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How To Find A Good Sourcing Agent?

China still is the cheapest country for manufacturers and retailers in the US to source for parts and goods. China has proven wrong the concept of low wage equates to low skill. China is a country that offers low wages to highly skilled workers. This is one of the reasons a lot of Western establishment, the US included, are sourcing most of their parts and goods from China.

China offers a combination of low cost, well-developed skills and policies that are investor-friendly. It is therefore not a surprise that organizations from all parts of the world want to establish businesses in China.

There are however a lot of companies who want to source parts and goods from China but are not so keen in setting up a full-blown and company-owned buying office in the country. This is where sourcing agents from China come in.

How to Source Products from China?

You can choose from a number of options if you want to source products from China.

  • Search the Internet

This is the most cost-effective and easiest option. You can do your search through Google or Bing. You can also make use of B2B (business-to-business) platforms such as Alibaba, and Global Services. You can organize your search by filtering legitimate suppliers. You can also rely on good reviews. Most B2B sourcing platforms provide a list of endorsed suppliers and blacklisted suppliers.

  • Social Media

Although not all suppliers are conscious of their social media presence, they can be a good source for reviews and feedbacks of probable suppliers. Additionally, there are groups in LinkedIn that focus on China suppliers such as China Sourcing and the China Sourcing Forum.  You can also check for any complaints against a supplier at the Ripoff Report.

  • Trade Shows

By attending trade shows you get to meet legitimate suppliers. You can meet them face to face and they can thoroughly explain their company profiles, products, production capabilities and other major business concerns. The Canton Fair is China’s largest trade fair that is held twice a year. The East China Fair on the other hand is China’s largest regional trade fair. Both trade fairs attract thousands of potential buyers. Chinese suppliers also attend most industry specific trade fairs in the US such as the Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).

  • Hire a Sourcing Agent

A sourcing agent is someone who has the capability to help you with the sourcing  and procurement process. When you hire a sourcing agent, he can help with the entire buying process from identifying a supplier all the way to shipment and logistics management.

sourcing agent

Why You Need a Sourcing Agent?

Finding a reliable and high-quality supplier is one of the most important components in starting an import business. Your manufacturer/supplier is the lifeline of your business. They have full control of the goods you are going to sell which in turn controls how your customers will view your business.

When you buy from china, you will need a sourcing agent to help you quickly and efficiently find the high quality suppliers you need from their country.

The most important benefit you will get out of engaging the services of a sourcing agent or buyers agents is the fact that they are from the country of your prospective suppliers.  They know better than you can possibly know how to deal and negotiate with these suppliers to get you a great deal. Other important benefits include:

  • They can personally visit the factories and check the quality of the products.
  • They can help you choose the right products and the best supplier based on your specifications.
  • They negotiate prices with the supplier.
  • They do quality control.
  • They provide logistics and shipping support.
  • They speak the same language the suppliers do and they know the culture by heart thus there are almost no communication barriers.
  • They are familiar with the business landscape in their country so they know the suppliers to consider and those whom you need to stay away from.
  • They are experts in what they do.

In short, with a sourcing agent you do not need to have a buying office in China to take care of all the dealings of your business. They will take care of the buying process so you can concentrate on the other aspects of your business.

service process of foshan sourcing agent

Qualifications of a Good Sourcing Agent

While a sourcing agent makes the procurement process a lot easier for you, you need to be working with the right sourcing agent.

  • Experts in Procurement

The sourcing agent in China needs to have at least five years of solid experience in procuring products from their country. The number of years he has been in business is proof of his track record. This means he has continuously provided his clients with good quality business. Other than being knowledgeable in choosing suppliers he should also be extremely capable in the areas of quality control, logistics and audit.

  • Offers Competitive Prices

The best sourcing agent is able to offer the most competitive prices to his client alongside good quality products. A sourcing agent has the capability to negotiate with suppliers for the lowest prices possible. These agents are able to offer competitive prices because they have a huge pool of suppliers. Sourcing agents can have in their list a good number of suppliers for every product you may need thus they are able to get the best possible prices.

