What Most Sourcing & Importing Companies Do…
Charging a small 3% commission on e-commerce sellers importing small shipments (a small shipment is usually anything under $50,000) won’t ever keep the lights on, or pay the sourcing and support team needed to handle all orders. Because of this, sourcing companies who charge a commission are left with two options:
- Get additional commission from the factory for “rewarding” them with the purchase order (kickback). – This is incredibly dangerous and means your sourcing agent is no longer working with your best interests at heart.
- Sourcing companies can choose their client based on previous business experience and invest their own time and money, with the hope that larger orders will come in the future. – This hand picking process is time consuming for both parties, and is often too risky for the sourcing company.
What Guided Imports Does…
The solution for us was to come up with a service that offered transparency to the buyer so they did not have to guess where their sourcing company’s allegiance lies, and to construct a fair pricing strategy that compensates the sourcing company for their time spent. Thus, the flat rate service that Guided Imports offers was born.
Another HUGE advantage for Guided Import’s customers: none of our employees are allowed to sell online. This is very important because ecommerce sellers are very protective of their products and don’t want to risk having their products/ideas stolen. This is a non-issue with Guided Imports. Our business is helping sellers, not competing against them. You’d be surprised at how many of our competitors actually sell on Amazon, Shopify, Jet, etc! It’s not only a conflict of interest, it’s far worse: the company you’re paying to help you might actually become your direct competitor! So be sure to do your homework when choosing your sourcing/importing provider.
About Sam Boyd, Founder of Guided Imports
Sam has been living in China since 2013. He started his manufacturing and importing career during his freshman year of university, where he recruited sellers from various schools along the east coast of the U.S. to act as his sales representatives.
Having studied both Chinese language and business in Asia, Sam up and moved to China in 2013. He began working with a product development company, focusing on manufacturing and exporting promotional electronics. After his skills, contacts and knowledge grew, he left his previous employer and set out to build his own company.
With $300 in my bank account, a rent bill that was close to $500 and due at the end of the month, as well as my assistant’s salary, who ended up leaving to come with me from my previous company, we sat at my kitchen table and started to build Procuu International.
How I survived the first two months, I don’t know. I had to pay Gilian, my Chinese assistant, I needed to pay rent, eat, and build a company. Suffice to say, it was a long two months of eating 5 cent noodles and sleeping 3 hours per night. We got lucky. Clients liked the idea of having an American on the ground in China looking over their productions and working to solve the myriad issues one encounters when doing business in China.
Sam BoydFounder & CEO
Procuu International grew. Fast. The time came when working at a kitchen table in a shared apartment was no longer feasible. More employees needed to be hired, and extra storage for client orders was required.
Today, Guided Imports has twelve full-time employees and a handful of part time workers. With our main office in Shenzhen, China, we are currently expanding to include a presence in Ningbo as well. It is always very interesting talking with other people in this industry; China is all about the mindset of bigger is better. Some of our competitors have 100+ employees working on roughly the same amount of orders we work on. This goes to show that we have perfected the work flow and are effective and efficient at taking care of our customer’s orders. This allows us to cut overhead costs and pass along the savings to you,
With a multilingual, Western management team in China, our constant focus is on scalability while staying lean, to make sure we offer the highest quality service at the lowest price. We do this by keeping our team happy, close, and treating each of them as family. We are always improving processes and procedures to ensure our customers get the attention to detail and quality control they deserve. We pride ourselves on perfection and settle for nothing less.
How Does Our Team Work?
The core positions at Guided Imports are the Sourcing Agents who are responsible for finding high quality suppliers and maintaining & growing existing supplier relationships. Our Account Representatives are our English/Mandarin-speaking project managers. All of our clients are paired up with dedicated Account Representatives that specialize in various products. They act as the project manager throughout the entire order, walking our clients through every step of the process and helping them with decision making.
Clients who come to us are often sick and tired of working directly with Chinese factories and suppliers who speak broken English and often misunderstand requests or directions (which can be catastrophic when manufacturing your product). By using English speaking representatives who have a background in project management and manufacturing, it allows for a much more enjoyable experience for our clients. Their communication is not only understood, but responses are clear, concise and timely. It is common for a factory to say ‘yes’ to everything, but we take the guesswork out of it and streamline the process to simply get your products manufactured by the best possible supplier to make sure you’re product is a cut above your competition.
The remaining employees consist of experienced managers who oversee support, sourcing and quality control.
This industry is simply too large and complex for people to expect that they can handle everything without making costly mistakes. I’ve seen it literally dozens of times: a do-it-yourself entrepreneur tries to tackle the whole process themselves and often ends up in deep trouble. Whether it’s getting products made that are incorrect, or of poor quality or running into problems with shipping or customs, they are usually in a bad predicament and have to call us. Since we’ve built fantastic relationships with suppliers, freight forwarders, inspection services, trading companies, and customs brokers we have the ability to help them get back on track and turn things around. But it would have been far easier, for everyone involved, if they’d called us before they found themselves in this position!
All of our clients agree: there is something very reassuring about having a Western team on the ground in China who can act as their eyes and ears to ensure everything gets done right! When you don’t have to deal with anything China-side in your business, you are free to focus on the things that help your business grow: marketing, content, business decisions, and planning.
If you’d like to get started and place an order with us, head over to ‘Let’s Begin’ and we’ll get you paired with a dedicated Account Representative who will act as your partner in China!Let’s Begin
Also, check out ‘Our Services’ page to get a better understanding of the process and what to expect.