I've noticed that quite a few members seem to struggle with the term middleman.
A 'middleman' as the term is used, can mean quite a few things. In a traditional business structure there are three entities.
The wholesaler is the important link between the producer and the seller, ie they are the middleman!
The problem with over priced goods is not dealing with a middleman, it is when you start dealing with the next link in the chain.
For example, as the member has described above. If the genuine wholesaler for the products is not offering the drop ship service themselves, then you are dealing with a third link in the chain.
Plenty of these around to cater for those on small budgets, however you are then paying more for your products because you are now paying their profit as well.
Where this gets really sticky is where you get even more parties involved. This is where the term middleman is often used sometimes, however it should be 'middlemen'.
For example, you have the manufacturer supplying the wholesaler, the wholesaler supplying the drop shipper, but now you have another player entering the game by promoting the products of the drop shipper.
Now you have two extra players eating into a products margin, and who knows how many others?
By the time you, as the retailer, get your hands on the product there is absolutely no margin left, it has been taken up with all the other entities.
When this happens you are dealing with entities that have joined the structure way after the product got to the middle man!
Drop shippers promoting themselves as wholesalers is garbage 99% of the time. They are sourcing the products from a wholesaler at the very best, and who knows from where at the very worst!
If you're inexperienced don't get caught up with terms like 'middleman'. It has unfortunately just become an expression used to by people to indicate in their opinion that the seller is not selling at genuine wholesale prices.
It's very much like the term 'wholesale', it gets used by everybody as a marketing term when what the person is selling has already been purchased from a wholesaler in the first place!
Bottom line, 'middleman' does not automatically mean over priced.
Honestly, if you're not buying in bulk then no one is going to give you a wholesale price, and it's quite simply unrealistic to expect that you can buy one or two items at the same price as someone buying 100's at a time!