TAS 006 : The 5 Steps For Finding And Sourcing Products To Private Label And Not Get Scammed

One of the hardest parts of starting your Amazon FBA Business is sourcing a product from China or overseas. I have sourced two products so far and working on my third as I write this post and I've had good luck so far.

But, I feel it's because of the research and the suppliers I contact. In this episode I share with you my 5 steps for finding suppliers and feeling confident I won't get scammed.

The 5 Steps:

  • 1. Search for Products In Alibaba.com
  • 2. Use Filters To Find Highest Quality Suppliers
  • 3. Contact Supplier with Specific Questions (Very Important Step)
  • 4. Respond to Suppliers That Email Back
  • 5. Place First Order and WAIT!

I go into great detail on the podcast, so you'll hear all the ins and outs for choosing the right supplier.

The Podcast recording is down below or you can find it on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

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•Email Template For Suppliers-

I mentioned in the podcast that I would include a basic email with the question to ask.

Hi, My name is ————– and I'm the purchasing agent for XYZ Company.

We are in the process of adding a ——————— to our product line and your product seems to be what we are looking for.

I have a few questions.

1. Do you offer samples and how much including DHL Express Shipping to United States zip code 89078?
2. How long to receive 2 samples?
3. Can we pay using Paypal?
4. Can we change the color ?
5. Can we brand with our logo?
6. What is the cost per unit including shipping by DHL Air Express to United States Zip Code 89076?
7. How long for manufacturing once we place order?
8. Do you accept Escrow payments?

Our first order of 500 will be a small test order and in the future will be ordering between 1,000 to 5,000 units.

Can we order 500 units for the first order?

We are looking forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank You!

John Doe
-Kitchen Express –  Purchasing Agent

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Tip: Copy and paste your email to at least 10 to 20 suppliers. You will weed out the ones that are late to reply and only attract the ones that could be possible suppliers.

 

176 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Hi Scott – after months of trying to find the right supplier I am happy to report that next week I am finally moving forward and placing my first order. Thanks for your all your help along this road!

    When you place orders with the Chinese Manufacturers do you send them some sort of Purchase Contract that details the terms of your arrangement with them? If so do you have any examples of these contracts or a resource that you can point me towards? Thanks again Scott!

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Kevin, I would suggest completing the purchase using alibaba, that way everything is spelled out appropriately for both parties.

  2. Abbas

    hey scott, I am 42 year old, got laid off few months ago and struggling to get a decent source of income. today I stumbled upon your blog and has given me a ray of hope. thanks for the amazon seller guidelines. your audios are very helpful and hope u will be able to build a Scott army of amazon sellers 🙂

  3. sammy

    6. What is the cost per unit including shipping by DHL Air Express to United States Zip Code 89076?

    Somehow the supplier always answers back either the sample cost or that they don’t know that yet.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Sammy, if they don’t answer directly, simply follow up with them and re ask the question. 🙂

  4. Carine

    Hi Scott
    Do I have to have a registered business to do private label? I live in Canada and want to sell on
    .Com and .CA. Still in the process of finding that product. Won’t give up until I do. Thanks

    1. Scott Voelker

      you can generally sell as an indvidual but i would suggest becoming a business asap.

  5. Andy

    Hi Scott,
    Interested in doing PL as RA and OA are becoming more and more difficult and time consuming. Came across your site and LOVE it! Currently going through all your podcasts from the first one and have already learned a TON!

    Anyway, I found some suppliers and am getting some samples and will negotiate an order after I inspect the goods. Have a question about the process of getting goods over here. Some gave me a quote based on EXW terms and some on FOB terms. I looked up what they mean but still not quite sure on what I’d have to pay and what amount I should put down for my calculations for profit.

    Say one manufacturer sells me something for $10 EXW price. I would then get a freight forwarder to pick up the goods and get it to me. Does that usually include customs clearance, brokerage, duties, and taxes or do I get charged that on top of the freight fees? When you negotiate your product, do you usually do EXW or FOB or does that not really matter?
    Just want to get my numbers right to make sure it’s a profitable product after all fees and advertising as well.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Andy, generally you’ll want to ask for DDU or DDP terms, that’s going to include as much as possible (including transportation) other wise you’ll have to work with a freight forwarder to get shipping quotes for each and add those in to you per unit cost.

