Arranging logistics around the globe for hardware startups is always a challenge. Especially if you do it for the first time. Our experience and key learnings.
1. Since we have manufacturing in China, Hong Kong was the obvious location for our global fulfilment center. Among different options, we’ve opted for Eashyship platform, since there were no minimum orders requirement and no setup fees. Easyship is just a platform that connects shipping providers, so we’ve signed a separate contract with one of Easyship’s warehousing partners for fulfillment and storage services.
You can check out the list of fulfiment centers in Hong Kong: https://www.chinaimportal.com/blog/fulfillment-centers-china-hong-kong/
2. In average, you should expect the following storage and fulfilment fees
In Hong Kong the fulfilment fee is $1.3 – $1.7 per order and storage fee around $20-$35 per month per square meter.
In the USA the fulfilment fee is around $3 – $3.5 per order and storage fee around $24 per square meter / month for storage.
3. Try to estimate the shipping cost in advance. The cost depends on the destination, package dimensions, weight and insurance. You can do it using the online calculator https://www.easyship.com/plan-your-crowdfunding-campaign
4. Check potential tax and duties https://www.simplyduty.com/import-calculator/.
Be careful with import tax and duties, they could be surprisingly high. If you decide to pass the costs of tax and duties along to your backers, try to make a clear notice in order to avoid unpleasant surprises for them.
5. Think about how to handle returns. The cost of international return logistics could be much more higher compared to the cost of shipment. Moreover you have to set up procedures how to check returns and put qualified goods back to inventory or refurbish them.
6. Check the consignee addresses with your backers just before shipment. It’s very likely that the address could be changed and backers did not necessarily notify you. The rerouting of international shipments is costly even if the destination country is the same.