Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs

Here you will find information regarding shipping & customs, FBA prep services, general US regulations, and our business policies. If you are still unsure about your logistics needs, take a look at our video tutorials which will demonstrate the entire process from start to finish.

We recommend getting a shipping estimate from our shipping estimator. This will give you a good idea of what to expect for your shipping and customs costs. You will receive a detailed quote once your order has been placed.

You can view other fees that may be associated with your order on our services page.

When you are ready, place an order on our order form. Our shipping team will then reach out to your supplier to get the process started or, if you aren’t using our logistics services, we will await your shipment’s arrival to our San Diego warehouse. You will receive further instructions according to your specific needs once your order has been placed.

Please reach out to our team at any point with any questions you may have regarding the shipping, customs, prep, and Amazon FBA process. We look forward to working with you!

FBAforward has a minimum purchase price is $300.00 and applies to all incoming orders.

FBA forward requires very limited permissions to your Amazon account in order to print FNSKU labels, create shipping plans, schedule pick ups (if shipping via LTL), and print shipping labels. By providing us with access, we can decrease your shipment’s turnaround time significantly. View setup instructions here.

At this point in time, FBAforward only handles logistics for Amazon sellers on the US market. We do, however, assist international sellers from any country with logistics and warehouse services for Amazon US.

Yes, in fact, we require that our warehouse conducts this service. FBAforward will arrange the shipping to Amazon and, once the shipping plan has been created, will print and apply the labels for you.

Yes, anyone who does not have a social security number, an ITIN, or is not a residence in the United States will be required to obtain a EIN in order to import and sell goods to the US. You can find our simple guide here: EIN for International Applicants

Definitely! We are fully set up to handle any kind of 3rd party fulfillment you need. Our software can integrate with most ecommerce platforms and website installations. Contact us to get more information on how we can help you with your order fulfillment.

Yes! We can handle the disposal of the inventory for a fee of 0.20 per unit and 0.50 per oversize unit.  

When you order our Turnkey Service, which includes shipping arrangement and customs clearance, our shipping department will contact your supplier. The reasons we contact your manufacturer are to get final dimensions, weights, and the “cargo ready date” of your goods, and to arrange ground transportation to the port if necessary. We will still need specific documents from you for customs clearance.

The main difference between the three freight methods are the cost and the time in transit. Ocean freight is the most affordable option with a transit time of up to four weeks. Air freight costs more than sea freight but the transit time is 5 days to 2 weeks. Air express has a transit time of 3 to 5 days but it is generally the most expensive option.

For ocean freight and air freight, you will need a licensed customs broker to handle U.S. customs clearance and a transportation company to deliver your goods from the port/terminal to their final destination. For air express, the carrier will handle customs clearance and will deliver your goods to their final destination.

In the contract between you and your supplier, you will agree upon terms of sale that will determine whether or not they are responsible for getting your goods to the port. In over-simplified terms, FOB (Freight on Board) means your supplier will handle delivery from their warehouse to the port. EXW (Ex-Works) means that your will need to arrange delivery from your supplier’s factory to the port, which we can are more than happy to help you with.

Yes! Please contact a representative to get a quote on shipping. We can ship to the United States from almost any country in the world.

It is important to look through the entire quote you received to make sure you are getting all of the services you need – Most quotes that look cheap don’t include essential services, such as insurance, ground transportation, or customs. You know the saying “it’s too good to be true”? Typically, with freight forwarding, it is. If you quote looks way too low, start asking your supplier or broker more questions so that you can make sure you are getting everything that you need when it comes to shipping and customs. The worst thing you can do is to have your goods shipped to the US, just to realize no one was ever responsible for your customs clearance (leading to hefty fines, storage fees, and delays!) or organizing transportation to the final destination.

 In an effort to be as transparent as possible, FBAforward provides (almost) all-inclusive shipping quotes.* Shipping quotes include origin and destination charges, shipping, insurance, US trucking, customs entry, customs bond, and customs filing fees. We will match any sea freight or air freight charges (shipping only) that you get on quotes from any other company.