      1. Andy

        Thanks Scott,
        I’m still not familiar with these terms but does this only apply to getting stuff shipped by sea? I remember you mentioned that you use DHL by air and they take care of everything for you? So if I were to go that route with my supplier how do I go about it? Do I just get them to use their DHL account to ship the products and charge me for brokerage/duties/customs or do I tell my supplier that I’m going to get DHL to pick it up from them and send it to me on my account?

        1. Scott Voelker

          Ask your supplier for Door to Door Air Express shipping from fedex or DHL 🙂 that should get you squared away.

  6. sam wilson

    Hi scott, I am a total newbie, I have found a product and am sourcing suppliers using your templates. I live in the UK but want to sell on US Amazon, can you recommend a good forwarding company in US? also is there a checklist anywhere of everything a new product and listing will need? I am scared of having my product shipped and forgetting something really important, for example a barcode on the packaging. Thanks and love your work.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Sam, if you haven’t already you may want to attend one of the free live workshops i do (theamazingseller.com/workshop) we give out a checklist at the end as well as answer a bunch of questions just like the ones you have. As far as forwarding companies go, DHL, UPS, or Fedex are usually the best when you’re just getting started.

  7. Camille

    Hi Scott,
    I want to start selling my product as PL. I am looking for a supplier now.
    1, Please could you reply on question 1 in your letter…how do I know which zip code in USA? Or should I give my ZIP code where the sample comes?
    Thank you.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Camile, you would give your zipcode there.

  8. Matthew Smith

    Scott,

    Would you suggest getting a domain for your product first so when you are emailing potential suppliers, it is coming from an email that coincides with your email domain?

    Currently, I only use gmail, hotmail, and a .edu email and I’d like to maintain credibility when emailing possible suppliers.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Matthew, I’d say it doesn’t matter one bit, most suppliers will use a freemail service to communicate with you as well so it isn’t a huge deal.

  9. David

    Hi Scott, Great podcasts, I really enjoy listening to them by the way, you are doing an amazing job!
    I have a small question regarding to air shipping:
    Is it enough to just simply give the supplier the address of the FBA warehouse if air shipping is used, or there are another steps to do to make sure it arrive?, I mean customs and all of that…
    Now, I know that shipping by sea need to involve a freight forwarder, but air shipping is my direction.
    I would really appreciate if you answer this one for me.
    Thanks!

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey David, before you know where to send your goods, you need to create a shipping plan inside of Amazon, once you’ve done that you’ll have the address or addresses and can plan accordingly

  10. David Smith

    Great advice on sourcing suppliers Scott !1

  11. Daniel Okolo

    Hello Scott, thanks very much for the podcast and all of the information you are providing free of charge.

    I have taken action and I’m at the point where I am contacting suppliers and for QUESTION 6 on the supplier email, as I am an international seller, which address can I use to get the quotes (landing cost) from the supplier as I currently don’t have a seller account even and I don’t have any US presence.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Daniel I would use something like 73130. It’s towards the middle of the country and should give you one of the “worst case” prices 🙂

      1. Daniel Okolo

        Thanks so much for your response Scott! I would do that and when my shipment is ready probably send it straight to FBA after some prepping China side. Then I believe I would be able to get the accurate address from Amazon. Thanks a million Scott.

  12. Mario Rivas

    Hey Scott this is an awesome podcast man! I have learnt a lot through you pod. I have a question for you. I am not doing FBA on Amazon I am wanting to start my online store. My question is Escrow payments, where do you find that on Alibaba? Or does that happen during the payment process

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Mario, Alibaba changed the name from “escrow” to alibaba secure pay. If you look up their “secure pay” option it’s the same thing 🙂

  13. Remi

    Hi Scott,
    Thanks for your sight.I just started trying to order my first product, but made a mistake and did not your see your contact email template on time. The suppliers I contacted are asking for my email, and would prefer to contact me directly and not through Alibaba. Is this a good idea? I am inclined not to give it to them. what should I do?

