Anyone doing Amazon FBA, would appreciate some insights

by thedog
22 replies
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Hi, I'm in the research stages with Amazon FBA. Lots of moving parts involved before you get your shipment from China to Amazon's warehouse.

I'd really appreciate some feedback on the following, just can't find clear answers online.

Shipping from China to Amazons warehouse.
Is there a reliable company that can handle the whole process. A door to door service?

I expect my first consignment to be around 150kg. Would $2,000 for air freight shipping and agent fees be realistic?

Proper packaging and labeling
Do I need a UPC Code and bar code... are these the same thing? Would this do, Buy UPC Codes Instantly for Amazon or In Stores - InstantUPCCodes.com

As it's made in China, does it have to have "Made In China" on the box, product or both?

Does my box need to be plastic sealed? It's about the size of a shoebox.

Import duty
Is there a reliable way to find out the import duty beforehand. I found calculators online, but not sure how reliable they are. I know there's different duty for different products. Mine is pet related, any idea of the import duty?


30 days after creating product
I read on here that you have 30 days after creating your product on Amazon to get it to their warehouse. Is this true? Doesn't leave much room if you're shipping by sea, which can take over a month.

Cheers
#amazon #fba #insights
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  • Profile picture of the author Solid Commerce
    Hey there! Let's see which of these questions I can help you out with.

    In terms of finding a good drop shipping service, there's a thread right here on the Warrior Forum that's quite popular and has a lot of people sharing their favorite drop shippers.

    http://www.warriorforum.com/building...ites-here.html

    In terms of the packaging quetsions, I'd check the specific sites on which you plan to sell. Even if someone does know that answer off the top of your head -- I'd go straight to the source. If you want the clean water, you go to the top of the stream. I'd find the rules on your marketplace (you can use FBA to sell on eBay, believe it or not) and verify the packaging rules for yourself, rather than let someone tell you them here.

    On that last question -- again, I'd go straight to Amazon. I've spent a good bit of time on various eCommerce forums, and deal with a lot of our customers and online sellers here at the office -- Amazon is not shy when it comes to throwing down the so-called "ban-hammer." They'll toss some pretty serious penalties your way if you break their rules, and they won't really care if you knew you were in the wrong or not. eBay is the same way. I have read many a Shakespearean tragedy in message boards and on forums as a result.

    Hope this helps! Good luck!
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    _ Sean B.
    Solid Commerce

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  • Profile picture of the author amcg
    Originally Posted by thedog View Post

    Hi, I'm in the research stages with Amazon FBA. Lots of moving parts involved before you get your shipment from China to Amazon's warehouse.

    I'd really appreciate some feedback on the following, just can't find clear answers online.

    Shipping from China to Amazons warehouse.
    Is there a reliable company that can handle the whole process. A door to door service?

    I expect my first consignment to be around 150kg. Would $2,000 for air freight shipping and agent fees be realistic?

    Proper packaging and labeling
    Do I need a UPC Code and bar code... are these the same thing? Would this do, Buy UPC Codes Instantly for Amazon or In Stores - InstantUPCCodes.com

    As it's made in China, does it have to have "Made In China" on the box, product or both?

    Does my box need to be plastic sealed? It's about the size of a shoebox.

    Import duty
    Is there a reliable way to find out the import duty beforehand. I found calculators online, but not sure how reliable they are. I know there's different duty for different products. Mine is pet related, any idea of the import duty?


    30 days after creating product
    I read on here that you have 30 days after creating your product on Amazon to get it to their warehouse. Is this true? Doesn't leave much room if you're shipping by sea, which can take over a month.

    Cheers
    I think before you start dropshipping from China and plan to use FBA or another third party marketplace you should ship to your warehouse. This will give you the chance to inspect the goods - crucial as many of these third party marketplaces have strict rules on what you can and can't ship to them.
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  • Profile picture of the author DaleCalvert
    I think many entrepreneurs have lost site of the Amazon FBA Opportunity because they think they must private label a product from China to make money. While private label is how the big money is made, you can also earn a full time income without ever importing the first product if you are willing to work. This article explains how: 3 Ways to Source Amazon FBA Products We will make six figures very very part-time this year just scouting and flipping products as talked about in the article.

