You’ve dealt with the first few steps of importing a product from China: solidifying the product idea you have in mind and going about searching for suppliers. You may now have a short-list of suppliers you have yet to verify, or have gone through the 11 Step Verification Process (covered in Chapter 3 of How To Import Kit) in order to make sure you are dealing with legitimate factories in China and not with scam artists from around the world. Check out these two blog posts for more information on verifying suppliers:
- Dealing with Suppliers when Import from China
- Another verification technique to use when you import from China
Before going ahead with a large order, you will of course want to see some final physical proof of the capabilities of the Chinese factory you are dealing with, or require a starting point from which you can make changes to personalize an existing product into one that fits with the brand image you have in mind. A product sample allows you to examine the workmanship of the supplier when you import from China and more clearly communicate areas where you want changes made to the product.
This brings us to the issue of Sample Fees.
It is standard practice for a factory to request you wire over the cost of shipping the sample to you. If you feel uneasy about the amount they are requesting, look for a few quotes online from different shipping companies to assess how much it would cost to send a package of equivalent weight to your sample from the factory to its end destination.
Remember that doing your part to build credibility with the supplier (covered in Part 2 of the Kit) and verifying suppliers and factories before beginning the process can save you a lot of heartache when it comes to this step.