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I need some advice, please! 24 replies,3886 views

Hello folks, I'm an 18 year old Canadian who is looking at starting my own business in Importing/exporting goods, mainly from Canada to Europe, Europe to Canada. I speak both English, and French fluently, and am an intermediate in German. I don't have any educational background in importing/exporting, but from what I've read here online, it seems to be something that you can get into without an education. I'm willing to import/export anything, I'm just not sure how to lift-off and get started. Can some of you please provide some advice on the first steps needed? Should I be an incorporated business, or is sole-proprietorship good enough to get clients? What will my initial start-up costs be? I have a phone, and obviously a computer, so that's taken care of already. I do NOT want to take possession of any goods, I just want to arrange the paperwork for buyers/sellers, and have shipping companies and logistics handle all the necessary handling of the goods. Do I need a customs broker, or is customs something I can handle on my own?

 I'm really new to the business, as you can see, and seek any advice I can get. Thank-you very much to those who reply!
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Reply #
Bump! Any help is appreciated!
Re: I need some advice, please!
Bump, any tips to the industry are highly appreciated!
Reply #
Bump again, come on guys! Someone give me some tips, please!
Re: I need some advice, please!
Hello there
an humble advise from a beginner

First off. I suggest you go with customs broker since It ll save a you a lot time. It took me several posts just to find out how to use the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. USA site.
You have to know exact tariff code for each item that you import or export. etc etc.

As for the business structer. I d say shouldn t matter long as you have a co1mpany name that ll look profecional.* spell check.

Any way. Good luck.
Reply # 5 serkan1122
Thanks for the reply, finally someone! :D What kind of profit do you think I should get in the first year? I will do this full-time, and I am willing to import/export anything. Do I need to specialize in one thing, or can I import/export whatever I want provided it means all the laws and regulations of said countries?

 Thanks again!
Re: I need some advice, please!
I am sorry, but the reason you aren't getting any response is because noone can answer your questions.

For example, you want to know what are your start up costs. How long is a piece of string??? Noone knows what YOUR specific requirements and needs are.

How much will you make in your firs tyear?? Well it depends on how many custoemrs you get, what they buy and how much stuff they buy etc. Who can know??

You can import/export anything?? iron ore, tea towels, beer, rocket fuel??? How much do you know about "everything".

How are you going to get all these suppliers and buyers?? I have been doing this business for years and years and I have no idea of a difinitive answer to this.

Do I need a customs broker?? Well do you know about importing requirements?? If not research it or get a broker??

Sorry, I know I am coming across as being rude. But what you are doing is asking questions that cannot be answered. People can only offer some general responses. Noone can tell you how much money you should make.

The only suggestion I can make is that YOU need to do some research about your topics, and YOU need to become more informed about what it is you want to achieve from your business.

Reply # 7 ASR Info
Hey, thanks for the reply! I didn't realize how broad my questions were, so I really appreciate you telling me that! I'm new to this, and thought these were questions you guys would be able to answer quickly, my bad :D

 I do have a few questions, one of them being another broad one, and another being not so broad, so I will start off with the broad one: How much do Customs brokers generally cost? Do they charge a flat rate, or do they charge commission? Do they get paid after the deal has been made, or do I have to pay them myself from my own money? If you can't answer, that's fine, I'm just curious as to how they operate in terms of payment, also, where could I find them, google?

 Another question is about Freight Forwarders such as DHL. Do they take care of the entire shipping process, from Supplier to Buyer, or do they only take care of the sea freight? I ask this because I want to know if I need to contact multiple companies to get the product to its final destination, or if someone like DHL would do it all? Also, what would be one of the best and cheapest companies to go with in North Americca for shipping to Europe?

 Thanks again, I appreciate the response!
Re: I need some advice, please!
Also, what is it called when you don't want to take possession of the goods yourself, and you just want to send it from supplier to buyer without paying for anything really yourself. Is that an agent?

Thanks again, and your response was not rude at all, I appreciate it!
Reply #
Re: I need some advice, please!
Someone else will need to answer those for you. I just don't know those answers.

I have never used a customs broker because I don't deal with that side of the equation. My customers normally either sort it out themselves or have their own customs agent. In which case I don't get involved.

Regarding shipping, I always regard companies like DHL, Fedex etc more as couriers than "shippers. Thats just me and because I only ever use them for small amounts, like sending samples. I never use them for shipping large orders. There are much more economical options if you are looking to ship via sea. But once again this depends on your market and products. Many ebay sellers for exmaple, use a lot of air shipments, but that is not my business..

As for the name of what you are doing, I tend to call myself a sourcing company. Some people say trading company, some say sourcing company, I am not sure if there is a one name fts all category. But I don't use "agent". This implies I act as an agent (or representative) of the supplier, which I am not.

Unfortunately, a lot of what happens in this business is done by trial and error. When you want the "best" shipping company, that depends on the relationship you have with them. If you are a new customer you will not get a good as deal as their long term customer. Thats just the reality.

So once again, you need to conact these people, ask about their fees and how they charge, then decide which one suits you best.

There is no such thing as "the best". Only what is best for your circumstances. But I will tell you, if you are in Canada it is more likely you will find a better shipper there, than you will from here.

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