Do you want to know the secrets of importing playground from China that 2B playground resellers and 2C Amazon sellers are using to make millions?
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the secrets of finding home run playground and toy products and getting them to wholesale online , Instagram or Amazon FBA warehouses – and how to do the importing without getting scammed on Alibaba.
This mega guide will give you all of the information you need to get started importing from China: Everything from finding the perfect product, negotiating with suppliers, to figuring out the best way to ship your items.
Why Import playground/ adventure parks /soft play products from China?
How to Find Home Run Hot Playground Products to Import and Do a Rental Business or Resell on Amazon or Instagram
Beyond Alibaba – How to Find Great Suppliers
How to Get Rock Bottom Prices & Low MOQs
How to Ship Your Products from China Easily, Cheaply, and Quickly
If you plan to run your own ecommerce business then you need to be importing from China to succeed. The drop shipping model where you buy and resell somebody else’s products is more or less dead. Here are some other reasons to import from China:
High-profit margins (and much higher than drop-shipping) means you can make a lot of money
It’s not difficult to import from China
Developing real, tangible products and selling them is exciting
No need to travel to China to find products
But if you do travel to China it’s fun and adventurous
In 2016 1 SELLER sold HIS previous importing company, and that year HE made over a million dollars in profit basically from importing.
It took HIM nearly 10 years to get to that point, but ecommerce and Amazon were also considerably smaller when HE started.
Generally speaking, when HE import products, HE wants to double my money within 6 months.
Importing from China is very much a cash-dependent game. In many ways, you’re turning nickles into dimes, but how many dimes you accumulate depends on how many nickles you start with.
The following is an example from ecomcrew.com :
The short answer is no.
In 2017, I started a new brand that nearly hit a million dollars in revenue in under a year. Amazon continues to grow at 15%+ year and there’s continued growth and demand for new products.
To sell on Amazon today and be successful though you need to be making better products in some way (even if it’s a very small way). Importing undifferentiated me-too products no longer works.
I’ll cover product development below.
The most important thing you need to import from China is money to buy inventory. Generally, I recommend having at least $500 to buy inventory and ideally $2000-5000.
$2000-5000 for purchasing products to start
A Business Plan
An Amazon.com Sellers Central account
An Instagram or Youtube or Face Book Business Account for Advertisement and Marketing
Have any Chinese language knowledge
Needless to say, you do not need any Chinese language knowledge as well. Almost all Chinese suppliers who export have English language websites and sales catalogs and at least a couple of staff members with reasonable English.
A customs broker
A Third-Party Logistics company (3PL)
A Freight Forwarder
An Inspection company in China
A Professional Supplier Who can do 1 stop turn Key Service for you
1-2 Investor or partners if you need to open even more Commercial Playground or Franchise after you are successful in 1
The big question you’re all probably asking now is: how do I find a GOOD product to import from China?
When you’re importing from China you’re basically looking at private labeling products. This means you’re taking an existing product, putting your brand on it, and possibly making some light product improvements.
When an experienced buyer who is looking for products to import they will be looking for three basic things:
Little or no “optimized competition” on Amazon
Products that can be profitable to sell
Products that we can easily improve (CAN BE CUSTOMIZED )
A Professional Supplier Like Pokiddo and Betta Play who can give 1 stop Turn Key Service will save you a lot of time and energy
Pokiddo Team has five business departments: brand department, software department, operation department, sales department and product department, providing a one-stop turn key service for investment in the construction of various kinds of parks, including brand design, environmental design, equipment production, delivery, cash register system and playground operation, which can help customers to open a store and get rich returns easily and effectively.
China is the factory of the world but there are certain products which are good for small importers and others which are bad. Identifying good and bad products basically comes down to understanding two critical differences between China and Western countries:
China is a developing country with different quality standards from the West
China has different norms around intellectual property and there are a lot of counterfeit products
our primary concern will be ensuring quality products. Chinese factories won’t steal your money but they may send your inferior quality products.
If you are still worried , in bettaplay and pokiddo , quality is our culture, we can accept payment by trade assurance, which means you can get full refund in case of bad quality or late delivery.
A real playground owner Recommend
Trade shows, such as IAAPA , Canton Fair , etc.
