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Importing - Help Required


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#1 Beancat

Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:33 AM

Hi, I am thinking about starting an online business.  I don't want to specify the idea but it is related to parents' and baby goods in a particular segment of the market.

My question is, how do you find suppliers and what is the process for importing goods?  Do you actually travel to China etc or can you order samples from exporters?  How do you find reputable exporters and is their a reputable website to help navigate the regulatory side of importing (DFAT maybe?).  

Any help would be appreciated, thanks.
KH

#2 blackcat20

Posted 18 February 2013 - 08:43 AM

A lot of Tafes offer short courses, I'm sure I've seen some regarding importation. You might find that many manufacturers/wholesalers only sell to one local distributor and you'll have to buy through them.

#3 CallMeFeral

Posted 12 March 2013 - 11:05 PM

Alibaba is good for finding people, they will usually send samples - you would have to pay for them, but not exorbitantly.

Sorry, don't know about the rest!

#4 Allie_D

Posted 11 April 2013 - 11:49 AM

QUOTE
how do you find suppliers and what is the process for importing goods?

We use alibaba mostly.  We never pick a business that has been on there for less than 3 years though.  They are the most trustworthy.  

QUOTE
Do you actually travel to China etc or can you order samples from exporters?

We have not traveled over there yet, although there are plans to later this year as we've found a few of our current suppliers have said they would like to meet us in person and talk better deals.  As for samples, we tend to get them sent over in one of our containers as you have to pay for them (generally more than you'd pay for them if you were buying a lot of them) and pay the shipping.  Depending on what you're thinking about this can get very costly if you have to use LCL all the time to get samples over, and air freight can be a killer.

QUOTE
Is their a reputable website to help navigate the regulatory side of importing (DFAT maybe?).

We pay a company that specialises in overseas freight to handle all of our importing.  They take care of organising the shipments, customs charges and take care of all the fees etc involved with importing.  We pay them directly for everything.

Hope that helps original.gif

#5 Unatheowl

Posted 11 April 2013 - 12:16 PM

We have done basically the same as Allie.  We have actually gone over to see the factories though.  If you deal with china for a while you get a sense of who is going to be dodgy and who isn't.  There is always a certain element if risk and if we have a series of bad events we drop the supplier.

#6 Beancat

Posted 14 April 2013 - 04:42 PM

Thanks everyone!  this is most helpful original.gif

#7 BJBubbles

Posted 16 April 2013 - 08:26 AM

We actually went and met the suppliers before we purchased from them, but we import wine so we really wanted to taste it first!  Also helped us set up a good relationship with them etc and allow us to see their facilities, meet the wine makers and feel confident with working with them.

We use a customs and shipping company that arrange everything - the even deal directly with our suppliers and arrange delivery to port in the home country, all the paperwork in that end, shipping to Aus, customs and taxes here and deliver to my warehouse in Melbourne.  Means I only have to pay my suppliers and then the shipping company. Breaks up costs too - suppliers are paid before goods are shipped and the shipping company is paid once goods have landed in Aus.

Good Luck! It's exciting starting a new business :-)


#8 AngryBird

Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:55 AM

Can I ask those who do importing for business - what insurance and other similar requirements are there, to cover you for items you import? At what point do you need an importing license?

#9 BJBubbles

Posted 16 April 2013 - 09:56 PM

Afrocircus - I "buy" insurance with my shipping company to cover the goods while in transit. I then have insurance on my warehouse to cover the goods when in storage - this is through the company I rent the storage space from.

From a license perspective, I don't think you need a license unless you are importing restricted goods, but I'm not positive on that.  I know I don't need a license to import wine, and as long as I pay all the taxes customs are happy with me :-)   Selling the goods is another issue as obviously for some things (such as alcohol) you do need a license!

#10 Allie_D

Posted 17 April 2013 - 10:45 AM

QUOTE (AfroCircus @ 16/04/2013, 09:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I ask those who do importing for business - what insurance and other similar requirements are there, to cover you for items you import? At what point do you need an importing license?

We pay transit insurance with our complete business insurance through Elders.  This covers the goods whilst they are on the water and even right up to when the container lands at our doorstep (so if the goods made it all the way from China but were then damaged 5 minutes down the road from us they're still covered).  You also need manufacturers insurance (depending on what you're importing) as you are classed as the manufacturer when you import something.  This is also through Elders for us.

