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How to start an import export company

Starting a new import export company, or expanding your existing hustle, can be daunting.

The best way to tackle the task is with a step-by-step progress plan.

We’ve made tracking your progress to international trade success easier by creating a to-do list of big and small tasks you can tick off and celebrate along the way.

Concept phase

Identify the product

Choose a name for the business

Get a name reservation

Register a web domain that works with the company name

Order samples

Read about the requirements for importing samples duty free.

Identify your competitors

Create a mock logo and brand identity

Research phase

Test samples

Get honest feedback from a wide variety of people

Identify your target market

Do competitor analysis and identify your unique selling point (USP)

Double check that your brand concept and USP resonate with your target market

Research labeling requirements, regulations, and taxes on the product

To determine the import-export regulations and taxes on your product, you will need its tariff code.

With this, you can identify import duties and export duties that may affect you.

Read up on regulated imports and exports that require special permits.

Regulations on medical, health, nutraceutical, and veterinary products are particularly strict. Consult our regulatory services page for more information on what your product requires.

Do costings to calculate selling price, potential profits, and viability

Use our landed cost calculator to ensure you factor in all expenses.

Identify service providers for shipping, customs clearance, label printing, marketing, distribution, etc

Contact us so that we can assist with connecting you to freight services at competitive rates.

Get training on import export procedures, and compliance

Our training partner, Trade Logistics, offers live and online training courses on import and export.

Action phase

Register the company

We offer company registration services to save you money on all the registrations you need.

Open a business bank account

Get a bank account for your company quickly and easily without leaving home.

Get your import export license

Your import export license is required for clearing shipments through South African customs for re-sale.

With us, getting your import export license is quick and easy. It just takes 5-10 days, and you never have to leave your home or office.

Get necessary licensing and permits from regulatory bodies

Contact our permits department to get import or export permits you may need.

Place the first bulk order with your supplier

Create my website and social media

Start selling!