Do you know the total U.S. trades with foreign countries was $5.6 trillion in the year 2019?
International shipping offers exciting growth opportunities to business owners in the U.S. However, it is a multi-level process with a lot of regulations, especially on documentation.
International shipping documentation forms a basis for trading and shipping goods across international borders.
Documents for international shipping decide the fate of a shipment. A simple mistake could lead to delays during custom clearance.
Here are ten documents needed to ship internationally.
1. Commercial Invoice
When shipping goods internationally, a commercial invoice is one of the necessary documents presented at customs.
It’s an invoice issued by the exporter to the importer and acts as proof of sale. The commercial invoice is a detailed document that offers information on the exporter, importer, freight forwarder, shipping lines, and banking information.
A commercial invoice acts as a one-place document that holds crucial information about transactions required for customs clearance.
2. Purchase Order
This contains information about the transaction, the type of product involved, parties involved in the trade, and the transaction date. It is the official exporter’s declaration of receiving an order.
The document specifies what the seller will deliver and the total shipping cost.
3. Commercial and Proforma Invoice
Commercial and proforma invoices are used interchangeably within the U.S. and are preliminary bills of sale. Before delivering goods, invoices are sent to the shipper to serve a commitment to ship goods at a specific time and date.
A proforma invoice lists the weight, work included in the allegiance, and costs involved. The invoice is essential for custom clearance, especially when shipping goods to Europe and South America. For a shipment to go through automated export systems, your proforma invoice should indicate the seller, the buyer, and the value of the merchandise.
4. Bill of Lading (BOL)
A BOL is a formal agreement between the owner of the goods (shipper) and the freight carrier. It is a document used to confirm the receipt of goods for shipment. For the shipment to be released, this document must be signed by authorized representatives of the freight carrier.
A bill of lading contains information about the goods included, how to handle them, and their shipping destination. There are two types of bill of lading; non-negotiable bill of lading and negotiable bill of lading.
A negotiable bill of lading can be transferred to a third party, while a non-negotiable bill of lading must be signed by the two parties involved.
5. Packing List
This is an important shipping document that contains an itemized list of the shipment.
An export packing list is similar to a packing slip provided for domestic shipment, but it’s more detailed. The list includes the quantity, weight, and dimensions of the cargo. In addition to this, the form mentions the packaging type and any safety measures required.
In most cases, shipping companies use the packing list to create a bill of lading. Banks also demand a packing list as a document of payment in case of a letter of credit. A freight forwarder uses the document to clear goods for inspection.
It’s paramount to have the shipping list attached at a visible spot for easy readability.
6. Certificate of Origin
A certificate of origin is an important document in international trade used to declare the country of origin for manufactured goods. The document is certified by the chamber of commerce or by the consulate. It’s a vital form required to prove whether the goods are eligible for export and import.
It’s the responsibility of the seller or exporter to provide the certificate of origin based on the legal requirements of the destination country.
7. Shipper’s Letter of Instruction
This is a letter from the shipper to the freight forwarder containing instructions on how to handle the shipment.
The letter helps communicate specific details about the cargo to the freight forwarder to avoid mistakes that can lead to financial losses.
8. Custom Bond
A custom bond is a document similar to an insurance policy that guarantees payment of fees and duties related to freight.
The importer should purchase a bond from a surety company. The surety company is obliged by the importer’s responsibility and expected to make the payment if the importer defaults.
Note a custom bond only covers the U.S. taxes and duties and not the goods being imported.
The custom and border protection regulations demand all types of commercial imports in the U.S. require to be bonded. This document ensures quick clearance of the shipment.
9. Dangerous Goods Note
A dangerous goods note is a transport document that provides detailed information about the contents of a shipment to concerned parties like carriers and forwarders.
The note is a mandatory requirement for any shipment containing hazardous goods.
10. Insurance Certificates
This is a certificate issued by insurance companies certifying that the seller has purchased insurance for the goods. The policy covers against liability and damages that may occur to goods while shipping.
International shipping exposes sellers to many perils. The exporter community confidently conducts business by having an insurance policy that covers monetary losses.
Learning the Key International Shipping Documentation
Understanding the international trade documentation process thoroughly will help you avoid shipment delays. Each country has its own set of policies and requirements for international shipping documentation. Business owners should spend time researching and seeking answers to any lingering questions.
Once you are ready, obtain all the required shipping documents. Fill out each document accurately before engaging a freight forwarder. Preparing ahead of time will ensure your shipment goes smoothly.
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Top 5 challenges faced by construction project owners
Construction projects encompass a multitude of intricate processes that must all be coordinated efficiently. The high complexity of construction projects means a broader spectrum of challenges waiting to unfold before, during, and after building. Most of the challenges encountered boil down to two core problems: project delays and extra costs.
The construction industry is one of the largest contributors to the U.S. economy. The construction sector builds structures worth 1.4 trillion dollars every year, employing around 733,000 workers. While the construction industry is vibrant and thriving, there are several challenges that project owners face on a regular basis.
Due consideration not being given to project requirements and ground realities results in a project strategy that lacks structure and doesn’t clear targets, especially if there’s no backup plan.
