More to being a bridge between the customer and the supplier, a sourcing agent plays a vital role in the international trade; Chinese suppliers and global buyers, by rendering customers business procurement services better than anyone. This includes (doesn’t limit to) locating sources for products and supplies at low prices to save their clients’ costs. A sourcing agent may represent one customer or may run a business that caters to many customers. If you’re running a business and would like to source your product in China, below are some of the services that a sourcing agency will offer you.

12 services offered by a sourcing agent

Market Research

With the Sourcing Agent Being Your Ears On The Ground, They Will Know All The reputable and “cheaper” suppliers for your business. As an international buyers, you might not know much about the Chinese market, but in their years as sourcing agents, they will have collected data on competent and reputable suppliers and manufacturers. They have narrowed down their production bases in all regions saving on your research time. Also, they can point out all the best raw materials for your business model and specific requirements.

Product Sourcing

Product sourcing is also the core service a sourcing agent will do for you. The chances are that you are starting out importing goods from china. Your calculations on the approximate total cost of production will leave out subtle details crucial to your financing. A sourcing agent is well conversant with raw material positioning all over china. The agent on the ground conducts any research on the product you need. They will negotiate prices, all based on your budget. Finally, based on your budget, they will guide you on the different quality products in the price range.

Product Sampling

In selecting a product source, as a client, you are inclined to get a sample product. When searching online for product sources, you might need to sample dozens of products that have met your search criteria. Each product will mean separate shipping fees and longer delivery times in total.

This grueling process is more trouble than it should be. A sourcing agent assembles your products from different manufacturers, delivering them with a one-time fee. They ensure a clear picture of the manufacturer’s product by eliminating any rejected items. They may also help you to test your sample, taking good photos for your samples if you are running a

Manufacturer Audit

Many traders claim to be manufacturers and end up bagging loads of profits at the customer’s expense. Your sourcing agent vets potential suppliers by auditing their background information. Their official registration, year of establishment, type of business, and how many employees work under the supplier show how capable they are in delivering your needs. On your own, you will interview 5-10 suppliers and probably get duped in the end—the sourcing agent filters out unqualified manufacturers, especially traders pausing as manufacturers. You get to reach the behind-the-scene manufacturer who will probably offer higher quality for your budget.

Building a Communication Bridge

Communication, in this case, is not just a matter of language barrier. A sourcing agent will quickly tell if the supplier approves the price you have proposed from the manufacturers’ non-verbal nuances. Not only do they read the documentation presented, but also the body language involved. They can call a fake supplier from miles, and they can read the body language to tell if the manufacturer can meet the deadline. Their detailed knowledge of Details such as the difference in meanings of eye contact in your home country and China will come in handy. Top of all, however, you will not need to master all these communication nuances with a trustworthy sourcing agent by your side.

Sourcing Product Suppliers

When looking for a consistent shipment flow, most people will require the manufacturers to give better bargains. However, when looking for a short-term shipment, people avoid the hustle of meeting the manufacturers who need long working contracts. Your sourcing agent has researched on the best suppliers in the area, with reliable and capable manufacturers. They run the negotiations for you to avoid the rip off that a foreigner would probably face when bargaining on their own. A sourcing agent ensures the supplier is up to the standards required by the client. Their systematic screening ensures you get an authentic supplier.

Tackling Negotiations

The whole point of shipping goods from abroad is to cut costs. With many manufacturing firms based in China, you don’t have to think of the capital involved in starting your production site or deviating from your business brand to meet the production of one of the raw materials. Even for big firms, there is great expense and headache in training new staff to fit the overseas market needs. With many manufacturers in china and relatively cheap labor, all your sourcing agent needs to do is a bargain for you.
The agent matches your budget with quotations from known suppliers or companies to find the best price for you. They know companies that offer long term services and equally, the price bargain for a long-term relationship.

Quality Control

This is a sensitive role that a sourcing agent must play. During the production/manufacturing process, your agent must pressurize the manufacturer to follow the client’s instructions. Finite detail in design to major ones, such as the material used, are critical to quality products. Your agent must be engaged in all production stages, inspecting to ensure your design directives are met to the maximum. Most of the goods shipped from china do not go through a third-party quality check since Quality control is implemented in factories. The customer only checks for quality upon delivery. The outsourcing agent’s final role is, guide the shipping process to minimize defective rates.

Freight Logistics Coordination.

One of the significant nuisances for your imported goods is freight logistics, with shipment usually being held at ports for months. Custom clearance will require your months of trial and error to navigate customs successfully. Any wrong move and the product spend more time and money on ports.

To start you off, the outsourcing agents will guide you to the best bargains in import-export freights. Secondly, they are familiar with the customs requirements. They will process the product certificates, permits, and relevant documentation to allow seamless freighting. Thirdly, they guide to the safest options enabling you to make informed and safe decisions.


Warehousing is a vital part of long term shipment contracts and an integral part of effective supply chains. Without a warehouse, you will run into more prolonged waiting times before delivery, high shipping costs, and unmonitored purchases. A warehouse allows for stock-taking when production is slow, and speedy shipping since the waiting period between manufacturer and shipping is reduced.

Generally, sourcing agent can help you with warehousing issues, some of sourcing agent will keep an inventory of your stocks and alert you when supplies are low. You can avoid unnecessary orders that are more expensive. In the end, your customers can trust your brand with quicker shipping periods.

Follow Up Production

Personal follow-ups of the production process might prove unfruitful based on communication barriers and the financial burden of flying to the manufacturer to track the process. Besides, the time spent could range from days to several months. The sourcing specialist keeps track of the manufacturer’s work. They provide stage-by-stage updates of the production process. Besides, they ensure product certifications such as ISO, CE, and RoHS are done promptly before shipping. Before shipping, your sourcing agent ensures all certificates are verified and that all his quality checks meet your instructions.

Payments Arrangements

Most buyers choose to pay via Paypal or USD. However, once that option is unavailable, the payment process can become more expensive as banks charge substantial transaction fees. This could eat up a significant amount of your profit. A sourcing agent can streamline the process for you when dealing with a supplier who only takes RMB. They can receive the payment in place of the supplier and pay the manufacturer in local currency.

Sourcing your products from China might be the smartest move you’ve made. Coupled with the right middleman, you will focus on managing your business while a sourcing agent works product manufacture and delivery. Products made in china come n quality and a save in cost—even major factories source their goods in china. For your startup, you can leverage this fact and a reliable sourcing agent to grow your business.