Why You Should Start To Ship Internationally
When operating your business online via your website or a marketplace such as OnBuy, it’s important to keep in mind the location of your customers and shipping processes. International shipping can often seem daunting to begin with, but it’s no secret that many companies have flourished as a result. Our handy guide and international shipping checklist is here to help open up your business to the benefits of international sales.
Shipping to Europe
Brexit has brought a few changes to the way businesses can sell and ship products to Europe. Now, if you’re shipping items from the UK to another country within Europe, you’re considered an exporter and must follow the importing country’s shipping rules. For those businesses already used to shipping internationally, these may sound rather familiar to existing international shipping rules.
Preparing your parcels
Once you have decided to ship internationally it’s important to prepare your packages and parcels for their travels. For them to arrive safely and with no delays, you need to consider a little bit more than just their packaging.
Obtain your EORI number
For your business to be able to ship to European countries you must obtain an EORI number (Economic Operator’s Registration and Identification number). You’ll only need to register once, as the same number can be used to export to any EU country. To request your EORI number, simply visit the government’s website.
Complete a commercial invoice
A commercial invoice builds the foundation of the documents you provide to customs. It’s a vital part of global shipping processes and should contain information about your shipments such as the sender, shipment destination, the contents, the items value, and the HS code. This will help import control with valuation and determining what duty needs to be paid.
Proof of origins
You must include your item’s proof of origins within the documentation you provide. This will allow you to claim preferential rates of duty for goods originating from the UK or customs to allocate the correct duty fees. When it comes to supplying proof, there are various options to choose from. These include a statement of origin by the exporter, evidence of the importer’s knowledge about the product’s originating status or a certificate of origins (these can be supplied by the Chamber of Commerce).
Assigning HS codes
HS codes (also known as Harmonised System codes) must be added to official cross border documentation for all shipments. The Harmonised System is used globally to categorise products in a uniform manner, so the correct level of tax can be applied. These codes may seem tricky to begin with but they’re essential to ensure smooth movement of shipments through customs and to avoid any unexpected fines. Head over to the government’s website to find out more information and individual HS codes for your business.
Obtain a VAT number
Goods being sent from the UK will now have a 0% VAT rate; this means that the tax is determined by each member state you’re shipping to. It’s important to remember that value-added tax numbers are unique to individual countries and you’ll need to register for VAT in each country you ship to separately. You must also pay VAT upon import unless the importer has a deferment licence.
Identify your customs declarant
When exporting your products, it’s important to choose a trusted individual within the business who will be your customs declarant. This person will be responsible for all customs documentation, payment of duties and any other customs-related obligations.
If your business is not legally established in the country you’re exporting to, you’ll need to select a third party to act on your behalf. This could be a company that offers paid IOR services or an arrangement with the business you’re shipping your products to.
Border inspections are an important activity carried out by the customs office. Depending on the type of product you're shipping, such as agricultural food consignments, inspections and health certificates will be expected. However, random checks are carried out on approximately 5% of all shipments each year, so there is always a chance your items could be inspected. Other examples of restricted items that will require inspection include live animals, products of animal origins, wood articles, plants, fruit, and medical products.
Finally, it’s important to make sure you have everything in place should your items need to be sent back to you. Occasionally your customers may need to return their products, so it’s vital to have a process in place to support this. This is something that some shipping solution providers can advise and help you with.
International shipping checklist
Check the below handy checklist to keep your business moving and save you from any shipping delays:
- Register for an EORI number (European union shipping only)
- Complete your commercial invoice
- Include proof of the origin of your goods
- Assign Harmonised System (HS) Codes to your goods
- Comply with import tax rules of the country you’re importing to
- Appoint a customs declarant or IOR in the EU
- Check if your goods are subject to border inspections
- Consider requirements for return shipments
Making shipping simple
When it comes to running your business, international shipping should be simple. Choosing a shipping provider who you can trust and looks after your individual needs can help you to achieve this. You can even save your business time by considering smart shipping solutions which allow you to quickly manage and track all your shipments in one platform, even when you’re on the go!
Saving you time
When it comes to international shipping, it needn’t be stressful. Freight Finders work with some of the largest global couriers to provide shipment solutions that are second to none. OnBuy sellers can now benefit from Freight Finders’ great rates and reliable shipping on their sales. So, you can relax knowing your shipments are in safe hands.
When it comes to international shipping, it needn’t be stressful. Freight Finders work with some of the largest global couriers to provide shipment solutions that are second to none. OnBuy sellers can now benefit from Freight Finders great rates and reliable shipping on their sales. So, you can relax knowing your shipments are in safe hands.