How to start shipping your products to the US

Expanding your business to an international market can be a massive step for your personal and professional growth. It opens up opportunities for increased revenue and access to new customers worldwide, but not without its challenges.  

For example, specific laws of the export country, more complex documentation, logistical issues, or radical changes in your company’s organization and production line. Especially in the US, where the trade complexities can vary significantly from other countries. 

However, establishing a trade line with the USA can benefit your business. First, you need an excellent shipping strategy and the help of a Mexican custom broker, who can offer you a step-by-step guide about how to start shipping products to the US.

1.- Conduct a market analysis 

When you reach a more significant percentage of customers, especially from another country like the US, you may notice that their interest in your products is different. Whether it be by the color of your logo, the quantity of product, or the design of your packing, cultural preferences play a significant role in costume behavior. 

Adapting these differences is critical to capturing the interest of diverse audiences. However, it can also be an opportunity to embrace change and conduct a more extensive market analysis that allows you to expand your product catalog.

This research can give you valuable information about your competitors, target audience in the US, trends, and restrictions. It can essentially give you a more accurate idea of what your consumers are seeking, reducing the risk of overstock and understock or even customs complications. 

How to start shipping your products to the US

2.- Choose a shipping company

If you know exactly what you want to sell, you need to identify a reliable shipping company with experience navigating customs logistics in the USA.

For example, custom brokers in Manzanillo can help you ship your products safely and on time, whether by land, sea, or air. They can also sort any paperwork, tax transactions, and complex customs regulations that you may need. And if you require special accommodations because of the value or fragility of your products, they will customize their services until your needs are met. 

Ensuring that your goods reach their destination smoothly while complying with all legal requirements by hiring the services of an external shipping company can save you time, reduce logistical hassles, and mitigate the risk of costly delays or penalties associated with non-compliance. 

3.- Select the best packaging  

Trusting in the experience of custom brokers in Nuevo Laredo allows you to focus on core business activities like the packaging of your products.

Let’s say, for example, that your product is packaged in a medium-sized box featuring your brand’s colors, and includes information about its properties such as ingredients or instructions. In appearance, its sole purpose is to be both functional and appealing to your consumers.

However, it also plays an important role in the package’s safety during transportation to the US and shipping costs. If the packing materials are heavy or robust, the price per unit may rise in certain means of transportation, but if they’re light and low-resistant, this can threaten the integrity of your products.

You need to find a balance between an attractive exterior and a packaging method that doesn’t overrun your budget or compromise the quality of your goods.  

4.- Calculate shipping cost 

For many businesses, the shipping cost is the reason why they don’t explore opportunities beyond their local markets. This has a lot to do with a common misconception that international shipping is always expensive and generally less cost-effective. 

But as we told you, many factors contribute to the shipping cost: the weight and size of the products, transport, customs fees, duty drawback, insurance options, and many more. 

Partnering with experienced logistics providers and an accountant can help navigate complexities and optimize shipping routes, making expansion into the US market more profitable.

How to start shipping your products to the US

5.- Be familiar with the mandatory shipping documents 

A significant part of any trading activity is a deep understanding of the types of customs forms and declarations required when shipping goods to the USA. Ensuring that the customs clearance process is as fast as possible. Some of the most important are:

Commercial invoice

A commercial invoice is a required document for US customs that includes detailed information in English about the description of goods, contact information of the shipper, date, signatures, tariff classification number, insurance info, incoterms, HS code, order number, etc.

Bill of lading

This document shares many similarities with the commercial invoice as it also includes information about the products and shipper. 

The big difference is that the bill of lading serves as evidence of a transport contract between the shipper and the carrier, proof that the goods have been received in good condition, and if needed, it also functions as a document of title, which can be used to transfer ownership of the goods to another of your employees or a Mexican custom broker that serves as a link between your business and the US customs.   

Certificate of origin

This form is required for all foreign trade that wish to enter the US customs borders. It serves the authorities as a tool that allows them to verify from which country the shipment comes and, therefore, what restrictions should be applied according to their trade agreement with that country. 

Customs bond

If your shipment exceeds USD 2,500, you may need a customs bond issued by the Customs and Border Protection (CPB) in the USA, a surety company, and a customs broker’s help. 

The document assures the customs authorities of the legality of your activities by proving that your shipment has complied with all customs regulations and tax payments.

Each step in your journey to start shipping products to the US will be complicated but not less rewarding when you finally see your products reaching new markets. Choose today the support of a professional customs broker in Nuevo Laredo. For more information, visit our weekly blog.