Top Tips for importing items to sell on eBay

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These tips are based on many years of importing goods, mainly from China.

1. Check The Legal Requirements
You must check all the rules and regulations applying to the items you wish to import and which taxes and duties will be payable.
I found my shipping company were able to help with this.
You can also contact Customs, or check the internet for relevant information.

2. Check Out Your Potential  Sources
This is not easy – you are dealing with someone you do not know who is a long way away.  You must be cautious about sending money abroad as the person may not have a real company at all.
I suggest asking them for the name of a shipping company they have used to ship goods and also for the names of some of their customers.  Check these contacts out.

3. Ask For Samples
It is always best to ask for samples before you order in bulk.  You do need to check the items are exactly what you are expecting and to check the quality.  You may have to pay the shipping for samples but it is worthwhile.  This also checks if the supplier is genuine to a certain extent.

4. Run Tests First Before Importing Anything
Before you import a lot of an item it is best to try selling the same   item first even if you don't make much.  Buy from a wholesaler or another seller (negotiate a quantity price from them).
It is better to purchase one of an item and see if it sells, then buy 5 or 10 and make sure they sell too.  You can experiment with price and estimate the volume you can sell.  I normally import about 3 to 6 months stock.  Do not risk being left with 100s of imported ones.

5. Minimise All Your Risks
Place a small order first – my first one was about $1000, and don't ever risk more than you can afford to lose.
If $1000 seems like too much to risk then go via a wholesaler or other supplier first until you have made enough profit to finance going into importing.

6. Negotiate with Suppliers
I would recommend finding several potential suppliers and ask them for MOQ (Minimum order quantities) and prices on different volumes.
You should be able to negotiate both the price and MOQ down.  I have  included a sample order where I only had to buy 50 of some items.  The MOQ was originally a whole carton of each which was 300 to 500 depending on the product.

7. Use A complete Shipping Service
I use a shipping agent who handles everything – collects it from the factory, ships it, handles customs, and then
delivers it to my door.  This makes life easy.
You must also check if insurance is included – you may have to arrange this separately.

8. Check Your Costing
Be carefully to include all costs when working out if it is worth importing a product.
Include cost of products (plus bank charges for transferring money abroad., shipping and any import duties and other taxes.

9. Take Pre-Orders
or some items you may be able to take pre-orders from friends and family so that you know you have sold a proportion of the order before it even arrives.  You may also be able to do this with retailers in your area.

10. Make Sure You Run This As A Business
Keep proper records of everything – check with a professional to make sure you are running you business correctly and complying with all relevant rules and regulations

Finally I would like to wish you good luck with your importing business, should you decide to go ahead, and keep checking my blog for useful hints and tips.

Keith Purkiss
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