10 Mistakes to Avoid When Importing From China – 2024

When you ship from China while sitting in a different country, you are dealing with many people that you do not know or trust. It can become very risky to trust strangers as they may scam you in the product number, quality, packaging, shipment, and so on. This is exactly why you learn this guide of mistakes to avoid when importing from China so you can get everything right & on time, which will help you succeed in your business.

Mistake #1. Not Choosing the Right Supplier

Choosing the right supplier is the very first step in your journey of import products from China. You must look for multiple ways that can help you find the right supplier. Following are some common ways by which you can look for the right suppliers:

  1. From the Internet: Visit Internet blogs and online stores to find and locate the best suppliers in China.
  2. Visit Expos: Expos and exhibitions are a great source for finding real suppliers. Suppliers from all over the world participate in these expos to advertise their products, and you can meet them personally to get to know them.
  3. Trade Associations: Newspapers and the latest e-books feature trade associations from which traders and their trusted suppliers can be found.
  4. Competitor Companies: You can look for companies that are in your competition and selling the same products as yours. Not all of them, but a few companies have uploaded their suppliers’ information on sites like Reddit; from there, you may get in touch with their suppliers.
How to choose the right supplier

After finding multiple suppliers, contact them personally and filter out the best ones that meet your requirements. You can follow these steps to point out the best supplier:

  • Reliability: Test your suppliers by contacting the companies working with that supplier and ask which supplier is most reliable and with whom you can work cooperatively.
  • Pricing: Sellers who offer low prices may not always be the best because they might compromise on the quality of products. This doesn’t mean that sellers who offer high prices are the only option. Always prefer sellers that offer an intermediate price.
  • Financial Security: A good supplier should offer good financial security in terms of factors like product insurance, cashback, and down payment service.

After considering all these factors, choose a perfect supplier with whom you can work for a long time. You cannot afford to find a supplier who may scam you in the future.

Mistake #2. Miss the Testing of Samples

Ordering and testing the samples from suppliers is a smart and innovative step before starting your import business. Imagine you found a vacuum cleaner on any random website that has amazing features and a very reasonable price. You may think that you can order this product in bulk and sell it at a profitable price. But after receiving your order, you find out that there are multiple defects in its cleaning function, and it is now completely different from the image you saw online. This is exactly why the testing of samples is very significant.

Never miss the testing of samples

To test a sample appropriately, you can make a checklist of the following steps to take that can save you from online scams:

  • Ordering Samples From Multiple Suppliers: Order the same kind of product from multiple suppliers that you selected in the previous step. This will help you see different varieties of quality and prices for the same product. 
  • Proper Testing of Samples: Use those samples practically and find out for yourself which product is better in quality, colouring, function, price, and delivery time. 
  • Selecting the Best Sample: After testing the samples, eliminate those that have bad quality, colour, high prices, and take too long to deliver. Select the samples that are much better suited for use. 

By following these steps, you can easily identify and choose a good product from a good supplier and avoid getting scammed.

Mistake #3. Blind Trust in Supplier

A good supplier from China is like the backbone of your online import business. One should be very careful when selecting and trusting a supplier. Imagine you ordered 50 sets of Snickers from a random supplier by paying a down payment of 70%, and the supplier runs away without delivering you the product, or he delivers fewer pairs of low quality.

To avoid these scams from suppliers, you must follow these steps in identifying a reliable supplier: 

  • Contract Development: Design a contract that mentions all the important terms and conditions of your dealing. These terms and conditions include a guarantee of colour, quality, design, small details of the product, delivery time, and payment method. 
  • Payment Method: Carefully select a legal and trusted payment method, such as Alibaba, Letters of Credit (LC), Escrow Services, or Bank Wire Transfers. Methods other than these are very risky, so avoid using any other payment methods. 
  • How Much You Should Pay In Advance: Never send more than 30% ~50% to a supplier, and give the rest of the money after receiving the proof that production is finished. Always make sure that there is always an option of cashback in case of emergency so that there is no chance of losing your money. 