  • Fluent in Cantonese and Mandarin

An effective sourcing agent must be able to speak the language of suppliers to be able to do sound business. There is no room for miscommunication in this business. A slight miscommunication can mean loss of money.

  • Full Knowledge of Chinese Business Culture

A sourcing agent will only be able to effectively deal with Chinese suppliers if he understands how they conduct business. He should be aware of behaviors and beliefs and how suppliers conduct business transactions.

  • Experience in Dealing with Chinese Suppliers

There is such a thing as knowing when to keep on going and when to stop. A good sourcing agent should have good negotiating skills. He will be representing you in all dealings with suppliers and he will only be able to get you good prices if he is able to negotiate correctly. Additionally, he should also have good business relationships with suppliers.

how sourcing agents do

Finding a Good Sourcing Agent

If you are planning to import from china, you must have heard about sourcing agents. Sourcing agents make doing business with suppliers from China a lot easier. There are basically three types of sourcing agents.

Regardless of the type of sourcing agent you choose, they do the same things for you in so far as the procurement process is concerned. It is also assumed that all concerned are knowledgeable and skilled to handle the procurement process for you in China.

  • Commissioned Agent

This is an individual who has extensive experience in the product you want to buy from China. You usually pay him a commission for the orders he worked on. The commission is based on the order’s FOB price and is between 5% and 10%.

pay commission to sourcing agent

  • Trading Company

This is an ideal if you are buying in small volumes and you do not want to get involved with all the details of the procurement process. Traders work with small factories who can accommodate your small volume of orders. More often than not, these small factories do not have the capability to directly talk with export clients.

Traders earn by adding a mark-up to the supplier’s price. A professional purchasing agent would prefer to go direct to the factories thinking this will cost cheaper. Fact is a trader’s price will still come out cheaper, if you negotiate correctly, than that of the bigger factories.  This is because in China, the bigger factories are more expensive than the small workshop-type suppliers.

If you purchase from a trader you should inspect the quality of the product. An exception is when the trader shows you a report from a third-party quality control company.

China best sourcing agent

  • Third Party Service Provider

If you are ordering large volumes, a third party service provider is the best type of sourcing agent to work with. Suppliers will always be very accommodating of inquires of third party service providers because of the large volume of the order. Their service fees are also most likely to be low in relation to the size of the order.

These companies however require an upfront investment. This is justifiable because they provide professional sourcing and screening of products and they also inform you of the supply chain. Most of these companies position their services as supply chain management. Some of these companies though sometimes possess the products and become a trader for your order.

For first time importers, choosing the best sourcing agent can often be daunting. Whichever type of sourcing agent you choose, trust and legitimacy are the most important factors to consider.

To make sure you are going to be dealing with a trustworthy and legitimate individual or organization, have them supply you with a list of 3 or 4 clients from your country they have rendered procurement services.

Let it be reiterated that China is the cheapest source of most quality parts and products. With a good sourcing agent working with you, you can benefit from this and make your business flourish in no time.

How To Start A Ceramic Tile Business:Complete Guide

The ceramic tile business is a good business to be involved in as there’s constant demand for ceramic tiles.

Ceramic tiles are extensively used in the construction industry in various forms such as floor tiles, wall tiles, tabletops, countertops, etc. They certainly add beauty and value to any home or building.

Wall tiles and floor tiles are popular with homeowners and builders because they’re low maintenance and highly durable.

The global ceramic tiles market is driven mainly by their growing use in residential, commercial, and industrial applications.

To be successful in selling tiles, you need to have relevant knowledge and skills, and to be consistent in providing excellent service. Other factors that will determine your success are your ability to control tile stocks, having a skilled workforce, and your location being near your key markets. All those, apart from being great in sales and marketing, of course.

Foshansourcing helps import floor tile and wall tile

If you’re thinking of going into this field, read this rundown of what you need to know about opening a ceramic tile business.


