Small Buisness/Retailers Importing from USA

Ruffino1974

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I have read from time to time, about several small buisness people who have retail stores that apparently have been doing some importing into the DR without the use of a customs broker, on a small but regular basis. I now have the opportunity to invest in an ongoing operation and to aid its expansion by obtaining and sending merchandise from the US to be sold in the DR. This would entail the establishment of a regular, reliable shipping schedule as well as consistently applied ( as close as possible, I know where I will be shipping to) customs duties.
I don't need any encouragement or discouragement only advice from others who have had success doing just this. I know you are out there.

I am interested in specifically, which companies are best to ship air freight and into which port.Which Aduana offices are "less abusive". Time frames on shipping, and clearing customs.Deliveries to locations throughout the DR. Even cost comparison between using and not using a customs broker. I am not against using a Customs broker, but I'd like to hear from those who have done without.

I will be importing apparel and accessories for retail within Santo Domingo, but I am willing and able to accept shipment on the North Coast as well.

I am more than willing to form a group of "like minded retailers" to join together for this purpose, if a successful route can be established. If one already exists and some of you "import together" maybe I can help (Read Join).

Thanks in advance,
 

Chris

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just one comment

Ruffino1974 said:
Even cost comparison between using and not using a customs broker. I am not against using a Customs broker, but I'd like to hear from those who have done without.

We did without one time inadvertently - never again - thought DHL would clear the shipment for us. Six months later, it is still in customs, and still in dispute. Our customs broker, which we should have contacted first, has now arranged for inspection of this shipment and asked us to be sure to bring a camera - so, my guess is that this shipment is three quarters lost, vandalised, broken into and not worth worrying about.

Search for a post (I think it is possibly a sticky somewhere) by Pib where she gives a primer on on importing and customs. You will pay more each time than the rates that a reputable customs broker will negotiate for you. Your first step in importing, should be to find a reputable customs broker and create a good business relationship with this person. They save you much more money than what they cost you. They know the ropes, know who and when to pay and how much and you get your shipments through speedily.

From experience, avoid Santo Domingo. Santiago is good for airfreight, Puerto Plata is good for seafreight - in both instances, find that reputable customs broker and let him/her clear the shipment. I recently heard from a business buddy that they even sometimes airfreight into Samana - and the stuff clears quickly and reasonably priced.
 

Ruffino1974

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Thanks for the quick reply Chris....Do you want to recommend your customs broker?



Any success stories from others who went it alone?


Thanks again
 

GirlieGirl

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It depends on

It depends on what weight/volume/quantities you are shipping, how frequently and where it is coming from.

When I first opened it was cheaper for me to use DHL or UPS... now in the volume and quantites I am shipping - I have other options.
 

Ruffino1974

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Girliegirl, Thanks for the reply

GirlieGirl said:
It depends on what weight/volume/quantities you are shipping, how frequently and where it is coming from.

I expect that it would be 24"-36" square cardboard cartons in the 20#-30# range on a bi-weekly basis from the N/E USA.

Did you have success using DHL and UPS shipping door to door to your buisness? How did your merchandise clear US/DR customs? I know when I ship Dr to US all paperwork is filled out here in the local office and I get the package at my door in the US. Any US customs invoice follows or accompanies the package. How does that work the other way?

If I would need to increase the quantity or frequency of shipments what are my "other options"?

Can I assume you have opened a successful route, without the necesity of using a customs broker?

Any info is greatly appreciated. I know that I can just have DHL or UPS pick up my merchandise, but I want to know a little more of the ins and outs before I risk losing a shipment.

Thanks ,
 

MrMike

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There is a company called "business mail" that specializes in this kind of thing, I have found their pricing to be very reasonable when quoting but have never used the service since I was able to take care of most shipments through friends and contacts.
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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Since I'm lazy today..

Let me ask a couple of questions.

Are you the one that will be receivingthe shipments? If so, you could use "Business Mail". to Santo Domingo. All your merchandise would be sent to a drop address in Miami and then arifreighted to you. They have offices in Santo Domingo.

If you want the boxes to goto different people around the country, I am afraid that you might have a cost problem with DHL or UPS, as they are very expensive.

Now if you are thinking container loads or even LTCL loads, then a reputible customs broker is needed and all of Chris' advice is right on. Read the PIB Sticky..

My son recently imported a full container of electronic and electric priducts and was extremely pleased with his man inSanto Domingo.

Warning: Most importers in Santo Domingo are now boycotting the use of the new Multi-Mode Caucedo facility, since it adds hundreds of dollars and days of time to their imports. They require their suppliers to use only shipping companies that off-load at Haina.

HB

On further thought, another "precautionary" message: Business Mail is owned by Atallah, a very "connected" person to the PRD. I do not know what effect the change over will have on their ability to slide things through Customs as they have in the past. We'll have to wait and see if any....
 

Jerry K

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seafreight into POP

I opened a chicken restaurant several months ago in Puerto Plata. I have brought two shipments in via Antillean Marine, each a couple pallets of breading, boxes & equipment with no problems in customs. I have had an extended family member (white party) walk the papers through. Of course I will be due for a change in August. Just have all your t's crossed and i's doted and your reciepts.
 

Robert

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Jerry K said:
I opened a chicken restaurant several months ago in Puerto Plata. I have brought two shipments in via Antillean Marine, each a couple pallets of breading, boxes & equipment with no problems in customs. I have had an extended family member (white party) walk the papers through. Of course I will be due for a change in August. Just have all your t's crossed and i's doted and your reciepts.

Jerry, where is your restaurant?

