Many business owners across the world are choosing to import LED lights from China because of short lead times and cheap prices. China is the biggest exporter of LED lights resulting in billions of dollars of business each year. US, UK, Pakistan, and Canada are the highest importers of Chinese light products.
Being a new importer, finding a trustworthy supplier is not an easy task. Since the industry is highly saturated, you will come across many vendors who will offer shady products at cheap rates. Not all companies based in Chinese are reliable ones. You should look for companies that are in the market for a long time. They have been exporting lights for the last 20 years making them a pioneer in the industry.
Moreover, this guide will give you an idea of how to get started with importing LED lights from China.
Step 1: Look for a Supplier
The first step to look for a reliable supplier is online. There are two main places where you can search for a LED lights supplier, one is Google and the other is Alibaba.
- Google – you can find authentic suppliers here using the right keywords. When you look for a supplier here, you can save time whilst getting good search results. However, those suppliers who manufacture bad products and look for shady deals often buy their placement to the top search results. You still need to be careful.
- Alibaba – this is the biggest platform for Chinese businesses where you can find suppliers right away. This site is specifically made for importers where you can find thousands of options for LED lights. The best part about using Alibaba is that you can check their ratings, prices, minimum order quantity, prices, and contact details. On the other hand, you need to careful as many suppliers do not upload authentic photos of their products.
Moreover, Google has recently tightened the controls on quality websites and does not favor those who have shady websites. You can always look at their websites that you see on Google and make your own judgment on whether the website looks authentic.
Alibaba is a platform that focuses on product search rather than companies. Therefore, when you decide on importing LED lights, you need to use the right keywords in order to find the specific product you are looking for. The drawback when looking for a supplier on Alibaba is that you will be bombarded with thousands of products. this will make it very difficult for you to decide on who is authentic and who is not.
If possible, the best course of action is to visit the supplier’s factory to see how they operate. This may not be possible if you are at the start of your business, but if your business can afford the expenses, do it. The factory will give you an idea about the operations of the vendor and give the right idea about the quality of the products.
This is the best way to prove the claims the vendor makes regarding his or her operations. Moreover, if there are any doubts about the operations, an on-site visit can clear all doubts. If you cannot afford a trip to the factory based in China, you can always contact the vendor to give you a tour via video call. This can clear some doubts, but still, you cannot be fully confident.
Step 2: Avoid Other Common Problems
Once you decide on a lighting manufacturer in China, you need to understand some of the most common LED lights problems business owners face. These can be avoided if you start the discussion of your project plan thoroughly. Make sure that you and your Chinese vendor are on the same page when it comes to project details and expectations. If language is a barrier, it is best to have a translator on board who can clear all doubts about the project.
Brightness and Color Options
Talk to the engineers that the vendor works with and talk about the brightness and color options of the LEDs. Oftentimes, you may find that the brightness of the lights is not enough and the final result is a dull LED which does not look good when installed into a room.
The brightness is called the Lux of the light, which differs according to the area of requirement. Depending on where you are manufacturing the lights for, the lux levels will differ. Make sure that these levels are well understood by the manufacturer.
Vendors like ShineLong who are old players in the industry understand the requirements and know what it takes to manufacture the right LEDs are your best option in China. Moreover, you can get into business with them and have your LED quota fulfilled properly.
Material and Weight
The LED light fixture should be made from an aluminum alloy of the top-quality. This extends the durability of the lights and does not get affected by harsh weather conditions if installed outdoors. This material is the best option for LED lights so make sure that your vendor understands your requirements for materials. As for the weights of the lights, LED bulbs are quite small and therefore weigh very less. The frame of the light is also made from lightweight aluminum so the entire fixture will be light.
Make sure that the final product your vendor manufactures for you is light in weight and does not get affected by hard weather conditions or wear and tear. You will also notice that the final products look polished and of high quality. Do not fall for good samples and bad bulk orders, ensure your vendor’s authenticity.
Bargaining is something that Chinese manufacturers are used to. If you are ordering a large number of LED lights, you will automatically get a big discount. On the other hand, if you have built a good business relationship, the vendor will give you a good 10 to 20% discount depending on your order. When making a deal for the first time, make sure that you do not go very low on the price as that can mean you are getting products of lower quality.
Stay within budget, but do not compromise on the quality of the products. Moreover, never be shy to get a good price from a Chinese supplier as they encourage bargaining. This will also result in building good long-term business relationships.
Step 3: Placing the Order
Once you place the order with a vendor, you will first be entitled to get a sample of the bulk order. Never get fixated on a bulk order without first looking at the samples. All the manufacturers in China first send you a sample and then they start working on the bulk order. The best part is that when you buy a “sample”, it is always priced lower than the actual price of the product itself. So you will not be losing anything but actually getting the feel of your order before importing.
Step 4: Making the Deposit
The standard every Chinese manufacturer follows is taking a 30% deposit before the manufacturing starts. You will have to pay 30% of the agreed amount in advance so the vendor can start with your LED light manufacturing. Once that happens, your order starts processing and on delivery, you pay the rest 70% of the agreed amount.
Step 5: Inspection of LED Lights
This step is crucial for any business deal. You need to check the durability of the LED lights, which are ready to be sent to your destination country. You can visit China and inspect the LED lights yourself. Alternatively, you can ask the vendor to check all the lights and make a video so you can see that. Either way, you will be able to inspect the manufactured products yourself before they are sent to you. This leaves no error of suspicion and you are free to accept your bulk order.
If you are still doubtful about the fault in the products, you can ask the vendor to send you some extra pieces to make up for the loss (if any).
Step 6: Maintenance and Warranty
A good supplier will offer you support and after-sale services. Ask your vendor if they offer maintenance services and guarantee for their products. If so, you have made the deal with the right kind of manufacturer. This shows the vendor’s values and quality of work. They take responsibility for their work and therefore, you can rest assured that you will rarely need to claim this warranty.
Keep in mind the fright charges that you may incur when importing the shipment of your order to your country. These charges often vary according to the imposed duties of different countries. Make sure you add these custom duties in your shipping costs since these will be borne by you. The supplier will not be responsible for handling custom duties of your country.
ShineLong has been serving clients all over the world for the last 20 years and continues to do so. You can rely on a team of experts to manufacture the highest quality of LED lights in the world.