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Importer of Stone

The U.S. Customs Service defines "importer" as a person primarily liable for the payment of duties on the merchandise, or an authorized agent acting on the importer's behalf. The importer may be: (a) a consignee, (b) the importer of record, or (c) the actual owner of the merchandise if the actual owner has filed with Customs a declaration acknowledging ownership along with a superseding bond.

In general, importer distributor imports the products from the various countries by making a direct contact with the quarry owners or exporters and stocks the products in their warehouses and then distributes them further into the local market. One of the main tasks of importer distributor is to analyze the marketing trends i.e., what products are in demand these days or what product will be in demand in near future, he also takes in consideration the color of the product which is in demand or which will be in demand. When it comes to distributing the stone it has direct contacts with the Retailers, Fabricators and Manufacturers.

Prior to importing, the person has to obtain a importing certificate and importing license. Import licenses may also specify the country from which the importer must purchase the goods.

To speed customs clearance, the import community and the Customs Service have created the Customs Automated Commercial System (ACS), which, electronically receives and processes entry documentation and provides cargo disposition information. Cargo carriers, customs brokers, and importers may use the system, which reduces clearance time from days to hours or even minutes. Persons entering into the importing trade who intend to file their own entry documentation with U.S. Customs are encouraged to explore this method of transacting business.

The importer would have to get this new material out to the customers, and in turn develop a market need for this stone in the design/architectural marketplace. If there was no demand for the stone, then the distributor or dealer did not want to handle the stone in most cases. The importer takes great risks and in most cases stones they brought in for sales that were new, did not work out in the long run. Probably 10 to 20 percent actually had selling power.
The importer would also finance everything from the Letter of Credit to the supplier to selling the buyer on open account, and collecting the money. An implied warranty was on the stone, which gave the buyer a sense of safety and security. If the stone was not what the buyer thought it should be, or there were some quality problems, he sent it back or did not pay the importer. The importer would work out a credit for such problems and take care of it.

The distributor's most important role was warehousing stone and secondly to have a showroom and/or sales representative go out and show & sell stone to the dealers, fabricators, and contractors. Before 1980 most distributors were just this: warehouse sales companies. After 1980 distributors became importers.

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