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Here’s How to Ship Samples as a Small Business Owner

Please note, this guide is specifically for business samples. Medical samples have very different shipping and packaging requirements. If you would like to send medical samples, please be sure to do proper research before booking your delivery.

For businesses of all shapes and sizes, one of the key aspects of enticing your customers is proving to them that you have a product that they want. Samples of your product or service is a great way to do just that, but when you are trying to build an international presence, shipping samples also offers up a whole host of unique problems.

One such is making sure that the sample that you’re sending actually arrives at its destination. Like any other shipment, samples run the risk of being delayed in customs and can even fall afoul of sample specific rules and regulations during the clearance process. It’s not ideal for a prospective customer to be forced to pay duties and taxes, so it’s vital to make sure that you do everything possible to simplify the process.

There are benefits to sending goods as samples, too. Many items that may have duties and taxes applied if sent normally become eligible for concessions when sent as samples. And shipping samples doesn’t have to be as intimidating as it sounds. In reality, shipping samples internationally is simple enough to be broken down into a few simple steps.

Pick the right product

There are many goods that are banned or restricted for shipping by courier. These can include common commercial goods like perfume or cleaning products, so it’s important to be sure that the goods you plan to send are allowed to be carried.

Certain hazardous goods are not normally carried by couriers like FedEx and TNT, but may be carried by specialty couriers. Do your research when planning delivery of your goods, as there may be solutions to these problems. Some restricted items include:

  • Explosives
  • Firearms or air rifles
  • Flammable products of any type
  • Furs
  • Ivory and ivory products
  • Knives or weapons
  • Live animals
  • Perfume, aftershave and other fragrances
  • Pornographic material
  • Tobacco and tobacco products

Similarly, there are goods that are not allowed to imported to countries around the world. Be sure to check the regulations in your destination of choice and make sure that you are allowed to ship your goods there.

Prepare your samples

Some destinations, like the USA and Italy, require that any and all samples that are imported be mutilated, so that they cannot be resold upon arrival. For example, if you are sending samples of shoes to Italy and fail to mutilate them so that they cannot be resold, Italian customs have been known to drill holes in the soles of the shoes before clearing them from customs.

Similarly, if you are shipping textiles to the USA, you will need to ensure that your goods are sufficiently mutilated. In the case of textiles, this means that the textiles must feature the word “sample” in indelible ink, and must be at one inch in height and two inches in length.

Alternatively, you may mutilate the goods by making a cut or tear. This must be at least two inches in length and has to be made on the outside of the textile.

Proper Paperwork please

When shipping internationally, paperwork is vital to clearing customs. This is doubly true when sending a sample, as proper paperwork could be the difference between duties and tax exemptions or extra fees for your customers.

Be sure to make not of the fact that the contents of your package are a sample, and have no commercial value. If necessary, clearly state that the goods have been mutilated. You will need to make clear that the goods are not for resale upon arrival at the destination. If this is the case, there should be no problems in clearing customs.

When you ship goods as samples, the most important factor is ensuring that you do proper research. There is detailed information available at most government sites, and if you would like more information about shipping samples with ParcelHero, you can visit the country specific page on our website.

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