Every business starts with a solid plan that serves as the roadmap to success. A comprehensive plan for your tile showroom business should indicate how you propose to achieve your goals.

Your business plan should include the following:

how to start a ceramic tile business?

  1. The Executive Summary summarizes the key points of your business plan.
  1. The Business Overview presents a description of the business including its legal structure and type of business, and a brief description of your products and services.
  1. Your Execution Plan includes the Operations as well as Sales and Marketing Plans.
    The Operations Plan describes how you will manage the daily operations of your tile showroom and so should include the physical setup, tools and equipment to be used, and your personnel’s specific tasks.
  1. The Sales and Marketing plan includes pricing and sales information, and how you will attract customers through marketing and advertising activities.
  1. Provide updated background information on your Management Team.
  1. The Market Analysis presents an overview of the tile market. It defines your target market and your plans for catering to this specific market.
  1. This also includes a Competitive Analysis that points out the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and explains how you will gain a competitive edge against them.
  1. Financial Plan. List all financial information, including sources and uses of funding, ongoing business expenses including salaries, marketing costs and insurance costs.
  1. Many businesses fail due to lack of capital. Make sure to identify your sources of capital to enable you to sustain your business in the long run.


Before launching a tile business, you need to find out what the competition looks like. This information will provide you with valuable insights about current best practices in running the business and about the market that you’re targeting to serve.

But will your competitors give you the information you need? Maybe not. What you can do is find other tile business owners outside your target geographical area. Be persistent in looking for veteran entrepreneurs who like to offer advice to startup entrepreneurs.

foshan sourcing agent


Every business has its advantages and disadvantages. But the main thing to consider is if it will make a profit.

  • Advantages:

    The main advantage for getting involved in this business is the constant demand for ceramic tiles. This means a ready market for your tile products.

    The business of selling tiles requires a relatively low capital investment. Major expenses would be the purchase of tiles, manpower for your showroom, fixtures and fittings, cash registers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, storage units and transportation equipment.

    The business of selling tiles requires a relatively low capital investment. Major expenses would be the purchase of tiles, manpower for your showroom, fixtures and fittings, cash registers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, storage units and transportation equipment.

  • Disadvantages:

    A tile showroom and warehouse requires a lot of space. And with rents being high in today’s market,it’s better if you own the land where you’ll put up your business.

    Maintaining a large inventory is required. But there’s a chance that your customers might not like your stocks and so these have to be sold at cost price or at a loss.

    There’s also increased competition from big-box home improvement stores. Some small operators are unable to compete with these big box stores.

how to start a ceramic tile business


You can make any business profitable as long as you generate revenue that’s greater than your expenses.

Set up a product price for end users, agents and middlemen, taking into account a comfortable markup that gives you a profit after considering all expenses.

To get high returns, keep your rent reasonable, make sure your inventory is balanced and fast moving, maintain a well-trained staff, and above all, make sure to have a high volume of sales.

tile business profit


The International Market Analysis Research and Consult (IMARC) published its latest study “Ceramic Tiles Market: Global Industry Trends, Share, Size, Growth, Opportunity and Forecast 2017-2022” detailing insights into the global ceramic tiles market. The market is currently dominated by floor tiles and wall tiles.

To have an idea of what kind of tiles will click with consumers, check your local wholesaler and ask what are the prevailing trends. Ask about potential customers and their home styles. You can also go to trade shows to get the buyers’ pulse.


If you want to open a ceramic tile showroom, you need to secure the licensing, bonding, and insurance requirements.

Choose the best business structure for your business such as a corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or  partnership.

Decide if you want to be a ceramic wholesaler or ceramic retailer. A wholesaler is a middleman who buys the goods in bulk and supplies the retailer. A retailer is a business that sells goods directly to consumers or end users.

To register your business, go to  your local government agency for the licensing requirements and make sure to purchase the relevant insurance.

