need for changes
  • Maintain and review records of items bought, costs, deliveries, product performance, and inventories

Buyers and purchasing agents buy farm products, durable and nondurable goods, and services for organizations and institutions. They try to get the best deal for their organization: the highest quality goods and services at the lowest cost. They do this by studying sales records and inventory levels of current stock, identifying foreign and domestic suppliers, and keeping up to date with changes affecting both the supply of, and demand for, products and materials.

Purchasing agents and buyers consider price, quality, availability, reliability, and technical support when choosing suppliers and merchandise. To be effective, purchasing agents and buyers must have a working technical knowledge of the goods or services they are purchasing.

Evaluating suppliers is one of the most critical functions of a buyer or purchasing agent. Many organizations run on a lean manufacturing schedule and use just-in-time inventories, so any delays in the supply chain can shut down production and cause the organization to lose customers.

Buyers and purchasing agents use many resources to find out all they can about potential suppliers. They attend meetings, trade shows, and conferences to learn about new industry trends and make contacts with suppliers.

They often interview prospective suppliers and visit their plants and distribution centers to assess their capabilities. For example, they may discuss the design of products with design engineers, quality concerns with production supervisors, or shipping issues with managers in the receiving department.

Buyers and purchasing agents must make certain that the supplier can deliver the desired goods or services on time, in the correct quantities, and without sacrificing quality. Once they have gathered information on suppliers, they sign contracts with suppliers who meet the organization’s needs and they place orders.

Buyers who purchase items to resell to customers may determine which products their organization will sell. They need to be able to predict what will appeal to their customers. If they are wrong, they could jeopardize the profits and reputation of their organization.

Buyers who work for large organizations often specialize in purchasing one or two categories of products or services. Buyers who work for smaller businesses or government agencies may be responsible for making a greater variety of purchases.

Wholesale and retail buyers purchase goods for resale to consumers. Examples of these goods are clothing and electronics. Purchasing specialists who buy finished goods for resale are commonly known as buyers or merchandise managers.

Purchasing agents and buyers of farm products buy agricultural products for further processing or resale. Examples of these products are grain, cotton, and tobacco.

Purchasing agents, except wholesale, retail, and farm products buy items for the operation of an organization. Examples of these items are chemicals and industrial equipment needed for a manufacturing establishment, and office supplies.

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How To Become A Buyer

Although a high school diploma may be sufficient for some positions, many employers require buyers and purchasing agents to have a bachelor’s degree. Most entry-level positions require some form of on-the-job training.

Education

Educational requirements usually vary with the size of the organization. Although a high school diploma may be enough at some organizations, many businesses require applicants to have a bachelor’s degree. For many positions, a degree in business, finance, or supply management is sufficient.

For those interested in a career as a buyer or purchasing agent of farm products, a degree in agriculture, agriculture production, or animal science is often beneficial.

Training

Buyers and purchasing agents typically get on-the-job training for more than 1 year. During this time, they learn how to perform their basic duties, including monitoring inventory levels and negotiating with suppliers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

There are several certifications available for buyers and purchasing agents. Although some employers require certification, many do not.

Most of these certifications involve oral or written exams and have education and work experience requirements.

The Institute for Supply Management offers the Certified Professional in Supply Management (CPSM) credential, which covers a wide scope of purchasing professional duties. To receive the CPSM credential, candidates must pass three exams and those with a bachelor’s degree must possess at least 3 years of relevant work experience while those without a bachelor’s degree must have at least 5 years of relevant work experience.

The American Purchasing Society offers the Certified Purchasing Professional (CPP) certification. The CPP certification is valid for 5 years. Candidates must earn a certain number of professional development “points” to renew their certification. Candidates initially become eligible and can renew their certification through a combination of purchasing-related experience, education, and professional contributions (such as published articles or delivered speeches).

APICS offers the Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. Applicants must have 3 years of relevant business experience or a bachelor’s degree in order to be eligible for the CSCP credential. The credential is valid for 5 years. Candidates must also earn a certain number of professional development points to renew their certification.

The Next Level Purchasing Association offers the Senior Professional in Supply Management (SPSM) Certification. Although there are no education or work experience requirements, applicants must complete six online courses and pass an SPSM exam. Certification is valid for 4 years. Candidates must complete 32 continuing education hours in procurement-related topics to recertify for an additional four-year period.

The Universal Public Procurement Certification Council (UPPCC) offers two certifications for workers in federal, state, and local government. The Certified Professional Public Buyer (CPPB) credential requires applicants to have earned at least an associate’s degree, possess at least 3 years of public procurement experience, and complete relevant training courses. The Certified Public Purchasing Officer (CPPO) requires applicants to have earned a bachelor’s degree, possess at least 5 years of public procurement experience, and complete additional training courses.