    Amazon FBA is one of the strongest online opportunities I have seen since I got online in 1994. It brings you the one thing all businesses need …… CUSTOMERS!

    While importing and private labeling products is vogue, don’t leave money on the table while you are trying to figure out the importing details.
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    A 30+ year track record of helping entrepreneurs achieve success! Find Dale on Amazon

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  • Profile picture of the author redlegrich
    In regards to most of your questions, find a freight forwarder/customs broker (in most cases they are the same outfit.

    Most of your questions are process (and the attendant cost) related and those folks know how to do things. They know the tariff issues, how to stay out of trouble and can ship the product to you.

    For the most part the advice you'll get here are guesses. Only a few folks have actually done it and they are not likely to share their exact secrets. Or, they want to tell you how they did something that is not similar. As one of the posters said, go to the top of the stream. And that is where the customs broker/forwarder is!

    BTW, you won't know the tariff until you get the right number for your product. Some IDs have duties some don't. It's a minefield. An agent can help you there as well and in some cases get it so you have no duties. The differences can be minor that save you money.

    As far as the US goes, there are tons of these folks. Especially in cities like LA, SF, Seattle and so forth. If there is a ocean port, there are lots of these guys.
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  • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
    I ship about 1 to 2 full container loads to Amazon for FBA monthly from Shenzhen port.

    It's will need to have their own UPC's, you can buy them on eBay in bulk to make sure they aren't already registered to another product. I bought 1000 UPCs from someone on eBay and about half of them were already registered to products manufactured by Dollar Tree Stores.

    You will need your items prepped, and I would recommend getting your suppliers to do it for you even if you have to pay. If you are using Chinese suppliers, then chances are the cost of them doing it is going to be less than the cost of Amazon doing it. I pay .005 per label per item, I think Amazon charges like .20 per label. That's a lot of money for 5000 items. Some items will need to be bagged (polybagged) - and really, all of your items should because Amazons warehouse is actually very dusty and causes exposed products to not smell to great. I've had someone complain about the dust on exposed HDMI cords before.

    In your situation, you will also have to pay for inventory placement unless your are shipping in such a volume that you could afford the logistics of having your inventory split up in sent to different distribution centers. Believe it or not, 200 of an item can go to 1 location, and only 8 could be sent somewhere else. Here is a link for amazon placement fees:
    https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/...emID=200735910

    I pay .40 per items, and about 50% of my inventory doesn't go to their main distribution where I have an entire container shipped to which means I pay a good bit for placement. As for import duties, I have no idea for your product or volume.
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    • Profile picture of the author Blue007
      Originally Posted by Silas Hart View Post

      I ship about 1 to 2 full container loads to Amazon for FBA monthly from Shenzhen port.

      It's will need to have their own UPC's, you can buy them on eBay in bulk to make sure they aren't already registered to another product. I bought 1000 UPCs from someone on eBay and about half of them were already registered to products manufactured by Dollar Tree Stores.

      You will need your items prepped, and I would recommend getting your suppliers to do it for you even if you have to pay. If you are using Chinese suppliers, then chances are the cost of them doing it is going to be less than the cost of Amazon doing it. I pay .005 per label per item, I think Amazon charges like .20 per label. That's a lot of money for 5000 items. Some items will need to be bagged (polybagged) - and really, all of your items should because Amazons warehouse is actually very dusty and causes exposed products to not smell to great. I've had someone complain about the dust on exposed HDMI cords before.

      In your situation, you will also have to pay for inventory placement unless your are shipping in such a volume that you could afford the logistics of having your inventory split up in sent to different distribution centers. Believe it or not, 200 of an item can go to 1 location, and only 8 could be sent somewhere else. Here is a link for amazon placement fees:
      https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/...emID=200735910

      I pay .40 per items, and about 50% of my inventory doesn't go to their main distribution where I have an entire container shipped to which means I pay a good bit for placement. As for import duties, I have no idea for your product or volume.
      How do you check if your UPCs are already being used? I bought some UPCs off of ebay as well, but I only used something like 10 so far. Sometimes Amazon tells me something else has that UPC and I just skip it and use another UPC instead. I sell in rather small quantities so I guess it doesn't matter for my situation.

