For any small business operation that is involved in selling physical goods, there is likely to be a need to ship internationally at some point. Even though this can be more complicated than shipping goods within your local country, it is still relatively easy to export your goods and navigate through customs with a little preparation. Here are four useful tips to help streamline the international shipping:
Check shipping restrictions
One of the first steps to take is to make sure that the item to be shipped is entirely legal in the destination country. Depending on the location to ship, there could be different rules in relation to how a parcel should be prepared and the type of materials that are acceptable.
In order to avoid the deployed deliveries on the international items and to clear customs it is essential to prepare the appropriate paperwork. Any items that are delayed by customs can lead to a poor experience for your customers.
The customs documents that are completed in full will result in fewer difficulties. Most forms require information like the value and a short description of the item being shipped. Other information can include an export license for the commercial products. Also, certain countries will require specific documents completed to ship internationally.
There is the option to use a customs broker to simplify the process of shipping goods out of the country. They can take on the responsibility of filing the required paperwork to make sure the goods pass through custom with minimal delay. Alternatively, there are many delivery services that will provide a broker as part of the shipment cost. However, for those that only send the occasional international shipment, it may be more practical to complete the paperwork to avoid the extra costs.
Most delivery services offer a choice of international services which can range from the budget friendly to the time sensitive. Most services can be tailored to match the specific needs in relation to distribution needs and budget. The weight of the goods can determine whether the item is sent as a normal package or freight. Also, the chosen service can have an impact on the type of documents that need completing. Some of the common shipping documents to complete include packing list, certificate of origin, and commercial invoice.
With the right care and attention to preparing the international shipments, it is possible to protect the small business from customer complaints, missed deadlines and wasted costs.