If you’re interested in selling stone, this quick how-to article will show you how to become an importer. These simple principles will apply across the board, whether you’re interested in importing marble, granite, travertine, slate, soapstone, or any other type of stone slabs. One of the first factors you should consider is the weight of these shipments. It’s important that you work with a stone specialist when it comes to the ocean freight. You’ll also need a qualified transporter and logistics partner to transport the goods. Before ordering your stone, make sure to have a warehouse arrangement where these heavy shipments can be stored upon arrival. If you’re just starting out in the stone importing industry, you may want to look to smaller freight forwarders so you can get a better price. They may also be able to help you with securing your warehouse or distribution center. The larger companies prefer working with bigger importers and will be more likely to cut them a deal instead of you. There are a few different ways to find your supplier. If you have the opportunity to attend a trade-show and hand pick your supplier, that would be ideal. This also allows you to see sample products so you can be confident in the quality of the goods you’ll receive. EventsEye.com lists upcoming trade shows in all countries. Besides trade shows, you can also look to online resources such as Alibaba or GlobalSources. These B2B marketplaces can be helpful. However, make sure to verify the validity of your supplier as these sites also feature a lot of trading companies and may be deceptive. Evaluating suppliers is a lot easier using a site like ImportGenius, a searchable database of ocean freight shipments via U.S. customs data. You’ll have access to shipping records for all U.S. imports and the visual mapping tool allows you to view the supply chain. You can conduct research on suppliers, find out who major companies are using, and get access to contact information to quickly get in touch with potential suppliers. This is a resource providing you with insight and transparency and can help you make a more informed decision when choosing a supplier. Think of your choice of supplier as an investment in your future business ventures. It’ll save you time in the long run if you work with someone you can consistently rely on for your future imports. For example, a quick search for the term ‘marble slabs’ in the Import Genius database shows that NEW YORK STONE TRADING uses supplier SMART STONE PVT. LTD., a company that also supplies to TRI-STONE CO., JP MORGAN CHASE, and EMARBLE AND GRANITE INC. A supplier that also works with other reputable companies might be a good fit for you. You’ll then set up payment terms after placing your order. It’s common to put a 20-30% down payment on the goods, and then pay the remainder when the goods are ready to be shipped. If you’d rather secure a letter of credit from your banking institution, just make sure to plan ahead. This process takes some time and paperwork. Your next step is to arrange a U.S. customs broker to handle the shipment’s entry into the US port. Your broker can ensure that your goods get cleared through customs. You can also check with your freight forwarder stone specialist to see if they can help you with that. If not, you can simply find a broker at USCustomsBrokers.org. Then it’s time for the stone to get shipped into your warehouse. Happy importing!