*Some variable costs cannot be included in the initial shipping quote if they cannot be estimated accurately ahead of time, such as customs duties, unexpected customs exams, and additional port fees.

The transit time for shipments from your supplier to Amazon will depend on the freight forwarding method you have elected, the customs process, and the Amazon FBA destination. We know that “time is money,” so rest assured that FBAforward does everything in our power to make sure the logistics process goes as quick and smooth as possible. Please contact our consultants to get a rough timeline that is specific to your situation. 

In short, basically. Most companies that say they ship “direct-to-Amazon” need to consolidate or palletize your shipment before it gets sent to Amazon due to Amazon’s strict FBA receiving requirements. There are very few instances where you can ship your goods straight from China to Amazon, and even fewer instances where it is a good idea if quality control is important to your business.

Amazon has partnered with UPS and other LTL transportation companies to offer their customers deeply discounted shipping rates, which are better rates than almost any company out there can offer. By arranging the final transport from our warehouse via Amazon’s partnered carriers, we save you money and hassle. 

By default, Amazon will send your goods to 2-3 different fulfillment centers throughout the United States. This helps Amazon get your products in the hands of the consumers as quickly as possible. Amazon dictates which fulfillment centers you are required to ship to, and does not let anyone choose the fulfillment centers they want.

Amazon does offer a service called “FBA Inventory Placement,” which allows you to send your products to one fulfillment center. However, you cannot select which location you want your goods sent to. This service can cost you anywhere from $0.30 to $1.30+ per unit.

Yes, we can arrange to have a part of your shipment send to a personal address. Notify your account manager of the amount you wish to have sent, along with the address and they will arrange this service for you. There will be an additional shipping cost to arrange shipping to an address other than FBAforward or Amazon.

It is the Importer security filing which is submitted to customs prior to the vessels departure from origin. This document is required for all Ocean shipments to ensure customs clearance

Customs duties are charged by the US customs department and amount to a percentage of the purchase price of your goods. The mean percentage is 4% but they differ depending on type of products and can range from 0% to 30% and higher. Click here to estimate the customs duties on your particular product.

Customs duties are taxes charged by US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and are applied to all incoming shipments. The duties are a percentage of the purchase price (on your commercial invoice) of your goods. Customs duties are paid by FBAforward on your behalf and invoiced to you at a later date.

Customs brokerage is the fee for the service of having a licensed customs broker handle the customs clearance of your goods. The $245 fee includes a single use bond, the preparation of import and export documents, document filing, verification of declarations, exam arrangement, HS tariff code categorization, general customs and regulatory requirement expertise, and more. FBAforward charges a consultation fee ($299 for Turnkey or $199 for Customs Only) on top of the $245 customs brokerage fee. The $245 fee will be reflected in both the shipping estimate and, once you place your order, the shipping quote.

All orders that include ocean freight shipping support require a packing list and commercial invoice for customs clearance. The packing list and commercial invoice will be sent to you from your supplier. If you haven’t received these documents by the time the goods are ready to be shipped out, we highly recommend reaching out to your supplier.

What is a Commercial Invoice? A commercial invoice is a document that states the purchase value of the units and total shipment, along with the quantity, product details, and shipping marks.

What is a Packing List? A packing list is a document that states exactly what is in your shipment, including carton and unit counts, dimensions, weight, and volume.

With the Turnkey Service, we will arrange your shipping and customs which allows us to have access to almost all the required document needed for customs clearance. The only two documents you are responsible for is commercial invoice and commercial invoice. 

When purchasing International Customs Support, our customs broker will handle your customs clearance, but you would be responsible to send in all the required documents needed for customs clearance in a timely fashion (otherwise you may be subject to fines and delays from the US government).

We recommend adding the Turnkey Service to every order because it provides you with a completely hands-off international importing experience. With the Turnkey Service, we will handle the entire process of shipping, customs clearance, and US transportation for you.