Badly planned projects are bound to exceed budgets and experience delays, as there are likely to be no well-defined milestones and targets. When workers are left in the dark about short-term and long-term targets, they tend to fall behind.
It’s important to break down project-wide goals into smaller daily components. This ensures that everyone knows clearly what their responsibilities are and what needs to be achieved on both a short-term and long-term basis. The organized execution of short-term progress will have a compounding effect, resulting in sustained implementation of the project.
Project goals are more likely to be achieved in a timely and cost-effective manner when all team members are on top of their game at all times. Developing a well-defined roadmap for carrying out a construction project can be a make-or-break and should be given utmost importance.
Optioneering tools like https://www.alicetechnologies.com/solutions/for-owners can give project owners a better handle on planning. With technological solutions like ALICE, you can make better financial projections and accurately assess the impact of design changes.
According to estimates, the U.S. construction industry will need an additional 1 million workers across the nation in the next two years to satisfy labor gaps and sustain itself. Needless to say, there’s a critical shortage of qualified workers in the construction industry.
This ongoing issue has, however, driven innovation, with different methods developed to cover for the labor shortage. Modular construction and the use of technology have somewhat minimized the impact of the worker shortage, with machines and robotics, software, 3D printing, and drones filling in for gaps.
Working on your existing workforce can also be helpful for labor retention. Ensure your workers are given opportunities for advancement, arranging regular training workshops and mentorship programs.
Price volatility derails project budgeting, and it’s something that construction project owners often have to deal with.
Stockpiling can fix the issue to some extent, but this comes with its fair share of problems. For example, stored materials might not be insured if you don’t adhere to compliance factors. Many insurance policies also do not cover stored materials. This can lead to cash flow problems, which results in project delays.
Opting for alternative construction materials like mass timber and bendable concrete can solve the issue temporarily, but that, too, is not an ideal long-term solution. This is due to the fact that these materials are price-prohibitive and are not widely permitted for building.
Careful planning tailored to project needs and keeping yourself informed about market fluctuations can help in devising an apt sourcing strategy.
The complexity of construction projects demands the need for every stakeholder to be continuously informed, and that requires an effective communication strategy.
Guidelines should be established regarding communication protocols before the project actually starts, with coordination between different project entities planned so that no information is overlooked and workflows can be perfectly synced.
Streamlined communication processes will ensure your project runs smoothly and that any bottlenecks that appear during the course of the project are removed in a timely manner.
If you feel that in-person meetings take up a lot of valuable time, you might consider opting for software that streamlines information exchange.
Climate change has caused an increasing number of hurricanes in many parts of the United States, resulting in major delays for construction projects. Aggressive weather phenomena are expected to cause considerable damage and loss in the coming years.
Planning for construction projects will see an increasing need to account for weather-related delays so project owners are logistically ready to cope with the fallout.
It’s also common for owners to have to deal with hazards involving injuries to workers. All necessary steps should be taken to ensure worker safety, with practices and procedures implemented for prevention. Worker training programs can also play an important role in educating laborers about workplace hazards and how to avoid them.
Being a construction project owner means having to anticipate dealing with these issues. Understanding these challenges will help you devise the right plan to reach your project goals.
Emberify: How Fashion Brands Can Utilize Instagram Marketing?
Instagram is a great platform for marketing your fashion brands because it has billions of active users. Many top fashion brands are using Instagram as the main source to increase their sales. Also, they are using this platform to showcase their products. So, post promotions on this platform if you also want to gain those benefits and connect with your target audience. Try to create more content videos and upload them consistently to get more fame. You can also buy likes on instagram to enhance your post’s reach globally. You should also schedule the posts and upload them to get success in your business. You can also read this article to gain more ideas to market your fashion brands on Instagram.
Importance of Instagram Marketing
Instagram gives all fashion brands to increase their awareness and sales. Also, by nature, it is a great visual medium to showcase their clothes. You can add a strong and catchy caption to let the users know your clothes’ value. It will allow you to share your posts on other social media platforms. You can also gain more followers for your account, and they will further support your growth. So, this is why it is important to leverage Instagram to sell your clothes.
Create a Powerful Profile
One of the essential steps in marketing on Instagram is to have a profile with all the required details. This means you have to try to add the image and description to attract Instagram users. Above all, you must include a link to your E-Commerce store or your website. You can quickly reach your target audience by creating such a strong profile. They will surely support your business to reach the next level. So, focus well on creating a profile to develop your brand.
You can make sure whether you are reaching your target audience or not. Next, the important thing you must do is add a relevant hashtag to your posts. There is no character limit on Instagram, so you can add and take advantage. You can also develop specific brand hashtags for each collection or item of your clothes. So, if you leverage relevant hashtags in your post, you can enhance your visibility and sales. You can also use Emberify to amplify your online presence. Therefore, plan and add them to develop your business on this Instagram medium.
Instagram has a special feature to engage your audience: the story. You can upload stories on Instagram and make the users know about your brand. For instance, you can show the behind-the-scenes to the audience to increase your follower base. You can even post your upcoming clothes sales on stories to inform the users. If you try this idea, you can surely get more profit and popularity at the same time. So, try uploading at least one story to make the users view them and engage.
