Exporting from China, importing to the UK tips & advice

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It can be the right thing for many people to import goods, but for many others can be wrong as they have little information.

We need to understand that brand products is not the products to try to search for to import to UK, this is how so many will be taken a ride by the scammers, more easy for a scammer to advertise brand names at low prices than a unbrand product where they would get a reduction in hits!!

If you want to import large amount of products this can be better due to prices and shipping, people who want to import a few products would have to express them for delivery and this cost is very high due to weight and size, the min orders would not be met and your prices would be classed as samples!!

People like to use credit cards and Pay pal, but in the real world to buy products from China you have to send T/T or L/C, using W/U is not a good start, T/T is easy and takes around 5-7days,, but  costs you about £20, and if you pay the suppliers bank charge too that's another £15, some banks would charge more or little less, L/C is not so easy to get from your bank unless you have a very good account with them, but this way of payment is more better for the buyer, would protect your sale more as the seller would not get payment until the shipping docs are in order, but the seller knows the bank would pay 100% as this is a letter of credit from the bank.

Not all suppliers would take L/C, the larger companies would as they have the funding to start these orders, but the smaller companies may need to speak to their banks, depends on the orders within that month, remember they have to order parts and materials to make your order.

Before you start any business with a company in China, make sure you check them,

  • The website is well made and has all information about the products
  • How long the domain has been live? see whois to check
  • Is the whois details the same as the supplier? have they got contact details
  • Check the contact details is right for the supplier? in the area
  • Check their company reg, and their export licence, may need to translate as it would be in Chinese!!
  • Do they know the spec for the products and have good understanding of them?
  • You can contact them via telephone, it is not that high to call, get a calling card for £5, you will get 200mins or more
  • Most sales will be able to speak English.
  • Not all sales people understand the products to a good level, depends how long they have worked at the company
  • Is the payment bank for that company? some use private aount for samples only
  • Most area's you can send a local helper to check the company and report back to you with the findings, cost about $100 + travel
  • Is the company a supplier, or agent, trade company or factory, you need to know which.
  • Whats the production time to make the products?
  • Shipping cost to UK port, you need to tell them a port
  • FOB is most common, this means the cost for the product and the send to the Chinese port only, no shippiing to UK or insurance cover.
  • Is the web pictures theirs? or have they copied from another site, not good if they use others?
  • Same as the wording for the products, is it their own or have they copied?
  • Do they have ref from other buyers?
  • Is the shipping or express or products so cheap? you will not get things free or so cheap,
  • Is they have a gold membership in a B2B site, this means little! having a reg address would not mean they are real.

You should always have your products checked before they are shipped, if you get them in UK and find errors its too late, for a small sum you can get AQL checking and have a report sent to you before shipping, this is paramount.

Get the most from the orders, stickers, packing logo and details, you need to know what you want.

Is the product ok to import to UK? has the right certification, Min for most is CE  and some electronics ROHS.

What about the warranty? not easy to send faulty products back to China, most would offer some warranty but ask you to take pics of the damaged products in UK, then they would send with the next order! this is normal, if you have suppliers saying they would send any parts via express when you need them, this may be just a way to sell, the cost to send a large box to UK is high, and is not the best way.

You can buy a sample from them to test the product and see the quality before you order, but remember that you will not be 100% sure that the sample is theirs? or when made? or if they make slow and make sure of the quality first, real production is not the same, many people are working and the products have to be made quick and workers can work through the night and this is where errors happen, so the best way is to get a sample from the production line, by using a helper to do this for you, this can show you 1. they are a factory, 2. The sample is what you should get with the real production.

Shipping costs are up and down through the year, and no one can tell you the cost for the next 3 months! you would have to be in that month to know the cost, depends on what Chinese port too, 20ft or 40ft container.

UK costs you would need to understand more,

  • You would need a agent in UK to clear the goods in customs
  • The shipping takes about 25 days, some can take more as the ship stops off, you need to check.
  • Most orders is made with 30-50% deposit and the rest paid when you get the copy of the B/L sent, this is the release doc and without this you can not get the goods,
  • You can get the forwarder in China to telex the doc to the agent to release the goods, but this can not be done if the real B/L is with the factory, it must be back to the forwarder in China first.
  • Remember you send the balance for the goods and then they would send the B/L, but think about the time scale to clear funds from bank from UK to China takes 7days, and express for the docs takes 5 days, so make sure you do this within time, so you have the docs before the goods enter UK.
  • You have 5-7 days to clear the goods in UK, takes 3-4 days normal, so you need to have all in hand.
  • If they make a scan of the container, this can take away one day, this is your time and if your go over, customs will charge you per day fees.
  • You need to have a VAT number to import goods, if you don't you can get a temp number, this can be done on the same day, contact the tax office about this.
  • Duty is charged on most goods, you can find the duty codes and costs for your products through the business link website.
  • If you get a form A from the factory, you can get  a reduction in the duty costs, make sure you ask first at time of order!!
  • Vat has to be paid for your goods, and custom charges and ports/security admin costs, and the delivery to you in UK, you would send payment to your agent for all this.

You need to make sure you have the copies of the certification for the products in case customs want them, SGS is well kown, but you need to have a test cert that is known all over the world or customs may not be happy,

Copies of products or Patent laws broken is a big issue and customs can check, if you shipping documents are wrong or your goods are not as the duty codes this can be a big problem, you as the buyer must check all paper work, if you use L/C your bank would check the docs are ok before payment  is sent to the factory.

If you deal in the right way you would have little problems, but when a container has 1000 items in there, you would get some problems with some of the products i am sure, so your factory should offer a spare free list, 1-2-3-5% of the easy damaged parts given, this is very little, not 5% of the order price, just easy damaged parts!! make sure you select the best parts, and maybe order more parts for repairs, you can keep 1-3 of the order back for parts, but you need to remember this for customer returns in UK.

Make sure you get a UK 3 pin plug, many would send US or europe plugs, make sure you have English manuals and not just Chinese.

Make sure the product packing is very good, this is one way the products would get damaged because of poor packing!!

I hope this information helps you,

I have a stop scammer web site and there you can get more help and free download, helpers, and more.

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