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  • #987249
    cloud86
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    Hi everyone,

    I’m completely new to this, so these questions are going to sound extremely basic — but everyone has to start somewhere. :)

    I’m wanting to get a pool toy manufactured. I have found a reputable company (located in China) via alibaba.com who are able to manufacture my design. I am going to start with 1000 pcs, sell via amazon.com and market my product through social media, banner advertising etc.

    My concerns:

    How can I make sure the manufacturer does not upload my finished product to their site and sell it other buyers?
    What would be the best way to send the product to Australia. By ship or plane?
    Do you think it’s necessary to employ a forwarder?
    I know FOB covers prices to ship/plane, but what happens once it reaches Australia?

    Thanks in advance!

    #1161803
    Petemac
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    Hi, I can only give advice on the freight side of your questions

    What would be the best way to send the product to Australia. By ship or plane?

    This will depend on speed and size of shipment. If time is not a factor and it is over 1CBM than sea freight is the generally the way to go. If under this amount than air freight may be a better option. Worth getting prices on both sometimes.

    Do you think it’s necessary to employ a forwarder?

    If you are arranging the freight than either a courier company or freight forwarder if by air and a freight forwarder if by sea is definitely required.

    I know FOB covers prices to ship/plane, but what happens once it reaches Australia?

    When getting a quote from freight forwarder ask FOB destination name of where you want final delivery, ie you own address if you want to have it all cleared and delivered to your door. If via air with a courier than they will give you a price to your door.

    Cheers

    #1161804
    Johny
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    A couple of comments and questions.

    I’m wanting to get a pool toy manufactured. I have found a reputable company (located in China) via alibaba.com who are able to manufacture my design. I am going to start with 1000 pcs, sell via amazon.com and market my product through social media, banner advertising etc.

    1. May I ask how you determined they are reputable?

    2. Now for some comments (of course without knowing the product):-

    a) If it is a new design are there any molds required? If so, make sure to get samples at initial stages and pre/post order

    b) If they are toys (kids toys in particular), make sure they will meet the relevant safety standards and that costs for this are allowed for.

    (One of the biggest issues of having a new product made, especially with low quantities, is not always the actual product cost, but all the ancillary costs.)

    How can I make sure the manufacturer does not upload my finished product to their site and sell it other buyers?

    You can discuss with them the aspect of making sure they protect your product, not have it on their website etc. but the reality is that if they decide to do it, there isn’t a lot you can do about it. If they are reputable, then they should respect your wishes. But you also need to be aware with things like, molds for example, if you pay for the mold you have more protection over the product, if they pay a portion of the mold cost then they will probably see their right to “own” the product.

    And even if they don’t, if the product proves popular, anyone else can just get a sample and have it made by someone else anyway.

    You are never totally protected.

    What would be the best way to send the product to Australia. By ship or plane?

    Agree with Petermac. Depends on the weight, volume and urgency.

    Do you think it’s necessary to employ a forwarder?

    Yes

    I know FOB covers prices to ship/plane, but what happens once it reaches Australia?

    Discuss with your intended forwarder. They will be best able to tell you the details and advise overall costs whether delivered to a local port or direct to your door.

    And don’t scimp on insurance.

    #1161805
    Brooke Curline
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    • Total posts: 120
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    cloud86, post: 187005 wrote:
    Hi everyone,

    I’m completely new to this, so these questions are going to sound extremely basic — but everyone has to start somewhere. :)

    I’m wanting to get a pool toy manufactured. I have found a reputable company (located in China) via alibaba.com who are able to manufacture my design. I am going to start with 1000 pcs, sell via amazon.com and market my product through social media, banner advertising etc.

    My concerns:

    How can I make sure the manufacturer does not upload my finished product to their site and sell it other buyers?
    What would be the best way to send the product to Australia. By ship or plane?
    Do you think it’s necessary to employ a forwarder?
    I know FOB covers prices to ship/plane, but what happens once it reaches Australia?

    Thanks in advance!

    Hi,
    I hope you have found a reputable company (because to be honest not many of them are). A lot of the “manufacturers” on Alibaba are just marketing companies and don’t manufacture at all, so you are paying a middleman. Ask them for their manufacturing/ warehouse address as you would like to send a representative to their company to discuss other projects – you will quickly find out if they are legitimate. Please be very aware that even if you order samples, they will be fantastic – but sometimes the shipment you receive bears little semblence to the quality of your sample. I can’t stress the importance of having your shipment inspected during and after the manufacturing process has been completed and particularly before you pay them. A new FS member introduced themselves on a thread here a couple of weeks ago who specialises in helping Aussies doing exactly what you are doing including the inspection process – can’t remember who is was, but I’m sure someone here can help you – definitely get in touch.
    Once you have paid for your goods, you are also up for import duty – this can be costly, but again whoever you use will be able to give you a good idea based on the value of your goods.
    Regarding your Pool toy – yes – make sure it is made to Australian standards. Recently I had a floating pool beanbag that could not be sold as the zipper on the beanbag did not have a safety lock on it to stop kids from opening it and swallowing the beans inside !!!! These are the things you must consider.
    There is no real way to protect your idea unfortunately – I only wish you the very best of luck and success
    Kind Regards
    Brooke Curline

    #1161806
    Johny
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    • Total posts: 840
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    Brooke, some blanket statements there that I am not sure I agree with.