Those with the CPPB or the CPPO designation must renew their certification every 5 years by completing continuing education courses or attending procurement-related conferences or events.

The National Institute of Government Purchasing (NIGP), Institute for Public Procurement offers preparation courses for the UPPCC certification exams.

Advancement

An experienced purchasing agent or buyer may become an assistant purchasing manager before advancing to purchasing manager, supply manager, or director of materials management. Buyers and purchasing agents with extensive work experience can also advance to become the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for an organization.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. When evaluating suppliers, buyers and purchasing agents must analyze their options and choose a supplier with the best combination of price, quality, delivery, or service. 

Decisionmaking skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must have the ability to make informed and timely decisions, choosing products that they think will sell.

Math skills. Buyers and purchasing agents must possess basic math skills. They must be able to compare prices from different suppliers to ensure that their organization is getting the best deal. 

Negotiating skills. Buyers and purchasing agents often must negotiate the terms of a contract with a supplier. Interpersonal skills and self-confidence, in addition to knowledge of the product, can help lead to successful negotiations.

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Buyer Career Paths

Buyer
Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Senior Buyer Purchasing Manager
Senior Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Purchasing Manager
Senior Sourcing Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Merchandising Manager
Senior Merchandising Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Buyer Material Manager
Materials Director
12 Yearsyrs
Divisional Merchandise Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Assistant Manager Warehouse Manager Material Manager
Materials Planning Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Warehouse Manager Material Manager
Material Project Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Planner/Buyer Purchasing Buyer Purchasing Agent
Manager Of Purchasing & Materials
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager Director Of Purchasing
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Procurement Agent
Senior Manager, Procurement
11 Yearsyrs
Supply Chain Manager Director Of Purchasing
Director Of Global Sourcing
14 Yearsyrs
Contracts Administrator Senior Contract Administrator/Contract Administrator Contracts Manager
Project Procurement Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Office Manager Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager
Director Of Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Procurement Analyst Senior Purchasing Agent
Procurement Officer
5 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Senior Manager, Procurement
Global Procurement Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Procurement Agent Inventory Analyst Merchandise Planner
Vice President, Merchandising
12 Yearsyrs
Contracts Specialist Procurement Analyst Senior Purchasing Agent
Manager, Operations And Procurement
9 Yearsyrs
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Buyer Demographics

Gender

Female

51.4%

Male

39.7%

Unknown

8.9%
Ethnicity

White

61.7%

Hispanic or Latino

16.1%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

7.8%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

49.6%

French

8.8%

Mandarin

7.2%

Chinese

7.1%

German

4.1%

Japanese

3.4%

Italian

3.2%

Portuguese

3.2%

Cantonese

2.3%

Korean

1.9%

Arabic

1.6%

Russian

1.5%

Carrier

1.4%

Vietnamese

1.2%

Hindi

0.9%

Swedish

0.6%

Polish

0.6%

Turkish

0.5%

Urdu

0.5%

Tagalog

0.5%
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Buyer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

26.4%

University of Houston

7.6%

Michigan State University

6.7%

Pennsylvania State University

5.1%

Arizona State University

5.1%

Fashion Institute of Technology

4.8%

Strayer University

4.3%

Ohio State University

3.5%

Webster University

3.5%

Texas A&M University

3.4%

San Jose State University

3.2%

University of Washington

3.1%

Western Michigan University

3.1%

Ashford University

3.0%

Southern New Hampshire University

2.9%

University of North Texas

2.9%

Purdue University

2.9%

Wayne State University

2.9%

Northeastern University

2.7%

Kaplan University

2.6%
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Majors

Business

44.8%

Marketing

6.5%

Accounting

6.3%

Management

5.9%

Supply Chain Management

4.8%

Communication

3.4%

Finance

3.1%

Psychology

2.8%

Specialized Sales And Merchandising

2.7%

General Studies

2.0%

English

1.9%

Criminal Justice

1.9%

Education

1.9%

Liberal Arts

1.9%

Computer Science

1.8%

Political Science

1.8%

Health Care Administration

1.7%

Graphic Design

1.7%

Economics

1.7%

Human Resources Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

47.2%

Other

22.1%

Masters

13.2%

Associate

11.3%

Certificate

4.2%

Diploma

1.1%

Doctorate

0.5%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$50,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$30,000
Min 10%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$50,000
Median 50%
$85,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Cisco Systems
Highest Paying City
Milwaukee, WI
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
4.0 years
How much does a Buyer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Buyer in the United States is $50,678 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $30,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $85,000.

