Probably, you’re thinking furniture shipping from China is a complicated process.
Or, you want to import furniture from China and you don’t know how to do it.
In this guide, I will show you how to ship furniture from China easily and faster.
Read this guide first before you import furniture from China.
- Understand the China Furniture Market & Identify Supplier
- Where to Find China Furniture Manufacturer
- Reasons why you should Import Furniture from China
- Buy Furniture from China Direct or use Sourcing Agents
- Check if you Can Find Furniture from China Free Shipping Offers
- Estimate the Time Furniture Shipping from China Takes
- Verify Quality of Items before Furniture Shipping from China Begins?
- Calculate the Cost of Shipping Furniture from China
- How LCL vs FCL Furniture Shipping from China Compare
- Choose Mode of Shipping Furniture from China?
- Calculate the Amount of Taxes when Shipping Furniture from China
- How to use China Shipping Agent in Furniture Shipping from China
- Consider Insurance during Furniture Shipping from China
- Document you Need when Shipping Furniture from China
- Best Packaging Solution during Furniture Shipping from China
- Understand Import Clearance in Furniture Shipping from China
- Let China Furniture Supplier Handle the Shipping or Do it Yourself
- Hire Freight Forwarder during Furniture Shipping from China
- Consider Appropriate Incoterm when Shipping Furniture from China?
- Know MOQ when Importing Furniture from China
- Use Secure Payment Options when Shipping Furniture from China
Understand the China Furniture Market & Identify Supplier
Before embarking on furniture shipping from China, you first need to understand the China furniture market.
China’s furniture market has gained popularity in furniture export since the year 2004.
Before, Italy was the leading furniture exporter but due to China’s cheap labor and manufacturing cost, China emerged as the leading country in furniture export until date.
In recent times, more people are embracing home décor and China’s huge population has also boosted the furniture industry.
There are several markets that you can purchase furniture from in China the largest one being the Shunde furniture wholesale market.
You can either choose to visit China and get first-hand information about the furniture markets or conduct online research.
Through this, you will get to identify your preferred supplier.
Keep in mind that there are thousands of suppliers, both genuine and fake.
Therefore I would highly recommend that you keenly assess your supplier before initiating any business deal.
Some of the popular methods you could use to identify your supplier include;
China furniture market
- Websites – Online sites such as Alibaba, Made in China, Ali express, and Global sources among others offer great platforms for importers and suppliers to link up.
In addition to that, some of these sites include ratings of each supplier thereby making it much easier for buyers to identify their preferred suppliers.
- Plan a visit to China – In as much as visiting China could consume more resources, it’s one of the best ways that you could use to find your supplier.
The reason being you will get first-hand information and get to create a stronger bond with your supplier for future purchases.
- Expos and Trade fairs –China has several Trade expos that happen yearly with some taking place twice every year.
Attending such trade fairs will expose you to several suppliers available in the China furniture market.
Some of the trade fairs i China include;
- Canton fair
- Furniture China
- Hong Kong Houseware fair
- China International Furniture Fair
- Shanghai International Furniture Machinery & Woodworking Machinery Fair
Where to Find China Furniture Manufacturer
Locating furniture manufacturers in China should be one of the easiest steps when shipping furniture from China.
There are several manufacturers in all cities and therefore the main agenda could be to find a genuine and ideal manufacturer for your furniture preferences.
Some of the places where you can find China furniture manufacturers are not limited to;
Apart from these cities, you can identify your manufacturer from other platforms such as;
- Trade fairs
- Global sources
Reasons why you should Import Furniture from China
From your research, you might realize that most furniture importers ship from China.
There are several reasons as to why China is the preferred market for furniture. Some of these include;
- Quality furniture – In as much as China is known for substandard products, people always forget that the quality products also come from China.
It all depends on your cautiousness when purchasing.
China has quality furniture some made of very high-quality wood therefore guaranteeing you longer service.
- Uniqueness – You could get very unique furniture pieces from China.
Take, for instance coming across furniture with no glue or nails used, sounds like a total dream right.
However, that’s not the case in China.
Some pieces of furniture are manufactured in a way that they neither have nails, screws nor glue.
That aside, there are several other unique designs for you to choose from.
- Cost-effective –China offers competitive prices not only on furniture but also on all other products manufactured in the country.
The availability of raw materials and convenient marine transportation are some of the reasons behind the affordability of furniture in China.
