8 Essential Tips to Start Importing from China

8 Essential Tips to Start Importing from China

Thanks to the Internet, USA retailers are no longer dependent on American wholesalers. Where it used to be a tremendous job to find reliable suppliers to grow your business. It was so hard to get in touch with Chinese manufacturers; we are now only a few clicks away from a quote request.

Below are the most useful tips to lock a deal with Chinese suppliers:

1. Negotiate the price
The Chinese expect you to negotiate the price. Of course, they will not make it known themselves. Personally, I usually go 20% below the price they give in the first instance. In nine of the ten cases, we arrive somewhere in the middle. The 10% can increase nicely on an annual basis. Do not overdo the haggling. The result will be a product of inferior quality.

2. Record all appointments in Proforma Invoice (PI)
You can compare a proforma invoice with an order confirmation. Here you make agreements about the order. Ensure that this PI contains everything that you have agreed with the supplier and ensure that they are provided with a company stamp. The Chinese often send short PIs with limited information.

3. Request a VAT transfer
When you start importing, you will (unfortunately) have to deal with taxes. When you import goods, you have to pay VAT. Suppose you bought 10,000-dollar products with a VAT rate of 21%. In this case, you have to pay 12100 dollars to the forwarder (carrier). The VAT can then be reclaimed from the tax authorities.

4. Request samples from multiple suppliers
Always request samples before placing an order with a Chinese supplier. And always request samples from multiple suppliers so that you can compare the quality of the goods.

5. Do not save on the packaging
I see many Amazon, and eBay sellers save on packaging. In my opinion a missed opportunity. A professional packaging can significantly increase the “perceived value” of your product. This makes it easy for you to ask a few dollars more for your product. And that while making this packaging is probably only 20 or 30 cents more expensive than the standard packaging.

6. Ensure that the supplier delivers to Western countries
Ask your first mail contacts to the most important sales markets of the supplier. If the USA or Europe does not belong here, I would not be able to get involved quickly. A supplier whose central sales area is South America will most likely not meet the quality standards of the European market and will not be familiar with any certificates that are applicable in the European market.

7. Good first impression is crucial
The first impression that your supplier leaves behind is crucial for further collaboration. I pay attention to the following:
• Reaction time on mails. When it takes longer than 24 hours for me to receive a response to my mail, that is a no go.
• The completeness of answering all asked questions. If I ask 5 questions and only answer 2 questions, that is a no go.
• The quality of English. If I have to make an effort to understand the English of the contact person, that is a no go.

8. Use your brain
If something appears too good to be true, it is often also. If a supplier awards a price that is half that of all other suppliers or is far below it, alarm bells must go off.
If a supplier sells products with Disney or other well-known images, that is asking for problems. Ninety-nine out of a hundred times the Chinese do not have these licenses, and you run the risk that your products will be destroyed at customs.

I am convinced that with these tips you will be a lot stronger when you start importing from China. In my course there is a whole module that goes much deeper into the above.

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