Previous Next

Frequently Asked Questions


  1. How are IBSA Affiliates selected?
  2. We ask interested distributors to complete a confidential application, providing us basic information about their past and present operations as well as input on future plans. An IBSA review board uses this information to check some basic eligibility requirements. For instance, the distributorship must be independently owned. Following a successful prescreening, IBSA management conducts an in-depth interview with the applicant. IBSA evaluates the prospective Affiliate post-interview and also reviews the results of independent background screening (such as a D&B report). If all criteria are met, a letter of invitation is issued. Because of the exclusive nature of IBSA membership, potential affiliates are given a 10-day window to accept or decline the invitation to join IBSA.

  3. Does IBSA charge a fee to join?
  4. The application fee for joining IBSA is $500, which is refundable if your application is not accepted. For further details regarding administrative fees, please click here.

  5. What happens if another Affiliate from my area applies for IBSA membership?
  6. We recognize that some areas of the country require and can support more coverage than others. We handle questions like these on a case by case basis.

  7. Can I belong to another industry alliance or association and still be an IBSA Affiliate?
  8. IBSA welcomes Affiliates who are members of associations such as Print Services & Distribution Association (PSDA) or Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) or subscribers to Advertising Specialties Institute (ASI). However, IBSA Affiliates cannot be members of another alliance or franchise company.

IBSA Affiliate Questions

  1. Are you currently looking for distributor members in my area?
  2. A List of available markets is below. Even if you do not see your area listed, please apply. Sometimes we need multiple Affiliates in an area.

  3. What commitment does IBSA require of its Affiliates?
  4. Financially, we ask for two commitments: first, we ask for a fee to sign you up as an Affiliate; second, from the national accounts we have provided to you, we ask for a percentage of those sales.

    IBSA Affiliates must commit to supporting the Supplier pool.

    Next, we ask that you pay our Suppliers promptly and within terms.

    Then, work to the best of your ability on the national accounts we have provided to you.

    Finally, we ask that you not compete against your fellow IBSA Affiliates.

    Your main commitment to IBSA is through your actions. IBSA is not an organization to join and then forget about until the next conference arrives. As an alliance, we are very much a participatory organization.

  5. What advantages does IBSA offer Affiliates?
  6. Growth opportunities abound when you become an IBSA Affiliate. You will be able to level the playing field with the major directs and pursue national accounts that can rapidly expand your business. Your competitive advantage does not end there. Additional advantages include: access to the best supply chain in our industry, including an online quoting system that takes the guesswork out of sourcing products, increased buying power, as well as a stronger position and stature in the industry.

  7. How do I remain in good standing as an IBSA Affiliate?
    • Pay IBSA Suppliers promptly.
    • Attend the IBSA annual conference and periodic training events.
    • Maintain a minimum of $10,000 per month in volume with our Suppliers.
    • Use a minimum average of 6 Suppliers each month.
    • Do not compete with other Affiliates.
    • Fulfill individual obligations of national account assignments including reporting, billing and providing quality customer service.
    • Use the IBSA Online Quoting System to source your sales from IBSA Suppliers.
    • Participate in the IBSA listserve.

  8. Will I have to give up my company’s identity when I join?
  9. Absolutely not! IBSA does not buy your company and you do not become our employee. Unlike our competitors, we are an alliance of companies that work together to leverage buying power and pursue national accounts. You maintain your account list, control of your receivables and payables, and decision-making freedom. IBSA provides corporate strength and buying power – not a new ownership system or boss. You will continue to do business under your current name to capitalize on the brand that you have already built. The alliance model is unique to our industry and we believe in capitalizing on the strengths of our individual companies to attract national accounts.

IBSA Supplier Questions

  1. How does the Supplier selection process work?
  2. In some cases, we act on referrals from our Affiliates and other times suppliers seek us out. Either way, there is a thorough review (similar to Affiliate screening) before IBSA Supplier status is offered to a manufacturer.

  3. What steps does IBSA take to ensure suppliers provide the best possible pricing?
  4. IBSA conducts an ongoing review of all IBSA designated suppliers. We select suppliers for the value they bring to IBSA distributors, so they must maintain their level of pricing competitiveness and also a solid, respected position in the industry.

  5. What if I have a problem with an IBSA Supplier?
  6. From time to time, disputes will occur. While we prefer for Affiliates and Suppliers to work out situations independently, IBSA will provide necessary assistance to solve problems. Affiliates may file a complaint report and serious problems or unheeded warnings may be grounds for IBSA to terminate a Supplier relationship.

Other IBSA Support

  1. What type of marketing support will IBSA offer?
  2. Marketing support is a major benefit of joining IBSA. We offer joint marketing programs to help build sales, as well as a national account sales team to support your efforts. We also have brochures and presentations promoting your business and the IBSA brand.

  3. What's the catch?
  4. There’s no catch. IBSA offers you the tools to create positive growth in your company. We understand that our success is dependent on acting as a team player and encouraging all of us to work together to change the way we do business.
    • We have a strategically sound, innovative business plan;
    • Our leadership has proven track records of success and create synergies by pooling their positive experiences;
    • Our passionate membership is committed to the same goal and creating opportunities for all of us to grow.


If you are interested in joining IBSA, click here to begin the application process.

Benefits of Membership
Frequently Asked Questions