Where to get Barcodes
A look at legitimate sellers and resellers in South Africa and abroad
So this is the biggest question of them all. The reality is that there are thousands of sites on the internet that claim to sell barcodes, but a large proportion of them are unfortunately illegal, fake and or are selling duplicates. This is particularly a problem in South Africa, where we have a number of supposed barcode resellers who are actually illegal conmen and if you end up buying from them, your barcodes will eventually be rejected (and your product blacklisted). Apart from the two organisations mentioned below, I would be very very wary! These dodgy sites may seem to be very cheap, but in reality they need be avoided at all costs. The classic rule comes in to play here: 'if it looks too good to be true, it probably is'. So here are a few of the reputable companies in SA and abroad that I would recommend, the final choice is up to you, but please remember to ensure that you do your homework on this.
In South Africa:
There are only two organisations that I am know of in SA that are actually legal and legitimate: GS1 and SA Barcodes.
The first option available to you is to register directly with GS1's South Africa branch, called GS1-SA. This option is usually only suited to larger companies with more than 1000 products in their product line. For smaller companies, I would recommend considerning using an authorised reseller as this will be cheaper and much less hassle. Unfortunately registering directly with GS1 tends to be a little bit of a headache because, as mentioned in the faq's, they are not very organised. I have struggled far too many times to reach them on the phone, only to get told that they will call me back, which they then fail to do. Another problem with GS1-SA is that they require our clients to attend a seminar or online training course which is a hassle at best and a nightmare for us if they are on a tight deadline. In the end, however, there are some definite benefits to GS1 for large companies. Firstly, you will be able to get your own company prefix which is useful if you are a big distributer. Secondly, they can be cheaper if you are ordering in bulk (orders of over a 1000 codes).
For small quantities of codes they are still expensive, especially because they only provide you with the number and not the barcode images themselves. You then have to purchase the image software separately to get an images of your codes. So essentially, big companies, with big product lines, should generally go with GS1, as it is probably going to be worth the hassle in the long run.
SA Barcodes: https://www.sabarcodes.co.za/
The best option for any small or medium sized business is SA Barcodes, an authorised online barcode reseller based in Cape Town, although they deliver throughout South Africa. We use these guys a lot of the time, and I am particularly impressed with what they have to offer and the speed with which they are able to process orders. They sell unique, registered EAN and UPC codes at excellent rates, significantly cheaper than going directly through GS1-SA, and I have looked their barcodes up and can confirm that they are the real deal (all codes are fully registered). Something I admire about SA Barcodes is their customer service, they always answer their phones and reply to emails which makes them a pleasure to do business with. They are able to deliver their codes, importantly with barcode images included free of charge, within a couple of hours to anywhere in the country. For small to medium-sized businesses in SA, there is no comparison, I would recommend them above anyone else at the moment!
I have tried a couple of resellers from overseas, and have met with limited success. While I am still a little skeptical about purchasing from overseas sites as I have no idea where they are actually located, can't talk to them on the phone, and tend to question their offers; I have had some success with a couple of sites.
These guys are great, but expensive! They sell a variety of packages which start from about 50$ (R400) per code. They are also able to do QR-codes, which is useful for media products, vouchers etc. They seem to be reputable and are certainly not a bad choice. Delivery was within a few hours of purchase, which is great.
Another well-know American Site and one of the biggest on the internet. These guys are also excellent, and can provide printed labels as well as the codes. While this is of little use to you if you are not in the States, if you are, they are probably your best option for this service as their rates are good.