I cannot overstate the importance of having your own agent in every country from which you plan to import. The cost is nominal – usually 1% to 2% – and well worth every penny. For this fee, this is what your agent will do for you.
- Will act as your eyes and ears in the country from which you intend to buy
- Will introduce you by email to every factory that manufacturers the product you intend to import prior to your visit to that country
- Will provide a synopsis of each factory which will assist you in determining whether this is a factory you would like to do business with – knowledge that will be a very helpful tool when making business decisions
- Will set up appointments with each factory you will be visiting and accompany you during those visits
You may ask why your agent will do so much work on your behalf for only 1% to 2% of what you import. The answer is that agents are generally looking to the future when you may buy large quantities of merchandise. Keep in mind, your agent will spend time corresponding with you and probably spending three days visiting factories with you so your agent is investing in the idea that with his or her help, you will be successful. This translates to more money for the agent.
It should be noted that for an additional fee – usually an additional 1% to 2% – your agent will also inspect your outgoing shipments. I suggest that you require your agent to inspect 5% to 10% of your outbound shipment when the product is on the production line. In addition, your agent should inspect the merchandise a second time, but this time at random after the order is complete and being prepared for shipping. Again, 5% to 10% of the product should be inspected. Both these inspections must be completed before the agent issues the inspection certificate.
Your can learn more about the importance of enlisting your own agent in IIC’s course, Importing and Exporting Made Easy.