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[HELP!] Exporting a product from Italy to US

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SevenJay

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I have a Kickstarter campaign ready to go, it's about a guitar accessory I invented 2 years ago.
I've spent this time prototyping, testing and promoting the product to feed a waiting list for the launch.

Now I can't estimate the correct price for the product because I can't find a sure answer to the question "how much does it cost and what do I need to do to ship to US?".

Considered the waiting list, at least 50% of the 1000pcs (the minimum sales for reaching the goal) will be sold in the US, so I want to ship a pallet to some wharehouse and do local shippings from there, this would lower the shipping costs from 40/50€ a piece to about 15.

The problem is that I'm not shipping single packages, and with a freight shipping it looks like I need a US registered company and a tax number, I can't just pay taxes and duties to the customs as a foreign importer.

I cannot find anyone from shipping companies, custom brokers, italian import/export agencies who can or would take the time (even if I offer to pay) to help me out with this problem and give me sure answers, and so I've been stuck for nearly one month with a kickstarter that is ready to launch because I can't figure out what the hell I need to do.

If you have done anything similar (selling in the US from Europe) or you have any idea who I can contact / what can I do to solve this problem and finally launch this campaign, any help will be very appreciated...
 
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Longinus

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What you need is a fulfilling company.

Is there a possibility to sell it with Amazon? That way you should find a company that ships your products to door to an Amazon warehouse.

I live in Europe too and sell only in the US. The only taxes you will be paying is in the country where your business is registred (Italy in your case).
 

SevenJay

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I am in contact with 2 fulfilling companies (shipbob and blackbox). Once I get my products there everything looks easy, the problem is that they won't import my products, I need to be the importer of records, and to do so I need a company there. At least this is what I understood, but no one seems to be willing to take the time to help me for only 500 pieces.
 

Longinus

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You can post your request on this site Freightnet - Freight forwarders directory and online freight quotes and be sure to mention you need a to door delivery including all costs. There will be Italian forwarders too on that platform. Perhaps the best way for you is by courier so you don't need a bond and such.

I think other members here have other solutions as well.
 
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SevenJay

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Looks like a great website, thank you! I'll enter my request right now
 

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I cannot find anyone from shipping companies, custom brokers, italian import/export agencies who can or would take the time (even if I offer to pay) to help me out with this problem and give me sure answers,

I've personally used Fedex to move product across borders for me - I filled out some form, paid their fee, and it went through without issue.

If you'd like a few more options though, my shipping broker recommended the following to me (I've only used fedex, though):

Farrow -- Importing into USA | US Customs Clearance
FedEx Trade Networks -- FedEx Trade Networks - Customs Brokerage
Livingston -- Customs Brokerage - Livingston International

Also, for your kickstarter, probably worth giving this a once-over: KS Lessons Full List – Chronological
 
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Walter Hay

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Here's an extract from Chapter 3.1 of my importing book. If your shipment is less than US$2,500 in value use of an air courier simplifies the matter for you.

"Under special regulations, air couriers serving US importers are permitted to act effectively as the Importer of Record on your behalf for shipments up to $2500 in value. Those regulations permit air express couriers to clear shipments under their name and customs bond (see 3.11) without a Power of Attorney from the importer, up to their own discretionary value, and that value can exceed $2,500 if the courier chooses to handle it in that manner. (Most won’t.)"

There are a handful of companies that will act as Importer of Record for a fee, but I expect that their fees would be higher than paying for several smaller shipments via air courier.

Walter
 

SevenJay

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All things considered perhaps I should follow the advice of a friend of mine that did a kickstarter fairly similar to mine a few years ago. He suggested to just ship by post with international economy. It will take one month to arrive and it's 30€, but with none of the hassle...I suppose this is one way to go, as also Walter Hay even briefly pointed [Edit: I don't know where I saw that. He didn't even slightly referred to it actually].
Maybe keeping things simple in the beginning is not a bad idea considered I already have a lot on my plate in starting this business alone.
 
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SevenJay

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I realized that the italian national post service can be useful if I dont ship products one by one. It actually ships packages up to 30kg with international priority mail, I can stuff in 100pcs per box and it becomes pretty affordable on a per-piece basis. They do all the customs blablabla and just ask me the money for tax and duties. Is it a legitimate solution or there is something wrong that I'm not considering?
Because it would be so convenient, I could just mail my products in a few 30kg packages to a fulfillment company in USA and let them ship to customers.
 

Walter Hay

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I realized that the italian national post service can be useful if I dont ship products one by one. It actually ships packages up to 30kg with international priority mail, I can stuff in 100pcs per box and it becomes pretty affordable on a per-piece basis. They do all the customs blablabla and just ask me the money for tax and duties. Is it a legitimate solution or there is something wrong that I'm not considering?
Because it would be so convenient, I could just mail my products in a few 30kg packages to a fulfillment company in USA and let them ship to customers.
I think you might have the process a little mixed up. The US Postal Service, not the Italian Post Service will handle the issue of Duty and Sales Tax on arrival in the USA, but they will want to know who to collect it from if any is payable.

This puts you back to square one. If duty is payable you will need to identify an Importer Of Record (IOR). Only if duty and tax are not payable will your idea work.

There is a way around that, provided your parcel has a total value less than the duty threshhold of US$800 (Including freight).
  • Make sure your fulfillment service is located in a state that doesn't charge Sales Tax.
  • Don't send more than one package at a time.
  • Leave at least 3 days, preferably longer, between posting parcels.
Walter
 

SevenJay

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Damn. OK great thanks for the heads-up. I really need to get my ship together.
 
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