      Secondly, why do you need labels added if you bought a UPC? Wouldn't you just tell the Chinese manufacturer to print the barcode directly onto the package? Or did you purchase UPC barcode stickers and then tell the Chinese manufacturer to add them directly to the package?

      I'm currently doing FBA, but only retail arbitrage so far. I would like to explore private labeling, but I have concerns over legal issues: product liability, trademark/logos, customs, etc. On average, how much do you spend to produce one product? Please break it down to cost. So for example, to file a trademark in the US, it costs $325 and that is WITHOUT the help of an attorney. My attorney charges $600 for this process + the filing fee of $325. Then you have to account for design and packaging of the product, the cost of the product, customs, brokers, insurance, etc. Ballpark, we are AT LEAST in the $1000 range just to produce one product...
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      • Profile picture of the author Silas Hart
        Originally Posted by Blue007 View Post

        How do you check if your UPCs are already being used? I bought some UPCs off of ebay as well, but I only used something like 10 so far. Sometimes Amazon tells me something else has that UPC and I just skip it and use another UPC instead. I sell in rather small quantities so I guess it doesn't matter for my situation.

        Secondly, why do you need labels added if you bought a UPC? Wouldn't you just tell the Chinese manufacturer to print the barcode directly onto the package? Or did you purchase UPC barcode stickers and then tell the Chinese manufacturer to add them directly to the package?

        I'm currently doing FBA, but only retail arbitrage so far. I would like to explore private labeling, but I have concerns over legal issues: product liability, trademark/logos, customs, etc. On average, how much do you spend to produce one product? Please break it down to cost. So for example, to file a trademark in the US, it costs $325 and that is WITHOUT the help of an attorney. My attorney charges $600 for this process + the filing fee of $325. Then you have to account for design and packaging of the product, the cost of the product, customs, brokers, insurance, etc. Ballpark, we are AT LEAST in the $1000 range just to produce one product...
        I buy UPC's to assign them to specific products, the UPCs are not on the items themselves since I have Amazons FBA labels on them which would cover the UPCs. Although I have had items manufactured, most of my items are already for sale on the market, and I purchase from suppliers. Not all items made include UPCs already.
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  • Profile picture of the author DWaters
    I have been selling via FBA for about one year and overall I am very pleased with the way it is going. I have not yet considered importing from China - not sure if I will, but as mentioned above I know it can be a real minefield. There are many things to consider and many hurdles to jump thru.
    If you have not done so yet I would become an FBA seller on a small scare first, get uesed to selling on Amazon and than after you have completed extensive research add the importing from China portion to your business.
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    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by DaleCalvert View Post

      I think many entrepreneurs have lost site of the Amazon FBA Opportunity because they think they must private label a product from China to make money. While private label is how the big money is made, you can also earn a full time income without ever importing the first product if you are willing to work. This article explains how: 3 Ways to Source Amazon FBA Products We will make six figures very very part-time this year just scouting and flipping products as talked about in the article.

      Amazon FBA is one of the strongest online opportunities I have seen since I got online in 1994. It brings you the one thing all businesses need …… CUSTOMERS!

      While importing and private labeling products is vogue, don’t leave money on the table while you are trying to figure out the importing details.
      Your Amazon FBA business that you are advertising even recommends private labeling as one of the "only" 3 options, but there are others. For example simple buying and importing small inventory to sell at huge profit margins is a viable option used by many.

      First, let me say that I began private labeling with imports from China in 1987. It is very straight forward and does not necessarily require a big investment. New importers like the OP who try to "figure out the importing details" are really biting off more than they can chew. Importing can be a breeze, as I have shown hundreds of my students, almost all of whom had not the faintest idea to start with, and they have still not had to learn the rules and regulations even though they are doing repeat imports.

      Originally Posted by amcg View Post

      I think before you start dropshipping from China and plan to use FBA or another third party marketplace you should ship to your warehouse. This will give you the chance to inspect the goods - crucial as many of these third party marketplaces have strict rules on what you can and can't ship to them.
      The OP did not mention dropshipping, and from what he wrote it looks like he is thinking of direct importing. I have many students who import direct from the manufacturers and send the shipment direct to Amazon FBA. Amazon give you the name of their designated Customs Broker who clears the shipments for you. ...... Easy.