Friends Referrals and sourcing companies
My preferred method (by far) for finding a supplier is by visiting trade shows. The best suppliers often do not advertise on Alibaba but do attend trade shows. The Canton Fair is the largest trade show in China and is good but it is even better to go to industry-specific trade shows, such as IAAPA for Amusement Toys
In China, there are two basic types of suppliers: factories and trading companies.
Factories manufacture products. Trading companies do not manufacture products but source lots of different products from different factories.
In general factories have lower prices than Trading Companies but higher minimum order quantities and less product selection.
Often the supplier will say in their company name manufacturer or trading company so they are quite easy to distinguish. If in doubt, ask your supplier what type they are.
Neither trading companies nor factories are inherently bad or good. Trading companies (normally) have lower MOQs and better quality controls. Factories (normally) have lower prices.
Arrange a video call is a very efficient way to help you choose the right supplier, because you can see your supplier and their team , and the sample room and workshop directly face to face.
Once you find a great product to import, order a sample of that product from the supplier. Your supplier will likely charge you a sample fee as well as the cost of air shipping that product to you (which can be anywhere from $50+)
Once you’ve reviewed the quality of the sample, you can proceed to place a larger order.
You are suggested to make your first order size as low as possible (the supplier’s minimum order quantity). You want to gradually build up the order size with your supplier over the course of two or three orders.
When you place your order, submit an actual Purchase Order (Or an invoice) that consists of the following things:
INVOICE/ PURCHASE ORDER
Product Name and HS code , Item design & description （Especially Production Description needs to write very detailed information so as to avoid misunderstanding and mistake）
Order quantity and Package Volume (CBM to calculate the shipping freight , if go by air , also needs the gross weight )
Products Price (Price Valid TIme )
Shipping terms, i.e FOB, CFR, EXW (More on this later)
Date the order will be completed
The first thing you must do before trying to negotiate any pricing is to get multiple quotes, ideally from three or more suppliers. This will tell you what the normal cost of your desired products is.
Checking the supplier's transaction history ( you can see countries , and how many orders ) and reviews
For e.g. for bettaplay , we have 3 shops on alibaba , bettaplay, qqtoy, bettatoy
In each transaction history, you can see bettaplay 's customer transaction history and main market easily .
Order some samples and compare the quality before committing to a larger order.
In China, there is a golden rule: quality is directly related to price. Abnormally low priced items normally mean low quality. Another reason for a low price can be:
The quality is significantly lower than others
Different shipping terms (i.e. EXW instead of FOB)
Significantly higher minimum order quantity (MOQ)
Once you determine what a normal cost is for your items you can try to negotiate pricing. However, prices in China are becoming more and more fixed and negotiation is becoming more difficult. To support the VIP customer, usually , a 2-5% discount off of quoted prices will be offered for the potential resellers .
Sometimes the suppliers have BIG promotion for like Company Sales Fight , March EXPO , Super September, Aug.18th Trampoline Day , you can join them to save money and get more discount
When you are arranging payment terms with your supplier, the most common terms you will come across will be 30/70. That means you pay 30% when the order is placed and 70% upon completion. Never accept an order requiring a 100% deposit unless the order is small (less than $2000).
Payment is almost always made by wire transfer or sometimes referred to as TT (telegraphic transfer). Payment by credit card or PayPal is generally not accepted for orders larger than $5000 or so.
Payment is almost always in US dollars. The Chinese Renminbi is pegged to the U.S. dollar so there’ll never be any currency fluctuations unless the Chinese government decides to appreciate or depreciate their currency.
If your source of revenue is not in US dollars then you’ll be subject to currency fluctuations between your home currency and the US Dollar. If you’re transferring currency often, I suggest using an exchange service like Transfer Wise that will have significantly better exchange rates than most banks.
Your biggest concerns when importing from China will be to ensure that you’re getting quality products.
Quality standards are the biggest difference between different Chinese manufacturers
Please define what exactly your quality product is, otherwise your supplier will send you a ?&^ product , just imagine !
