Hey guys! Welcome to the second episode of Ask Jungle Scout. Hope you enjoyed the first episode! If you haven’t checked it out make sure you do that. If you want your question to be answered on the show make sure you put it in the comments below this video for a chance for it to be picked out for another episode. Alright, Question one is from Vadimas. How about customs duty if sending goods from China to the US? When and how should you pay duties tax? Thanks for the question Vadimas. So what I’ve seen, is that sellers will tell their supplier, that we need freight forwarder that will handle customer duties. So basically they will pick – and a lot of them like Fedex and DHL etc – they generally all handle customers duties. So if your supplier is handling your shipping for you they will basically tell you when there’s duties tax to be owed or they might ask for you to pay a certain amount up front. They might say “okay, based on your shipment value, it could be about two hundred dollars, so please pay that in advance so that your shipment isn’t held up and then whatever the balances we will pay you back” So if you’ve got a good relationship with your suppliers that option should be fine. You might be asked to pay a certain amount upfront, that then your supplier will let you know how much it actually was, and then they’ll reimburse you with the rest or they’ll credit you for the next time there’s customs duties to be paid. The other route to ago is if you organize the freight forwarder yourself. There are a out there – Shapiro I know is quite a popular one. I don’t know from personal experience but I believe it’s a very straightforward process, they look after that all for you, so if you choose a US freight forwarder and so basically what they do is they pick up your shipment from China and they’re responsible for it all the way over to the US and they’ll walk you through the whole process of paying customs duties. Whichever option you choose the most important thing is that you make your supplier or your forwarder aware that you need someone or you need the customs duties to be paid. You just need to ask the question and let them know it it needs to be paid and they’ll tell you whether that particular freight forwarder is able to handle that for you. Other sellers I’ve spoken to, have said that basically they will get a call from let’s say Fed Ex or DHL saying that they’re holding their stock and they won’t release it until the customs duties are paid and then they’ve just been able to pay it over the phone or online and as soon as they do that, then the items are then released. Question 2 is from Greg. How do you bundle products using overseas suppliers? Ok firstly why would you want to bundle your items? One of the big reasons people bundle different items together is to make their offering unique to what everyone else is selling and also to make it harder for other people to come in and copy their product. So while it might seem a bit more difficult it’s actually not too different to just getting one item. Essentially you can ask the one supplier if they stock the other item that you’re after and get them bundled together or in some cases you might need to find two different suppliers. In that case you would then pick the supplier that you want to be the main sort of supplier that will ship your product through the US. I would ask that supplier “are you happy OR are you willing to accept this product and put it in a package with your product?” and quite often I’ll be happy to do that and so then with the second supplier all you do is you just place an order with them as per usual but you get them to ship it through to the other factory. The good thing about this is that shipping from one factory in China to another factory is usually fairly cheap so the shipping there will be quite minimal, and then as I said you get factory A to package the two products together and then send them off together as one unit to the US. Question 3 is from Assad. Is it a must to get a trademark now for our product? Basically the answer is no. The purpose of a trademark is to further protect your brand or your products from other people copying them. When you’re just starting out your business, you haven’t launched any products, there really isn’t any reason for anyone to want to take your name or to really infringe upon that, and to get a trademark is quite an expensive thing to do. So generally speaking a lot of sellers will start up their business without a trademark and then that’s something that they’ll look at once their business has been well established. The point at which you want to look at getting a trademark is really up to you and is dependent on how far along you are in your business and when you would like to make that leap. If you’ve got the ability to get a trademark for your brand it certainly is a good idea and does give you a certain level of protection however it’s not necessary at all to have for your business. Question 4 is from Jordan. Any general tips for Aussie sellers starting up? This is a great question that doesn’t just apply to Australia but also sellers from all over the world that are outside of the US. As a seller in Australia the biggest challenge that I came across was keeping my money in US dollars because Amazon pays you in US dollars and then generally your suppliers in China will accept US dollars only, and Amazon only pays you out in the currency of your own country. So if I was getting paid from Amazon they would send it in Australian dollars or it will be converted to Australian dollars. You can open up things like foreign-currency accounts so I could have a business account here in Australia that is in US. dollars however Amazon would still send in Australian dollars because that’s the country it’s going to. Now the problem with that is if they send it in Australian dollars, if they send me a thousand dollars US, that gets converted to Australian. Then if I use that to pay a supplier in China, in that conversion rate in me converting it back to US dollars I’ll probably lose some money. So long term for your business, you don’t want to be losing money in the exchange. So how do you go about keeping it in US dollars? Well when i first started I found a great service called Payonner. They give you a credit card and they accept Amazon payments in US dollars. You can make payments with this US credit card however when paying suppliers I couldn’t use a credit card so in that instance I was able to use Paypal with that credit card linked to it. Now the downside of this is that you get charged approximately a four percent fee on every transaction going through. The other thing as well is that not all suppliers will accept Paypal. They often will, for smaller samples or smaller orders but when you’re looking at larger orders they generally won’t accept Paypal. A great service that I’ve now found which is great for Australian sellers but I’m sure a lot of other foreign sellers as well, it’s called World First. So I believe they are somehow connected to Citibank but they’ve got the ability to set you up with a US bank account so you can get paid into that account with US dollars and then you can make payments to suppliers from there in US dollars. The other really big challenge I found as a foreign seller was figuring out the US tax system and the legal requirements. Now I want to start this out by saying that I’m not legal advisor. I can’t give you business advice this is just what I found in my own experience. So firstly as a foreign seller do you need to pay tax in the US? Without going into it too much, if you’re doing FBA in the US, yes you do need to pay sales tax in those states. Any state where your inventory is being held. So it’s not just the address or the state that you’re sending your inventory to, because Amazon will often distribute your inventory to many different warehouses so that it can access their customers quicker. So you might have to pay in a number of states. Now how do you find out which states you need to pay sales tax in? Well i found that TaxJar is very good for that. So basically TaxJar will tell you all the different states that you’re selling in. Now how do you go about registering in all those states? Basically you need an accountant in the US. I actually found that on Seller Central they list a number of accountants that help people with Amazon businesses. Contact all of them. I believe most of them should be able to help foreign entities, foreign sellers to register for sales tax in the relevant states in the US. Then of course that same accountant can help you figure out any other relevant forms or help you to do an actual tax return in the US. Ok so the second part of George’s question Also how to save money shipping wise if products are sent to Australia before it goes to FBA? Mate, I haven’t found a way. Most Australian sellers I’ve spoken too, just send direct from China to the US. It’s just too expensive to send it to Australia first and then to send to the US. It does make it harder. You do have the option of getting different services in China to inspect your products before it leaves there so that it gives you some peace of mind about that product. The best thing to do is to get some samples sent out to you. Unfortunately then, you do need to kind of hope that the quality of your big shipment matches the quality of the samples. Perhaps you could get a couple of samples for each shipment that get sent into the US to give you some further peace of mind. As a long-term business play, you want to build a good relationship with your supplier so the more you can do that, you can get to a point where you can trust them that they are indeed sending the best quality. I don’t know if any other of these sellers or foreign sellers have any other experiences or found a cheaper way to send to Australia and then onto the US. If you have, make sure you put it in the comments below to help us other Aussie sellers and any other foreign sellers. So those are all the questions for this week. I wanted to try and keep it a little bit shorter but again if you want your question to be answered on the show make sure you put it in the comments below. Give us a thumbs up if you liked today’s episode. We’ll see you next week!