Tips on Importing Promotional Products
Looking to import your promotional products direct from China?
Here are the best inside tips on how to import your businesses promotional products direct from China and save money.
China, the middle kingdom is where virtually all of the world’s promotional products are made. We have been importing promotional swag direct from the factory to our clients for over 20 years.
We thought that it was about time to reveal the insider details about how to import these products direct from the factory bypassing the supplier middleman. Beat the supplier at their own game.
Product Sourcing: Firstly you need to find the product you want to supply to your client. This can involve you going to the Mega Show in Hong Kong in either October or April and walk the show to find a supplier who will both ship smaller quantities and logo them for you. We have done this many times.
Alternatively you can go on Alibaba and make an inquiry there. Alibaba is China’s largest online source for all goods. Alibaba web site.
Once you have made a sourcing inquiry the tough parts come fast and furious.
Language and Communication Barriers. Part of the challenge in doing both of these sourcing forays is communication. Firstly, China starts work at about 8PM EST each day and ends at about 5AM EST. So talking to them on the phone is always a time challenge plus you probably don’t speak Mandarin? We do.
Meeting their Minimums. After doing this for 20 years one of the biggest challenges we have identified is meeting the factory’s minimum order size. Generally the factory will have an MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) that will exceed your needs. The way to get around this is to promise you will do more orders in the future and then actually do more orders in the future. One of our toughest challenges has been getting the factories to reduce their MOQ to us so we can start doing business. It is an enormous challenge.
Got the Product. Now What?
Assuming you have gotten the factory to agree to a lower MOQ and arranged for your logo to be done, you approved the virtual proofs etc. You are now ready to ship these logo’d products to your destination stateside (or anywhere else in the world).
All goods are usually quoted EXW (ex factory or ex works means the price quoted is at the factory door, you need to pay and arrange for it from that point). This basically means you will need to arrange freight to your door from theirs.
Air or Ocean Freight. Choosing which service is better is always a bit of a gamble and a lot of factors come into play.
What’s your in hands date? Basic rule of thumb, if you have 4 months go ocean, less time go air.
Which is more expensive? Air is almost always but not always more expensive. If your products are small/compact shipping by air can actually be less than consolidated ocean freight.
Which Carrier to use? Personally I like using FedEx but DHL and UPS are both great carriers. If you’re wishing to use FedEx use their FTN service.
HS Codes? HS Codes are the international code system designed to match your product (ie what is it?) to the import codes of the country you are shipping to. For instance the HS Code for your stainless steel water bottle is HS 7219. The current trade tariffs in each country vary widely from 0% for Canada to 25% for the USA.
Tariffs. Tariffs are the percentage charged for a particular product (HS CODE) to enter a country. They can also be called duties. The Tariffsand Duties are supposed to protect the USA (or other countires) domestic manufacturer of these or similar products. However, they are better described as a TAX. They may protect the domestic manufacturer but more often they simply are a TAX for the import countries government.
The price of your goods plus the Tarriff rate plus the cost of shipping and the cost of brokerage determine your final price.
Customs and Brokerage. C and B is basically the work done on this side of the ocean. A broker is the person or company on this side of the ocean who puts all of your paperwork together and runs it through US Customs. You can of course do this yourself and save the brokerage fee.
EIN. Your EIN ( Business or Enterprise Identity Number) is now required on all incoming product orders. This number must match the number of the final destination. For instance if you are having the factory drop ship to your clients location you will need to provide Customs and the broker the EIN of the destination (ie your clients EIN, not yours).
Final Delivery. Assuming you have gotten the goods through Customs then you can arrange a ground freight carrier (of which there are hundreds) to pick up at the brokers warehouse and truck to your final destination.
Then comes the big reveal. Opening the boxes and crates of your product from China. Make sure your fingers are crossed and that the widgets you ordered are the widgets that were shipped to you. Hopefully they are. : )
Or you could consider the following.
Tradeshow8 is your 1 stop shop (they still haven’t come up with a catchier phrase) and we make it all very very simple.
- Email us a picture of what you want and tell us how many you want? Email Sloan
- Wait 24 hours for an answer.