      Originally Posted by DWaters View Post

      I have been selling via FBA for about one year and overall I am very pleased with the way it is going. I have not yet considered importing from China - not sure if I will, but as mentioned above I know it can be a real minefield. There are many things to consider and many hurdles to jump thru.
      If you have not done so yet I would become an FBA seller on a small scare first, get uesed to selling on Amazon and than after you have completed extensive research add the importing from China portion to your business.
      Sourcing anywhere overseas can be a minefield, but I have taught hundreds of people the safe way to do it as well as how to make the importing process easy. They have not had to learn how to "jump thru hurdles".
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      Don't just slap on a label. Build a GREAT BRAND https://Labelsthatexploit.com Safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally. https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author JJ3030
    Im a starting FBA seller also looking for some good tips to startup to make this my full time job. Any recommendations?
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  • Profile picture of the author bittergigu
    Shipping from China to Amazons warehouse.
    Is there a reliable company that can handle the whole process. A door to door service?

    I expect my first consignment to be around 150kg. Would $2,000 for air freight shipping and agent fees be realistic?

    - i can send 150 kg to a fba warehouse from china for under $1600 via fedex

    Proper packaging and labeling
    Do I need a UPC Code and bar code... are these the same thing? Would this do, Buy UPC Codes Instantly for Amazon or In Stores - InstantUPCCodes.com

    the UPC code should have been entered already when the item was listed , if you are listing against another UPC , make sure your item is exactly the same ( brand , size , color, etc ) when you create a shipment via fba , amazon will provide a amazon barcode label for you

    As it's made in China, does it have to have "Made In China" on the box, product or both?

    this is not required , but your shipping invoice will have to say made in china for reference to customs

    Does my box need to be plastic sealed? It's about the size of a shoebox.

    box does not have to be sealed, just make sure that the item will not fall out of the box

    Import duty
    Is there a reliable way to find out the import duty beforehand. I found calculators online, but not sure how reliable they are. I know there's different duty for different products. Mine is pet related, any idea of the import duty?

    pet items should have no major duties to be paid


    30 days after creating product
    I read on here that you have 30 days after creating your product on Amazon to get it to their warehouse. Is this true? Doesn't leave much room if you're shipping by sea, which can take over a month.

    not true , they give you plenty of time ( should be around 90 days or more )

    PM me if you have other questions, i can help , as i send fba goods from asia to USA all day long
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  • Profile picture of the author JayHarper
    Check out EALOGISTICS for china shipments. I've used them for years, good price, great communications, and they really know their stuff. I think their site address is ealogistics.com
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  • Profile picture of the author JayHarper
    Why no just open your own GS1 account for UPC codes? It cost 100 dollars per year, and you can create 100 upc codes before they charge you more. Then the UPC codes are YOURS and YOURs alone.

    Home | GS1 - The global language of business
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    • Profile picture of the author jumbo1
      Did you consider shipping to Amazon IN CHINA?
      This could alleviate the import tax problem, and your shipment will take only a few days to get to FBA.
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      My eBay business - How to setup an e-commerce business selling Chinese products with no initial investment
      My review of SFC fulfillment service - Cheap and effective alternative to FBA

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  • Profile picture of the author Apparel North
    Hi Guys,

    I am in the process of starting my FBA based business. I am based in Sweden but would like to import from China to either Germany or the UK. Since I will pay VAT in the country that I import to, will I have to register my company in the same country? If not, how will I be able to do my VAT return? If possible I would like to keep my company registered in Sweden since this would simplify the start-up significantly. I would appreciate any advice! Thanks!
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    • Profile picture of the author hbennick
      Originally Posted by Apparel North View Post

      Hi Guys,

      I am in the process of starting my FBA based business. I am based in Sweden but would like to import from China to either Germany or the UK. Since I will pay VAT in the country that I import to, will I have to register my company in the same country? If not, how will I be able to do my VAT return? If possible I would like to keep my company registered in Sweden since this would simplify the start-up significantly. I would appreciate any advice! Thanks!
      I'm not really sure, as I'm US based, but I would definitely recommend starting a new thread for this.
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      Starting an Amazon business? Expanding your eBay line? Absolutely lost? Know your stuff, but need a little help? Please private message me, I can help. I've helped several people achieve their goals. There's no charge if I can't help you.
      Also, please check out my Advanced FaceBook Amazon FBA Mastermind Group.
      https://www.facebook.com/groups/1386831354951122/
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  • The Freight Forwarding issue is very lightly, if at all, mentioned in most of the Amazon FBA courses.

