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AS you get free samples from China!
However, I have an important issue - I am working with a few Alibaba vendors, and I understand from your comments that you should always receive a sample first before you place a genuine order. Can I ask a vendor for a sample? Which is the best way to organize shipping and custom?
Which are the productsamples? Talking about sampling, we usually mean ONE unit/piece of a specific item you wish to purchase. For example, if you buy footwear, you would get a set of these footwear as a pattern. This does not mean, however, that you only have to commit yourself to one test.
For cases like these, you should receive a pattern for each variant that you are planning to import. Even if you are working with very small and very inexpensive articles (e.g. stickers), you can actually request that copies of the same products be sent - so you can test them in detail in different uses.
What to do with rehearsals? I' ve always said that you should get a sample before you place a genuine order. Genuine pictures can be deceptive, not to mention those vendors who don't even take the trouble to use pictures of their own wares! In the apparel sector, for example, many Beijing vendors copy pictures from catalogs of goods from the West.
That' s why it is so important that you get patterns so that you can actually see, touch and test them, so that you know what kind of qualities you can look for, and are not frustrated when your real order comes in. 2 ) Ordering a sample is the easiest way to verify a vendor. You can see how well they are communicating, how quickly they send orders, how well they pack them, etc., etc., etc., etc., by placing patterns.
Consider a sample not only as an experiment for the final result, but also for the suppliers! 3 ) Patterns are very precious when it comes to the NEGOTIATION PRIZE and the MOQ! When you order a sample, they know that you are serious and that your interest in working with them is very high.
That may not seem so important to you, but think of vendors who handle tens and even thousands of requests/quotes every single working day and most of them end up without any order. So, if you're serious about your import shop always working, ALWAYS order sample products before doing anything else.
Actually, I don't see a good one good enough excuse not to order them! What do patterns costs? It varies from vendor to vendor and the costs of the item you are purchasing. Low priced items (worth a few dollars) are usually FREE! Ultimately, every vendor is interested in winning new customers and the real costs for them are very low.
However, often this FREE option is relatively good because you have to spend the shipping and handling (more on this in a minute) and sometimes a vendor will just bill you a little too much on shipping and handling to recover the specimen. But, in general, inexpensive items are usually free. There are two general choices when it comes to a more costly product:
1 ) The vendor will calculate the same per item prices you would have paid for large quantities in your real order. 2 ) The vendor calculates a higher, usually retrieval fee for the specimen. But I often receive an email from indignant individuals telling me that a vendor is trying to bill them MORE for the trial.
After all, they are manufacturers/mass vendors and don't want to lose track of retailers trying to make a good business with a simple volume order. So, if your vendor charges a much higher rate for the specimen, do not expect something questionable to happen.
That is something that any reputable vendor likes to accept (in fact, most do by default). However, what about patterns - can you also have your own brands applied to patterns? Every brand-name process involves certain expenses - be it the silkscreen of your logos on the products or the creation of an individually crafted packaging.
For large orders, these charges are compensated by the size of your order, but for patterns, it is just not cost-effective. If you want to have your design stamped, most vendors will of course accept this - but you have to buy it! It could be anywhere between 50 and several hundred lbs, which depends on how complicated the brand-name process is.
What is the procedure for sending a sample? In case it is a very small, light weight envelop item, you can also ask the vendor to use the Chinese postal system, BUT it is not traceable and can take up to 30-60 workdays. When you are handling very large, heavier items, such as some kind of specialized gear or large pieces of furnishings, the only inexpensive shipping option is ocean shipping.
In my shipping from China Mail I have dealt with this procedure in detail. Whose job is it to organize the shipment - you or the vendor? In theory, you can organize the messenger yourself, but in fact it doesn't make sense as it will be much more costly and time-consuming.
Keeping things easy, let your suppliers organize the messenger and just issue you an account. So, just give the vendor your full shipping information and ask him to find the best offer he can get. - some will be quicker than others (by just a few days), but generally they're all the same good, so just go with the best one.
What is the payment method for patterns? I am speaking of very small/cheap items where the vendor is even willing to take over the shipping for you. It' happens to me several a time that a vendor is really keen to do new things. However, normally you will have to either purchase the sample + shipping or only the shipping (if the sample itself is free).
Like I said before, sometimes vendors say that patterns are free when they actually include production charges in the supply offer. However, it is difficult to check this as you do not know exactly how much the shipping will actually be. In general, you should try to be clear about shipping charges that are too high, as some vendors seem to make a good return on shipping patterns by raising their own margins on shipping surcharges!
So for example, if it's a DVD-sized jeffy pouch, the shipping won't be more than $50 (usually less than that), so if they offer you $100 for shipping, it's a clear indication that they're trying to make cash from it. For larger articles, it is difficult to give a specific price, so the best you can do is get samples from 2-3 different vendors so you can make comparisons.
And if the cost seems too high, just ask the vendor why they charge so much when other vendors offer a trial at a much lower cost. Methods of payments - PayPal is the most common way to pay for your products specimens. The majority of our vendors accepts PayPal, at least for patterns.
Bank transfers are somewhat costly and sluggish for patterns, but it's a viable alternative if you don't want to consider Western Union. YES, WU is usually associated with fraud, but for specimens it is actually okay to use it as it is faster and less costly than a bank money order. Naturally, I say this under the premise that you have carried out all the necessary vendor verifications and that these are not brand-name or high-risk articles.
The majority of designs are sent as "commercial samples" of very low value and do not involve any additional costs to custom. Of course, if it is a large, bulky Chinese container, it can attract particular interest and you can charge duties on imports and value added tax. And the same carrier that handles your consignment will take care of your custom duties and just charge you the entry duty/VAT plus a small service charge, usually around £10-£20.
Could you be cheated when ordering products? However, if you choose your vendors with care, don't handle brand/high-risk products, and use PayPal to send your payment patterns directly to the vendor's credit card or PayPal payment card, the chances of being cheated are very, very small. Think simply of this from the fraudster's point of view-Why cheat you at the sampling ordering stage when they can cheat you for a much greater amount later?
You can even have them cheat on you several different occasions during shipping of your specimens - e.g. by shipping counterfeit tracker information and asking for extra customs duties etc. However, this article deals with "normal" circumstances in which you daily are importing branded goods from well-known Alibaba vendors. I' m not trying to frighten anyone with this whole fraud conversation - I just want to make sure you realize that although it's much less likely, samplings aren't fraud-free and you still have to take the same safety measures I speak about with every "normal" order.
It is my sincere wish that this manual will be useful for all those who want to order their first sample products from China.