Real Buyer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Buyer Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. Union, NJ Aug 09, 2016 $175,000
Buyer III The TJX Companies, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 18, 2016 $135,000
Buyer III The TJX Companies, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Apr 08, 2016 $135,000
Procurement Specialist Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation Savannah, GA Aug 03, 2016 $124,530
Women's Buyer YVES Saint Laurent America, Inc. New York, NY Jan 15, 2016 $120,000
Buyer II The TJX Companies, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 19, 2016 $118,371
Buyer-Men's Shoes Urban Outfitters, Inc. Philadelphia, PA Jun 08, 2015 $115,000
Buyer The TJX Companies, Inc. New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $115,000
Buyer, Women's Collection Calvin Klein, Inc. New York, NY May 09, 2016 $115,000
Advanced Purchasing Coordinator (Electronics) Automotive Lighting LLC Auburn Hills, MI Nov 15, 2016 $108,576
Procurement Specialist Broadband Telcom Power Inc. Santa Ana, CA Jun 05, 2016 $107,266
Strategic Procurement Specialist Accenture LLP Houston, TX Aug 21, 2015 $100,300
Strategic Procurement Specialist Accenture LLP King of Prussia, PA Aug 21, 2015 $100,300
Buyer III Dresser-Rand Company Olean, NY Aug 25, 2015 $70,179 -
$97,900
Buyer (Purchasing Agent) Reckitt Benckiser LLC Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ Dec 08, 2016 $70,000
Procurement Specialist Schlumberger Technology Corporation Sugar Land, TX Aug 29, 2015 $69,758
Buyer 2 Permasteelisa North America Corp Windsor, CT Sep 18, 2015 $69,534
Buyer 3 ASML Us, Inc. Wilton, CT Sep 25, 2016 $69,364
Specialist Procurement CBU II Kautex Inc. Troy, MI Feb 11, 2016 $69,000
Buyer Pacific Northern, Inc. Carrollton, TX Sep 03, 2015 $68,994
Buyer Pacific Northern, Inc. Carrollton, TX Sep 04, 2015 $68,994
Buyer Monsanto Company Saint Louis, MO Aug 13, 2015 $56,732
Procurement Specialist Omnivision Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Oct 10, 2016 $56,400
Buyer III Lennox Industries, Inc. Grenada, MS Jan 09, 2016 $56,000 -
$84,000
Buyer Four K Fashion, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Apr 23, 2015 $55,952
Indirect Procurement Specialist A.M. Castle and Co. Oak Brook, IL Sep 08, 2015 $55,524
Buyer Phelps Dodge Refining Corporation El Paso, TX Aug 29, 2016 $55,500
Purchasing Coordinator American Future Technology Corp. Dba Ibuypower Industry, CA Apr 05, 2016 $55,453
Natural Stone Buyer FBR Marble, Inc. Long Beach, CA May 07, 2016 $55,162

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Top Skills for A Buyer

  1. Purchase Orders
  2. Office Supplies
  3. Vendor Invoices
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Generated Purchase Orders for material and equipment acquisition from approved suppliers to ensure contractual compliance.
  • Purchased products for maintenance, repair and operations including raw materials, tooling, machinery, computer hardware and office supplies.
  • Processed vendor invoices and communicated discrepancies with suppliers reporting to New York State Liquor Authority.
  • Reviewed purchase requests for accuracy, provided customer service and training to business partners for utilization.
  • Optimized cost savings by preventing dead stock, providing clients with optimal means of transportation and achieving customer deadlines.

What is it like to work as a Buyer

5.0

Buyer Specialist

May 25, 2019 on Zippia

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Buyer.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Buyer?

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What do you NOT like?

I like all in this job, because I have the choise to be in relation with a lot of persons and know what they are doing against purchasing also what the use to buy and under what coondition.. Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Buyers

  1. Michigan
  2. Ohio
  3. Rhode Island
  4. North Carolina
  5. Washington
  6. District of Columbia
  7. Virginia
  8. Texas
  9. Illinois
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (299 jobs)
  • (336 jobs)
  • (37 jobs)
  • (294 jobs)
  • (218 jobs)
  • (42 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (734 jobs)
  • (477 jobs)
  • (292 jobs)

Top Buyer Employers

Jobs From Top Buyer Employers

Buyer Videos

Retail Buyer: Job Profile

Food Buyer: Job Profile

Career Advice on becoming an Art Buyer by Dawn N (Highlights)

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