    This is crucial, because without really reviewing this in detail, and finding a reliable freight forwarder, you can't get the product from China to the US.

    And then, this cost has to be factored overall in determining your profit margin.

    Any tips would be helpful.

    Thank you!
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    Improvise Adapt Overcome
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    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by Jack Blankenship,RN View Post

      The Freight Forwarding issue is very lightly, if at all, mentioned in most of the Amazon FBA courses.

      This is crucial, because without really reviewing this in detail, and finding a reliable freight forwarder, you can't get the product from China to the US.

      And then, this cost has to be factored overall in determining your profit margin.

      Any tips would be helpful.

      Thank you!
      It seems to me that in much of this thread the term "Freight Forwarder" has been misused, so I will clarify the matter.

      A freight forwarder is a business that organizes freight on your behalf. They will arrange:
      • Picking up the goods from the FOB location.
      • Obtaining best freight rates for you.
      • Arranging insurance for sea freight, and also if you specifically ask, insurance for other freight methods.
      • Loading the goods on board the transport. (although strictly speaking FOB relates to sea transport it is also used in relation to air transport)
      • Clearing the shipment through Customs.
      • Paying any duty and taxes on your behalf.
      • Collecting those payments from you, usually before they will deliver.
      There may be other things included in their work for you, but everything must be included in a written quote.

      Not all shipments need to be arranged through a freight forwarder. Many smaller shipments will be sent via Air Courier on a door to door basis. The Air Courier will do all that a freight forwarder would usually do as above, but insurance is not usually included unless you specifically ask.

      If using air cargo (not air courier door to door), I would strongly advise arranging it with a freight forwarder.

      Remember that small shipments via sea freight will often cost more to ship than the same item by air. Get quotes!

      Misuse of the term FOB. Many suppliers in China misuse the shipping term FOB. That term means that the quoted unit price for the product includes all costs until loaded on board the transport, whether sea or air.

      In fact they often mean EXW and that means ex works. If they are actually quoting EXW, you will be responsible for all costs from the time the shipment leaves the supplier's loading dock. Those costs can be very high.

      When getting FOB quotes from suppliers make sure they quote you FOB and they add the name of the port (sea port or airport) from which the shipment will leave China. Be careful with this because if they are located in Shanghai and they quote FOB Shanghai, they might be deceiving you into thinking they are referring to Shanghai port. Make sure the quote actually states Shanghai Port.
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      Don't just slap on a label. Build a GREAT BRAND https://Labelsthatexploit.com Safe sourcing and easy importing from 41 countries globally. https://provenglobalsourcing.com
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  • Profile picture of the author Justin Ford
    Anyways, it is normal to experience some day-to-day volatility. Some of it may be due to the day of the week, the weather, or a million different other factors. The main thing that you want to be focusing on is your ranking. Your ranking is obviously based on Amazon's algorithm and should be your main indicator as to whether or not this spike in sales was random or indicative of a future trend. It will take into account variables such as positive feedback, seller ratings, popularity, and sales momentum. Knowing your historical ranking number should help you greatly in understanding WHY sales were up.
    I have found this information from a udemy course. You can try it for your self. https://www.udemy.com/how-to-make-mo...uponCode=najma
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  • First off - the term "Dropshipping from China with Amazon FBA" is just a weird thing to say.

    Secondly, one thing people overlook all the time is the fact that you CAN have china ship directly to a warehouse/distribution center BUT China has to conform to Amazon's labeling rules.

    Also, if you're selling individual units/or packs of units, China needs to package them appropriately to fulfill that order. (For example, China isn't going to sell a '10 pack of towels' if you have all of your towels packed individually. They'll put 10 individuals in a box - this can increase your costs.
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  • Profile picture of the author AaronHeid
    Importing products to sell on Amazon is costly business. To help you reduce of your costs i would like to offer a voucher for buying UPC and EAN codes. Use SAVE10 at the checkout on https://www.ean-upc-codes.com to save 10% and receive your codes instantly.
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