When I was just starting to look for business ideas, I searched my radar of opportunities and always found a lot of cheap things online, I kept asking myself how these products can be so cheap? .- Starting to get more into the theme revealed to me that they all had something in common and that was: Made in China.
Knowing this, I decided to import a lot of things from China and sold them to shops, facebook friends, and Internet sites such as Amazon, eBay, etc; There is no need to say that the profit margin even with shipping, freight and tax was high depending on the product involved.
At the age of 23, I had already started importing things myself from China.
In the beginning, for me to get into this business was a chaos mainly due to my lack of experience, not knowing how to import from China and also because no one was willing to help me.
For a while I made bad decisions about what products to import; ending by throwing them in the trash or being defrauded by ill-intentioned providers; but as they say, Practice make perfect, I kept pushing for my perfection.
This issue came up because a lot of my friends have been thinking of getting into the import business and they’ve been asking so many questions about it.
It reminded me of how impossible it seemed at the time when I was just beginning.
Some questions that I had to answer myself were :
Where do I find the suppliers?
What should I sell?
What are the market orientations?
How do you avoid being cheated or sent to Chinese garbage?
Where do I begin?
Where do I find the best prices?
How do I communicate with the Chinese?
How will I sell them?
From an idea, we went into a deep conversation so I decided to turn it into a blog spot.
Basically, this is going be a step-by-step guide of what I would do if I started this Chinese import business from scratch, which is becoming more and more profitable.
You do not need to go far to check it, you just need to go to Amazon and Mercadolibre and see how many products are sold every day: electronics, kitchen accessories, backpacks, watches, cell phone cases, speakers, computer accessories.
Not to mention other internet sites like eBay.
Best of all, you do not need to have a lot of capital to invest and the profits can be double or triple depending on how motivated you are.
In this article, I will also include why I choose one product instead of another.
I suggest that if you plan to launch this project, mark this blog spot as a favourite so that you can take it as a reference in the future and always have it at hand.
This will be a complete guide, no bullshit or half things.
I plan to add more as soon as I receive questions from readers.
Note: I am writing this article in a way that is easy and understandable even for a child.
what do I need to Start import from China?
- 1.- A computer that works decently.
- 2.- A good internet connection.
- 3.- A new email account.
- 4.- A Paypal account (secure payments)
- 5.- Get out of your Facebook to avoid distractions.
If you get into this business that is risky you can end up with garbage of products that have no use or value as it happened to me.
Well, I already cleared the point, if you are cautious, you understand what you are doing and you know what you have to avoid, YOU CAN MAKE A FORTUNE WITH RELATIVELY LITTLE WORK AND LITTLE CAPITAL.
How to import from China
I constantly read questions from people who want to import from China without paying taxes or who try to cheat customs.
This is not the most practical and convenient if you want a legitimate business.
The correct way to import from China is through companies that are dedicated to this area in case you do not want to get into paperwork and paperwork to do this on your own.
So for me, the best way to import from China is through import and export companies.
The importing companies are responsible for managing from the shipment, taxes and customs clearance of your products so that you only worry about selling it.
It is the best way if you are just starting, this way you can try the market without having to wait a long time to sell your products.
The best part is that everything is done legally and they always give you invoices that you can later deduct from taxes, increasing your margins.
As you can see, importing from China as god mandates not only avoids headaches with customs but also brings benefits.
The main advantages that these companies offer you are:
- Your merchandise arrives because it arrives.
- Contacts in China and verification power before leaving China (optional)
- Tax payment in advance to avoid delays in customs.
- They can issue invoices, which you can deduct from taxes later.
- They can save you shipping costs because they have agreements with other logistics companies.
- You do not have to deal with customs directly.
- You do not have to be registered as an importer since they manage the permits for you.
- A door to door services. It can be by ship, air and land depending on the volume.
What Shipping Method to use to import your products from China?
The type of shipment you choose depends a lot on your needs.
These are the main ones.
Shipping by National postal mail. Commonly China Post.
- It’s very economical (it’s the only advantage I could find)
- Your products take approximately 20-45 days to arrive.
- Your products can be lost and nobody will be responsible.
- There is no way you can track your order accurately.
Shipping with commercial Courier or Logistics company. (DHL, UPS, FedEx,)
- Tracking of merchandise
- Your order arrives quickly. In my experience of 5-7 days.
- Includes insurance (optional)
- You can claim in case your product is lost or does not arrive.
- One of the main disadvantages is that the shipping cost is a bit expensive.
