Preliminary requirements to source from China
Before you can start sourcing for products from China, there are basic things you will need. We will look at each
1. An Alibaba account
You might have heard of them, and never got interested. Or you could be working with them already. But alibaba (https://alibaba.com) is the center of attention when it comes to sourcing from China. On 18 September 2014, Alibaba’s IPO priced at US$68, raising US$21.8 billion for the company and investors. Alibaba was the biggest US IPO in history. On 19 September 2014, Alibaba’s shares (BABA) began trading on the NYSE at an opening price of $92.70 at 11:55 am EST. So what exactly does Alibaba do? Its simple from their mission statement “ALIBABA GROUP’S MISSION IS TO MAKE IT EASY TO DO BUSINESS ANYWHERE.” And how does this align with what we are about to start? Stay here, you will have that explained! So head to Alibaba and have yourself a free account.
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2. Paypal Account
Secondly, you will need a way to make payments for your samples. Alibaba have a Trade Assurance service plus Secure Payment service but as I said in our first article, we want to do this with zero risk and zero cost! Both of the trade assurance and secure payments are charged a fee, and we can accomplish to do the same without paying a penny and get same results. Thats what we want. Isn’t it? The good thing about Paypal is its refund policy incase a supplier doesn’t meet thier promise, you can ask Paypal for a refund and it takes Max a month to get. Please note, this is not meant to con suppliers. Rather to protect you from the bad ones. This will be explained too. Head to Paypal and get yourself an account (Either business or personal, the preference is all yours). The good thing is you can connect you account to your card and make payments directly from your bank.
3. A shipper based in China
Lastly, you will need to get samples shipped to you for verification. Good thing with getting samples is that you can have a true look and feel of the items you intended to sell. Also you can share or sell to friends for feedback. If you are in US or Europe, shipping from China is almost free depending on size and weight of your cargo. There are couriers charging as low as $1. However, if in Kenya, shipping from China would be very expensive if you don’t use the right means. This might include paying taxes. Note I am not contradicting myself. If you use the right couriers, you wont have to pay taxes on any products from China, however, if you use the wrong guys, you will be in for a rude shock! I have personally worked with several couriers and i will recommend the best.
The process to source is quite easy;
- Search for the manufacturers of the product you intended to buy,
- Filter and write to the best,
- Evaluate on their feedback and settle for the best,
- Pay for the sample. A good negotiator can get sample free and only pay for shipping,
- Sample is shipped to you via your shipper of choice.
- Once sample received, evaluate and decide whether you want to work with the manufacturer. If not, repeat from step 2 using second best option, or you can decide to search again.
The process takes between 2-4 weeks for each product, but you can concurrently work on many products. So next we will look into each of the steps above in detail. CHAO