I would like to first Thank You all for being part of our community.  It is a pleasure to receive your input and questions.  Please keep them coming.

Several readers have suggested that we create an FAQ tab, but our concern is that since we recently started posting on a regular basis, we wanted to ensure that the questions, concerns and areas needed more attention will come directly from our community.  This is the reason why we do not yet have an FAQ tab.  We will have one, once we see what questions and material you would like to learn more about.  To that, please keep your questions coming.  We are excited that you are interested in not only growing your business, but growing it globally.

Q.  I get scared when I have to classify a shipment that I am not doing it right.  If I am wrong, it will be an expensive mistake.  How do I make sure that it is right? (Matt, L.A. California)

We have had this question posed by multiple readers in a few different ways.  Our next post is going to be about classification.  It should help you and our community understand how to classify.  There are a few tricks for first time exporters on how to double-check your classification for accuracy.

  • You can ask your suppliers.  Many suppliers either export themselves or sell their products to exporters and know what the classification for the product is.
  • Ask your buyer.  Buyers overseas are knowledgeable of their import requirements and they need the classification for clearance.  Always run the number back through the classification system to ensure that it does identify your product properly.

Please do remember that the classification requirements for US exports are different than the requirements for imports.

Q.  How do I make sure that I do not make a mistake with the currency and end up losing money. (Richard – Miami, Florida)

You can choose the currency that you require payment in.  You are in control.  Simply require that payment be in US dollars and that will give you the financial exchange peace of mind you need.

On a side note…  do remember that there are financial cost associated with receiving payment.  If you are receiving payments via credit card or Pay-pal, you know what your costs are, but if you receive an international wire transfer your bank will charge you a fee locally (I have seen them as low as $25 to as high as $55 per transfer) to receive the payment.

 Q.  How do I know which is the best way to ship a product? The cost of shipping has already cost me sales and I do not want to lose business because of shipping. (Natalia – Atlanta, Ga.)

You are right, we do not want to lose business because of shipping/delivery.  This is a challenging question to answer because there is no simple, single or black and white answer to your question.

You need to take several things into consideration, but the first question to ask your buyer is “who is the forwarder or shipping agent that will be picking up your order?”  Perhaps they already have someone that they have worked with in the past and you will simply deliver locally (or have the order picked up by their shipping agent).  This removes the shipping cost from your invoice although it will still be part of their calculations because they (your customer) will be looking at the landed cost.

When considering shipping methods, you will need to consider several basic things…

  • How quickly does your customer need the product?
  • What is the size of the shipment? A 5Lb box is not the same as 15 pallets/skid shipment.
  • What is your product (HazMat, perishable, dry, etc)?

Speed to market will drive the cost.  If the shipment needs to be at the destination country in 2 day or 2 months will determine whether it goes my air or ocean/truck.  The costs are very different.  Your product may make it impossible or cost prohibited to move by air, or it may be the only way that it may move (in the case of some perishables).

Lastly, Negotiate! You are already a good negotiator.  Work with your forwarder and integrator (FedEx, UPS, etc.) to secure better pricing.  Look at them as an extension of your business.  If you are saying that the cost of shipping has already cost you business, than these vendors are already part of your business.  All companies have pricing programs and solutions for specific target markets or specific products, or specific lanes that they may be targeting themselves for growth.  Reach out to your current vendors and ask for better pricing (be ready with some of your own market research on what their competition is offering).

The best way to move a shipment is in the most cost effective way that meets your customer’s delivery requirements.

We only had time to answer 3 questions in this post, but will continue to answer and post article that you need us to address.

Please continue to visit our site. We will have specific information on growing your business, eliminating the stumbling blocks and helping you make more money. We will cover documentation requirements, terms of sale, transportation options as well as market focus. Our goal is to have you exporting and growing your business. We look forward to working with you and thank you in advance for joining our community and for sharing with us your success as you prove that “The world is your customer.

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