Now that you know how to import your products from China and the shipping options, it’s time to start.
WHAT TO SHOULD DO
FIND A GOOD PRODUCT. It’s the most tedious when it comes to starting to import to sell.
Fortunately choosing a niche where we can accommodate is one of the easiest things.
Do not make the mistake of trying to import everything for everyone.
Find a place where you can sit and position yourself right there in that category.
Remember that trying to be good with everyone makes you look good with anyone, I did it and well you know that did not go so well that we say.
FIND A GOOD SUPPLIER AND AGENT.
There are all the colours and flavours that you can imagine in each niche in China.
Suppliers willing to assist you as each potential buyer is an opportunity to do business with them.
You have to delve a bit into the search to find the best (with a bit of luck too) but there are certain things you must do to increase the chances of finding the best and avoid scams and bad business.
SELL AND ESCALATE. Once you have a good product and a good supplier you have to start selling. Where? If it were you, I would start selling in the distribution channels positioned (Amazon, eBay, JJumian, Konga, Facebook etc) to sell my products and build my client portfolio.
So in those channels, I’m going to focus. There are things you must do and not do.
What you must not do:
- Do not buy in wholesale until you have the product in your hands and the product that you hold falls in love with you.
- Do not be convinced by suppliers who tell you they can not send samples of your product. They are trying to cheat you.
- Do not pay in the first 6 months in a method other than Paypal.
- Do not buy from suppliers that do not accept Paypal, what they are really telling you is that they had Paypal but they were cancelled due to customer complaints.
- Do not buy imitation brands. It’s not that there is no money to do there, it’s just that it’s a bad business for the foundation of your empire, coupled with the fact that you can get into trouble with authority and if you start badly it will go badly for you.
- Do not buy a lot of inventory at the beginning, start with 1-5 pieces of samples to verify the quality and then you can add more volume until you build capital to re-invest in more merchandise.
- Do not give your personal e-mail to the providers because they will fill your advertising life. Believe me, you do not need it.
1.- FIND A GOOD PRODUCT AND SUPPLIERS.
When I started I went for the basics and what I knew I could make money.
I started importing bags, shoes and physical training programs. The only bad thing is that they were imitation designer products.
The game ended when I realized that starting a business of imitations was not a sufficient basis if it wanted to last, followed by a warning from the product development department of a very famous brand.
I will not deny you that you will make money with it because I know it will make you money. But it’s like selling drugs, you’re building a business that is against the law. And when they come for you they will charge them all.
I wanted my business to be 100% legitimate and I’m sure you also want that.
In my case I found geek watches to start my business, I chose to start there because they had a good margin of profit, good quality and water resistance which I appreciate in a watch.
The introductory price was not very cheap to say but it was acceptable because I knew that these watches were not going to be undone once in the hands of my clients.
This idea will save you time and money since too many products are rejected by your clients as the bubonic plague.
Maybe you sell them once but believe me they will tell everyone what not to buy; Nothing good if you want to make money.
In short, geek watches soon became my speciality. After I found my provider, I immediately enlisted my watches on eBay and started selling 13-30 watches a day.
Selling cheaper than my competition and still taking $ 10-20 dollars for each sale. And the best part is that after a while, I did not even have to touch my products.
Finally, I found a supplier who took charge of the returns without asking questions, gave me good prices and structure of payments, and also took charge of the shipments. He was an excellent provider.
Your goal is to find a dream supplier of any product that will be giving you money because then you can focus on growing sales instead of spending a lot of time doing customer service and shipping.
It is not easy, but if you follow my next tips you will increase the chances of finding a good product and supplier.
WHERE AND HOW WILL YOU FIND YOUR SUPPLIERS?
The cream and cream of the suppliers are in Alibaba, Taobao and 1866. I use them for every product that I have imported, people from the United States in the same business use it and I know people who sell in the free market who also use it.
It is an excellent source.
The advantage you have with Alibaba is that you cut off any intermediary of your product because there you find the very creators of your product.
They manufacture of the products that are sold in many parts of the world giving you the advantage of buying directly from the factory if as you read, this will save you a good capital and also help your profit margin to be juicy.
In Alibaba you will only look for suppliers that are Gold Members. I do not care if products from other suppliers that are not gold partners are cheaper or look more beautiful in the photo, you will not go with suppliers that are not Gold members.
Think of it as a law.
This will help you avoid 98% of scams and deceptions. If the gold members have other certifications and verifications it is simply something extra like the cherry on the cake.
