We’ve just returned from our semi-annual trip to the Canton Fair with this year’s brave group of Private Label University students. It’s at the Fair that we find the latest crop of gadgets and goodies we can make into our own Private Label products. That’s the fun part! Then comes the next big challenge: Once you find the right products, how do you safely ship from China to your warehouse? There are multiple options, and you need to focus your energy on determining the best method for your particular products. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again now. When you’re importing your Private Label products:
- Assume nothing – all the time!
- Take nothing for granted – all the time!
- Be skeptical – all the time!
Don’t worry, it’s a big job, but you can do it! Follow this shipping guide to get your products out of the manufacturing plant and into your possession.
How big is your load?
There’s a HUGE size different between importing 2000 Kawaii rubber erasers and 2000 marble wine chillers. Make sure to get accurate information from your supplier about the length, width, height, and weight (in shipping packaging) of your product. You’ll need this info to accurately calculate your dimensional weight (formulas vary, but one example would be length x width x height/5000) or your CBM (cubic rs). The size of your load has a direct impact on the price of your shipment.
How fast do you need your products?
If you have time before your product launch (we highly recommend you plan this way), you can ship from China using sea freight, also known as ocean freight. Typical transit time for a sea freight shipment is up to 6 weeks. What sea freight lacks in speed is made up in lower shipping cost. You can use China Post, LCL (Less than Container Load—best for shipments over 2 CBM), and FCL (Full Container Load—best for shipments 15-20+ CBM). No matter which method you choose, sea freight ships your items port to port, so be sure to factor in loading fees once your product shipment reaches its destination.
Remember,this sometimes is not the best way to ship products. It will depend on theproduct. We highly recommend each product and size of shipment needs to be evaluated individually.
You can also choose to ship from China via air freight, which will cut shipping time significantly. Air freight ships airport to airport, so you’ll have to arrange for domestic shipping to the final destination. The fastest of all shipping services is air express. It’s expensive, but you’ll get your products in a fraction of the time it would take to ship via other methods (think 2-3 days total transit time). Thisis recommended for some products overseas. International Courier Express (like FedEx, UPS, and DHL) are perfect for air express. You’ll definitely want to use this service for high-end, expensive products, as the inventory risk is much lower than with the other freight methods.
Confirm the details…then confirm them again!
It’s vital to make sure, 100%, without a doubt, you know exactly how big your shipment is, where it’s originating, how it’s getting to your destination, how long that will take, and what will happen when it gets there. Confirm everything! Double-check with your manufacturer or supplier the exact size and weight of your finished product, so you can calculate your load costs. Ask your importer (see our posts on finding a reputable importer here and here) to break down exactly what fees will be associated with the shipment, both at the point of origin and at your final destination. Confirm with the shipping company exactly how much your shipment will cost, and how long it will take. Get all your ducks in a row now, so you can sit back and relax once your products are in-transit.
It may seem daunting to ship from China now, but once you have a few Private Label product shipments under your belt, you’ll get the hang of it. You’re always welcome to join us at our next PLU live Private Label Blueprint workshop, where you’ll gain access to our personal importing team! Share your challenges and experiences in our private Facebook group, and let us help you. We want to see your business succeed!