Here are some considerations for requesting a price from a China supplier.

Know who you are working with.

Success comes when you think like your vendors think.

This could be 1st time suppliers or suppliers, that maybe you have worked with a bit but nothing on a large scale.

A large scale client would be one that the owner of the factory is aware of. A client who orders considerable volume. A volume that is not only considerable for you, the buyer, but also considerable for the factory.

If you do not fall into this “large scale” category then keep these thoughts in mind when requesting a price from a China supplier.

Factories are busy.

I think many importers think of a Chinese factory where the factory workers are sitting around playing majong, just waiting for the inquiries to pour in off the inquiry machine. As soon as the bell rings and your inquiry comes through, the factory workers jump up and scream “we got one” and blow the old steam whistle you used to see in the Popeye cartoons from the 40’s.

The factory that handles your inquiry or mass production order may get the bulk of their business from domestic buyers…domestic buyers that perhaps are easier to deal with!  

The factories are busy, they are busy machines handling their own orders, their own established business and you’ve stepped into their world. 

In requesting a price from a China supplier avoid the finger snapping and the “we need this EOD and asap. This quote must have this and must have that and we expect that.” 

A little professional graciousness goes a long way.

(and avoid those dang abbreviations EOD, ASAP!!!)

The factory in all truthfulness, does not really know you or owe you.

Consider, a busy factory receives how many inquiries per week? How man of those inquiries come to closure?

What’s going to show the China supplier that your inquiry is more important? Why should they stop what they are doing and quote you? 

On an even more dangerous level; what’s going to give the suppler the incentive to quote you well or correctly?

An incorrect quote is worse than no quote at all.

The reality is, is that unless you are a very large customer with very large orders, you have to “sell yourself” a bit when working with a 1st-time factory.

A zealous sales person does not mean a cooperative or caring factory.

Now I realize many suppliers send marketing emails. A zealous sales person doesn’t necessarily equal a willing or cooperative factory. A trade company who contacts you for business is then having to contact factories and a zealous sales contact from a trade company does not mean the actual order is regarded by the factory with the same gusto. 

Keep in mind the sales person is not the factory and the factory is not the sales person. The sales person may confirm conditions that the factory does not accept or even know about (this is one of the reasons that agreed upon conditions and acknowledgments mysteriously change or “missed”).

Your goal should be to utilize your sales contact as an inroad to the factory as a whole.

When you are requesting a price, the factory does not know if you are going to order and they will treat your inquiry as such.

This is a very common pothole or obstacle that an importer can fall into;  they receive the quotation and everything lines up. The importer is ready to move to the next stages based on what has been quoted.

The importer returns to the factory and starts giving the green light for this and wants to rock and roll on that and then the factory says, “Wait – we did not quote this specification and we didn’t consider this request.”

On more than 1 occasion this has happened to us where we’ve asked the factory, basically, how did this happen, why did you not quote correctly the first time? And the factory answers

We did not think you were going to order…

The factory assumes and consider that there is going to be back-and-forth .

If you take their quote and then go build a foundation by either quoting someone else or laying out your plan without going over everything, then you are operating in a very careless fashion.

The undiscerning importer thinks:  “this company quoted me and they did it with such precision and skill that any error will be fully absorbed and paid for by the vendor.”

The vendor thinks:  “this initial, loose quote is something for us to talk about – contact us when ready to discuss.”

Your original inquiry when requesting a price from a China supplier is considered by the vendor to be more of a “demo” or a practice run.

And for many clients who do not have all their ducks in a row when sending in the RFQ and do not seem to know what they want, it’s hard to blame the vendor for thinking this way, right?

Keeping the right perspective of who your factory is, what they think, will then in turn help you to be more precise and proactive.

…it will help in requesting a price from a China supplier; you send in your specs in a sleeker, more effective way.

…knowing your factory and “what makes them tick” will now lead you to calculate what may go wrong and plan accordingly by having your factory focus on an area or by making sure you get sufficient proof before proceeding and shipment.

Right quality and further sells are tightly knit to knowing that your factory DOES NOT THINK LIKE YOU DO.