With cost-effective prices, you are bound to save and increase profit margins for your business.
- Diverse designs and options –China has any type of furniture you might think of.
From different designs, sizes, colors, and materials, you are presented with several choices.
Therefore, it’s wise to plan for what you want before visiting China to shop for furniture. Failure to these you might consume more time trying to figure out which furniture best suits your taste.
- Customization services –Most interesting, is the fact that you can design your furniture and have it manufactured in China.
Most if not all China furniture manufacturers offer room for customization allowing you to have your dream furniture manufactured.
This is a great option more so furniture importers who are very specific in their tastes.
Buy Furniture from China Direct or use Sourcing Agents
You can either choose to purchase your furniture directly from China or hire sourcing agents.
Sourcing agents come through in several ways when shipping from China as they will help in the following;
- Communication and translation -Chinese is the main language in China and therefore you are bound to experience a language barrier.
- Identifying the appropriate supplier –A sourcing agent does all the research work for you and selects the best supplier.
- Shipping and logistics duties
- Purchasing furniture of your behalf
- Investigation of supplier’s qualifications
- Quality control – A sourcing agent will ensure that the quality of your goods meets your required specifications.
- Customs declaration
- Negotiation of prices
A sourcing agent does all the work for you and therefore you are left to continue with your daily routines.
Shipping directly from China can be very challenging due to several factors such as;
- Language barrier – Lack of knowledge of the Chinese language will make it difficult for you to easily communicate with Chinese businesses.
- Scams- There are several scammers in the market and several importers have fallen for such traps before.
- Unreliable suppliers – It’s not new to find a supplier who makes your shipping very difficult. This is one of the reasons why shippers choose to hire sourcing agents.
- Quality control – Having met your manufacturer online, it might be difficult to tell whether the furniture they are manufacturing for you to meet the quality as per your requirements.
Having said this, you can easily tell that there is more to do than just directly shipping.
That is why sourcing agents come through and help you maneuver through all these processes and challenges.
Check if you Can Find Furniture from China Free Shipping Offers
You can find free shipping offers for your furniture from China.
However, don’t be naïve and believe that Chinese suppliers will offer you free shipping without any catch.
They are not that generous.
If by chance you come across a free shipping offer, just know that the shipping fee has already been calculated in the total cost.
In such cases, once you make payment of your goods you will not pay any other fees.
Estimate the Time Furniture Shipping from China Takes
Furniture shipping from China might take from 3 to 7 days when using air freight and 6 to 8 weeks when using water freight.
The shipping time from China will depend on:
- Distance –The longer the distance the longer the delivery time.
- Mode of transport used – Air transport is the fastest of them all and therefore using it will guarantee you faster delivery as compared to water transport.
- Holiday factors – Shipping during a holiday will lead to delays in your shipment as some businesses remain closed.
- Routes taken – Straight routes tend to be shorter as compared to curved routes. Therefore, the route taken will affect the delivery time of your furniture.
Verify Quality of Items before Furniture Shipping from China Begins?
Verifying the quality of your furniture before shipping commences is an essential step for any importer.
You can choose to hire a sourcing agent or verify the quality by yourself.
By so doing, you will identify faults or substandard furniture earlier and avoid losses later.
Quality verification should be done when the furniture is in the factory so that any adjustments can be made right away.
Calculate the Cost of Shipping Furniture from China
There are several costs that you will incur when shipping from China.
If you decide to ship by yourself the costs might be cut or might be more expensive.
This depends on your knowledge and experience in the shipping industry.
By this I mean, you can identify genuine suppliers and know the tricks in the import/export business.
When using a sourcing agent, you will have to pay for his services which can range from as low as $35 to as much as $90 and more.
Not forgetting that you will also be required to pay for the container cost which ranges from $3000 to $5000 depending on the size.
However, the container cost might be lower more so if you are not shipping many items.
Remember, you also need to have all the required trade documents for your furniture shipment and this adds up to your total costs.
Aside from these, there might be other additional costs associated with your shipment and therefore planning and budgeting will help you have a smooth shipping process.
How LCL vs FCL Furniture Shipping from China Compare
With LCL (Less than Container Load) furniture shipping, the load doesn’t occupy the full container.
Therefore, it is shipped along with other merchandise and later on the goods are separated at the destination port.
As compared to LCL furniture shipping, FLC (Full container Load) furniture shipping will occupy the whole container.