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Remi, it’s fairly common to use email rather than communicate through alibaba. Alibaba is fantastic but the conversation tracking abilities are lacking, email or skype is usually the way to go.

  14. Dolapo

    Hi Scott,

    I am considering launching a product and selling ok Amazon. Competitor prices range up till 6.99. So thinking of pricing around that. I recently read on the arbing blog that it’s not worth selling on Amazon fba if your product is less than $10 as you won’t make that much profit. Is this true? Should I consider selling my product (cosmetic/cleaning wipes) on other platforms. Thank you!

    1. Scott Voelker

      I don’t know that it’s NOT worth it, but generally speaking it’s not nearly as profitable. For my products I like to make AT LEAST $10 profit after fees and product cost.

  15. Lynn

    Hi Scott,
    I did as you have mentioned, I asked the suppliers if they can put my logo on the product for 500 unit.
    But all of them replied that they require a higher MOQ for doing that. But in any case, they can put my logo on the packaging. What to do?
    Need your help.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Lynn, they should be able to print you a run of customized samples with your logo on for your approval.

  16. Leslie Florentino

    I Just started yesterday to listen to all this helpful information… This is amazing!!!! love it….I am new in FBA (just started in July) actually I’ve never sold a item online never, I did not know a person could sell in amazon… Scott, you make everything more easy! thanks!!1

  17. Andrew Warwick

    I’m in the process of beginning my first Amazon product. I’ve just finished University, graduating in software development. You are helping me so much keep up the good work

  18. nan

    Hi Scott,
    Thanks for the wonderful podcast. Waiting for your webinar today!
    I don’t live in the US, so I need the supplier to send the products directly to the Amazon warehouses, so regarding to number 6 of the e-mail template, should I mention the zip codes of the Amazon warehouses?
    Thank you

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Nan, since you won’t know WHAT warehouse you’re shipping to before you create your shipment you could always use a postal code like 73105, which is near the middle of the country. That would give you a fairly close estimate of total shipping.

      1. nan

        Thank you, it was helpful.

        1. nan

          And do you think that it is good to let the supplier know that I am willing to sell the products on Amazon?

          1. Scott Voelker

            Hey Nan, it isn’t really good or bad, it also isn’t needed.

      2. Camille

        Helpful information. You are great Scott!

  19. Mike

    Loved your book! It gave me all the motivation I needed to go after this.

    I believe I’ve found a good product that has amazing market space and from research can see there is revenue opportunity.
    I am however worried about the shipping costs considering its expected to be 13-15lbs per unit.
    Is this something that is worth letting go considering it would be my first product even if the numbers and market look so good?

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Mike, if the numbers make sense, i wouldn’t throw it away. Keep in mind though with any oversized products (over 2lbs or 18inches on any side) that you’re limited to 500 in Amazon at any given time as a new seller. That can make a big difference when it comes to product cost, order size and keeping in stock.

  20. Daniel

    Hi Scott,
    I want to know more about shipping methods, and what is exactly FBA services of shipping and if it is recommended.
    What about fees? How can I calculate the fees on my product at Amazon?

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Daniel, shipping via FBA varies but the reason you want to be FBA is because it makes you prime eligible. That and it’s almost always cheaper than what you would pay for shipping yourself. Amazon has a fee calculator that you get access to as part of your seller account!

  21. Gianmarco

    Hello Scott,
    I hope you are doing well today. I have a huge problem right now! I know what product I want to put in Amazon and I really really believe in it. I am in the process of finding a manufacturer and I am doing everything you are telling us to do but 90 percent of them are from Pakistan and they cannot do paypal or escrow payments. I am very frustrated right now and I don’t know what to do and the other 10 percent are from China but the price for each unit is way too high almost leaving me with not 0 profit. I hope you help me Thank you so much!

