How to Buy Bounce Houses from China
Buying commercial inflatable bounce houses from China is not that difficult. It surely requires some tedious efforts to go through the whole process, but you can do it, even if you are a newbie of importing.
There are many reasons why you purchase bounce houses from Chinese companies. Whichever that might be, it is a legit business decision.
Let’s go through the main steps.
How to Pay China
Before anything, learning how to make a payment to China’s suppliers is critical. This relates to not only how you can save some costs and also security of your money. You want to avoid fraud, and when things go south, you can at least reclaim some fund back.
There are quite a few payment methods to pay Chinese companies. All payments will charge you some transfer fee.
- Wire transfer / bank transfer / TT (Telegraphic transfer)
- Credit cards
- Western Union
- LC (Letter of credit)
- Cash (if you are in China)
If you a buyer on Alibaba, you can consider their Trade Assurance service.
Know Where to Find Them
First of all, you need to find out those Chinese inflatable factories and manufacturers. There are 3 major ways:
- Google searches
- E-commerce platforms
- Trade fairs
The most well-known platforms are Alibaba.com, Aliexpress.com and Made-in-China.com. You can attend IAAPA in Florida, IAAPA Europe or Canton Fair in Guangzhou, China. Most of these inflatable manufacturers also have their own websites.
Make a Contact
You should probably make a contact anyway to learn more about the company you are going to deal with. But bear in mind, you should expect a bit communication difficulty. The English skills of Chinese salesperson is a little crude, after all English is not their mother tongue. They can understand you, meanwhile you should also keep your language simple.
You have several ways to make a first contact:
- Writing an Email
- Contact form or quote form on their websites
- Phone call
- Social platforms
- Instant messaging apps
To my knowledge, Email is the most welcome communication method to talk to Chinese sales reps. And you would often received delayed replies because of time difference. Thus you should make every contact count, get to the point and provide as many info as needed.
Negotiating and Manufacturing
Once you decide which inflatable manufacturer to work with, the next stage is negotiating. You twos need to make sure every detail is discussed and confirmed, including the price, design, lead time, shipping, etc. You’ll need to sign a contract or purchase order (PO).
Your inflatable bouncers, combos or slides, they need some time to be manufactured. The turnaround time of manufacturing commercial inflatables may take weeks even months. Not to mention sea freight shipping also takes a significant time, around 20 – 40 days. So if you are going to make purchase from China, plan it in advance before your actual date and event.
Shipping and Logistics
There are several shipping methods for forwarding your inflatable units from China to your country. And remember you are the one who pays the shipping cost.
- Air freight
- Sea freight
- Rail freight transport
The express is the fastest yet most expensive shipping method. Only time you want this option is when your are really desperate.
The most common way is sea freight shipment. It takes much longer time. If you are an importer from USA, it may need even 2 months.
You can find shipping agency yourself, or let the inflatable factory help you deal with the shipping. Since commercial inflatable products are pricey and international transportation has a lot of risk potentials, you’d better purchase the shipping insurance.
About clearing customs, you can do it the hard way, aka by yourself, or take the easy way out, aka hire a freight forwarder. If you choose to go through it on your own, you’ll need to go to the port or airport, fill out some documents (invoice, packing slip, shipping label, etc) and pay some taxes or custom duties.
Other Things to Know
Chinese New Year
Chinese factories often let their workers take a long holiday off during the Chinese New Year. In this period, about 10 – 20 days, the fabrication of your inflatables stays still.
They will let you pay some amounts of deposit before confirming your order. Normally 30% – 50% of the total payment.
If you are in a hurry, you can buy their inflatable bouncers in stock. Those stocks are often abandoned orders by other buyers, either somehow they don’t want them anymore or run out of funds suddenly.
Some inflatable equipment require some additional accessories, such as blowers, stakes, etc. You can buy them from those inflatable manufacturers or ask them to buy from other China suppliers for you.
Now, if you are still not intimidated, Channal Inflatables help you manufacture your commercial bounce houses and arrange every thing easy for you. We own an inflatable warehouse in USA and are an exhibitor of IAAPA.