The documents required to be submitted to our customs broker if you purchase the International Customs Service include the following:
– Completed ISF
– Bill of Landing
– Commercial Invoice
– Packing list
– Photo of the product
– Telex Release
– Arrival Notice

The documents required to be submitted to our customs broker if you purchase the Turnkey Service include the following:
– Commercial Invoice
– Packing list
– Photo of the product

We recommend adding the Turnkey Service to every order because it provides you with a completely hands-off shipping experience. With the Turnkey Service we will handle the entire process of shipping, transport and customs for you.

Amazon requires that any shipment arriving at its fulfillment centers must be packed and prepared in a specific way. To be most cost-effective, it is recommended that you ask your supplier to prep your units and cartons according to the following standards: Supplier FBA Compliance Guide

All incoming shipment will be checked for overall FBA compliance. To help ensure the health of your Amazon seller account, we do not send inventory to Amazon that does not meet Amazon’s strict FBA receiving regulations. If your shipment is missing anything, we will notify you about the needed services and fees associated with getting your shipment up to regulation.

From Amazon.com:
“IMPORTANT: Failure to comply with FBA product preparation requirements, safety requirements, and product restrictions may result in the refusal of inventory at the Amazon fulfillment center, disposal or return of inventory, blocking of future shipments to the fulfillment center, or charging for preparation or for noncompliance at the fulfillment center.”

Amazon requires all products to have one barcode displayed on the unit, the barcode can either be a FNSKU label or a UPC label.

Not all inventory is eligible for tracking with the manufacturer barcode (UPC). To be eligible for UPC labeling, products must:

  • Be in new condition only
  • Have a single scannable barcode that corresponds to a single ASIN in the Amazon catalog
  • Not be expiration-dated
  • Not be consumable or topical products such as skin creams, shampoos, or cosmetics

Access to your Amazon seller central account is limited and will allow us to make create and print FNSKUs, create shipping plans, and print your shipping labels right at our warehouse. This service is for your convenience and helps us process shipments faster through our warehouse. It is a required service for all of our clients. View how to set up Amazon account permissions here.

All outer cartons are inspected once we receive your goods at our warehouse to check for damage.

An inspection of your individual units at our warehouse in the US is highly recommended if there has been substantial damage to the shipment during the transit and we need to check if the products are okay. Inspections can also be completed if you are unsure that the good have been packaged correctly or you want to ensure product quality.

We can also inspect your goods in China, after your supplier has completed the manufacturing process. This is a good idea if you have never worked with your supplier before or you are manufacturing a new product.

The product photograph will be send to you within 3-5 days after your products have arrived at our warehouse.

Suffocation warning labels are required on ploy bags if the opening of the bag is 5” or greater.

FBAforward adheres to all of Amazon’s fulfillment center receiving regulations. All LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipments sent to Amazon must be put on approved pallets (good quality 40″ x 48″, 4-way access, wooden pallets) and wrapped according to Amazon’s seller requirements. If you have any questions about Amazon’s strict receiving rules, please refer to Amazon’s seller help center.

The final cost of transport from our warehouse to Amazon will not be calculated until the goods are ready to leave our warehouse and we have create the shipping plan. The cost from the final transport will be billed to you by Amazon and you will see that fee on your Amazon seller account. Amazon’s partnered carriers are the most cost effective way to ship your goods to Amazon’s fulfillment centers

There will be three billing steps, which include:

  1. Deposit: The initial payment for our services when you place your order online
  2. Shipping Invoice (if applicable): The second invoice is regarding your shipping costs, customs brokerage, and US trucking. You will receive this between 1-7 days after the shipment has departed origin.
  3. Final Invoice: The final invoice will reflect any additional services or costs that we have covered at the late stages of your shipping, customs, and prep process. This can include customs exam fees, approved prep or inspection fees, customs duties, etc. You will receive this invoice after your goods are completed at our warehouse, and before your goods are released to Amazon.

All invoices are due upon receipt and late fees are accessed after 3 days.  

Contact your account manager as soon as possible. Our system will automatically assess late fees after 3 days, so the sooner we can assist you, the better!

You will be billed for storage on a monthly basis.

After 45 days of no contact and/or payment, your goods are considered abandoned per the FBAforward service contract.