How to Import indoor playground equipment from China

Gone are times when importing equipment from across the borders and seas was a difficult task and only a thing of elite and giant industrial corporations. Today, digitization has transformed the globe into a global village. Every country urges its local businesses to engage in international commerce to boost the country’s profitability and well-being. Surprisingly, importing items from another nation rather than making them locally is sometimes more cost-effective.

In this guide, we shall specifically focus on the advantages and the processes to be followed when importing indoor playground equipment from China.

Why China?

Many of you might ask, why specifically China? Well, China is one of the countries working tirelessly to encourage international trade, and for this reason, they offer their international buyers numerous perks. Apparently, China has been and is the largest exporter worldwide as per EcomCrew. Additionally, the 2018 Brookings’ report reveals that  China leads the global industry in terms of manufacturing output. To understand the scenario better, have a look at the following benefits one may get while importing indoor playground equipment from China:

  • You will save around 30% of what you might have spent while manufacturing in the west or purchasing equipment locally.
  • Chinese manufacturers have lower minimum order requirements. That is, they are very cooperative and open to negotiations.
  • Over the past few years, Chinese manufacturers and labourers have perfected their skills and manufacturing techniques and produced equipment of elevated quality over the past few years. 
  • This might open new doors of trade for your own products. Once you establish strong links with Chinese vendors, the chances are very high that it will turn into a two-way exchange.

Importing indoor playground equipment from China – A complete guide

Now that it is clear why an individual or a firm should import indoor playground equipment from china, let us discuss the process itself in detail.

  1. Determine the product to be imported

In our case, it is evident that we will specifically be concentrating on importing indoor playground equipment from China. Usually, schools, orphanages, nurseries, or even parents willing to build in-house play areas for their children are interested in indoor playgrounds. Still, they often have to break their banks to get the equipment. However, importing them from China will save you the mini heart attack you usually get when you see your bank balance after purchasing locally.

  1. Ensure that the equipment you are purchasing is permitted in your country

Sometimes, governments prohibit the importing of certain goods into their countries due to various reasons. It is mostly done to protect local manufacturers. Therefore, your country must permit the import of indoor playground equipment into your country.

  1. Identify your importing rights

The importing process is quite a simple process for an individual purchasing a small item with not such a big monetary value. However, the process may be a bit lengthier (not tricky) when purchasing commercial goods with heavy monetary values. Once you know the product to be sourced, you need to see whether you have the importing rights. The latter depends upon the region in which the importer is based:

  • Individuals and businesses based in the United States respectively require a Social Security number or an Internal Revenue Service number.
  • A Business Number will be required for Canadians.
  • If you’re in the Eurozone, you’ll need an EORI number.
  • Australians, on the other hand, do not need an import permit.
  1. Determine the safety standard to be met by the equipment in your country

Perhaps the most important thing to consider when importing indoor playground equipment is to determine whether it meets your local safety standards. Chinese manufacturers of playground equipment often comply with the following standards, and these are what you need to look out for when selecting a supplier(as discussed in a later section):

  • Firstly, the equipment should meet the overall safety, condition, and performance requirements set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
  • Before any equipment enters the European market, it should meet the Conformité Européene (CE) standards. 
  • As the indoor playgrounds fall within the definition of toys, they should also satisfy the European standard EN 71.
  • While in the case of North America, soft play equipment should meet the specifications contained in the ASTM 1918.
  • Moreover, to test the flammability of the equipment, the UL 94 is widely used in North America.
  • AS3533.4.2-2013 is a standard specifically laid down for indoor playground equipment in Australia.
  • And lastly, CSA Z614-07(R2012) lays down the standards to be met by play equipment in Canada.
  1. Choose a supplier

Once you have ensured that the equipment can be imported into your country, it is time to select an appropriate supplier. The ideal supplier must meet the above-mentioned safety standards and have the right balance of the pointers mentioned below.

  • Price

It is not good to always select the cheapest supplier as their products may compromise safety and quality. Just take note of the quality of the product and determine a reasonable price that should be charged for it.

  • Quality of equipment

Usually, equipment that rigidly follows quality control and safety standards are expensive, but most Chinese manufacturers utilize highly cost-effective and improvised production techniques. Resultantly, their products maintain a world-class quality while keeping the price fair.

  • Warranty & replacement options

Lastly, it would be advantageous to select a supplier that offers a good warranty period and replacement options(in case of damage) for their products. 

However, the selection of an ideal supplier can not be done based on any single factor. That is, one must find the right balance between all of the above and choose a supplier based on what is most important to them.

  1. Calculate the landed cost

The last thing an import must do is calculate the landed cost. This cost is usually the sum of all the costs you will incur until bringing the playground equipment to your desired location. It covers, among other things, shipping, customs fees, and taxes.

  1. Inspect your equipment for damage and accept delivery

Finally, wait for the indoor playground equipment to be shipped to your desired location and upon receipt, inspect it for any damage. If all seems good, accept the delivery and let the dollars roll in!

Summing up, importing indoor playground equipment from China is not as bothersome as many consider it. And if one rigorously takes one step at a time, the process will become smooth, seamless, and very rewarding.