How to Import Doors and Windows from China

If you’re into construction as a business and are looking for great deals, the cost of manufacturing and construction of doors in mass quantity may be a barrier that is keeping you past the entry point for your industry. It’s a wall, and ironically, you can’t find the doors you need to get through it. If local production is lagging or non-existent, your second best option is importing, and the biggest net exporter for doors and windows comes from China.

Chinese manufacturing is historically very cheap and affordable for everyone, as they manufacture mass quantities to distribute out to various end-point consumers and businesses. Though cheap, their products are quality and easily obtained. However, you can’t just go to China from overseas, buy a bunch of stock and have them ship it all back. Chinese exports work on a system of very different regulations and go-betweens as extra steps in their supply chain. If you want to take advantage of the higher deals and better costs from Chinese manufacturing you will need to do some groundwork before making a purchase.

Establish Your Needs

First, you need to know what you want before shopping. Get measurements and sizes for all the doors and windows you expect to utilize in your construction. If you’re only using a few, if you’re a homeowner or hobbyist without a long tail of work, this method won’t be necessary. Importing doors and windows from China is all about quantity, having your own immediate access to a wide array of options for jobs down the line.

Different countries have different standards, so make sure you understand just what those standards are. If the standards exist, and there is a demand for them, then there will be manufacturing going on somewhere in the world, and China will be the best place to find it. The country has over a billion people and tens of thousands of businesses make use of that massive labor force to employ them for mass production. Doors and windows are just one niche that many companies will be able to fill.

Find a Supplier

There are two entities to look for when searching for a way to import from China: suppliers and manufacturers. The fastest and cheapest way is to set up a line with a manufacturer. You can order doors and windows straight from the factory floor with no go-between. However, they just make the products. It will be up to you to handle shipping over the ground, air, and sea. This can require hiring additional B2B companies based in China to handle that. Chinese laws require all foreign companies to work through government-approved services and companies in China, so going directly to a manufacturer with no plan to handle the shipping is not as easy as it sounds.

A supplier can handle that. They will already have the shipping and receiving part of the business cleared up and will be able to find you the windows and doors you are looking for out of the wide selection of available businesses in any given area. Working with a supplier means your orders and specifications will be going through them first, rather than going directly to the manufacturer who processes the orders.

A third option is to hire a sourcing agent. These are individuals or businesses who specialize in working around the various restrictions and regulations in China to make importing goods easier. They are another link up in the supply chain, whose job is to find suppliers for you who may be more locally versed or less open to foreign business. You’re essentially hiring someone in China to convince a Chinese business to sell goods to another Chinese business, instead of a foreign one. This opens up a lot of paths that are otherwise restricted.

Once the manufacturing and supply are dealt with, you will hire a shipping company or a customs broker to deliver your goods to your home country. This will include a list of additional fees and charges for the overseas journey. A customs broker can do all the mainland paperwork for you, including handling the fees and other charges ahead of time.

Luckily recent years more and more manufacturers are getting the exporting qualification, which largely saves a lot of money for the customers overseas, like Warren.

Opening New Doors

There are some obvious difficulties when it comes to working with companies based in China. The most obvious is the language barrier. Brokers and agents will be skilled at translation, which can expedite a lot of the communication between you and the manufacturer or supplier who will, most likely, be speaking Chinese exclusively. Hiring your own in-house Chinese expert to handle translations can allow you to access suppliers and manufacturers directly while still maintaining someone who is vested in your interests first.

Other issues are the shipping time. Especially with current supply chain delays and stagnation, no order can be processed and shipped “in a hurry” anymore from China. China is an excellent option for imports for needs that have to be met farther out in the future, usually in bulk. There could also be delays. So approach the option of Chinese imports carefully if you’re on a deadline. It’s best done for stocking up for the future - maybe months ahead of time.

Quality should not be a problem as long as the specifications were relayed correctly. Chinese factories work on the specifications and instructions given. The more accurate you are, and the more available their product line is, the better the quality. Going for a smaller, out of the way factory will mean supporting an understaffed, low resource factory and the quality results would be the same if you reached out to a local factory that also has no hard workers and no access to good material. Stick with the recommended manufacturers who are in good standing with other businesses. The cost will still be comparably reduced.

If you’re in construction, or in warehousing for construction, importing from China will fill your shelves easily and at a safe, controlled cost.

July 05, 2022 — Della Wang