Our guest blogger this week is Jamie Hill, who has over 20 years of experience in international shipping – both exporting and importing. You can read more of his thoughts on Twitter – @JamieHillUK.
You have received a large order enquiry from a new overseas client. You ring round for shipping prices so you can quote everything accordingly. Your new client asks you if that is ALL the charges included. You reply with a yes and your buyer returns back to you with an emphatic YES!
Order placed. Deal done.
Congratulations, you have just fulfilled your first export order! Give yourself a big pat on the back.
But oh…wait… what about all the shipping charges payable in the port of arrival in the country of destination? What? You did not know about that? This spells trouble – there can be a lot of potential charges to take into consideration.
It is possible now that your new client could now become a very unhappy client. The first order placed by them could now well be the last order that they place with you – their profit has just been blown and they are now blaming you.
It is very important to make an overseas buyer aware about destination charges in the country of arrival so the relevant costs are factored in to their budget. They are looking to make a profit just as much as you are, so every charge needs to discussed and accounted for.
So, how can you cover yourself and make the buyer aware of possible extra shipping charges? Take these following tips into consideration:
- Let your buyer know from the outset that you are shipping the items “up to arrival only” and that no charges in the country of destination are included.
- Go out of your way to help them. Try and help them obtain the charges payable to help them factor in any additional fees.
- When you employ a forwarding agent to arrange shipping, ask them to provide their local agents details in the country of destination.
- Provide your client with the local agent’s details in the country of destination so they can communicate directly and obtain the local port charges, customs clearance fees etc.
- Get all this done BEFORE shipping the items abroad
- The other alternative is to provide a price to your new buyer for delivery of the items right through to their door minus any import taxes payable. This requires a lot of research on your side as well as a risk for you as any extra fees that crop up will eat into your profits.
If the local shipping charges are proving a problem for any reason – i.e. the port costs are too high – then you can look to try and resolve any issues before a consignment is exported. You should look at helping your new buyer any way you can to conclude the deal – for example you might be able to lower your price a little to keep the order fulfilled.
A happy client is much more likely to become a repeat client, that way everyone benefits and you can continue to grow your business.