You must do all these steps before making any deal with a random supplier. This will decrease your chances of getting scammed, and a successful deal can be established with your supplier.

Mistake #4. Rushing Your Order

“You must have heard the famous proverb, “Haste makes Waste.” This is also applicable in the real world.”

Online shipping from any country can be a complete hassle. When you are shipping your products from abroad and have to meet delivery deadlines, you could rush your order, which causes plenty of complications afterwards, such as;

  • You may not clearly mention the quality, features, size, colour, logo, or other minor details about the product. 
  • You may miss a clause about shipping methods, insurance, packing costs, etc. 

There are a few occasions when you are most likely to rush your order, like Christmas Eve, New Year, or Easter, because, at these events, customers’ demand scale is at its peak.

Rushing your order

So, you need to avoid panicking to avoid errors in your online business, and you can do that by planning, such as;

  • Spend 1 ~ 2 weeks on finding the best seller ( you can skip it if you have one )
  • Now, customise your product in detail and ask for a sample, which can take 2 ~ 3 weeks.
  • Then the mass production will take 1 ~ 2 months
  • Finally, shipment can also take 1 ~ 2 months

In short, you need to plan 3 ~ 6 months earlier before the delivery date if you want to get everything right and on time.

Mistake #5. Lack of Communication

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Imagine getting a late delivery when the peak sale season has already passed, and now you are left with unsold stock and no money left for the next season. Similarly, imagine getting the wrong colour, poor quality, less stock, or similar problems just because after giving the bulk order, you put everything on the manufacturer and never contacted him until the deadline.

Don’t worry; below are a few tips to ensure a 100% line of communication with the seller; 

  • Daily basis contact: Message the manufacturer every day asking them about the progress of your order and possibly make a video call to get real-time proof because they may probably lie on messages/voice calls. Moreover, ask them to send video proofs daily.
  • Contact Multiple Persons: Do not just stay limited to a singular spokesperson and develop contact with multiple company members, i.e., manager, workers, and staff members, because if there are any problems, at least one out of them will always leak the truth.
  • Pay a Visit to the Shipping and Production Firm: When you are dealing with packages worth millions, do not hesitate to spend a few thousand on a physical visit to the manufacturer. By doing that, you can personally meet the production team and establish more reliable communication channels.

It is worth noting that when time is short, and competition is hard, proper communication is the only way you can make it work. In peak season, a supplier can become very busy and usually prefers big orders to ship at first. If your order is not that big, you need to remind the supplier regularly to ensure that your delivery will be on the required time.

Mistake #6. Not Choosing the Right Packing

Choosing the right packing while shipping from any country is a very creative task. You need to consider everything, such as the cost of packing, size, shape, weight, quality, colour, and heat/water protection.

Just think for a moment that you were not conscious about packing products and chose a light material for packing, which resulted in huge damage to your products during shipping.  This could cause disaster and loss to your business. By keeping the following essential steps in your consideration, you can easily learn what should be done to make sure that your products are safe the entire time of shipment:

  • Size & Weight: Shipping companies charge based on the size & weight of the packaging. So, when choosing the right packing, you must make sure that it is not too heavy and does not take up much space in the cargo. This will save you a good leap in the charges for shipments. 
  • Compatibility: Compatibility of packing totally depends upon the kind of material you are trying to ship. The size, shape, and physical condition of products will decide what packing design should be followed. A product can be fragile, wet, heat-sensitive, or weight-sensitive, which is why you should select a packing method that is the most suitable and safe for your product. 
  • Packing Method: Packing also matters a lot for product safety. If your products are fragile, you need to pack them separately so that they cannot be damaged during transport. If you are dealing with clothing products, you can use a hydraulic press to pack them in a container to ensure that they occupy less space. 

By following all these steps, you can easily determine the appropriate packing method and design for the product you are dealing with.