    I hope you have found a reputable company (because to be honest not many of them are).

    I think it is difficult to quantify that based on a website that has over 70 million members. I am willing to bet there are more successful transactions taking place than not, otherwise China would not be a destination for manufacturing products.

    A lot of the “manufacturers” on Alibaba are just marketing companies and don’t manufacture at all, so you are paying a middleman.

    The implication is that you are paying more by using a middle man? Is that correct? If so, then it is simply not correct across the board.

    a) If you get a bad manufacturer or a bad agent/middleman, they will be bad regardless. If either is good then there is value in that. For an inexperienced buyer is there not any benefit in having someone experienced do the grunt work for an order, identify factories, negotiate details etc?

    b) As a middle man myself, I am currently working on a deal for a small quantity of textiles, I am using another middle man who has a very long history on this type of item and are therefore able to do what I need at a better price (including all our costs) and level of quality than my customer could. The reason I know is that my customer provided me sample and costings from the other factory.

    I also recently did another deal where as a middle man I was able to provide a product of much better quality and cheaper than the customer could get themselves. Once again based on seeing the other samples.

    Could the customer have gotten better by finding the same supplier we use. Possibly, but unlikely because my company has a relationship that goes back a long way, these people speak very little English and were not even on Alibaba, which would have made the search very difficult.

    So my thought would be if they can do the product at the price and quality that is required, then who cares whether they are a direct manufacturer or not.

    Please be very aware that even if you order samples, they will be fantastic – but sometimes the shipment you receive bears little semblence to the quality of your sample. I can’t stress the importance of having your shipment inspected during and after the manufacturing process has been completed and particularly before you pay them.

    You know what, contrary to this comment which is made regularly, my experience has been mixed. I would say that just as often as receiving a good sample and not so good production, I have received a rubbish sample, and excellent quality production.

    One of the reasons for this is that many factories will hand make a sample and then machine make the order resulting in a better finish. Strange I know, but that’s my experience.

    But I would say these are the exceptions and just about all orders have sample and order being of similar quality. (over 90% at least)

    I do accept there is some benefit in having the order inspected, but, in the last five years I have had an inspection done only twice, and once was because of a licensing requirement.

    For the original poster, if you decide to go down this path an inspection should cost around USD 150-200 per man day(+ depending on travel/expenses). I know a very good company that can do it.

    I think there are several issues here and while the discussion generally revolves around the problems associated with suppliers in China, I think we also have to look at what the buyer does that creates some of these issues.

    There are several things a buyer can do that will reduce their risk of buying stuff in China, such as:-

    1. Its not the same as buying stuff from someone down the street. You can’t just jump in the car and go fix a problem. The initial stages of what you do will determine the outcome

    2. For any product, especially a new product, you need to know what you want and within reason, stick to it. A factory may suggest a change, and you have to determine if its because it is better, or if it is just more convenient for the factory.

    I have a customer right now who sent me a few line request looking for 10 different items. They provided absolutely no details about the products such as style, materials, budget, quantity, required printing etc. but expect a competitive quote. I asked for more information and got a 3 line response.

    Then they came back to me telling me the price was too high. Needless to say they can go and waste some else’s time.

    It’s like walking into a restaurant and saying “I want food”

    3. Everyone looks to China for cheap stuff. What you have to look for is value. Many go there just to get the lowest pricing they can, and when they get rubbish products, they complain. Everything has different levels of quality which have different pricing levels. Go for the cheapest and you will invariably be disappointed.

    So, whether dealing direct with the factory, using a middleman, getting an inspection, whatever, this is as much about the buyer having to have a large amount of input into the process for it to work out successfully.

    #1161807
    cloud86
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    • Total posts: 5
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    Thank-you all for the extremely helpful and detailed advice! So impressed with the amount of people on flyingsolo who are willing to help out others. :)

    Cheers guys!

    #1161808
    affgar
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    • Total posts: 123
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    This is some great information everyone! Thanks for sharing.

    Well done. It’s wonderful to see people pitching together to help each other in business. :)

    I don’t think I can add further to all the great comprehensive information.

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