Sales Representative in the Netherlands

Overview by

Commercial Intermediaries

Trading Companies
  • Main Actors
Univar, TNT, Avero, Achmea and Interpolis
  • Main Actors
Food: Schuitema, Sligro

Cars & parts: Kroymans, PON B.V.

Office Equipment: Corpereate Express

Useful Resources
American Export Assistence Center
Dutch Brache Organisation for intermidiaries

Using a Commercial Agent

The Advantages
Ideal option for small and medium sized companies that which to export to the Dutch and/or European market. The Dutch market is very competitive which makes it relatively cheap to make use of an agent. They are knowledgable of both the European and Dutch market, speak foreign languages and used to handleing foreign customers.
Where to Be Vigilant
Do not be shy and make use of the heavy competition. Dutch firms almost always want to be the exclusive distributor. Frequent contact is recommendable once a business relationship has been established.
Elements of Motivation
Exclusivity, a minium number of sales, the prospect of doing more business together in the future in case of meeting certain conditions.
The Average Amount of Commission
Between the 5 and the 10 % depending on the type of products. If there is a lot of effort invovled with handling the products the commission will be higher while if they are lower the commision also tends to be lower. The commission is also higher in case of an occasional transaction. The amount of comission is negotiable in most cases.
Breach of Contract
This very rarely happens, but when it does the company is entitled to compensation for the caused damage.
Finding a Commercial Agent
Global Representation
Dutch Brache, Organisation for Commercial Agents
Verbond Nederlandse Tussenpersonen, Association of Commercial Intermediaries
Find Sales and Distribution Service Providers in the Netherlands on

Setting Up a Commercial Unit

The Advantages
A flexible legal environment making it easy to set up a commercial unit. A commercial unit should only be taken into consideration if a company wants to establish a long-term sales.
Where to Be Vigilant
Due to the low level of unemployment it is hard to find good employees, although multinationals do not suffer from this to the same degree as Dutch companies.

Those companies that wish to use their own distribution, franchise and agency agreements need to make sure that they are linked with the EU law (Council Directive 86/653/EEC). In addition to that the Directorate General for Competition also applies. Recently the EU has also started a fight against payment delays (Directive 2000/35/EC).

Different Possible Forms of Settlement
  • A Representative Office
Sole traders and (limited) partnerships are both legal forms without a legal personality. The guiding principle is that an entrepreneur always remains personally liable for the company's debt. A partnership can be used for two or more partners that wish to do business jointly and under a joint name without having to meet all the N.V. and B.V. legal requirements.
  • A Branch Office
A branch is the best way to go if a company does not wish to establish a legal entity. It is easier and less expensive to establish than a subsidiary but does not form a separate legal entity making the parents fully liable for all of its obligations.
  • A Company
Setting up a subsidiary needs time and leads to considerable expense. However, it offers a better guarantee of protection for the registered trade mark, of obtaining credit and of breaking into the market.


Evolution of the Sector
In 2006 approximately 2600 franchise concepts existed with more than 25 000 outlets and good for a revenue of $37 billion. There are no special regulations regarding franchising in the Netherlands, they have to be in compliance with the national competition law.
Some Big Franchises
Albert Heijn, electronic products
De Hypotheeker
Bakker Bart
For Further Information
The National Franchise Guide

Finding Assistance

Export Trading Companies
List of Dutch import companies
Find more on about Selling to the Netherlands.

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