1. Welcome to the new-look UKBF! Check out our FAQ guide.

Importing from China to sell on Ebay

Discussion in 'International Business' started by MK1, Dec 5, 2009.

  1. MK1

    MK1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 5 Likes: 0
    Hi all, i'm a newb to the forums and i'm just seeking advice about ebay.
    I'm currently a student, due to start uni next year so i thought id try to gain some extra £££ to help me through my studies.
    I was recently thinking about starting my own shop on eBay selling imported goods from China such as consumer electronics- storage devices (e.g. USB flash memory). There are two main questions i would like to ask:

    1). What are the costs involving import? Not necessarily the price of transportation, but customs and excise duties etc.
    On the HMRC website, it stated goods are not subject to import VAT if the value of the import is less than £18. Is this per unit or per shipment?

    2). Do i need to obtain a special license to resell branded goods on eBay? I was looking to buy from original manufacturing plants from brands such as SanDisk, Kingston and Maxell.

    Thanks in advance,
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  2. dingbat

    dingbat UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 981 Likes: 135
    The £18 figure will relate to total cost of order.

    There are two taxes - VAT and Import Duty. VAT will be payable on your product but import duty can vary.

    You won't need any special licence but I very much doubt any of those companies would deal with you directly. Those brands are one of the most faked when it comes to product. It's also one of the most competitive markets so seeing any kind of profit will be very hard.

    If you're looking to sell on ebay, you might find your listings being removed pretty sharpish. Do your homework.
  3. glass

    glass UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 45 Likes: 4
    Just to add, these companies are likely to have UK agents and unless you are going to place large orders they are not likely want to deal with you direct

    It is really hard to deal with China and you wil probably need an agent

    The problem with dealing with China is the time it takes your goods to get here, unless you choose the expensive air cargo option

    I buy some of my stock through Hong Kong, electronics like GPS and such like, but I find it much easier and cost effective to deal with Spain, Portugal and even UK.

    Last weekend I drove my van to pick up stock from a factory in Spain.

    Import duty on computer related products is usualy 0%
  4. MK1

    MK1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 5 Likes: 0
    Why would my listings be removed?
    Also since im not sure about the market, i wont import loads of products at once, im just going to import small amounts to begin with to test the water.

    Also, how would i go about paying these import duties etc. I am getting my products from relatives i have in china to assure quality and authenticity, but they will be sent via normal couriers.
  5. Naughty Vend

    Naughty Vend UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 951 Likes: 179
    (1) Read the ebay VERO policy in regard intellectual rights and know how to sell these goods without the auction site being over zealous, they assume the goods are fake and do not ask questions to learn about how to avoid issues.

    (2) If you are rebranding you will fall into WEEE regulation scope.

    (3) VAT is payable as is duty, many use EMS to import and avoid duty / tax but that is not legal... however it does happen.

    (4) If you are not buying in reasonable bulk the shipping cost will eat your margin, thus the business becomes pointless or low yield.
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. MK1

    MK1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 5 Likes: 0
    Im not going to rebrand products, just simply sell them on as is.
    Is there a recommended courier that i use? I heard some couriers sort out the customs and imports paperwork for you.
    I am thinking of buying around 50 units to gauge demand/ costs.
  7. sysconfig

    sysconfig UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 94 Likes: 21
    Waste of money. Check out how cheap these products are in retail shops. You will have to sell shed loads to achieve similar prices. And you will need to buy them from the manufacturers first (they don't deal with "water test" amounts).
    If you really do manage to have a margin, it will be tiny. Hence, you will have to sell even bigger shed loads.

    Why does everybody (retail, web, online stores, whatever) think that you can "test the water" with only small amounts and yet beat the big players' prices?

    And if you manage to beat their prices temporarily, and they realise it, they will go below your prices, and you're out of market, leaving you with no options other than resignation, because they do not only sell a single product. They will still make profit on others, while you are bleeding out.
  8. MK1

    MK1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 5 Likes: 0
    Well of course economies of scale plays a big factor in business, but fact of the matter is, i've done sufficient research to want to go ahead with it :)
  9. sysconfig

    sysconfig UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 94 Likes: 21
    With all respect, no you haven't. The first answer rightfully said: do your homework. The questions asked are all part of a normal calculation and "research" as you call it. If you had done that before hand, these questions wouldn't arise at this stage.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2009
  10. MK1

    MK1 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 5 Likes: 0
    Well i've read through reams of publications by business link and HMRC, the annoyingly complicated and repetitive procedures were all very overwhelming. Just needed someone experienced to explain it to me is all.
  11. lal.aaron596

    lal.aaron596 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 4 Likes: 0
    Try to find which product are hot on eBay, then try to sell those, just do homework, have all things available you are selling and have complete information about the product means its design , color features etc
  12. glass

    glass UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 45 Likes: 4
    There is nothing wrong with buying small amounts to test the market even if you loose some money you know where you stand - I have lost money on some things

    Duty is calculated by the transport company and in most cases you will need to pay for it before they deliver it, well I do. Sure there are ways round it, but I have not gone into it, yet.