The shipment will not be mixed with other merchandise from different consignees.
Choose Mode of Shipping Furniture from China?
The different modes of shipping will determine your cost and how fast you want your goods delivered.
You can choose to ship furniture using one of the following modes of shipping;
If you want a faster delivery, air freight would be the ideal one.
However, be prepared to dig deeper into your pocket as compared to the other modes of shipping.
The cheapest and slowest of them all is sea freight and it’s mostly suitable for transporting bulky goods such as furniture over long distances.
When transporting your furniture using sea freight, there are two common modes of container shipment that you can use.
- Less than container Load (LCL) – Using this method would mean that your furniture will not occupy all the container space.
They will be shipped together with other merchandise.
This is the ideal container shipping mode to use when shipping smaller quantities.
- Full container load (FCL) –As with FCL, your furniture will take the full space of the container.
Therefore, you have to be shipping large amounts to use this mode of container shipment.
Rail and road freight is suitable for countries bordering China who are linked by the Chinese road and rail transport networks.
Among all these modes of shipping furniture, you are free to choose one that well suits your preferences.
Calculate the Amount of Taxes when Shipping Furniture from China
Paying taxes is mandatory for any type of shipment from China.
The amount of tax charged when shipping is 17% against the CIF value.
Remember, the amount of tax charged normally depends on the type of goods being shipped from China.
How to use China Shipping Agent in Furniture Shipping from China
Using China shipping agents will save you big time from all the shipping processes that you will have to encounter.
A China shipping agent will help you navigate the following waters;
- Loading and unloading –Once your furniture gets to the port, they will need to be unloaded from the truck. Therefore you could use a shipping agent to efficiently perform this task.
- Freight documentation – Shipping agents also take care of all your documentation processes and duties.
- Collection of goods –If your goods are with your supplier, shipping agents collect them and deliver to your port of choice.
- Custom clearance – Passing your goods through customs can be such an overwhelming process. Instead of having to go through this, you could hire a shipping agent for a faster and efficient process.
- Booking of cargo space – A shipping agent will ensure that your shipment has been allocated a cargo space.
- Planning your storage space – As compared to other smaller items, furniture occupies a larger space. Therefore, you could use a shipping agent to get storage space for your furniture while they wait to be shipped.
Consider Insurance during Furniture Shipping from China
Not only will insurance protect your goods against loss but also damage.
Therefore, it’s necessary to consider insuring your furniture when shipping from China to avoid unforeseen risks.
Shipping lines offer insurance cover but it’s wise to add extra insurance for proper coverage.
Remember, the value of your furniture will determine how much you will pay for your insurance.
The higher the value the more it will cost you.
Insurance mostly covers shipwrecks, sea accidents as well as piracy and excludes damages that occur as a result of poor packaging.
Document you Need when Shipping Furniture from China
You will be required to provide trade documents when shipping any item from China and this includes furniture.
Some of the documents you need to have include;
- Bill of lading –Provides more information about the quantity, type, and the destination of the goods being shipped.
- Insurance certificate –An insurance certificate provides information on particular insurance coverage. Some of the details included are; type of coverage, policy number, and the name of the insured just to mention a few.
- Commercial invoice –Not only does a commercial invoice serve as a proof of sale but it also facilitates the passing of your goods through customs.
- Certificate of origin – it will certify that your pieces of furniture have been obtained, manufactured, and processed from China.
- Packing List – A packing list gives information about the quantity and type of goods being shipped.
- Shipper’s letter of instruction – This document outlines all the shipping requirements as per the shipper’s preferences on the handling of goods.
Best Packaging Solution during Furniture Shipping from China
Packaging will determine whether your furniture will arrive in one piece or otherwise.
Keep in mind that your furniture might encounter several loading and unloading processes.
Owing to this you should choose quality packaging that will be able to sustain all these movements.
Packaging furniture for shipping
Factors such as moisture, weight, pilferage, and breakage should be considered when packaging your furniture.
Most importantly, always ensure that you have effectively given clear instructions to your suppliers on how you want your furniture packaged.
Here are some tips for packaging your furniture;
- Wrap delicate parts using bubble wrap
- Wrap the furniture legs with an extra layer of bubble wrap.
- Use corrugated cardboard to protect the corners of your furniture
- Use special blue tape and pieces of flat cardboard to protect glass surfaces. Afterward, ensure that they are wrapped in a bubble wrap.
