Sourcing service from china

Discussion in 'International Business' started by Ivel, Nov 21, 2018.

  1. Ivel

    Ivel UKBF Contributor Free Member

    49 9
    Has anyone used a sourcing agent for goods from china. I am looking at Alibaba but the samples I receive are just not the right quality or I get some dodgy sellers that request PayPal payments only.

    Is sourcing affordable at all for small orders?

    Posted: Nov 21, 2018 By: Ivel Member since: Jul 3, 2014
  2. Import Expert

    Import Expert UKBF Regular Free Member

    288 125
    Hi Ivel,

    There are obviously fees involved but much would depend as you say on the size of the order. Personally I have imported a pallet worth of goods before and the fee was worth it as they highlighted some quality issues that were resolved before goods were shipped.

    Kind regards,
    Posted: Nov 21, 2018 By: Import Expert Member since: Feb 1, 2012
  3. Andy777

    Andy777 UKBF Regular Full Member

    287 71
    My own experience with sourcing agents hasn't been that great so I don’t use them anymore. I do believe that you can do a better job unless goods involved are very specific and you can't find that many suppliers on Alibaba.

    Also - why do you think that suppliers who take Pay Pal are dodgy? In fact, it's a very good sign - scammers don't use Pay Pal at all as they can't scam you using it in China.

    Quality, as Darren points out, is another story - for that, you want to use a pre-shipment company like Richfort or similar.
    Posted: Nov 21, 2018 By: Andy777 Member since: Apr 12, 2011

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,269 854
    Using a sourcing agent has it's pros and cons.
    (My advice is to use a native English speaking agent to avoid miscommunication).


    1. They can source 'outside' of Alibaba (Most suppliers on Alibaba are not factories).
    2. They can visit factories for verification.
    3. They check samples before sending to you.
    4. They consolidate samples, to reduce shipping costs.
    5. They guarantee payments. (Some)
    6. They communicate in Mandarin with factories to ensure communication.
    7. They verify Certificates.
    8. They carry out product testing.
    9. They include a full list if terms within the contract for your protection.
    10. They process orders after verifying components.
    11. They carry out QC checks before shipment.
    12. They ensure packaging and packing is correct.
    13. They prepare all the export documents correctly.
    14. They arrange China Customs clearance.
    15. They arrange shipping to your door.

    1. They charge a commission.
    Posted: Nov 22, 2018 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  5. Andy777

    Andy777 UKBF Regular Full Member

    287 71
    There's another con: they can be unreliable, make mistakes and mess up everything!

    The cost is really not the problem - I'm happy to pay a commission for a job well done. The problem is finding such a sourcing agent that is RELIABLE and TRUSTWORTHY. I'm sure there are such services out there but go and find them.

    Two times I used such a service (a reputable service at that time), they mixed up everything and cause massive expenses at my end to sort it out.

    Then one of my clients used one well-known sourcing company in China, run by expat etc. and basically they screwed up him totally! The goods were delayed by many months and when they finally showed up, half of the order was missing.

    That's my experience with sourcing agents. I don't use them because another middleman creates a higher risk of things going wrong. I'm, not saying that everyone is like that, absolutely not! But people should be very careful when choosing a sourcing agent to work with.

    I would use such a service IF I knew someone who is 100% legitimate, genuine and trustworthy.
    Posted: Nov 22, 2018 By: Andy777 Member since: Apr 12, 2011

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,269 854
    Yes, I agree.

    Things can always go wrong during the order processing stage. It's essential that both sides interact with each other to ensure a process is followed to ensure risk is minimsed.

    There can be problems with any order (even repeat orders) and it's useful to have someone on the ground to check each stage, including Proforma details, components (prior to production), packaging, documentation etc.