    If you have relatives who can source you the stuff at a good price, go for it!
  13. Naughty Vend

    Naughty Vend UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 951 Likes: 179
    Your appointed agent (be that the carrier also) will lodge a customs entry for you, then you pay the fees... expect about £35 to £50 on small shipments for the deferment number usage, admin and entry fees... plus tax and duty.

    Saturated market you are looking at though, good luck you'll need it...
  14. MASSEY

    MASSEY UKBF Contributor Full Member

    Posts: 9,392 Likes: 1,635
    to me it sounds like you should give it a shot, im 22 and while working out what i wanna do with my life i used to tinker on ebay and make reasonable profit i used to work for a warehouse, when they had old stock they would bin them so i used to buy them for pennies and undercut every one on ebay. my question is can you undercut and be competitive because when ever any one searches to buy on ebay they want it as low as they can get it.
  15. dingbat

    dingbat UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 981 Likes: 135
    I don't think you have to be the cheapest to compete but with product like memory cards you'd need to be pretty close. I would rather pay a little extra if I felt more comfortable with the seller.
  16. FLAUK

    FLAUK UKBF Contributor Free Member

    Posts: 202 Likes: 38

    How does using EMS avoid duty and VAT?

    Many of our suppliers ship via this method but we still have to pay charges.

    What is illegal about it?
  17. J-Wholesale

    J-Wholesale UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 768 Likes: 213
    You need to be careful of door to door shipments where courier companies clear the goods for you based on attached documents, and deliver to your door (DHL, Fedex, etc). Quite often they'll botch the VAT and duty payments after misreading the documents, leading to problems further down the road. You yourself need to be in control here.

    We've found that the best approach is to separate the customs clearance from the shipping entirely. One shipping company delivers from China to your UK airport. Your custom clearance agent, who you've faxed or emailed copies of the invoices, arranges your clearance and payments, and then either you collect the goods at the airport, or another courier company does so and delivers to your door.

    It's more work to do it this way, but for any orders greater than a sample order, you need to make sure the customs and VAT payments are handled correctly.
  18. LBtrading

    LBtrading UKBF Regular Free Member

    Posts: 77 Likes: 27
    Im 22 and have done lots of things already including importing goods and ebay, First of all If you are importing from china then stay away from branded products you will only be buying fakes and at the very least will face having the goods taken away and could get fined.

    I would also stay away from competitive products like memory cards, consumer electronics etc, everybody that wants to import or make extra money always chose these items to sell and you will get people that will sell at a loss just to get rid of their stock because they cant make a profit.

    There are plenty of products you can import from china and sell at a profit, for instance if you oredred some fitness equipment a month or two ago you can sell them as christmas/ january lines again stay away from branded goods or as seen on tv products, just stick to mainstream fitness equipment like treadmills bikes etc, take this as an example to sell in any market, you wan t to give people products that have the same specifications, options, benefits as mainstream branded products but at a cheaper price with non branded items you import from china.

    I have made money from importing and also lost thousands on one product line, ie I decided to import some fitness equipment 2 years ago oredred in september for plenty of time for dec jan, the product was a very popular as seen on tv item, my landed cost inc vat delivery etc was £50 a unit and these were selling for £130 on average. Literally thought I was going to clean up and the first things first paper work on the container got messed up (I was using an door2door agent) because I was having a part container load I was also sharing it with other people so errors in paper work or problems with their stock affects you. so This problem delayed my container for months and months I missed the december and the january rush, prices started falling in feb and my stock arrived at my door in march, by this time prices on average were now fetching £35.

    Two reasons I lost money were obviously the container being extremely overdue was a major one(I ordered within plenty of time to allow for mistakes but somethings are just out of your controll and **** happens) and the other reason was because I chose an as seen on tv product which have a sort of fad (short life span where they are the latest and greatest popular product untill the next one comes along).

    take it from me do your research. You can make money and alot of it but think of products other than memory cards ipods cameras etc,

    check out things like playhouses outdoor toys industrial power tools(plate compactors, pressure washers etc), things that have fetch a decent price and although competitive are no where near as competitive as memory cards and they will have a better margin.

    I have imported mp4 players but I didnt sell them on ebay and I was pretty quick off the mark.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  19. orchid2009

    orchid2009 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 14 Likes: 0
    if you want something speical and novel , you may contact me , I also could supply advice for you in good of China, but not the advice for importing, that beats me~
  20. Pills

    Pills UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 27 Likes: 2
    quality may be a big issue if you're purchasing from china.

    if you're buying ready made products, delivery timeline may still be ok.

    if you intend to make your own products to sell in future, just take note of their delivery date, not always the most reliable. just be wary. ;)