Your provider must also accept Paypal payments (even a little more expensive) and respond quickly and effectively to your messages.
WHERE AND HOW WILL YOU FIND YOUR PRODUCTS?
Before you start looking for products like crazy, keep this in mind:
- It needs to be small and light. You do not want an item that weighs 20 kg and covers your entire house when you store it. Avoid furniture in general, kitchen utensils, armchairs, wooden tables, etc. This way you save time and a lot of money when you send it to all sides around the country.
- It needs to be a simple article product. The easier it is to manufacture smaller products, the lower the risk that a component goes wrong, that way you keep your customers happy.
- Keep it in the range of 10-200 usd. It is intense and risky capital to sell items outside this price range because when they are more expensive they generally require more quality control, they are complicated to send and intensify the errors when starting to import; There may be a product that is not in this range and still is profitable to import. Use your own criteria
- Do not sell what you buy. Most of us buy electronics, clothes, shoes, food and other things that are essential. It will be difficult to sell in these categories since most people sell this kind of stuff. Find your niche and build from there.
- Do not sell seasonal items. You need to sell something that is always in static demand. Breaking this rule decreases your possibilities dramatically.
Apart from the mentioned, you can import what comes to mind.
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SEARCH?
Amazon This page is where your goal should be to get there and check which products are selling like hot cakes. Check in the best-selling section you usually get an idea of those products that are selling that may not have many importers, look for opportunities there and compare the profit margin.
eBay Deals This page is one of my favourites to search for products since there are both Chinese and US suppliers, all in one place, plus it includes free shipping to anywhere in the world. Here is where you can find your potential products that will serve as a sample.
Search in the main page which articles are promoting, in the part of an interesting article they usually put the word HOT! This means that they are now the most sold on the site, which you should pay attention and start taking into account depending on what you like.
One of the most complete stores with many new products that I have seen. It offers free shipping on all your purchases and also offers discounts of up to 50% on items in several sections, all with excellent inventory that you can take advantage of. If there is any gadget that is going to be in fashion for sure it is already there.
Light in the box
Another page where you can find good products either to sell or for your own personal use. The prices are good and the shipping is free. It offers good inventory and feedback from your customers which you can use as a tool to choose good product options.
Taobao and 1866 is another good place that you can get cheap things to import.
Look for the complete list in the category of your product to see how much is being sold and at what price; also the descriptions to learn about your article and compare the features. If you see that there is a good profit margin, it is your first option. So until you have 5 products that you really like and you know they are selling. You can start with one if you want or ask for samples in Aliexpress.
Keep looking for information on these sites and compare them with what you can get on Alibaba, Taobao or 1866. Maybe it will take some time but eventually, you will turn on what is sold and what is not, and you will find opportunities up and down.
If you have problems finding a product, comment below or send me an e-mail and I’ll see how I can help you.
Eventually, you will find a product or products that you like and you will want to move forward. The next thing will be to look for your suppliers and start having contact with them.
Do not worry but you know Mandarin, they can communicate with you without any problem, either by English, they speak half or by Google translator.
IDENTIFY SUPPLIERS AND CONTACT THEM.
Now that you have your chosen product (s), they can be 1-5, ask for samples on the express page and contact at least 5-10 suppliers on Alibaba immediately.
This will help you to choose the best option for all of what your product has. (By the way, aliexpress is the extension of Alibaba but for sample products or for orders that require less merchandise)
The page has anti-fraud insurance so any payment method is accepted, I have paid with credit card, credit and no problem until now.
What To do after that.
1. Contact your best suppliers.
Now that you have your list of quality providers for your product, it’s time to contact them and get additional information. Typically about payments, shipping, what are the sample policies, price lists and catalogues. Generally, this information is at hand.
2. Talk to get an idea of the matter.
Now look closely at which providers are reading and answering your messages and if they are taking your business seriously.
Keep in mind that they are competing for your money and have no idea if you are going to order $ 100 or $ 100,0000.
The customer service will be your indicator to know how they will be with you in the future.
If you have in mind to make a considerable purchase do not fear to bargain for the price. In China this is normal. As in many parts of the world, there are people who end up paying $ 20 USD for a product that initially cost $ 200 USD.
This is very common in tourist areas.
Now comes the most fun. Now we order our samples. Generally, the merchandise takes to arrive from 5 to 21 days or more, depending on the shipping method you chose.