- Additionally, using high-quality tape will help secure your goods.
Understand Import Clearance in Furniture Shipping from China
Import custom clearance might determine how fast or slow your shipping takes.
Make sure that you or your suppliers know how to obtain the required permits and authorization.
Here are some of the documents that you should possess;
- Documents for conventional cargo
- Cargo clearance documents
- Documents for containerized furniture
- All other trade documents for shipping
If you choose to use a freight forwarder, you don’t have to worry about all these processes as they will help you navigate through.
Let China Furniture Supplier Handle the Shipping or Do it Yourself
You can either import furniture from China by yourself or choose to let your China furniture supplier handle your shipping.
Either way is good.
However, this is what I have to say.
Shipping by yourself requires you to keenly do adequate research before commencing any shipment process.
If you have zero knowledge of the Chinese language, this should be the time to learn or else look for a translator.
If you’re still new to the import/export industry then you have to understand all the fundamentals of shipping.
Letting your China furniture supplier handle your shipment might be a good idea.
I’m stressing on “might” since it also comes with its drawback.
Looking at the brighter side, a supplier will carry all the shipping duties on your behalf.
Therefore, you will be at ease knowing that your goods are being taken care of.
However, using a supplier for your shipping processes is pricier.
This brings us to the reason why several importers hire freight forwarders and shipping agents for such duties.
Hire Freight Forwarder during Furniture Shipping from China
If you want peace of mind when shipping furniture from China – hire freight forwarder.
A freight forwarder is responsible for offering forwarding and clearing services.
There are several freight forwarders in China and therefore identifying one shouldn’t be a hassle.
However, you need to select a genuine freight forwarder to work with.
Freight forwarders come in handy in several ways not excluding;
- Booking space for your cargo
- Advising the shipper on possible challenges or negotiations and give recommendations where possible.
- Submitting documentation and performing custom clearance
- Take care of all Packaging, storing and distribution processes
- Keeps the shipper notified while goods are on transit
Working with a freight forwarder is not only time saving and cost-effective but also efficient and versatile.
Freight forwarders are versatile in that they can respond to any arising issue with immediate effect.
Consider Appropriate Incoterm when Shipping Furniture from China?
When choosing the appropriate incoterm for your furniture shipments, always ensure that it works in your favor.
Select one that will give you more control over your shipment.
Once you leave your supplier to manage your shipping, you will have less control over the price and terms agreed between him and the freight forwarder.
It’s always wise to reach out to the freight forwarder and directly negotiates on the freight prices.
There are several incoterms some of them include;
Therefore, choosing the right incoterms will not only determine the supply chain efficiency but also transit times.
The suitable incoterms to use when shipping furniture from China would be FOB, CIF, and EXW.
Keep in mind that each of these incoterms varies in terms of risks, security, and responsibility.
Know MOQ when Importing Furniture from China
The minimum Order Quantity refers to the minimum amount of products that a supplier is willing to sell at a given time.
Different suppliers offer different MOQ’s for their furniture.
Also, the MOQ might vary depending on the size and type of the product.
In most cases, smaller items tend to have a higher MOQ as compared to larger products.
Like for instance, a dining table set manufacturer might have an MOQ of 10 while a stools manufacturer might set an MOQ of 500 pcs.
There are two types of MOQ;
- MOQ based on container volume (e.g. 1*FCL 40” container)
- MOQ based on the number of units (e.g. 1000 pcs)
Keep in mind; you can negotiate the MOQ with factories if you choose to use their materials such as type of wood.
Use Secure Payment Options when Shipping Furniture from China
There are several payment options to choose from when shipping from China.
The common payment methods used by shippers include Telegraphic Transfers, PayPal, and Letter of Credit.
Of the three, a letter of credit would be suitable when shipping furniture from China since it’s considered the most secure.
However, a letter of credit is mostly ideal for large transactions, and owing to this; it creates a way for a lot of financing options.
Most Chinese suppliers don’t advocate for the use of PayPal because of several reasons.
Not only does it have high fees but also the supplier risks having chargebacks after dispatching goods.
PayPal would only be ideal for sample orders or any other small orders.
Telegraphic Transfers is one of the oldest payment methods and it is suitable for low to medium transactions.
Other payment options in China include;
- Online escrow
- International credit cards
- Western union
All in all, always make sure that the payment option not only favors your supplier but also yourself.
Contact us today and a let BanSar handle all your shipping needs.