Work Abroad

Import/Export Guide

Guide to buying and selling all that worthless tat you filled your rucksack with on Khao San Road..

It looks easy no? You wander through the markets of India, Thailand or Morocco and you see how cheap everything is. Just think of what it would sell for back home! Do the maths and you see that if you were just to bring 1000 shawls/pipes/hats back home then you’d soon have enough cash for another 6 months on the road…

Yeah, well it isn’t quite that easy. It is possible to make a living – even a good living – from hauling kilos and kilos of tat back to the First World but it takes experience, expertise and a good deal of luck. Ask yourself why it is that everyone is not sending 50 kilos of incense back to Paris – could it be that it just wouldn’t sell?

All experienced traders will tell you it takes practice. The first few runs you make you’re unlikely to make more than twice your money (assuming you don’t lose it all). Don’t be too disheartened. Cut your losses and learn from your mistakes. So your paper-mache Bin Ladens weren’t the hit you thought they would be – you’ll know better next time.

Really, you want to be making around 4-5 times your invested money when selling to shops and 7+ times when selling it yourself. Sound like a lot? Don’t forget that you have to haul this stuff around by car or taxi, pay for pitches in markets and you have to live in the meantime. So maybe you made $3000 profit but it took you two months to sell it and you spend $2500 in the meantime. Now you’ve got to pay for your flight back to do it all over again.

Okay, so don’t believe us. You’ve already made your $5000 on paper and that special contact you made in the market is packaging up your stock right now. Marco Polo aint got nothing on you that’s clear but whilst you wait for the shopkeeper to add a few extra beads onto his abacus have a look at what every first time exporter needs to know.