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A high price from your China supplier may mean…

by Jacob Yount

Do not let a high price quote make you think the vendor is incapable and not worthy of further negotiations.

Many importers miss out on opportunities to work with quality suppliers because the buyer perceives their quote to be a high price.

To the impatient importer, the high price is immediately classified as a sign of that the vendor is incapable, unprofessional or trying to cheat them.

Not so fast.

When importing from China, here are some reasons you may be receiving high prices and hopefully these tips will show you  some necessary shifts in your work method…

Vague inquiries:

If the buyer does not concern themselves with details, why should the vendor?

“Just make it a high price to cover our backsides”… that could be the reason.

Vague, non-specific requests cause a China vendor to add on price padding.

I would venture to say a majority of inquiries sent from buyers, especially in the smaller item arena (promotional products, retail items) are too vague.

A ton of info left unsaid and the vendor has to fill in the blanks. “Did they want this? Do they mean that? Are they going to complain if it doesn’t have this?

Whenever a quickie, unprofessional inquiry that looks like it was sent from an iPhone brings up a world of questions, it’s hard to blame the vendor whenever they are not overly concerned with playing 20-questions.

Different quality level considered:

A high price may be because there is not an apples to apples comparison going on. The factory quotes aspects of the job that are not necessary for your particular case.

The factory, from their own usual way of manufacturing the piece, by habit includes an additional process, an additional layer of packing (individual versus bulk) or even a more higher-end piece than necessary.

In this sense, the quote is high because of vital information left off the original RFQ. If the item is to be a short-term use item but high perceived value, let the factory know. If you do not need a quote for higher-end caliber material, let the factory know. The more detail you provide in the original brief, the more precise the factory is in quoting. Add punch to your inquiry.

Small quantity:
 

The factory has more in mind than your immediate need for a quickie priceSmall quantities can mean high prices. This does not mean the vendor is not quoting properly but that, in the particular case, smaller runs simply warrant a higher quote.

Smaller runs have material waste. Smaller runs can actually take more quality control. Smaller runs look expensive because a base price is still required.

When that is proportioned over a small quantity, it makes each unit look expensive. It’s math.

Lack of trust:

Just as you may think a high price means a clueless vendor, the vendor may have quoted that high price because they view you as a clueless customer.

They don’t know you, you sent a vague inquiry, the vendor does not sense a professionalism, thus they may quote something high to see if you’re worth further work.

It’s a way to weed out the fluff. How about buyers who quote a million times from the same supplier and seldom give feedback and close very few, if any, orders?

A high price may be the supplier’s way of working to get rid of you.

If you close on it, great, if not, great.


Jacob Yount lived in China from 2001 to 2012, during which time he started JLmade. He is now based out of North Carolina in the US and his home office is still in Suzhou, China; manufacturing and exporting branded merchandise, promotional products and retail gifts for distributors worldwide. Contact Jacob at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or find him on his blog.

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