You will have to secure various equipment and tools, and also a vehicle that you can use for your tile projects.

To get a good start in the business, you need not just knowledge but also experience in the installation of ceramic tile flooring, or you can hire qualified tradesmen to do the job.

Offer your business to homeowners, business owners, and business representatives. As long as you know the industry well and you can offer quality products and services all the time, you should have a good chance at success.


Many businesses that consider global sourcing for their products resort to importing from China. The country is often the cheapest source of goods or parts.

China is the largest producer of ceramic tiles. In the international market, China’s ceramic tile prices are inexpensive. Its prices are only a fraction of that in Spain and Italy, countries considered as ceramic powers.

Foshan, a city located in the central Guangdong Province in southeastern China, is the country’s ceramic tile hub. The quality and design of tiles produced in Foshan are comparable to those made in Italy and Spain.

As an importer you must assure that your merchandise complies with regulatory requirements and obtain the needed licenses or permits.

how to import tile from China

Here are the steps you need to import tiles from China:

  1. Identify the goods you want to import and gather as much information as possible about these goods.
  1. Get the necessary permits and comply with applicable regulations.
  1. Find out the tariff classification for each item you are importing. This determines the rate of duty you must pay when importing. Then calculate the landed cost .
  1. Find a reputable supplier in China through internet search, social media, or trade shows.

Conduct due diligence on the suppliers you are considering to manufacture your product. You need to know whether the supplier has the necessary production and financial capability, technology, and licenses to meet your expectations in terms of quality, quantity, and delivery times.Once you’ve found the right supplier you will need to understand and negotiate the terms of trade with them.

  1. Arrange for samples. After finding the right supplier, negotiate and arrange the first samples of your product.
  1. Place your order. Once you’ve obtained product samples you’re happy with, you need to send the Purchase Order (P.O.)  to your supplier. This acts as the contract, and must contain the specifications of your product in detail and the terms of trade. Once your supplier receives it, they’ll begin the mass production of your product.
  1. Quality control. During mass production you will need to make sure that the quality of your products is checked against your initial product specifications. Conducting quality control will ensure that the products you import from China meet the quality standards you specified at the start of the negotiations.
  1. Arrange your cargo transport. Make sure you know all the costs associated with shipping goods. Once you’re happy with the freight quote, arrange for your goods to be shipped.
  1. Track your cargo and prepare for arrival.
  1. Obtain your shipment. When the goods arrive, your customs broker should arrange for your goods to clear through customs, then deliver your shipment to your business address.

Related articles:1.How to Import Tile from China?

2.How to Import Sanitary Wares from China?

3.How to Buy and Import Furniture from China?


China best sourcing agent

Dealing with Chinese suppliers can be time consuming. Working with qualified sourcing agents can save you much time, cost and energy.  A sourcing agent may be an individual or a company that helps overseas businesses to import from China.

Your sourcing agent can help you with finding new products and suppliers, verifying suppliers, negotiating prices, drafting purchase contracts, quality control management, and shipping and customs clearance support.

Hiring a sourcing agent in China is critical. It’s important that they protect your interests at all times. Here’s what you need to do to find the right agent for your business:

  1. Ask for at least three client references from your country.
  2. Ask for their knowledge, expertise and experience in sourcing Chinese manufacturers and in dealing with overseas buyers.
  3. Choose an agent located near the manufacturing base of the tile industry. Their proximity to the tile industrial center will be a big help when faced with production glitches.
  4. Ask for their business license and export license in China.
  5. Ask them how they handle ‘kickbacks’ from suppliers.

Related article: How To Find A Good Sourcing Agent from China?


To become a tile expert,studying,starting a showroom,participating in professional exhibition,purchasing and sales are essential.You will know how to control procurement costs and  improve sales team skills well after series of learning and practice.By that time,getting orders and making profits are not dreams any more but come into your hand so easily.

how to be a tile expert

It’s not always easy to start a business, but when you’re armed with good knowledge and preparation, your chances at success will increase