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Questions regarding international sales.

Discussion in 'Pipe Making Forums' started by halpuff, Jan 5, 2014.

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  1. halpuff

    halpuff Member

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    Just wondering what percentage of artisan pipe makers out there offer to sell their pipes internationally.

    I was haveing this conversation with someone on eBay and they told me that if you typically have no problem selling your items nationally then the hassels of international sales are not worth the head aches. However, they qualified this statement by saying it you are selling high dollar items, and the items have just as much interest both nationally and internationally, then international sales may be more attractive and worth the effort.

    If you go to the lengths to read all that eBay has to say regarding international sales, the process of just wading through all the dialog is enough to scare some people off.

    On the other hand though, I feel the process could possibly be easier than imagined, because I have read the shipping instructions for some of the high end artisan pipe makers which basically read:

    * For international sales shipping will be a flat $35.00.
    *Payment is required through PayPal only.
    * Returns for international sales will be honored but the pipe must be returned unsmoked and with its original box and sock.
    *If returned in its original condition credit will be issued through PayPal less the shipping costs.

    These simple instructions sounds to me like the seller simply boxes up the pipe, takes it to the post office, fills out any required customs form, and away it goes.

    Is it that simple, or is there more to it than that?

    Seems to me it would really open up your market possibilities if international sales were a simple issue.

    Can some of you experienced sellers out there enlighten us on the pros and cons?

    Thanks,

    Halpuff
     


  2. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    I sell internationally. The process is simpler than what you just described. At my shop, they pay with PayPal. You get a notice from PP that you have been paid. You click on the "Print Label'' button. Buyer's address is already populated. You enter item description and value and pay PP and print the label. Attach label to box. Either carry it to the post office or do what I do. I just walk out to my roadside mailbox, stick it in and put the flag up. Done in less time than it took to type this.
     
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  3. halpuff

    halpuff Member

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    Thanks DGErwin for your reply.

    *Do you have to fill out any customs forms or anything like that?

    *Like I described above...do you just charge a flat $35.00 or whatever for international shipping? And will that charge ship a pipe anywhere in the world?

    *Have you had any nightmare experiences with international sales?

    *Do you pay for insurance, or does the buyer do that?

    *Do you feel that participating in international sales is a big plus for your business?

    *According to eBay there may be some parts of the world you would not, or will not be allowed to ship to and are instructed to exclude these areas from you offer. How would one know where these countries are, and have you ever had anyone purchase a pipe that lived in a country that would not accept the pipe?


    I apologize for all the questions. If it helps you can answer in the space under each question.
     
  4. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    I charge $20.00 to Canada, $25.00 to the rest of the world. This is for USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail. UPS or FedEx will be much more.
    I am not aware of any countries restricting impotation of pipes.
    If you use PayPal shipping service for labels, the customs forms are included. Answer 2 or 3 questions is all.
    I have had no nightmares. I have mailed over 200 packages and the only lost one was in New York.
    Insurance is for your protection, so you would pay for it. If a buyer opens a non delivery claim, PP will almost always side with them.
    I would not say it is a big plus, but I do get some international sales. Look at it like this. If yo list something on eBay, Etsy or your own site, it costs you nothing to offer international shipping. The customer pays the shipping charge. The extra paperwork for customs adds maybe 2 minutes. I just can't think of a downside.

    Make sure that your customers know they are responsible for import duties, VATs and other fees. Some customers will ask you to declare on the customs forms it is a gift and ask you to put a low value on it so they can avoid taxes. This is called a FELONY. Don't do it. You would be fined or go to jail.
     
  5. redneckviking

    redneckviking Member

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    I ship my pipes internationally probably 90% of the time, as you guys across the pond have a stronger appetite for the pipes I make. Here in the uk, there is just a small customs declaration sticker to fill in at the post office. Without international sales, I would hardly sell anything! :)
     
  6. halpuff

    halpuff Member

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    Thanks for the info DGErwin11.
    I've highlighted a couple of lines above that I need some clarity on.
    You said "If a buyer opens a non delivery claim, PP will almost always side with them".
    I'm not sure what this means. What is a non delivery claim, what is PP?, and what does it mean for me if PP sides with them?

    Secondly you state to: Make sure that your customers know they are responsible for import duties, VATs and other fees.
    I know I should then write this statement into my shipping information on my listing. Correct?
    Also, what is VATs?
    And lastly....will these import duties, VATs, or other fees be charged to the buyer seperately by other entities on his end of the transaction? Are these fees something that I need to be concerned about that I need to charge the buyer for up front and add these charges into my selling price?
     
  7. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    PP=PayPal.
    Non-delivery claim means they did not receive their order and PP will refund their money and charge you. This is where insurance will help protect you financially.

    VAT=Value Added Tax, big in Europe. You can't collect them. They are paid by the buyer to their government. Your only action is to put a statement in your shipping policies. Even if you don't include the statement, you are not liable for taxes their government charges them.
     
  8. halpuff

    halpuff Member

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    Thanks for your help! Now I promise I won't ask anymore questions so you can go back to work making pipes.
     
  9. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    My shop needs to get above 30 degrees first.
     
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  10. halpuff

    halpuff Member

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    Do you have some kind of woodburning stove or other kind of heat in your shop?
    Last I looked it was only minus 5 degrees here in Iowa today after getting down to 10 below last night. And looks like it's going to be around 12 below zero tonight.
     
  11. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    My shop is my covered but open back porch. But it faces south so it gets warm from the sun most of the time.
     
  12. ruffinogold

    ruffinogold Ruffinogold-Mayor, I.R.G.E.--At Large. Mayor

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    I hear that !
     
  13. halpuff

    halpuff Member

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    Do you do any shipping to China?
    I just read an article in the "Pipes and Cigars" catalog that I just received where the author mentioned that China is the largest pipe consuming market in the world with the American market making up only %40 to %45 of this authors business.
    So, it would not make sense to me to leave China out of a pipe makers market if this is the case.
     
  14. DGErwin11

    DGErwin11 Moderator Moderator

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    I offer shipping to China, just not had any orders from there yet.
     
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