Starting an Import Export
Home Business

Many promising entrepreneurs who are looking for business ideas stumble across the idea of an import export home business. But exactly what are import export businesses and how can you start your own?  This guide will get you started.

Let’s start with basic import export information. A business that handles imports and exports basically imports goods from other countries that you just can’t get, grow or manufacture in your home state or country.  They also export goods to other countries that can’t get such goods elsewhere.

In short, you make money by bringing goods from one part of the world to another part that doesn’t have access to those goods. You essentially buy and ship the goods and then sell them for a price that’s higher than your costs.

You may be asking yourself how much money there is to be made in the import export business. The U.S. Department of Commerce reports that about $1.2 trillion worth of goods are imported every year. American exports amounted to $772 billion in goods that were sent to more than 150 different countries.

It’s important to note that despite those large dollar amounts, 96 percent of the businesses in the import / export industry are small businesses just like the one you will start if you decide to get into the industry.


Pros and Cons of an Import / Export Home Business


Whenever you start any kind of business, there is always the risk that you won’t make money or that you will even lose your investment. You must calculate all of your costs carefully in order to avoid any major setbacks or losses in your import / export home business.

Also make sure that you look into all legal requirements of all the countries you deal with. If you don’t follow the laws, you could face legal action or have your shipments impounded or otherwise detained by authorities.

Of course the major benefit of opting for an import export business is the ability to build a highly profitable business.


Getting Started With an Import / Export Business Opportunity

Getting started with an import export home business takes a lot of planning and leg work. Before you can begin trading, you need an import and export license.

You also need to do some research on import export leads. These leads will give you some ideas about what to sell, where to find it, and where you could make money on it. The Federation of International Trade Associations is a great place to start building leads and contacts.

Other Tips for Starting an Import / Export Home Business

As you learn how to import / export, you’ll begin to see some patterns. For example, you will see that many businesses import from China because production costs have historically been very low there.  China wholesale suppliers and manufacturers are often a good choice for start-ups and well established businesses alike.  Another example for such patterns would be olive oil import / export from the Mediterranean to the U.S, which can be very profitable considering about 90 percent of it comes from that part of the world.

Check out the ‘Export Business Planner’ from the Small Business Administration for even more information about the import export industry and read the other pages on this site for more in-depth how-to information.

Before you start up your own import export home business, explore the free webinar series provided online by the U.S. Department of Commerce for more information.



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