Exporting & Importing Goods/Importing goods from China to New York
I have a business in New York and we currently use a U.S. based wholesale supplier that we annually purchase about $50,000 worth of Christmas/seasonal products from. I know our wholesalers are purchasing everything from manufacturers in China and we are looking to cut out the middleman, so to speak. I am wondering how to figure out what my shipping costs will be if I decide to start importing from China. I know it depends on a lot of different factors such as merchandise weight and material composition, but is there some sort of $/Kg way of estimating shipping? We are looking to attend the Global Sources Sourcing Fair in China in 2013. Are there any trade shows or sourcing shows you recommend visiting? Are there any shipping companies you would recommend to investigate shipping rates to transport goods from China to New York? How can I be sure I'm having my merchandise shipped over as cheaply and safely as possible? I know there will be shipping companies at the show but I want to have an idea of what I am getting into before I get there. Should I be dealing with a customs broker right now? I know I have a lot of questions, don't worry if you cant answer all of them. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. Thanks Ruth.
Thanks for your great questions.
Many companies decide to continue to work with wholesalers so they can avoid the risk, worry and hassle of manufacturing and importing. However, you are right in that you can save some expenses by cutting out the middle man. Manufacturing in China and importing is something that you will not be able to do on your own. You have asked some great questions so I know that you have done a lot of homework and have some experience.
At one point, I found myself in exactly the spot that you are in now so you have asked the right person. :) I can answer all of the questions that you have asked already along with any that might come up in the future.
Let me start by saying that in addition to the retail business that I own and operate, I am also employed by a product sourcing company that is based in China. I am their US agent. It is my job to do exactly what you are asking.
Several years ago when I came to this cross road in my retail business, I found that I did still need a manufacturer's agent who could manage all aspects of manufacturing and importing. There is no way around that. A good agent is difficult to come by but can save you tens of thousands of dollars annually. We work for a commission, based on a preset percentage of your purchases. We handle correspondence with factories, logistics companies, customs and anything else required. Reputable factories will not deal with you unless you have an agent. It is an absolute must before you can move forward from where you are right now.
Now, let's flashback to the nightmare that I had in choosing an agent for my own business. I'll spare you too many details. In summary, after losing a small amount to an overseas scam artist,I thought a US based product sourcing company would be best, more reputable and if for nothing else I would be able to easily find them if they ripped me off. I was wrong. It was the biggest mistake that I made. Several attorneys and a few police officers later, I finally got the product that I paid for but at a much higher cost than anticipated and greatly delayed, which negatively effected my bottom line. Strange how the prices I was originally quoted nearly doubled before the deal was over. On top of that deceitful practice, add in the expense of lawyers along with the time and aggravation the disaster caused. Enter the best agents in the world, just in time. I have since found a terrific team of agents, so superb in fact that I have joined their team. They have saved me more money than I can imagine, much more than what they have charged me in commission. Not to mention, I sleep very well at night because I know that they take care of everything in China. I close the gap by my work here in the US and together we able to manufacture and import for any US company or any company anywhere in the world for that matter.
While this may not appear to be any different than using a wholesaler since there will still be other people involved, it is VERY different. Wholesalers will mark up their product 100%-400% while the cost of work with an agent is in most cases below 10%. We often work for as low as 5%, depending on order quantities. As you can see, the savings is astronomical. In today's economic times, it mean the difference of success or failure for a business.
Let's get in touch and discuss the process, the anticipated expenses and answer these and any other questions you might have. I am located in NY. Please feel free to email me directly so we can schedule a phone conference. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to helping you take the next step in your business.