Please tell us more about your experience on setting up a restaurant here.
Plus you get the chance to give it a free plug on DR1 :)
 

Jerry K

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Champs chicken

Thanks, I didn't want to take advantage of the situation for a free plug.
We're in front of Plaza Tourisol across from Brugal on the main road, Carretera Luperon, about a quarter mile east of the stadium.
Small American franchise out of Missouri, everything logo branded, basic fare of fried chicken, potato wedges, chicken strips, potato salad, fried platanos etc. Chicken fresh daily, nothing frozen.
Contrary to the belief we're in a bad economy, our business has been great;
started with four employees, now up to nine. We're selling up to 200 pounds of chicken a day.
The "build it and they will come" axiom applies here.
Interesting challenges have been buying water almost every day, buying a backup planta for the Plaza planta and teaching employees to say thank you. Traffic flow patterns are interesting, during the week, we do twice the business after 4pm than before, and 8 til 11 pm Sunday night is the busiest time of the week.
I needed big Idaho baking potatoes for the potato wedges, found the local version in the daily farmers market at the mercado that put the Idahos to shame.
I have a front guy to cut through the BS and make the deals. Best advice I got starting up was learn the system, work the system and become the system. Grahame Bush passed along some good tips.
I buy everything I can locally but bring in branded materials and ingredients.
Please make yourself known if you get by this neck of the woods.
And thanks again for the plug.
 
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BushBaby

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MrMike said:
Dammit, now I'm going to have to make up a business related reason to go to Puerto Plata.

Not a problem Mike. Irate customer who needs a code to enter into his computer so he can download upgrades from Microsoft!! You can't send it by e-mail because it keeps on getting sucked off into cyberspace!!

Seriously, if you DO get up here you'll have more than a welcome from JerryK, you can come wash it down with a beer at my home just 3 mins away!! - Grahame.
PS. If you GET chance to download that code again, please do as I have the ability to enter it (with Tech assistance) this week!! - GB
 

BushBaby

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Jerry K said:
........ I have a front guy to cut through the BS and make the deals. Best advice I got starting up was learn the system, work the system and become the system. Grahame Bush passed along some good tips.

My GOD Jerry, you have a good memory. That was YONKS ago - almost when GOD was a boy!!!

Delighted to hear it is all turning out well for you & I'll be down in a few days to say 'Hi'. If you still have my number, give me a bell & we'll make a date for a beer or something!! - Grahame.
 

Ruffino1974

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I'm Hungry, but back to shipping please....

Thanks for all the great responses,

Hillbilly, don't be so cavalier. You would help a poster even if you had to take time out of a buisy schedule... All the merchandise will be going to a commercial location in Sto. Domingo. Containers are a possibility on occasion or possibly initially. I will bear in mind the info about the ports as I try to be PC as possible.

HB and Mr. Mike, I did a search for Business Mail and was unable to get enough info. If anyone could let me know if they have a web site, or can provide me a contact number either in DR or Miami it would be greatly appreciated.

GirlieGirl, those "other options"?

Jerry K, I will consider that carrier for container shipments, as long as they ship through Haina. As Robert requested, Please share info on your experience on setting up a restaurant here. I ,and i'm sure others, would be interested. Thanks for the reply and Good luck with your restaurant.

Last but not least, Escott. I hope to make your aquaintance on my next trip North. Though you did not respond to my post, I see that your interests primarily revolve around Realestate and Food. Being a food loving Newyorker, who dabbles in RE and is transitioning to a life in the DR I would love to pick your brain. I'll buy lunch...

One More short ????

It there an concensus that DHL and UPS shipments will get there successfully, without too much trouble.


As always......Thanks
 

Escott

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Ruffino1974 said:
Thanks for all the great responses,

Last but not least, Escott. I hope to make your aquaintance on my next trip North. Though you did not respond to my post, I see that your interests primarily revolve around Realestate and Food. Being a food loving Newyorker, who dabbles in RE and is transitioning to a life in the DR I would love to pick your brain. I'll buy lunch...
I would have offered you info but the only experience I have had was shipping 2 generators down from Miami and I didn't do a thing with the shipment. I had Gregg from Coastal holding my hand and doing all the work. Hell I just slipped a few things into his container and shared costs with him but he made all arrangements. I just depended on his expertise and that was a great bet on my part if I say so myself:)

He is one cool guy and you may want to email him from this board. He posts as Coastal. He has a load of experience with shipping and has a good handle on all things Dominican.

He runs and owns with his wife the Coastal Station and supermarket between
Sosua and Cabarete. If you need food and live in the area stop in to see Gregg. He has a world class operation and is a world class guy!

Let me know when you get to town. I would be happy to have lunch with you. I am in NY till the 17th of June when my daughter gets finished with school and returns with me to the DR. I love talking about dirt. One of my favorites.

You have gotten the best info from this site regarding your questions and my memory of what has been posted before. Good luck with whatever you are doing.

Scott
 

Chris

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Ruffino1974 said:
One More short ????

It there an concensus that DHL and UPS shipments will get there successfully, without too much trouble.

Ive had a shipment via DHL stuck in customs for 6 months now. DHL told me quite clearly that they do not clear shipments in the DR. So, if you give me more information as to the type of stuff you want to ship, I can possibly give you better direction.

We use Frank Leo in Santo Domingo - They clear for us in Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. I don't have the tel number on me right at the moment. If they know a shipment is coming in, even via DHL, they do the pre-work (whatever it is), receive the shipment and clear it - we've not had problems with them at all - they get the stuff through at reasonable rates.

We also use EPS. They've brought some recent shipments into Santiago for us at excellent prices. We have an address in Miami where the stuff goes to (actually three shippers all offering different rates, depending on the size/weight ratio). Then EPS transports and clears the goods in for us. They are able to clear in Santo Domingo and Santiago.