Analyze and start to collect information about shipping time, shipping cost, if there is damage, etc. Test your products and do not go soft with them.
Try them as if you were a child of 6 years putting your products under pressure and stress because then you can realize what they are made of.
If they pass the test, then you will know that you have found something of value that you can offer to the people who are going to buy you since your name will be behind every product you sell in the market.
That’s where your reputation will depend, so I tell you to find something worth selling.
MOQ (Minimum order quantity) Many people mention that the MOQ of the Chinese is sometimes very high.
The minimum amount of order in your listings is usually not final, most of the time is the order they want. There is no way to know without first sending a message to the provider directly, that’s why I always have 15-30 suppliers initially.
HOW TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS IN CHANNELS OF EXISTING DISTRIBUTION.
It’s up to you to decide how much inventory you’re going to ask to start your import business.
The best part of this is that if you want you can order 1-5 pieces to start and ask for more once you have finished the inventory; in this way, the capital that goes out of your earnings can re-invest it in more volume of merchandise.
It is the beauty of importing things from China, if you do not sell then there’s no need to buy more and, if you sell, Then you make more purchases with the profit of the small investment you made.
You can even buy one product, but your progress will be a bit slower, so focus on 1-10 pieces that is the most ideal.
You need a few pieces of inventory and start selling them.
If I were you, I would go through the less demanding distribution channels of using social media to advertise.
This will depend totally on what type of products you manage in your inventory and will be the final factor to decide if your product is sold to start ordering more volume.
Within 2-5 days you will be making sales in, this is where the issue gets exciting.
I would also attach a thank-you note to your clients for having chosen you, and give you a courtesy discount on the next purchase, which is fine because you do not have to pay ML the sales commission because you’ll make sure your client goes directly with you next time.
After a month it will be very evident if you need another product or you need to scale the one you already have.
If you can not make profits on those existing channels then it’s not worth losing more time, effort and money on this product; I would start looking for another product to sell.
Now that you are seeing dividends for your efforts you have to scale this business now!
Already having daily sales in distribution channels such as free market or physical stores in your city you have 3 options.
1.- Expand the inventory of products that you drive.
2.-. Create your own E-commerce store to develop a client portfolio.
I always recommend creating your own store because you can rank easier in the searches of your product and it is easier for your customers to find you; You can create a professional store with the simple tools of Shopify, or Bluehost, which also has very elegant and simple to use themes.
3.- Options 1 and 2 together.
You’ll have enough work, from one to two sales per day you can get up to 10, 20, 30 depending on how well you’ve done your job.
This is where the interesting thing comes and you will see the profits and how exciting it is to start.
At this point you will need a little help, you can tell a family member or friend to take charge of the handling and sending of your products and another person of the online customer service and thus make it automatic.
Keep in mind that none of this would be possible if you do not have a good provider to help you with your product and your needs.
This is how you build your empire, it is very important to find that provider of your dreams because it depends on how satisfied your customers are with your products.
I want you to know that the only money I was putting into the business was the profits from the investment.
You could invest more money on your own to grow fast; with the Amazon marketing program and free market so that you have more visits to your publications increasing the possibilities of sales, but my goal in this article is that you keep a low risk while you grow in sales to re-invest the capital and, this is the best path that leads to that end.
If you follow this tutorial step by step you will eventually reach almost 20-30 orders a day. At this point, the shipments and inventory will take a good bit of you and your time.
What you want to do is move in these two options.
1.- Negotiate better terms with your provider. Once your provider sees that you as a partner have good earnings you will be highly valued by him, since you are making him money.
Now you can negotiate prices and shipping costs which can mean more benefits for you and your business. Try to lower prices or shipping costs but only if you have had many sales regularly.
2.- Start hiring staff to do the logistical work for you.- Now you will have enough money to hire a friend or a relative to take care of the heavy work for you, you decide if you want to scale it more to make it completely automated and at this point decide where you want to take it.
There is no limit on how much money you can make in an import business since you have established the necessary foundations for your business to be well founded.
I hope I have communicated efficiently during this article to give you a shortcut in your line of learning.
The only thing that needs to be done now is TO TAKE THE BULL BY THE HORNS AND MOVE THE BACK. The only thing that separates the winners from the losers IS THE ACTION.
Without action, this is less useful than a man’s nipples.
Go and make it happen. You have a lot to gain and little to lose.
Comment below if you have any problems, questions or suggestions with any part of this post- I will be responding to everything quickly in the following days.
Good luck, we will stay in touch.