When the website began to operate, we received many inquiries from small buyers. They wanted to import products from China to local sales and start a small business. But these buyers do not have relevant trade experience. They just think the operation is very simple. Just look for a Chinese supplier, buy products at low price, deliver goods to the door, and sell them at the high price in the local market.

But this is not the case, especially in the purchase of small quantities of products from China. Small buyers will encounter a lot of problems, such as the freight will be higher than the value of the product, or the order can not reach the factory’s MOQ. In some cases, these buyers have to give up a small business plan.

In this article, we will introduce in detail how to import small quantities of products from China, and we will also introduce some problems that may happen in the process.

1. What is a small business? What is a small buyer?

Different businesses, different people have different definitions of small business. Most of the purchasing agents or consulting companies define the small business as an annual import amount of less than $500 thousand. But for most entrepreneurs, the amount is too high, and it is possible that five years later, it will not be able to import $500 thousand. This is also why it is difficult for small buyers to find the right purchase agent or consulting company to provide them with related services.

I define the purchase amount of 5000 to 50000 dollars per ticket, which is defined as a small business (an order can include different products). Based on the purchase amount, the volume of purchased products is usually 5 cubic meters to 40 high counters. This number is usually can reach the factory and MOQ, buyers can also directly to the factory purchasing. 4 to 5 cubic meters of products are most suitable for box shipment. If less than 4-5 cubic meters, the entire import and export process will be tedious and expensive, which means that the single price of a single product will become very high.

Small buyers are purchasers and entrepreneurs who have a value of less than $2000 per ticket. This article is also focused on helping these people.

2. Which products are suitable for small buyers?

For an importer with a single order of more than $5000, they know what to buy and how to sell them. But small buyers don’t know what they want to buy or sell at the beginning.

A. High profit or small size products

Transport is the major problem of small buyers, because their box number too little to LCL, usually less than 2 cubic meters. They have to choose air or express, which will be 8~10 times as much as the seaborne box.

Large size or large packaging products, like mugs or Teddy bear is not suitable for those small number of importers. Because both express and air cost are calculated according to size.
That means that the cost of freight is higher than the value of the product, and the cost of your competitors will be 80% less than that of yours, because they transport products through LCL shipping. So you don’t have a chance to compete with them in the local market.

As a result, small, high value-added products have become the first choice for small order importers. Freight is not too high, sometimes only 1/10 of the value of the product. For example, fashion accessories, small electronic products, watch bands and so on. Because the transport time is too long, not most of the importers choose shipping, so no need to worry about your competitors high shipping costs.

B. Choose interesting products, not regular goods

Buyers of small orders can try to find some special and interesting products to ensure that these products are not as easy to buy as ordinary products.

Some people think that the daily use of products, such as socks, is easy to sell, because it is a necessity, but the fact is not the case. It is difficult to compete with the importers because many people will import socks and sell them at a low profit. But you can consider importing some special socks, such as “antiskidding child socks” or socks with good design.

The common products in daily life are not suitable for small buyers. For example, we have received many enquiries from different countries (Europe and Middle East countries), they want to import 20 feet cabinet a4. But they found that the price of imports from China is not very different from the price of their country. Because this product does not have any additional value, and the price depends mainly on the raw material. So although the number is large, the price is still transparent.

Toilet paper is a very popular product, but Czech customers will choose some printed designs that they like, such as dollar symbols, Euro symbols, Czech currencies and even India Bible. These special toilet paper can be sold easily at a price of several times higher than that of ordinary toilet paper.

3.How do small wholesalers look for Chinese suppliers?

Many small wholesalers will find Chinese suppliers on the Internet, even for those who purchase a large number of products (buyers, each order amount is about US $30000-50000) they are rarely personally to China to find suppliers, except in some of the exhibition. The reasons are as follows:

The cost of coming to China is still very high, air ticket, hotel accommodation, transportation, and so on. It costs nearly 4000 dollars a week. Secondly, finding a reliable supplier in China is not easy. Unless you go to China’s wholesale market, such as Yiwu, or before you come to China, there are already good Chinese suppliers.

A. Alibaba

Whether it’s a big buyer or a small buyer, looking for a Chinese supplier in the Alibaba is a good choice. But if your order quantity is too small (each order is less than $400), Alibaba on the platform of suppliers or can not satisfy you, because they are very demanding moq.

In this case, you can buy a small quantity of your product at a high price, and some suppliers can accept such a deal. If you don’t accept it, you can only turn to Dunhuang network or speed sales. Do not try to persuade the supplier to accept your small order and claim that this is your trial order, and there will be a big order for them in the future. It’s just a waste of your time, because Chinese suppliers hear such words every day, and that’s not convincing.

B. DHgate and AliExpress

If you want to purchase the number of suppliers to Alibaba MOQ, then you can go to DHgate or aliexpress. Usually, DHgate is suitable for those who purchase a small number of wholesalers, while fast selling is more suitable for retailers, though they claim that they are more suitable for online wholesalers, and most Chinese suppliers also think so.

4. How to transport goods from China when buying small quantities?

I have to say that for small buyers, transportation is a big problem. Because in most cases, the import of small quantity of products is the only way of transportation, but the cost of express is too expensive, so the small buyer will have to give up the importation from China.

A. International express and air transport

International express is more suitable for goods under 300 kilograms, and air transport is more suitable for more than 300 kilograms of goods. But as the import and export process of airlift and shipping, you also need to go to the airport to pick up the goods. And the battery – free cargo can’t be airlifted, and the same is true of the balance car.

B. Spelling service provided by the jigsaw box shipping company

For small buyers, the LCL shipping company is a good choice. In general, they will provide a transport price service for a dragon. They will deal with customs clearance and transportation, and you just go to their warehouse to pick up the goods, and sometimes they can deliver the goods to the door. Their price is also very affordable, even if you only transport 0.5 cubic meters of products, because the price of a container is usually shared by 10 to 40 guests.

But this kind of company is hard to find, not every area. It is best to ask some experienced importers, and maybe he will know some of the related spelling shipping companies.

I know some of the freight company, they offer some lines as follows, reference: $80/ cubic meters to Malaysia and Singapore, delivery to the door; $280/ cubic meters to Kenya, but to Nairobi warehouse delivery; $280/ cubic meters to Sydney or Melbourne warehouse etc..

C. Gathered the goods from different suppliers and put them together.

If you buy a product from a different supplier, you can consider putting these goods together to carry it together so that you can save the freight. For even the use of international express, the freight charged per kilogram of heavy goods is lower than that of the lighter goods.

And that makes shipping more meaningful. If you import 5 different products from 5 different suppliers, each product is 0.5 cubic meters, then you can consider to put them together and ship by LCL shipping. By doing this, your transportation cost will be 80% lower than that of the express delivery. Or you have to pay 5 international express separately, because there is no cheaper solution.

So you need someone to help you piece together the goods in China. One solution is to find reliable freight forwarders, who have their own warehouses, and then you can use his warehouse to collect goods (usually free). However, most freight forwarders do not have storehouses. They can only extract your goods from different suppliers, then send them to containers in LCL shipping company. (this may be due to the particularity of the Chinese shipping agent industry, we will introduce in the future article)

Another solution is that you can choose a reliable supplier, and let other suppliers send the goods to him together, then let the freight forwarder pick up the goods in one place. As one of the leading suppliers in the field of custom furniture, we are able to go deeper into this topic. You are free to contact us for ideas exchanging.