Buying from a China Factory: Caution
Are You Hearing These Words Yet? Chapter 1
Looking to buy from China factory soon? Many people from around the world will need help when purchasing from a china factory. The problem is that everyone thinks that a middle man is there and he is making money from his transactions. So what happens next is that he wants to cut out the middle man and buy direct from the factory himself. But here’s what happens based on my experience after living here in China for six years and dealing with several factories.
Firstly, China is a country with very different standards and a culture that would be deemed opposite to the west! The Chinese want the business and don’t care who buys from them, whether it be a distributor or a consumer-direct! The distributors have more experience and, in most cases, have experience in buying from China factory.
So my article is really for the direct consumer whom I have watched try to navigate the rice fields and taxis for that golden path to that lowest price with the highest quality. So with that is mind, let’s look at these three big purchasing words: High Quality, Full Size, and Cheap. These adjectives would make you the hero in your buying department if you could put a checkmark beside all three. However, it can’t happen without something going awry.
If you want ……. High Quality and Full Size? ……. It won’t be cheap!
If you want …… Full Size and Cheap? ……. It won’t be high quality!
If you want …… Cheap and High Quality? It won’t be full size!
You can only get two of these adjectives in any buying scenario. If you did get all three, someone lied or cheated you.
All factories will say, “we have the best quality” and “yes, we can give you the best price? And some factories will promise you the above two along with “full size.” Warning bells should be going off.
So this is why you should have someone who knows their way around the China factory floors to help you. It’s not about go-betweens. It’s about saving you money and headaches and, in the end, stopping you from wasting your money on a shipment of goods deemed useless.
Understand Between the Lines
Every china email marketer will tell you about outstanding quality. Our prices are the best. How do you know? Even if you travel there, you only see the horse and pony show. You don’t hear the daily decisions or understand the choices of materials etc. You don’t see inside the machines or your products. In the end, you know a model, maybe in a picture.
Or perhaps you attend the factory. You maybe see a few defects, but they are fixed and covered up. When you get your product, you will say it doesn’t perform. Oh yes, let’s contact the factory. I have a year’s warranty. Well, in the end. The factory says sorry. Can you glue it? We will send you some glue. But you want it shipped back. But soon realize that it will only ship on your arranging and payment. Then we will need to send shipping funds to release it from the factory.
Look, let’s stop here. I wish people will learn to realize that there is more to what meets the eyes! I can keep writing articles on clients who did it themselves and are thinking they can sue the factory. Forget it, that’s another post we will discuss. Get it right the first time.
Hire someone (like myself) who can follow your project from start to finish. Either buy from established distributors or get help. Chinese can smell the wet ears and lack of wisdom from a mile away. Watch for part two of this article. Remember, sometimes trying to save a buck can appear as greed. In Other Words, you are taking it on all yourself.
After you gain experience, ok, jump in. But please don’t think that you are an expert in design, engineering, production just because you have used the product at home. It is the case, why so many horror stories are floating about. Is it the China factory’s fault?
Inflatables Factories sell cheap!
Here’s what’s happening in the factory salesrooms. I will refer to our line of inflatables from this point on.
Inflatable factories and other factories all have big rooms filled with little desks and all filled with young 20 somethings, fresh out of university. Why? Because they are the ones with the best English. So right out of the gate, all the emails they are sending out to the “consumer” or the “end-user” sound and look good but have no substance.
The typical Chinese marketer is looking for anybody that would be a buyer. Never mind target markets; they are just digging for email addresses that will resemble anything close to a target consumer, which is usually the end-user.
So then, we have these end-users getting emails directly from the inflatable factories. It is astronomical in terms of numbers. If you say, there are ten thousand factories of anything in China? Just look at Alibaba’s website in terms of factories or traders, you will see 33,000 is modest since Asia alone has over 20 million suppliers. But back to the math.
Furthermore, every factory has a team on an average of 20 people. Well, that is 20 times 33,000 factories? So now we have an army of over half a million email marketers blasting over 200 emails a day. So over 120 million emails a day pumping out of China? “help!” Please, somebody, check my math, but for argument sakes, you are getting the idea here.
So in essence, I now wish good luck to the global distributors out there since all the end-users now start running to their local bars, buying rounds of draft beer, jumping up on the tables declaring, “I have my factory in China, and I don’t care who hears me.”
It happened to me.
Not buying me rounds of draft beer, but when I called my local clients in Canada who lived around the block, they declared this statement to me, one by one. Within a year, I was losing money fast. Everyone was ignoring me. Low priced inflatables were the glittering gold of the Yukon!
Now here is the long and short of it. I was going broke, reduced my staff and overhead. I had my machines, and then something began that I didn’t recognize at first. I started to get a call from one of my first clients to buy direct from China. It turned out that the inflatables did not meet code here in Canada. I had to modify nets and anchoring points. So, this was good. I saw the week points right away on the china Inflatables.
Now get this… I submitted my bill for working very hard on his parking lot with my knife and sewing machine. I am very knowledgeable and removed sections and rebuild the inflatable to a “better than new” state. I didn’t fix them built rebuilt them. I charged double since he will recoup in one rental. Simple math? I think so.
Became a Mobile Factory
As time went on, I became very busy with all my clients. I couldn’t keep up, so I hired extra staff and provided on the spot service. I was now a mobile factory. But every invoice I submitted, they all complained because they said these inflatables are brand new, I said, then return them, we all laughed since shipping to china and back was triple the value, two months wasted. So I said, pay me now in full. That’s is my price! With 25 years of experience in the industry, you guys are forcing me out of business by buying from the China Factory.
Now, as of that date, I began charging triple rates as they needed me, and they didn’t give a rat’s dash about my livelihood. It was a love-hate relationship, but they failed or refused to see that
1) I rebuilt better than new, and
2) they could recoup over one or two rentals on an inflatable with 5 years’ life span. Again, please someone help me with the math.
I had a good two-year run, all the while having arguments in every office saying I was overpricing. Then changes were on the horizon. Both with me and Chinese factories.