Does anyone import things to sell here?

I saw something on the tele about a young lad (probably far more intelligent than me!) who'd started his own business importing products from countries where the labour is cheaper and selling them here.

Anyone tried or is doing similar? I guess the product is the key?
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  • Pound
    Pound Posts: 2,784
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    This sounds like parallel importing. You should do some research into the laws around this because often it's illegal without the consent of the trademark holder. Some companies will sell their products at different prices in other countries and obviously they don't want people importing between countries and undercutting them.
  • mizzbiz
    mizzbiz Posts: 1,434 Forumite
    Also, something to bear in mind is that we're in the midst of a financial crisis. Whether it's affecting people personally or not, the media is putting fear into the public. Most of these importers sell on Ebay or through websites, sometimes at car boot sales (but v.low margin and a risk of not getting your money back).

    I think the min thing to contend with is that people are not buying superfluous products like they have been over the last 15 years. Unless you import something that's really going to look like a bargain and is 'credit-crunch' proof, you could be left with unsaleable stock, or make a loss trying to get rid of it.

    I only mention because i've thought of the same myself and done some research into it. As i'm not allowed to link to sites (even if I have no business with them!) I suggest you google 'wholesale forum'. This site is amass with entrepeneurs and smll wholesalers. I gleaned a lot of information from this site.
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  • I work in the shipping industry as a freight forwarder (I import goods into the UK from the Far East and the USA on behalf of other people like yourself). If you need any info give me a shout.

    Importing is an extremely complicated proceeduce (which is where firms like mine make money). Everything you import from outside the UK will have to go through customs, and you will need to apply for a turn or pseudo turn (VAT number basically) because you must pay VAT. Importing goods without paying relevent VAT or DUTY is illegal. That's one hurdle.

    Another is that it's very expensive to import goods. The cheapest way (per item if you like) is to import a full 40ft container of goods to your warehouse. A 40ft High Cube container will take about 68 cubic meters of cargo, up to about 20 tons. You place an order with your manufacturer in China, a few months later they have made your order and filled a container. Then our agents would pick up the container from your factory and deliver it to a shipping yard. A shipping line will then take your container, load it onto a vessel and ship it to the UK ports which will take about a month, where we will organise a haulier to pick it up. Now also don't forget that the exchange rate is crap at the moment. One of our regulars earlier, for a shipment to Felixstowe from Ningbo in China I charged roughly as follows:

    £2100 Ocean Freight
    £50 Customs Entry
    £500 Delivery
    £30 Docs
    £110 Terminal Handling
    £15 Security
    £10 Communications

    That's £2800 roughly just to get the shipment from Ningbo Port to his warehouse. Don't forget he's also paying several thousand pounds in VAT on the value of the goods.

    That's a breakdown of the most efficient way of shipping (buy in bulk, ship in bulk).

    Of course you can ship smaller (we regularly do 200kg shipments) but you have to pay us to pick up the cargo, consolidate it with more peoples cargo, pay warehouseing charges this side and then of course unpack the container and deliver it to you. It gets more expensive pro rata the less you ship.

    Of course you can air freight too, but on most shipments you can roughly double the prices...

    Should also be noted, that our importers who supply people like Tescos and Morrisons are in financial crisis because of the economic slow down. We have seen THREE of our import clients go bust in the past few months.

    There has never been a better time to export...
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