Sometimes when running a business it will become necessary to import goods from outside of the United States. Importing goods from places like China to sell here in the United States can be a difficult job to do but not impossible. Not taking this side of the business seriously can lead to confiscated goods, overcharged goods and stolen/lost goods. Here are 3 things to keep in mind when importing from overseas.
- Is it Necessary?
The process of importing goods can be very hard and so it is important to know if importing is the best option or even necessary. Check all your options before jumping into importing. Can you make the products yourself? Is there a similar product in the United States that can replace what you’re looking for, at least for the time being? Thinking about this could save you a lot of time and money. If you’re a small business it might be better to avoid importing until you have sufficient funds and time to spare.
If you still insist then you next have to figure out if you are eligible for importing goods. Sometimes you need a license to import but that’s only for sensitive and copyrighted goods. In most cases all you need is a your Business Tax Number.
- Necessary Terms
There are terms you have to remember in order to import effectively, here is a list of them.
- Importer Number- Your Business Tax Number
- Duty– an additional tax on the import, export, manufacture, or sale of goods.
- Customs Broker- Individuals or company that are licensed by Customs and Border Protection to aid importers and exporters.
- Freight Broker– a person or company that organizes shipments for you in order to get goods from the manufacturer to a market.
- Exporter of Record– The one who ships the goods.
- Importer of Record– The one who receives the goods from the exporter of record and files vital documents along with paying for the goods plus taxes.
- Commercial Invoice- A important document prepared by the shipper in order to clear customs.
If you choose to hire a customs or freight broker then you may need to fill out the forms of: Power of Attorney, Importer of Record Registration, Terms and Conditions along with Duties, Taxes, and Shipping Costs. Be prepared and research these forms before hiring either broker.
- US Custom Procedures
The customs of any country is where most of the headaches start and to avoid that let’s take a look at what you’ll have to face.
Fist, you’ll fill out any necessary documents and pay the duty if required. Both of these things can be done online.
After that, they will decide if your shipments needs to be checked. If you have small shipments that value $1,000 or less then the chances of them checking decreases a good deal. If you’re a small business then I suggest staying under $1,000 when importing to say time.
The process of checking the goods could go on for a long time but it does have it’s purpose. Their checking process is designed to look for the value of the goods, amount of goods, marks of the country of origin and prohibited items.
To speed the process up you should have:
- The Commercial Invoice clear and filled out
- Marked and numbered each package according to the invoice
- A Clear detailed description of the goods
- Country of origin marked down
- Kept in mind any unique laws that might apply
- After the process is done you can take your shipment.
Now you have things to research and keep in mind regarding importing supplies including what to expect.
You also know the problems with importing goods such as problems with communication which could lead to all mentioned above becoming more tedious or you just losing your cargo. A great tool for keeping track of your shipments and incorporate the rest of your manufacturing supply chain is through manufactured.net. As a project management software specifically for manufacturing, we make it easy to create products, track shipments, and ensure proper, up-to-date communication across all of your suppliers and contractors.