    You have to take all things into consideration and decide what is best for you.
    Posted: Nov 22, 2018 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  7. GraemeL

    GraemeL Pain in the neck? Full Member - Verified Business

    5,049 1,081
    I agree also.
    I always use an agent for the container loads that we buy and I organise for other clients. So my agent is obviously reliable and trustworthy.
    The big issue for here is the size of the order. An agent might well quite reasonably charge a lot more than the value of a small order just to cover actual costs incurred. If the small order is a pre-cursor to a big order then its money well spent. If its a one off.....
    Posted: Nov 22, 2018 By: GraemeL Member since: Sep 7, 2011
  8. bgnovuc

    bgnovuc UKBF Contributor Free Member

    31 0
    Posted: Nov 22, 2018 By: bgnovuc Member since: Sep 12, 2017
  9. Maple Sourcing

    Maple Sourcing UKBF Regular Full Member

    349 75
    For small orders, sourcing agents may not be a good choice, as Graemel said, the cost is relatively too high.

    Try AliExpress or Amazon, you will be able to find lots of Chinese suppliers who offer door to door delivery.
    Posted: Nov 30, 2018 By: Maple Sourcing Member since: Oct 8, 2012
  10. CHUKTC

    CHUKTC UKBF Contributor Free Member

    88 13
    As others have said it all comes down to volumes. For a one off small order (under £1000) its probably not worth it. However for orders above this at the very least its a good insurance policy and in many cases will save you money.

    As another commentator has pointed out you only get agents on Aliaba and Ali express and they are certainly not working for you. For any sizeable order we recommend you deal with the factory direct. To do this you may well need to engage the help of a trade consultant. A good one will have your interests at heart and will look after you. If quality and reliability is important to you it's vital you deal with the manufacturer and a consultant will help you do that.

    In short in our view a good consultant can save you £1,000s as well as reducing the stress of trading.
    Posted: Jan 2, 2019 By: CHUKTC Member since: Jan 2, 2019
  11. Emporium

    Emporium UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    5 0
    Sorry if this comment sounds funny but I read lots of people saying that Alibaba and similar sites have more trading companies and wholesalers than proper manufacturers?

    So why do manufacturers avoid these platforms?
    Surely if they supply the above mentioned they would be hard to be beat on price etc unless they were another factory.

    Do manufacturers avoid using these platforms because they only want business with large companies or corporations?
    Posted: Jan 2, 2019 By: Emporium Member since: Jan 1, 2019
  12. China Contract Solver

    China Contract Solver UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    8 0
    Actually I kind of do not agree with someone's opinion above. We cannot deny the advantages the sourcing agents brought to you only because of some irresponsible agents. I have come across many clients who have disputes with China suppliers and asked for my legal help. Most of them looked for suppliers by themselves on Alibaba or Aliexpress. Thus, if you look for a local sourcing agent to help you purchase goods, the disputes with China factories will decrease a bit. They can help communicate with factories representing you.

    Finding a reliable and responsible agent is important. I suggest that you can choose those sourcing agents:
    1. not an individual household. They own a legal company in China. You can let them offer a China company certificate. Most importantly, you need to sign a contract with them in case of the future disputes between you.
    2. an individual household but they work on some international freelance platforms. When disputes happen, you can leave bad comments on it. The comments will decide on if they will get more clients. Thus, most of them will do their best to offer you the best services.
    Posted: Jan 3, 2019 By: China Contract Solver Member since: Dec 28, 2018
  13. davidlee21

    davidlee21 UKBF Contributor Free Member

    39 4
    For small orders, there is no need for sourcing agents since it's not affordable and don't worry about scam since scammer don't use PayPal. Try asking for a sample if that's possible or else order small quantity if you like the quality buy more if you don't then find other sellers
    Posted: Jan 3, 2019 By: davidlee21 Member since: Dec 27, 2018
  14. CHUKTC

    CHUKTC UKBF Contributor Free Member

    88 13
    There are many reasons why manufacturers tend not to advertise on platforms such as Alibaba. Much of it is historical and related to language difficulties. You are right in part factories do tend to deal in large volumes and that is where the best deals are to be had. However we do deal with a number of factories who do have much smaller MOQs. Sometimes however for small volumes the only option is to purchase via an agent.
    Posted: Jan 3, 2019 By: CHUKTC Member since: Jan 2, 2019