Mistake #7. Spend a little on 3rd-Party Quality Checkers

When you are importing from China or any other country, it is almost impossible to leave the office every time, travel to China, and check the quality, quantity, packing, and related documents. But you can hire a third-party inspection team, which will go to the seller’s place after the production and check everything, such as;

Third-party quality checkers China sourcing
  • Quality Test Control: The inspection team will ensure the quality of your products by testing them in various ways, such as colour, quality, working, and desired designs. After testing the products, this team will send you a report, and then you can decide whether your product is in the condition that you want it to be. 
  • Packing & Shipping: This inspection team will also ensure that your products are safely and properly packed. 

Another thing that you must make sure of is that you do not forget to mention everything on your contract that has to be investigated. There are some cases when third-party checkers and inspection teams come to a deal and ignore the stuff that you didn’t mention clearly; for example, you forgot to mention proper packing, and that could be used against you in the future. So, you must mention all the requirements to the investigators to ensure your products are properly inspected.

Mistake #8. Go for the cheapest Shipping

“Choosing the proper way & route of shipment is not a piece of cake because it entirely depends upon the circumstances you’re going through.”

best shipping method China shipping

There are 3 basic means of shipment, which are shipment by sea, shipment by air, and shipment by land, and each one is completely different from the others. Here, you can read the merits and demerits of all three of them:

  • Shipment By Sea: Its biggest advantage is that it’s cheap, like $0.5 per kg, but it takes too long, like 30 ~ 60 days, and there is also a chance that your container gets lost in the sea ( but insurance covers it ). Only choose this method if you have a bulk order of enough to fill a whole container and have 2 months. 
  • Shipment By Air: Shipping by air is the costliest, like $2 ~ $5, which is 4x ~ 10x higher than sea freight. Its biggest advantage is that it is the fastest method and takes only 1 ~ 2 weeks at maximum. Only choose this method if you have a small order or something precious like documents. In the case of bulk orders, never go for them unless you need urgent delivery, and your profit margins are so huge that they cover fees easily.
  • Shipment By Land: Shipment by land includes shipment by railway or vehicles, and it is the average between sea & air freight in terms of both cost & delivery time. For example, training a friend costs $0.5 ~ $ 2 per kg and takes around 18-35 days. It is suggested for bulk orders, but small orders can also be shipped through it easily.

Mistake #9. Hesitate to Spend on Insurance

According to the World Shipping Council, about 1382+ containers are lost in the sea every year due to bad weather conditions. Suppose you are one of those guys, and you have just lost all your investments & all the possible profits you were gonna make from them – it’s horrible.

Insurance is necessary when shipping from China

So, always insure your shipments as they cost less than 1% of your order price, and stay safe in your business. Insurance companies are responsible for tracking the safety of your products. In case of disaster, they will pay you the full amount of loss.

Mistake #10. NOt Hire Freight Agents for Document Completion

Imagine you followed all the steps mentioned earlier for your goods import from China, making sure that nothing important was missed. But in the last step, your supplier forgot to attach a single document that the customs agents required, and your container was restricted and made inaccessible for you – There is nothing more horrifying than seeing your shipment in the customs warehouse collecting dust.

To avoid that confusion, you need to spend some money on a freight agent that will make sure that your container does not get blocked at any step. A freight agent is responsible for the following measurements to ensure that your shipment is not stuck anywhere:

  • Getting Paperwork Done By Supplier: A freight agent will take care of everything that is required to ship your products safely from the supplier. He will ask for every paper that is required from the supplier before the shipment. 
  • Submitting Paperwork At Loading Source: The freight agent hands all the papers that require submission to the transport institute at the place where your shipment will begin. He makes sure that no paper is missing. 

Spending a small amount on freight agents will allow your shipment to pass all the security checks without any restrictions and make your shipping experience from China the best one.


If you are a wholesaler or someone looking to manufacture your products from China, then be careful as there are hundreds of ways to lose your money. However, we at Winsky Freight can help you through the process from production to shipping your products to your door steps. Moreover, we will make sure you get the cheapest prices, best quality, and fastest delivery possible. So, send us a message to get a free quote.