Re: Starting to Import from China
Sorry, I just saw this. In case you still need answers.
One of my clients has asked for 10,000 tote bags and 10,000 items of baby clothes.
For logistics advice, the volume (in cube), weight, and total invoice price are the best things to give.
I, for one, have no idea what those numbers mean when it comes to logistics as I am not familiar with your product.
I am contacting Chinese factories through Alibaba.com. Can I trust using online Trade Resource centers such as this?
Not if you mean to trust them to only refer you to businesses with whom you will not ever have any problems.
You need to build mechanisms into your proceedures that eliminate risk, such as agreeing to safer payment terms.
One common method I used was FOB terms, with payment happening by wire transfer when the bill of lading needed to be surrendered.
Basically, the product would arrive in Chicago or Milwaukee, and before it could be released to the warehouse I would need to surrender a bill of lading to the steamship line.
I would not receive said bill of lading from the manufacturer until payment was made.
How can I ensure I am getting the best price possible?
The same way you do this anywhere. Compare, and learn about the market.
Can I negotiate the price down or does that become offensive at some point?
I have negotiated in the past, but with the products you mention there usually isn't a premium built into the price, and reductions can usually only come with other concerns like volume or exlusivity.
I will use a customs broker when the shipment is made. Do I need to be ready for duties due to the size of the order?
Probably. In my experience duties were pretty low.
How can I calculate this to ensure I pass the cost on to my client?
Ask your customs broker, this type of question is what a good customs broker is for.
But remember, customs brokers make very little money to clear their shipments, so you may want to pay for an hour of consultation.
Regarding samples, due to the expensive items I import from Nepal, often a sample must be created to ensure the customers confidence. For the totes and baby clothes, can I ask for samples from the chinese bidders?
Yes. They usually are willing to send sample products unless the costs for doing so are prohibitive.
A smart company understands that the samples can help you sell, which can only help them.
When I worked in logistics (I am not a web development manager) I always got samples before purchasing, as well as product packaged as samples for use by salesmen.
I still need to confirm label requirements for our product. The manufacturer doesn't know anything about this. WE have to ensure everything is labelled correctly for customs .
Does the custom broker know this or do we have to approach some sort of government custom regualations?
The customs broker should
be able to help you.