4 Small Business Tips To Successfully Ship From The UK From The US
As your business expands, your customer base might move from domestic to international status. An increase in your reach is great for business and the success of your company, but in terms of shipping, the transition does come with a few extra steps, especially if you plan to ship to the UK.
1. Product Line
Examine your full product line before you make the plunge into international shipping. Not every product is a good match for such a lengthy shipping process. If you have any concern that the quality of the product will lessen during the shipment — don't offer it for international customers. Also, consider the dimensions of the product. Given the cost of international transport, the price to ship a large object could well exceed the cost of the item.
2. Customs Declarations
You are required by law to detail every item that is included in your shipment, even down to the weight or quantity of each specific item. Customs officials randomly search packages headed to the UK, and if the contents on the declarations page don't match what's inside the box, the shipment will not be sent. Make sure you're also aware of what items are prohibited. Plants, furs, seeds, plastic kitchenware, and knives are just some items banned from shipment to the UK.
3. Customer Expectations
Provide your customers with a realistic expectation on shipment times. To go about this goal, it's generally best to give an anticipation date that is further out from the actual date you expect the package to arrive. For shipments to the UK, you have two options, air freight or sea freight. Sea freight is the lower cost option but can require weeks of transport. Air freight is costlier but might be able to reach a UK-based customer within a week or less.
4. Import Schedule
Familiarize yourself with the UK's import schedule. All inbound shipments are subject to a duty or VAT fee. Duty fees are based on a specific percentage of the value of each item listed on customs declarations form. VAT is assessed when the product being imported is taxable under UK law. A shipment could include one or both fees. Keep in mind; these are costs typically passed on to the customer, but you need to figure them ahead of time to provide accurate information to the customer about the total shipment cost.
Expanding your business has likely been a long-time goal. Make sure you follow the necessary guidelines to ensure your customers receive their packages intact and on time when shipping to the UK from the US.