[This article was written by Samantha Higgins.]
Are you thinking of going into business for yourself? If so, you need to consider that a great percentage of your customers, perhaps even the majority, will be located overseas. This means that you need to start thinking about ways to ship your goods in a safe and cost-effective manner. Here is what you need to know.
You Need a Good Rate on Sea Freight
The first thing you will need to keep in mind is that many businesses use sea freight services to ship goods to their customers. This is because many services offer cost-effective rates to handle this task on your behalf. Shipping by sea is an ancient way to send goods to your foreign customers.
Sea freight rates are usually quite reasonable. However, it will be up to you to choose the service that works best for the needs of your business. If you desire to ship all of your goods at one time, a bulk deal will probably be the best. If you prefer to ship piecemeal, you’ll need to work out a different kind of arrangement.
You Need a Good Rate on Air Freight
You will also need to work out a good deal on air freight services. This is because many of your customers will prefer an instant shipment rather than one that they may have to wait several weeks for. Giving them air service for their shipment is a great way to meet their needs in a hurry.
Keep in mind that air freight will normally cost more than a sea freight shipment. This is a cost that you will have to factor in to the total price of shipping. It is one that may need to be passed on to your customer in order to keep your profit margin at a healthy level. Be as honest about this as possible so as to avoid disagreements.
You’ll Need to Be Up to Speed on Customs
One of the biggest hurdles to overseas sales is the various tariffs, customs, and other regulations that a foreign government may choose to put on certain goods. This is an obstacle that you are going to have to become very used to if you want to stay in business. The various taxes, tariffs, and customs charges need to be factored in.
This means that you will need to take all of these various extra charges and fees into full account when you ship your goods to a customer. Doing so upfront will remove a great deal of hassle from the equation. It will also save both you and your customers a lot of time, energy, and money.
You May Need to Work with Multiple Carriers
Another important aspect of overseas shipping is choosing a carrier service. In many cases, you may find it more convenient and cost-effective to work with multiple carriers.
For example, you may have one carrier for European shipments and another that handles your South American business. You may also have a carrier for air freight shipments and another for sea shipping. It will be up to you to choose your carriers and coordinate each new shipment.
Overseas Customers Are an Excellent Source of Profits
It goes without saying that overseas customers are going to be a major part of your potential market. This is the legacy of the new online marketing age. This means that you will need to go out of your way to appeal to customers who may be located halfway across the world from you. You will also need to find the best way to ship to them.