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Gianmarco, you don’t HAVE to do escrow or paypal, but it’s certainly helpful. While they may refuse upfront they will often relent if you offer to pay the fees associated with those payment types as well. That other option would be to use your credit card through alibaba or to do a wire transfer if you feel comfortable with the supplier.

  22. Dale Wall

    Hey Scott I have a question about custom fees? Ive heard that once you source a product and that product is over $200. That the US customs charge us a customs fee. Is this correct and how could i find out this for sure? I don’t like hidden fees i don’t care where they come from. Appreciate all your feedback and thanks for your podcasts they’ve helped me a lot.

      1. Dale Wall

        Hey Scott Great podcast you sent me to about the fees, really help me out! I’m doing my first shipment now and found an awesome supplier who is helping me out. Really nice guy who has lots of products and connections. I told him about the separating the shipping fees and he said no problem. Anything to make it smooth lol So thanks a lot buddy

  23. Richard Duncan

    Hi Scott,

    I’m looking to set up a sellers account via Amazon real soon. As I’m short on time, how quick would you say I could start trading and seeing some possible profit margins?

    Cheers Rich, UK.

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Richard, you can start seeing profits as soon as you start selling, but I’d say it depends on what YOU’RE looking at making and how agressive you are with your launch.

  24. Mustafa Nauman

    Hey Scott, I recently created a facebook page and created an ad for the facebook page so that I could get enough likes to be able to launch my product to a large enough audience by doing a giveaway. I had to create a total of 5 different ads and accounts because every time, my ad would be disabled 10 minutes after being approved for “fraudulent activity”. I have no idea whats going on though because my payment info is correct and my ad content is not explicit at all. There is nothing I think I’m doing wrong at all unless of course I am missing something which i’m not aware of. Do you know any possible way to avoid this problem the next time I make a new ad. Do you know if there is something I need to do which I’m not currently doing to create an ad that doesn’t get disabled. If there is any way you could help me with this problem. I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Mustafa without seeing the exact error message it’s tough to tell, you may want to reach out to Facebook’s support team for ads and ask them what the problem is!

  25. Cole

    Should we have our label/logo designed before we decide on a supplier? I have a good idea of what my first product is going to be but haven’t designed the logo yet. Also, do I need to send the UPCs and Amazon’s SKUs once the order is placed with Alibaba to the supplier?

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Cole, you wouldn’t have the label designed until you get the specs from the supplier so you need to pick them first! Once you’ve placed your order you would send them EITHER the FNSKU (Amazon) or the UPC as a part of the label design for them to print, you don’t want them to print both on the bottle, since Amazon requires that you have one or the other.

      1. Cole

        Thanks Scott! I really appreciate the response! So I am down to two suppliers that I am debating between. I am going to order samples from both of them. When I order these samples should I include my design/logo or is this more of a quality check of the product?
        Thanks again for everything you do! You make this whole process slightly less overwhelming! 🙂

        1. Scott Voelker

          Hey Cole, you don’t need custom samples to see the quality of the product and what your brand will look like. If you can get your hands on them, great, but I wouldn’t worry about holding up the process just to see your logo on the product!

          1. AG

            So, at this point, if she wants to see how the final product is going to be she would need to ask for a pre production sample, is that correct? By doing this the process can be way longer, would you still recommend asking for a PP sample if you have customize or wanted you logo printed on the product? Thanks a lot Scott, you are helping a lot of people! 😉

          2. Scott Voelker

            You can get a custom sample with YOUR logo, or you can just have them give you a sample with someone else’s logo on it, if they’ve made the product in the past they usually have a few lying around. Those generally cost less and arrive faster 🙂

  26. Sash

    Thanks so much for the insight!

    Really appreciate you sharing this information.

  27. Sergey

    Hi Scott
    Your podcast is really amazing! I like to listen it and I’m very happy that I’ve found this program.

    I have a question. Please, tell me , why we have to order 2 samples? Not 1 for example. Thank you!

    1. Scott Voelker

      Hey Sergey, you want to get multiple samples in order to assess quality difference between units.

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