Whatever your product or invention is, you can probably get it manufactured by a foreign company much cheaper than domestically. If you’re just starting out in your business, the cost could be a huge difference to your bottom line.
As you go through the process of selecting a foreign manufacturer, keep these guidelines in mind while getting started with manufacturing your product overseas.
Do Your Due Diligence
The rule is one unhappy customer will tell fourteen other people - and maybe even post it in a forum. Search the web and contact professional trade organizations to see if you can find anything good or bad about the potential manufacturer you’re scrutinizing. If you don’t have a producer in mind at all, use these sources - especially trade professionals and colleagues - to identify reputable companies with whom to work.
While the manufacturers they recommend may be more expensive than others you find through other sources, it’s probably worth it. There’s quite a bit of value in being able to trust someone you’ll be relying on for product.
Receiving a Prototype
Be prepared to pay some sort of upfront fee in order to receive a prototype. Keep in mind the manufacturer is taking just as much of a risk as you are in this relationship. They may have to completely change their factory setup in order to produce just a working model of your product or invention. Don’t be surprised if they ask for a down payment of some kind.
Dealing with Wire Transfers
Most of the companies you’ll deal with don’t accept credit cards, PayPal, or check. A wire transfer may be the only method of payment. You may want to go to your financial institution early and make sure you know their unique process. For some institutions, such transfers are routine; for others, they may have special requirements. Be familiar with yours.
Buying in Bulk
Some manufacturers will require you to buy in bulk, such as 5,000 or 20,000 units at a time. Since it takes time (which means money) to retool a factory from one product to another, it’s more profitable for them to produce something in large quantities. Therefore, if buying in bulk concerns you, find a manufacture that would be willing to allow you to purchase in smaller quantities. Do your homework!
Shipping to the U.S. usually isn’t much of problem. Getting it past customs is where you learn patience is a virtue. Remember, you manufacturer can’t FedEx the prototype overnight. It may take a couple of weeks to ship models to you, and you may have to form a friendly relationship with your local U.S. customs office. In all likelihood, everything will come through - just expect there could potentially be some hassles and a lot of waiting along the way.
If you keep all of this in mind as you’re going through the process of manufacturing your product or invention overseas, you’ll be ready to deal with the challenges as they arise. The good news is that it is well worth the ride!