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Faq - Importing From China For The First Time
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If you’re looking into jumping into the import business, you’ve probably come across advice to start with importing from China. That’s good advice, because the margin of profit on Chinese merchandise is usually great, and because China is a popular destination for freight companies. But, as with entering into any new industry, there’s a lot for the first timer to learn. This FAQ should be of use to anyone who’s preparing to import goods from China for the first time.
1. How do I find a reputable supplier?
Well, the best way to do this is to go to China or Hong Kong and attend a trade show. There are thousands of suppliers that attend and you’ll be able to see goods in person, on the spot. Of course, a trip to Asia isn’t practical for everyone. If you can’t make a trip to China, you’ll want to find your supplier through a reputable online directory. Be sure that you use a directory which has a verification system for suppliers, and not one which is essentially just a collection of paid advertisements.
Once you’ve decided on a supplier that seems to fit what you’re looking for, you need to order a sample. Many new importers skip this step, and it’s a serious mistake. While you will have to pay for and wait for your sample, it’s the only way to be sure that the product is of the quality you’re looking for.
2. What shipping method is best?
If you’re making a very small order, then air shipping is probably the best option, in terms of price and convenience. However, if you’re ordering in bulk, you’ll almost certainly want to use ocean freight.
3. How do I set up an ocean freight shipment?
Honestly, you really don’t if it’s the first time you’re importing something. Even experienced importers rarely try and handle the logistics and shipments of their products personally. There are usually over a dozen different entities involved in the shipment process, from land transportation companies in both countries to ship captains, to various customs officials, and so on. The solution to this is to hire a freight forwarding company. These companies are experts at shipping, and they can handle the entire process, from the supplier’s door to yours, if necessary.
4. How much are shipping costs?
That depends entirely on what you and the supplier negotiate in terms of responsibility for fees, and of course, what the freight forwarder charges.
5. How are payments handled?
Payments are often wired to the supplier in two parts. First, there’s an initial, upfront payment. This first payment is typically between thirty to forty percent. Once this payment is made, the supplier will prepare the order for shipment. Once the order is ready to be shipped, the buyer will pay the rest of the
invoice. When you import in this manner, you’ll be paying your shipping costs to the freight forwarding company, not to the buyer. And that’s how to import from China!
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