There are two important things you should do before you start buying. The first thing you need to do is find yourself a Customs Broker, also referred to as a Customhouse Broker. Customs brokers are listed in the yellow pages and they are the people who clear your shipments through the US Customs. They are independently owned private companies licensed by the US Customs. Although in theory, you can enter the goods through the US Customs on your own, I recommend you hire a broker to do it for you. After all, the US Customs licensed the customs brokers to have the entries done the way they want them to be done. The process involves lots of paperwork to fill out and the US Customs officials don’t have time to guide you through the necessary paperwork.
A good customs broker will tell you what you need to know about the product you want to import. He/she will let you know what description you should use on your invoice. The broker will find the description in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule, the US Customs manual that classifies all products that are being entered through the US Customs. It is important that you, the importer, will clearly understand what classification your broker will use to enter the product through US Customs. Based on the description, your broker selects the appropriate classification and informs you if the product will be subject to any duty. This information will be necessary for you to take into consideration for it will effect your ultimate landed price and help you determine if you will be able to import the product effectively in terms of total costs involved and still be able to sell the product at a profit.