There are three things you need to do to ensure quality products:
Define what a quality product looks like
Inspect your shipments , for find someone who can help you do to inspection to ensure they meet the above definition
Be continuously vigilant against quality fade
Define “Quality Product”: Define every important specification of your product, in the production confirmation remarks
For example, if you’re importing playground, define the following:
Plastic Type and Rubber Tiles Type
Galvanized Pipes Type
Sizes and confirmed design
If you received a sample and the quality is good, ask your supplier what exact materials were used for various components to prevent them from substituting for inferior materials later. Include these specifications in your Purchase Order.
Inspect your Shipments: Like Betta Play , who can offer you a third-party inspection service if you want , Bettaplay had much experience working with QC Institutions , like BV, Intertek , SGS , etc. . A third-party inspection costs about $200-$300 and a company like Intertek will send a person out to your factory, for an entire day, to inspect your products. There’s no reason not to do it, if you are worried , and it is your first BIG ORDER .
Avoid Quality Fade: If you are not vigilant, the quality of your products will fade over time. You will not all of a sudden receive products that are awful. Instead, over time quality will start to be skimped here and there until at one point you receive awful products.
Show your supplier that quality is important to you. Inform your supplier of every defect you receive on an order and ensure they fix it on the next order.
In my own personal experience and after helping other first-time buyers and importers, having your goods shipped to you and receiving them is one of the most stressful and most challenging aspects of importing.
There are three ways to ship your items from China: air courier, air freight, and sea freight.
Air courier is simple for most people to understand. UPS, FedEx, and DHL are air courier services.
This is what they call a door-to-door service. Your supplier ships your products and they arrive wherever you want them to arrive, i.e. your home or Amazon warehouse.
The courier also has customs brokerage service so you don’t need to worry about getting a customs broker.
Air Freight and Sea Freight differ vastly from air courier (FYI there is no such thing as sea courier). These services are arranged through a freight forwarder and typically are quoted from China to some airport or sea port, i.e. to the sea port of Long Beach (near Los Angeles) or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
You will either have to arrange to have your goods picked up or ask your freight forwarder to arrange to have them shipped to your final destination (which will involve a significant surcharge). They will not provide customs brokerage (at least not for free).
150 lbs or less
5-10 Working Days
Normally quoted door to door. No custom broker needed (although courier will charge you if shipment is over $800).
2-15 Days + 1-5 Days for Custom clearance
Make sure shipment terms are FOB. Quoted port to port (not door to door). Expect $200-300 in documentation fees + $150-200 customs brokerage fees.
According to Package Volume CBM
14-45 Days + 1-7 Days for Custom clearance
Make sure shipment terms are FOB. Quoted port to port (not door to door). Expect $200-300 in documentation fees + $150-1500 customs brokerage fees.
Air freight and sea freight are quite a bit more complicated than air courier the first time around. They are also much cheaper. Air freight is about half the cost of air courier and sea freight is about 10% the cost of air courier.
But in 2021 the sea freight is up crazily ....
Sea freight is always quoted by volume whereas air shipments are quoted by weight, but a good rule of thumb is that sea freight works out to less than $1 per kg .
Related Bettaplay Reading About Sea freight
In international trade, there is something referred to as Incoterms. Popular incoterms include FOB and EXW.
With FOB shipping terms, your supplier will pay for all the costs (including overland transportation in China) to get your shipment to the port and export fees. With EXW, you will pay for all of this. There is no difference in complexity but EXW will always cost you more than FOB (normally $300-500+ more).
The easiest thing to do is to always ask your supplier to quote you FOB terms.
Different countries have different rules , so this is usually done by local broker to save time and energy. In America, orders under $800 do not have any duties applied to them. This is called the de minimis value. Orders above this amount will be charged applicable duties.
No formal entry required
No customs bond
No customs broker needed
No formal entry required
No customs bond
No customs broker needed
Requires formal entry
Has customs bond
Customs broker generally needed
For orders under $2500, you will not need what they call a formal entry to import the goods into the United States. This means your shipping company will clear customs for you but they may charge you a fee for this.
For orders above $2500, you will need to file a formal entry and get a customs broker. We recommend PCBUSA.com. Fees vary but normally are $100-300 depending on the order size.
Once your goods are shipped and have arrived in your country, they need to clear customs into your country. If you shipped via air courier (UPS, DHL, etc.) then the shipping company will do this for you and give you a bill for it. All other shipments need a customs broker.
Do you have any questions about sourcing products, importing, or shipping your products? Feel free to contact us freely.