SOURCING AGENT Q&A WITH Afolabi Oyerokun from the sourcing agency Honu Worldwide.
These answers come from my trusted resource Afolabi Oyerokun from the sourcing agency Honu Worldwide.
Honu Worldwide is owned by my friend and awesome Amazon seller Norman Farrar. They offer all kinds of services from freight forwarding, China Trademarks, pricing checks, and full sourcing services. Check out their website at the affiliate link below for all the options they offer.
Questions and Answers:
1) How do you know what is a fair price to pay? I would like to pay a fair price but don’t want to be left feeling that I’m being taken advantage of. Do you pay hourly, fixed price, commission?
We charge 5% of your total order. I think this is fair. If your order is less than $1000, then maybe $100 flat fee. Unfortunately some sourcing agents can charge 7.5%-25% while some also get kick backs from factories. Ask them about their fees upfront.
2) What tasks can you reasonably expect a sourcing agent to do?
They should help you find the best suppliers with the best prices. They help you get and send samples to you, negotiate favorable prices and payment terms. They help you place orders.
3) Do you get a sourcing agent to sign an NNN or other contracts?
Yes, it’s OK to let sourcing agents sign NNN. Most sourcing agents are rarely loyal and they may not protect your interest, they just want to make as much money as possible from you and whoever they can sell similar products to. We sign NNN with our clients who request it.
4) Is it better to find a sourcing agent somewhere like Upwork or use a company like Jingsourcing?
The best way to find a sourcing agent is through referral; a friend or someone that already used their services and can vouch for them. Check out their references and testimonials.
5) How detailed is the specification you give the sourcing agent?
As detailed as possible. The more details you give to your agent, the better and faster he gets you good suppliers and pricing. We have a simple questionnaire we give you to help us understand your products better.
6) Do you get them to handle all the negotiations or just finding the initial factories?
They should help you do everything from finding suppliers, negotiating, and placing orders. The issue now is, the lower the price they get you the lower their commission so they typically don’t like to get too low price 🙂 At Honu, we reward our sourcing specialists based on how low they drive the price. We have competition among ourselves on who can get the lowest price.
7) I have a question about NNN. If a customer wants NNN with a factory, can you help them with this or do you keep the factory information secret from the customer? Do they also have NNN with you?
Also can customer contact Factory with your help or do you keep Factory secret from them? For example if I hire you to find me a factory for a unique product and you get good samples and I’m happy. Now I want to have NNN directly with Factory so they don’t take my design. Can I have my attorney draw up contracts and deliver them to factory? Then I have you continue to work with Factory on my behalf after that?
ANSWER: On NNN with factory, we sign NNN with our customers and also have factories sign NNN with us as well so we can cover our customers and our factories as well.
Does NNN give you ultimate protection? Yes and No. Yes for the factory you’re working directly with, but No for other factories that spy and see your product ideas. If an employee of a factory leaves, he/she can take your intellectual property with her to another factory you don’t have a NNN with. Chinese factories steal ideas from each other all the time.
The ultimate protection in china only comes from trademarks, patents and copyrights.
We usually keep factory information private for many reasons: product liability. We subject all the factories we order from to very strict quality standards, exposing our clients to these factories can cause a lot of quality issues. Also we prefer to keep our customers’ information private from suppliers for fraud reasons.