There are many suppliers in China, but no one can guarantee the best quality and services. In order to get the quality and services you want, you need to ensure that you ask the right questions when sourcing from China so that you can narrow down your options based on what you want in a supplier. Here are eight questions that you need to ask when sourcing from China before you make your final decision about which supplier to go with.
#1 – What are my expectations for this product?
No two products are alike. You may think that a toy is a toy, but if you’re sourcing via Alibaba or another marketplace, you’ll find thousands of variations. With that in mind, it’s important to know exactly what you want before reaching out. It also helps cut down on costs; why order 100 units of something if it turns out that just 50 will do? If there are any customizations involved, it might be worth working with an experienced manufacturer first.
#2 – How long should it take?
This may seem like a silly question, but you’d be surprised how often business owners forget that it takes time for things to happen. If a supplier says your product will be delivered in 6 weeks, and you know other businesses who have received their order in 10 days, that’s probably a red flag. You might want to ask how many orders they process each month so you can see if their delivery time matches up with previous clients.
#3 – How much will it cost?
It’s important to determine an item’s price point. For example, if you want to sell a $100,000 car for $30,000, customers may not be willing to buy. So make sure your prices are competitive and that you’re pricing within your range of profitability. You can use third-party tools like Alibaba or other marketplaces (Amazon, eBay) to benchmark what similar products are selling for. If you plan on doing Amazon FBA or even setting up your own eCommerce site it’s essential to get a feel for how much it costs when going into business.
#4 – What payment terms can I expect?
As with most major business decisions, payment terms are negotiable. The question you should ask is What payment terms can I expect? Look for payment terms that give you a reasonable amount of time to pay your supplier (60-90 days) and that provide protection for you if your supplier does not ship on time. Some things to keep in mind include: What is their standard for prompt payment? How do they define prompt payment? Are there discounts available for early payments or paying in full at shipment?
#5 – Do you source your products in any specific way?
This may be an obvious one for many of you, but it’s worth asking your manufacturer about any specific sourcing strategies or pre shipment inspection that they have. They may only source products in one particular way or use something like a purchase order system to select suppliers. You’ll want to ask if they have ever had issues with counterfeit parts due to their method of sourcing and if they’re using new technology that might reduce such occurrences in future production runs.
#6 – Are there other products similar to what I am ordering that you can offer me at a cheaper price?
Just because you are a first-time buyer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be on top of your game when negotiating prices. Most suppliers have options and simply being aware of them can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. Knowing that they can offer similar items at a lower price could encourage them to give you a better deal, saving you money in the long run. While it might sound like an obvious tip, we want to make sure it is clearly stated for our readers just in case! Its a better option to avail quality control services by trusted firms here.
#7 – Do you have samples available before I order large quantities?
To ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want, ask your supplier if they have samples available. If they don’t, that doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t provide them in a reasonable amount of time. Find out what their process is and discuss options for moving forward. For example, maybe it takes longer to manufacture products with custom features or add-ons such as embroidery or inserts.
#8 – How long will it take until I receive my first shipment?
Order fulfillment time is dependent on product type and manufacturing location. Some companies are able to ship an order within 24 hours while others take a few weeks, so it’s important to know how long it will take before you commit. You also want to inquire about backup plans in case you don’t receive your order when expected. Many factories are accustomed to providing immediate refunds or sending replacements if any delays arise due to shipping issues.