When it comes to successful importing business from China, particularly from Yiwu Market, finding the right sourcing agent is really something big, the starting point signifying job half done. Digging deeper from the surface, it takes a little bit more due diligence than luck to find out the right sourcing service provider who can really save you time and money. Follow these guidelines and you won’t be far from finding the right Yiwu agent.
1. Deal with company, don’t deal with individual
You know the detriment to working with an individual instead of company at the other side of the world so well, that I don’t have to talk about it in length. But you may not realize that lots of individual posed to own a company or work for a company. If you find people approach you in these ways, stay away from them.
- Contact you under one company title, and send you invoice under another company. This means the company in the first place may not exist at all; or the person in contact with you fraudulently takes your order out to somewhere else without his/her employer’s awareness.
- Contact you under a company, and tell you wire money to personal bank account due to “tax reasons”.
- Use @gmail.com, @163.com, @yahoo.com.cn or other personal email addresses. Company email address should look like @forexample.com and the domain name after @ should be identical to the company’s website domain name forexample.com.
Some importers use a person who formerly worked for a factory that they bought from. Usually it’s a female who thought to be reliable. The fact is that you never know what she’s doing, unless maybe she’s your wife.
The worst case scenario of dealing with an individual is, not surprisingly, you send your money to him or her but receive nothing, and you can never get in contact with him or her again.
2. Avoid those who offer you 1% commission
Any decent trading company or sourcing agent can hardly survive at 1% commission. Put yourself in the sunlight of common sense and you will be aware that they have to make other money sub rosa.
In two ways you’ll be cheated by those agents who offer you 1% commission:
- They demand money from your suppliers. Of course suppliers will add this money into their prices quoted to you. Generally this hidden commission ranges from 3% to 20% on top of what you already paid them for their service.
- They increase price covertly. When some suppliers don’t play the game of hidden commission, they record the price higher without you noticing it during a market tour. Supplier quotes you CNY1.00, your agent writes down CNY1.20 on the paper.
The consequences are obvious:
- They defend your supplier more than they defend you when things go bad, finding excuses for supplier for late shipments, holding back quality issues if ever they actually quality check your goods etc., for they get more money from supplier than from you.
- You spend way too much money than 1% for their dubious service.
- You waste time and get frustration.
Now that you know the tricks, don’t be hoaxed.
3. Avoid those who talk nonsense, no responsibility
Don’t take it seriously when you see loads of website say that they are “the best”, “the official”, “the biggest” or “the No.1” Yiwu agent, for in most of the cases, if not all, it’s just irresponsible proclamation meant to mislead people.
It’s easy for you to see one website who claims it’s the “Yiwu Market Official Website” when in fact it has nothing to do with the real thing. The state-owned Zhejiang China Commodities City Group officially runs Yiwu Market and their website is www.cccgroup.com.cn, from which you will see it launched an online platform at www.yiwugou.com that displays products and booths’ info, and that is the only official website represents Yiwu China Commodities City (Yiwu Market). Facts being revealed, how much trust can you now put in those misleading websites?
These self-entitlements without supporting facts are cheap and misleading. Ignore them.
Bottom line is looking for the content of clarifying agent’s responsibility on their websites. What guarantee do they offer if shipments are behind schedule? And if you receive junk product in your warehouse?
4. Understand how they work
I once see a Yiwu agent put their Benzes car on the website for picking up importers, and another one says it takes a spacious warehouse to make a good Yiwu agent…
Interesting enough, but ultimately it all comes down to how an agent works in order to save your time and money.
Ask these questions:
- Are they organized?
- Do you see rigorous process, procedure or workflow for your sourcing project?
- Do you see any proof of sourcing expertise and QA knowledge?
- Do they list all their costs in the very beginning?
- Are they familiar with your products?
- How do they respond to your emails? Do you have a hard time making out their email or getting yourself understood?
Ask for examples of factory visit report, product quality control checklist and quality inspection report if any.
A disorganized agent will give you more headaches than the benefits his Benz or spacious warehouse may bring to you.
5. Consider geographical presence
If your suppliers and manufacturers are mostly located in Yiwu, don’t work with an agent whose office is in Guangzhou or Shanghai. When he will have to spend large sum of money and time to get to Yiwu, how frequent will he meet suppliers face to face on the production floor? Let along controlling product quality and consolidating shipments etc.
What's your opinion?