China is considered the world’s factory because most businesses turn to Chinese manufacturers to produce their products due to lower costs thanks to the country’s massive labor force. Even many small businesses get their product supply from China and sell them on various e-commerce platforms. Usually, they hire the services of a sourcing agent to find suppliers on their behalf.
However, finding a sourcing agent in China can be pretty tricky, especially when you are starting. You should consider many factors before you choose such as the agent’s experience, area of expertise, language proficiency, services, and others. This is why the process of finding an agent should not be rushed to avoid problems in the future.
Before we talk about how to look for a China sourcing agent, let’s talk briefly about the factors to weigh in:
- Experience. The best agent you will have is someone who has already years of experience in sourcing in China. They would already have a network of manufacturers and suppliers and they know which one would be suitable for your business.
- Area of expertise. Sourcing agents may have their niche when it comes to product sourcing. If you are selling a particular type of product, it will be more beneficial for you if you look for an agent whose focus is on that product only.
- Language proficiency. Since you are sourcing products in China, you must have an agent that is fluent in the Chinese language. This is to guarantee that your demands or requests are communicated clearly to the potential manufacturer.
- Services. While some only provide sourcing services, some would go beyond it such as quality control and shipment. This will depend on what responsibilities you want to pass on to your agent. If you are only looking to source products, then other services offered are optional.
How to find a China sourcing agent
Once you learned the important factors for a good sourcing agent, you can start looking for your future business partner. Here are some helpful tips to guide you:
- Determine what you need. Before anything else, you have to ask yourself: what product am I sourcing? What are the specifications you are looking for when it comes to your desired product? What is the Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) you are comfortable starting with? Aside from product parameters, you should also think of the qualities you want your supplier or manufacturer to have such as working conditions and lead times.
Once you have listed down your preferences, you have to do the same with your potential sourcing agent based on the factors mentioned before. Choosing an agent needs a good strategy because they will handle the most important business processes. Having a clear plan will help you find an agent quickly and address issues along the way.
Set your budget. When it comes to budget setting, you have to be realistic but also flexible at the same time. As a small business, you have to be smart when it comes to spending. You have to refer to your strategy so that you know your budget limitations. It is also advisable that you set aside an emergency fund for any unexpected expenses.
Research on different sourcing agents. It’s easier to look for possible sourcing agents when you already have determined your specifications and budget. You can eliminate those who are out of your budget, don’t offer the services you need, and those who aren’t operating in China.
The best way to select the right agent is to read reviews or even contact some of their clients just to get an overview of how they work. You should also request a quote from potential sourcing agents to narrow your list down. Talk to them about their pricing and payment structure to see whether you can make the most out of the price. Also, don’t forget to ask for their license to validate the legitimacy of their business.
Negotiate the price. When you have finally chosen, you should try negotiating the price. Ask if they offer discounts or if their pricing goes down for every repeat order. Once the agent has given their terms, assess everything before making a decision.
Document all information you agreed upon. Always document all information you and the sourcing agent will agree upon. This will serve as your reference whenever you encounter problems in the future such as production issues or delayed shipments. The agreement will also protect you from fraud if ever things take a wrong turn down the road.
Where to find a China sourcing agent
With the increase of online sellers sourcing their products, the number of sourcing agents has also increased throughout the years. Here are some platforms where you can find your next potential business partner:
Search engines. The easiest way to look for China sourcing agents is through search engines such as Google and Bing. You can search for the keywords “Best China Sourcing Agent” and it will give you a list of options. Your job is to inspect their websites and see whether they fit your requirements. Sourcing agents or company websites that don’t look professional might be a red flag so you have to carefully analyze them.
Freelancer websites. Don’t have the budget for a large sourcing company? You may want to consider hiring freelancer sourcing agents from Upwork and Fiverr. However, most freelancer agents aren’t usually working full-time and may only offer limited services, unlike large companies. If you choose to hire a freelancer, you will have to do a more thorough background check to ensure that the agent you are hiring can do the job well. Always check the reviews from their past client and ask important questions when you interview them.
Whether you are looking for a sourcing company or freelancer agent, always keep the best interests of your business in mind especially if you are sourcing products from China. The products are going to be your bread and butter so it’s important that you have a partner that can help you grow your business and reach your goals.
That’s what Lansil Global aims to do for our clients. We know how important it is to satisfy customers so we believe that you deserve only the best quality products. Your demands are our priority and we guarantee to connect you with a manufacturer who will deliver great results. Contact us today to start your way to success!