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Why is it advised to never mention MOQ first when working with manufacturers?

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Vadim26

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I have read @Walter's book a few times, and he mentions that one should never ask about MOQ first or ignore/deviate from any questions asked by a supplier at the beginning regarding this.

The reason mentioned in the book: it makes you look like a newbie importer.

The thing with my product is that I can only commit to a MOQ of 300-500 pairs, while most manufacturers are asking for at least 1,000 order.

It's not an expensive product (~$10 per unit), so factories want to make it worth for them to create a new product as per my design.

Fortunately, I have found 1 factory, but looking for a few more for the sampling stage.

Isn't it counterintuitive that you don't mention your MOQ in the beginning, spend time discussing your product, factory capabilities, asking questions to later find out that the factory doesn't want to work with you unless you commit to their large MOQ (hence time wasted on communication)?

Furthermore, some factories are very determined on their MOQ, despite other negotiation tactics:

  • "This will be a trial order, and later I will double my quantity later.";
  • "My boss has told me this is the only amount we can order in the beginning."

What I am really asking is: if I am only able to buy a small amount of inventory in the beginning, how do I effectively sift through manufacturers and find the ones willing to work with me, without appearing as a noob?
 

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PureA

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Most decent (and genuine) manufacturers will have no problem doing a trial order.

Just speak as though there is no way they'd say no, it's pretty normal.

e.g. I would go through the process of getting the specs down and then write "Ok great, we'll need to do a trial order of X units first of course, when can it be ready etc etc"

You could even offer to pay extra per unit for a lower unit amount.
 

biophase

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I always ask for MOQ right from the beginning. I don't want to be talking to a factory for a week and then find out that their MOQ is way too high for me.

My emails are usually, "What is your MOQ and what is the price at that amount?"
 

juresesko

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Hi,
I have question. If you don't mind answering.
How do you reach manufacturers across the world?
Are there any websites that are not Alibaba where you can get the contacts?
 

Lyinx

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my system (it's working good so far)

1'st email: Hi, wondering if you guys make things like this? (see photos) or if I should be reaching out to someone else?

2nd email "Hi so and so, see attached samples/photos/measurements. We're looking to do a batch of 500 pcs, but can you give me a ballpark price so I can see the cost differences (just because it might make sense that way) for 250 pcs, 500 pcs, and 750 pcs... if there are certain price points that make you mfg process better and lower the cost, I'm open for suggestions :)
If prices look in the right ballpark, then we can work on samples and final pricing. I just find it easier to get the ballpark number out there before anyone spends a lot of time to make commitments... and when I say ballpark, I mean, is it in the $10 to $20 range? or are you looking at $50 to $60?
/end 2nd email

what the 2nd email does, it gives them a lot of range to give what I call ballpark prices, but without making any commitments and/or spending a lot of time working on prices. Also, if they are not interested, they'll suggest someone else a lot faster this way than if you waste their time with getting a quote and it doesn't work out.
Lots of studies and info has been done on how to do these things, and we all keep learning :)
 

Walter Hay

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Hi,
I have question. If you don't mind answering.
How do you reach manufacturers across the world?
Are there any websites that are not Alibaba where you can get the contacts?
In the 2021 revision of my sourcing and importing book there are links to genuine exporting sites in 39 countries other than China. You can use the book to locate manufacturers in all of those countries and in China.

It also has a major update of the changes in Alibaba, GlobalSourcing, and Made-in-China, as well as the self-destruction of their own site by Hong Kong Trade Development Council.

For years I have recommended HKTDC.com as the only really safe B2B site for locating suppliers in China, but it has now descended to the level of the others and should be avoided.

The new edition will also contain DIY information on how to locate manufacturers in countries that are not listed. In addition to that there are two B2B sites listed that are searchable for manufacturers in many countries.

The revision is not yet published but for anyone who wants a pre-release copy I will ask my son in law to send it to anyone who pays him the unchanged amount of $97 to his PayPal account which has the name ImagemodeUK@yahoo.co.uk. Please note that is not an email address, it is his PayPal account name.

He is finalizing the formatting so it could be a day or two before he has it ready to send as a PDF.

Walter
 
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Walter Hay

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Most decent (and genuine) manufacturers will have no problem doing a trial order.

Just speak as though there is no way they'd say no, it's pretty normal.

e.g. I would go through the process of getting the specs down and then write "Ok great, we'll need to do a trial order of X units first of course, when can it be ready etc etc"

You could even offer to pay extra per unit for a lower unit amount.
Good suggestions. A trial order can present some extra costs for a supplier, so you should expect to pay more per unit, but any reasonable manufacturer will understand the importance of a trial order.

Answering with a genuine and matter of fact offer to proceed, as in your e.g., will sort out the ones you want to deal with compared to those you don't want.

I would usually recommend offering to pay extra in the form of a handling fee.

Walter
 

Walter Hay

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factories want to make it worth for them to create a new product as per my design.
Having a new product made to your design will always introduce the question of set up costs. If the product requires something like a mold that could cost a lot, yes they will quite reasonably want a decent size first order to cover the big outlay.

If it is simply a matter of preparing a new software pattern to control a machine that can be set up in minutes (e.g. a 3D printer) then they should do that for a small initial order.

Isn't it counterintuitive that you don't mention your MOQ in the beginning, spend time discussing your product, factory capabilities, asking questions to later find out that the factory doesn't want to work with you unless you commit to their large MOQ (hence time wasted on communication)?
You need to be willing to devote time to exploring the possibilities with a manufacturer, especially if it is for a new product. Don't regard it as wasted time. You should never tell them your MOQ, that is their decision and you can negotiate on it, but once you tell them a number, you are stuck with at least that size MOQ, and very likely more.

"This will be a trial order, and later I will double my quantity later.";
Every supplier who reads something like that will say: "Ho Hum, another dreamer, or maybe he's just trying to fool us like so many others have tried."

They get false promises from buyers every day.

Walter
 

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