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4 Important Rules For International Shipping With Your Small Business

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If you run a small business, and your information and products are on the internet, you have the potential to attract not just local customers but international customers as well. With international shipping, you can reach a larger customer base, and you can expand your business. However, you need to ensure that you get your shipping right if you want to branch out into an international marketplace.

1. Include Duty, Taxes, and Fees

One of the challenges with international shipping is that your shipment will generate duty, taxes, and fees in the country you are shipping it to. You can ship your items with the Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU); however, that can cause your items to get held up in customs and can result in unexpected expenses for your customers when it comes to receiving their products.

It is better to ship items with Delivery Duty Paid (DDP), which means that you pay for all the duties, taxes, and fees up front and don't put that cost on your customers. You can still charge your customers but include those fees in your international shipping fee so that your goods will make it through customs, and your customers will not have to pay to get their goods once they make it to their country.

2. Use Electronic Trade Documentation

When shipping internationally, you have to attack the invoice outside of the package so that the customs offer knows what is inside of the package and what was paid for the item. This allows for the proper duties and fees to be applied.

However, there is always the chance of the documents getting damaged on the outside of the package, which is where electronic trade documentation comes into play. You can submit the required documents electronically for countries that accept them, reducing the risk that the documents are damaged, and the shipment is delayed.

3. Be Honest About Value

When you are shipping items internationally, it is essential, to be honest about what is inside of each package and to be honest about the value. Do not try to work the system and lie about the value of the goods you are shipping. That can result in getting your products banned and can get your goods caught up in customs for an extended time. Serve your customers well by being honest about the value of what you are shipping.

4. Consider Using Parcel Consolidators

Shipping individual items internationally doesn't make that much sense from a financial standpoint. You should consider using a parcel consolidation service, where multiple packages sent to the same country are consolidated into a larger box or pallet to ship to that country. This will allow the items to go through customs in-bulk and then be transferred to the local post for final delivery. This is a great way to increase shipping speeds and save on shipping costs.

When it comes to shipping internationally, be sure you understand the documentation required and include duties and fees with your international shipping costs. Be honest about the value of what you are shipping, and consider using parcel consolidation to speed up shipping times and save on shipping fees.