Our customer's fatal mistakes in furniture sourcing trip to China
Furniture sourcing in China is a profitable decision. However, you have to take it very seriously and prepare very carefully. If you have already packed your things for furniture sourcing in China, check a few mistakes that the clients usually make, so you will not find yourself in the same situation.
Buying furniture without a translator in China
If you are coming to China to buy furniture by yourself, be ready to face some difficulties.
First, communication. Doesn’t matter how good your English is, in China not all sellers can speak English. It often happens that sellers seem to speak English but it is very difficult to understand them. The English language is very different from Chinese, so people in China have a very strong accent. Without speaking Chinese you will have to spend an enormous amount of time in each showroom discussing all the characteristics of the goods: material, size, colour etc. The only way out are gestures and drawings and calculations in a notebook, so it will take at least half an hour in each showroom. And of course, not every negotiation with a supplier will end in a deal. Imagine that you will spend the whole day on selecting a sofa. Then how many days should you stay in China to furnish the whole apartment or a villa?
Second, you are a one-time customer for Chinese suppliers. When they see a foreigner, they will try to attract you to the showroom by all means showing the most beautiful high-quality samples. But when it comes to the question “how much”, they will offer the price much higher than the original one. Later you will spend at least half an hour on bargaining, and if you are lucky enough, you will, after all, get a decent price. Working together with a professional translator will help you to save your time and get this price much faster.
All these problems often make the customers who are already in China call us and ask for help with furniture sourcing. Who is not nervous on the fifth day in China when the trip is almost over but the purchase plan is not completed and things aren’t going as expected. A lot of things make the situation more complicated starting from unfamiliar markets when you don’t know where to go and where to find the style and the price you need and ending with no place to eat and a taxi driver who just took you to a wrong place again. In such a situation an experienced person is vital as only professionals can take you to the right place and save your time and energy.
If you have managed to buy everything you planned, don’t forget about one more important thing - quality control. If you are accompanied by a manager, suppliers understand that all the goods will be carefully checked. If you are buying everything on your own, the manufacturers know that you will go home in a few days and unlikely coming back to check the quality of the goods. Then even if they gave you a good price, later they might save on materials, send you defective goods or “accidentally” put the wrong item into your container. When the goods arrive, you will be unpleasantly surprised but you have no choice - the money is already paid.
Buying furniture with a private translator in China
Let’s say you thought about all these problems in advance and found a private translator who will accompany you during the whole trip, however, you may deal with other issues. As you don’t speak Chinese, you can’t check how good the translator’s Chinese is. We’ve heard the stories when such freelance translators used only two phrases while communicating with a seller: “how much” and “too expensive, give us a discount”. Of course, it’s not what you want from the private translator work.
Such translators-freelancers are usually students. They can have a good level of the Chinese language but they might have no background in such field as furniture, lighting and finish materials. They will help you to solve all the everyday issues like checking into a hotel, moving around the city. They may even bargain well but they might not be aware of the specifics of furniture markets: the location of the markets, knowledge of quality materials, fabric, leather, delivery, quality control and especially shipping and customs clearance.
Speaking of quality control, you need to remember that each translator’s trip to a factory is paid extra. You can hardly buy everything in one place. According to our experience, customers usually buy from 10 to 15 suppliers at once that means that the translator has to go 15 times to different factories. And if there are any problems - even more.
Pros and cons of buying furniture with a private translator in China
A student-translator is unlikely to help you with shipping goods. Most likely, you will have to find a logistics company for shipping and customs clearance. It is not very easy to find a trustworthy and inexpensive one among all the variety of logistics companies.
Some of our clients choose to work with us after making such a mistake. They used to work with private translators and were very disappointed. In general, the main complaints are a poor organisation, vague deadlines, excessive costs for additional quality control services, worries about the safety of goods during loading and shipping. Plus the cost of shipping and customs clearance with tariffs from an unknown logistics company that can double the purchase budget.
For example, one of our clients faced this problem. He used to work with China before but in the field of electronics. He knew the Chinese market, so he made a decision to come to China for furniture sourcing. However, it was difficult without speaking the language, so he found a private translator who can show him around. In translator’s profile was written that he was a qualified translator with several years of experience in the field of furniture, lighting and finish materials. The client had only 3 days but he knew exactly what he needed. The problem was that the translator didn’t know where those goods were. The translator didn’t know the markets at all. They were walking in vain searching for the furniture the whole day. In the evening the client was worn out, he hadn’t found a thing he was searching for and he had only 2 days left. He realised that his translator was useless. At about 8 p.m. we got a phone call and heard this story. The client regretted that he hadn’t found a good company and trusted such an important thing like furniture sourcing to a private translator.
Problems with money transfers
Another problem may be late payment for the goods. A factory will not start production until it gets the full amount of deposits. It is usually 30% of the price. When buying furniture or other goods, try to leave the full deposit to the supplier, so the production will start as soon as possible.
When the goods are ready, they pass quality control, and then you have to pay the rest of the bill. The supplier will send the invoice. It’s better to pay as soon as possible as the bank transaction usually takes about one week. If you postpone the payment, the suppliers will get the money even later, so they will not be able to send the goods to you on time.
You can save some time and pay the whole amount of money when you are still in China. However, we don’t recommend it. After the goods have been produced, the suppliers will try to shift the cost of storing the goods before loading the container on you. If the suppliers receive the full payment in advance, they will try by all means to get rid of the goods so they will not occupy space in the warehouse. They can even threaten you to throw everything away if you don’t take the goods now. In this case, you can leave the amount of the payment to us or transfer it to our bank account. When everything that you have purchased passes quality control and is ready for shipping, we will send the payment directly to the supplier saving the time on the bank transfer.
To avoid all these problems you can contact a trading company that works in Foshan. Working with experienced companies you’ll save money, time and effort. Risks are minimal as you have a representative in China who will defend your interests. Click here to get detailed informatiion about GLOBUS furniture trip.