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Cost- Your Last Consideration

This might come as a surprise to some, but when you’re looking for a supplier, the price should be one of your last considerations. To the detriment of many first-time importers, it’s their first (and often only) consideration.

There’s a few reasons for this. First, prices in China are going to be at least 50% less than in the West. You’re getting a bargain even if you purchase from the highest price Chinese company. Second, if the difference between a few percentage points makes the difference between profitability or not, you’re probably looking at the wrong product. And finally, you get what you pay for.

Instead, the three things you should look for are legitimacy, timeliness, and quality.

A company who has the lowest prices has the lowest prices for a reason (unless your name is Walmart, these companies aren’t fighting for your business by offering rock bottom prices). Normally it’s because they offer a sub-par product but occasionally it’s because they’re going to take your money and block all future emails from you.

For your first order, when you get your shipment probably isn’t a huge issue. Whether you get it in 1 month or 4 months is probably not of greatest concern to you. If you’re successful though, it’s of paramount concern.

Every supplier will tell you “30 day lead time”. It’s always higher than this. Sometimes it’s 60 days or, as was the case for me twice, 30 days actually means 9 months.  There is nothing worse than having a list of customers wanting to buy product from you and you angering them all by saying “they’ll be here in 30 days” for the next 3 months.

The smaller companies with really low prices often do not have the resources to quickly fulfill orders. You want an average-priced supplier who can fulfill orders in a reasonable amount of time (60 days or less).


If a company is offering substantially lower prices than another, it’s likely because the quality of their products is substantially lower in some regard. Often this quality is found in material differences- they promise you 24 karat gold and give you 12 karat. At the very least, you want average quality products. Average priced suppliers are normally going to give you average or above average products. The lowest priced suppliers will often give you average quality or below average quality products.

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