What is a buyer?
Buyers, also known as purchasing agents, are responsible for purchasing goods for a company to use or sell in their
own business. This position requires extensive research and the ability to negotiate contracts with suppliers, manage
an inventory, evaluate quality goods, and stick within a budget.
At the most basic level, being a buyer for a company is exactly what it sounds like—you buy things. However, a lot
more goes into the buyer job description. Since these individuals work in a range of sectors, from fashion and
technology to food and industry, buyers must understand the unique needs of their particular employer.
How is this role monitored?
Buyers and purchasing agents have highly-monitored roles. In small startups, purchasing agents may report to a
purchasing director. In larger organizations, buyers may report to a purchasing manager, who is overseen by the chief
procurement officer (CPO).
A successful buyer career is measured in several simple ways. At the end of the day, buyers must source quality items
at competitive prices that are useful to their company’s bottom line. This may require them to predict what consumers
will want, like a fashion buyer forecasting next season’s trends. Buyers must also find trustworthy wholesalers and
manufacturers and ensure their deliveries are on time, complete, free of damage, and within budget.
How much do buyers make? This is a demanding career that sometimes requires more than 40 hours of work per week
depending on the project and industry. For this reason, the average buyer salary can be very competitive for a
relatively early-stage career role. The
median annual wage for both buyers and purchasing agents is $64,380.
After a few years, a purchasing agent may take on a managerial position, where they stand to make a median salary of
$121,110 per year.
What does a buyer do?
Buyer responsibilities extend far beyond simply purchasing items for companies to use or sell. In many cases, they’re in charge of a business's product, meaning their success directly leads to a company’s revenue. In a typical day, a buyer will:
- Search for and negotiate contracts with suppliers and manufacturers
- Order products and authorize payments
- Manage inventory, including current stock and new deliveries
- Ensure the accuracy of purchase orders
- Craft purchase order and inventory reports for management
- Solve supply chain problems