We don't need to worry about importing licenses etc as we use a freight company to handle all our imports.  They take care of everything for us and we pay them directly.  This covers all the customs charges, import taxes, wharf fees etc

#11 Unatheowl

Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:06 PM

QUOTE (AfroCircus @ 16/04/2013, 09:55 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Can I ask those who do importing for business - what insurance and other similar requirements are there, to cover you for items you import? At what point do you need an importing license?


Hi, we pay marine insurance (which covers all forms of shipping/flying etc) and we got that through our broker.  We had an incindent where QANTAS handlers ran forklift prongs though about 50% of our shipment and we were advised that claims against cargo handlers are almost never paid (as they blame the airlines and the airlines blame the ground crew and no one ever saw anything anyway).  It is worth it.

You dont generally need import licence per se unless you are importing certain classes of goods.  We import some radioactive goods so we need a licence for that only.

#12 Beancat

Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:42 PM

I have found a couple of suppliers for my idea through Alibaba.  I have soooo much to learn!  When they say you need to purchase a minimum of 500 pieces does that usually mean 500 of the one item or a mixture of items from the same supplier as long as it comes up to 500?

My idea is an online business selling a certain maternity item that seems to be very few and far between here in Australia and where it is available it is really expensive.  What are you toughts about starting off small on ebay and then growing the business or should I just start my own online store?  Funds are fairly limited, so ebay might be a good start, but I really want this to be professional

#13 Unatheowl

Posted 19 April 2013 - 03:56 PM

QUOTE (Beancat @ 19/04/2013, 03:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have found a couple of suppliers for my idea through Alibaba.  I have soooo much to learn!  When they say you need to purchase a minimum of 500 pieces does that usually mean 500 of the one item or a mixture of items from the same supplier as long as it comes up to 500?


You would need to ask them - it is ok to do so.  I have found that being pretty honest and open with them helps.  I often start conversations with them just about general things as it helps to build a relationship.  In my industry, they really want our business so will be accomodating.  Also, I always offer to pay for any samples and am very polite.  Once I have bought something and I make sure I pay promptly and communicate well so that they know we are serious and not just trying to get free samples off them.  I have found that they will then offer me free samples or throw things in for free.  HAving said that, my industry is medical and highly competitive and I have no clue about yours.

Sometimes if I am trying to bring in a new product I will tell them just that, that we are testing the market and it has a potential sales of (whatever that may be).  If I am trialling samples I will give them detailed feedback about thier products.  Sometimes, I will send them examples of products we have here or changes that people have asked for.  It just shows that we are invested in the process.  Again, this works in my industry, I'm not sure about yours.

#14 Allie_D

Posted 19 April 2013 - 04:24 PM

QUOTE (Beancat @ 19/04/2013, 03:42 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I have found a couple of suppliers for my idea through Alibaba.  I have soooo much to learn!  When they say you need to purchase a minimum of 500 pieces does that usually mean 500 of the one item or a mixture of items from the same supplier as long as it comes up to 500?

Like Unatheowl said, you really just need to ask them.  I've found a lot of the time their minimums and pricing on Alibaba to be different to what they'll actually offer you.  But don't be fooled if you think its wrong either.  I was buying promotional gear one time and they said the price was 50 cents per piece dearer than what Alibaba said, so I told them I'd get it elsewhere and they quickly dropped the 50 cents off.  It's all really just a big learning curve!!

QUOTE (Unatheowl @ 19/04/2013, 03:56 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I often start conversations with them just about general things as it helps to build a relationship.

My DH does this too.  He finds them much easier to get along with if he has a chat with them first.  Sometimes they talk about random things like what they're having for dinner!  DH even has photos of some of our suppliers first borns etc.  The main thing is that they LOVE to feel like they mean something to you, and they get very upset very quickly if they think you don't trust them!!  We were having issues with a dodgy supplier who'd disappeared offline for 3 weeks so DH gave one of our good suppliers the factories phone number and he called and sorted it for us.  He now calls himself one of DHs "good friends" LOL!




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