If you’re going to do this yourself and really be in charge of the process, there is a way you have to go about importing.
1: Limiting Risk
First of all, you have to do your product research. You have to know where your market is. You need to do some price testing and some elasticity testing and to how much stretch there is in the amount of money people charge. You need to know the high, the low, the in-between.
You also need to research quality. What features are needed, what features will people just not live without? One time we were bringing in shrink-wrap machines and we didn’t have a knife that cut off the shrink- wrap. People didn’t want our product. It was a new feature that another manufacturer added and it basically made our stuff obsolete. We had to close out a bunch of heat sealers and order new ones.
If you ever run across a situation like this, the best thing to do is get rid of the product you have as quickly as you can for whatever you can get out of it. If there is a major development in your technology market, it will quickly become the industry standard.
The next thing to do is find a source of quality manufacturing and get a sample from them. You want to physically see an exact representation of what you will get when you get your order, the understanding being that the sample is what will be in the container when you get it.
Next you want to get your quote for the product. You will negotiate this a couple of times. You will get at least two quotes, probably three quotes, during the negotiation process.
Once you have done this, you want to customize your product as much as is allowed. If you are importing small quantities, this is the downside: you typically can’t get as much customization work done. If you are importing a container of something from China, you can get them to brand it for you almost always for no additional charge.
Next you are going to actually place the order. Write the spec, place the physical order, and get all the paperwork in place.
You need to decide how you’re going to pay for your goods, and it’s going to take a little guts to send your money out there.
7: Freight Forwarding
You will deal with freight-forwarders and getting all the freight documents done. You will deal with your documents. Everything is done in China based on a bill of lading and a set of documents you have to have in order to receive your freight.
8: Damage Control
Lastly, we are going to talk about damage. At the last step of the process, what do you do if your freight comes in damaged or unusable for some reason?