Some common methods of finding independent sales reps:
- Put up a sign at a trade show
- Call some reps that you know and ask them for suggestions / leads
- Advertize in craigslist
- Find out who represents products that complement what you are doing to similar potential customers
- Call some of your customers, and ask them about their experience with reps and if they know of anyone
Even though you can hire fully independent reps to do work like this, it seems to me that it might not be the best path. Most people that hire independent reps do it because:
- They don't want to invest their own time in getting sales
- They imagine that someone else can do it better than they can
The reality, is that the kind of work you are attempting to job out will cost you nearly a 20 % commission, or it isn't worth spending time on it. Anything less, and they are just carrying your line to have it, rather than really drumming up business. The projects coming in will be more random and by accident, then really out selling for you.
No matter who you hire as a rep, you really need a dedicated internal person to help that rep work through getting the items built inside of your shop, getting quotes, etc.
My suggestion, is that if you don't want to hire an employee, then instead, contract on a monthly basis for 60- 80 hours / month of a rep's time for a year, plus some expenses. Have them working for you, acting like a real, part time employee. You don't have to pay them for benefits, but you do need to pay them enough to make it worth their time to prospect.
I work on a similar arrangement for high tech sales, and it works out well for both of us. They had real doubts at first, but I make good revenue and solid profits for them. Yes, they wanted to do the full commission thing, but there is no way that I (or most people) can afford to do this for them, all up front.
Anyone who has worked in sales knows that if you bring in a big project, the shop will try to beat you our of your commission, so there is no point starting out there.