You can first optimize your Instagram profile and create more videos. But you must focus on creating good content. It is because your content is only the main strategy to grab the users’ attention. Therefore, you should allot some time and create more grabbing content to improve your growth. For example, you can give the users tips to groom themselves. You can also educate them about the cloth material, color and texture and make them purchase your dress. In addition, you can collect all the questions your users ask and answer them by posting a separate post. Even this can impress the users and make them buy your brand. It will also encourage the users to prioritize visiting your website often.
Partner With Influencers
Influencer campaigns can make the users trust your brand more and increase sales. Even working with a micro-influencer can gain you many benefits. So, reach out to a suitable and talented influencer to promote your brand on this Instagram medium. You can discuss your ideas and goals with them and create an attractive video to make the users purchase your brand. For instance, you can ask the influencer to wear your branded clothes and upload a pic in the feed. If you do so, you can quickly gain more responses from the users. Therefore, you can partner with an influencer to grow your brand.
Bring out Your Creativity
You can show your creative side to the users to make your brand more recognized. This medium has very high competition, so you must implement some creative ideas to succeed. For example, you can host a contest on Instagram to increase your visibility. Additionally, you can utilize quizzes and polls on stories to improve your brand’s growth. You should also try to show the bloopers of your company to make the users enjoy and know your presence. Even you can experiment with different content to know your user’s interests. If you try these unique ideas, you can enhance your sales faster when compared to your competitors.
Encourage User-Generated Content
You can utilize the user-generated content and post them on your feed. This idea will surely support your fashion brand to develop well. Also, it will build more trust among the users. If your users trust your brand, they will only purchase your clothes. So, you can encourage your customers to share and tag the clothes they brought from their accounts. If you utilize this idea, you can quickly reach your target audience. Therefore, work out this peculiar idea to increase your sales.
Instagram is a wonderful medium to sell your fashion brands. It is a visual platform, and posting interesting images/videos can gain more followers for your account. But more importantly, use a business account to upload your brand. You should also schedule and post frequently on this medium to engage your users. In addition, you can leverage Emberify to uplift your post’s reach on Instagram. You can also post-grabbing content and a quality video to gain more followers. Moreover, you can read this article to gain tips for selling your fashion clothes on Instagram.
Ways to Sell Your Used Solar Panels
Solar panels are a great way to save money on your energy bill and help the environment. However, they can be expensive to purchase and install. If you have old or used solar panels that you no longer need, you may wonder how to sell them. Here are a few tips on how to sell your used solar panels.
Try Selling Online
One of the easiest ways to sell your used solar panels is through online classifieds websites or marketplaces. You’ll attract the attention of potential buyers looking for affordable solar panels by including clear photos and accurate descriptions. Include your asking price in the listing, but be prepared to negotiate with buyers who want to haggle.
Selling used solar panels online is a great way to declutter your home and earn extra cash. Follow the tips below to learn how to sell your used solar panels online successfully.
Tips for Successfully Selling Used Solar Panels Online
Here are a few tips to help you successfully sell your used solar panels online:
- Taking Clear Photos: One of the most important things you can do when selling anything online is to take clear photos. This is especially true when selling something like a solar panel, which is a big-ticket item. Make sure to take pictures in well-lit areas so potential buyers can see the solar panel details. And be sure to include multiple angles – buyers will want to see the panel’s front, back, and sides.
- Writing an Accurate Description: Besides taking clear photos, it’s also essential to accurately describe the solar panel. Be sure to include information such as the make and model of the panel, how old it is, what condition it’s in, and any other pertinent information. The more information you provide, the better! This will help potential buyers decide if the solar panel is right for them.
- Providing Important Information: In addition to taking clear photos and writing an accurate description, you’ll also need to give some vital information about the solar panel. This includes dimensions (height, width, and depth), weight, power output (in watts), and voltage. Again, the more information you provide upfront, the better! This will save time down the road for both you and the buyer.
- Asking for a Reasonable Price: Once you’ve taken clear photos, written an accurate description, and provided all of the critical information about the solar panel, it’s time to ask for a reasonable price. Be sure to research beforehand to know how much similar panels are selling for. You don’t want to overprice or underprice your panel – aim for somewhere in the middle so that you attract serious buyers who are willing to pay a fair price.
- Properly Uninstalling It Once Sold: Once you’ve found a buyer and agreed on a price, it’s time to uninstall the solar panel properly. This process can vary depending on your panel type and how it’s installed. You’ll need to follow all manufacturer instructions to avoid damaging the panel or voiding warranties. Once it’s uninstalled, you can hand it off to the new owner with confidence, knowing that they’ll be able to install and use it safely!
By following these tips, you’ll successfully sell your used solar panels online in no time!
Sell Through Local Classifieds Services
Another option when selling used solar panels is through local classifieds services. Classifieds are a time-tested method for selling just about anything, and solar panels are no different. By using a local classifieds service, you’ll have the opportunity to reach a large number of potential buyers who might be interested in your panels.
Plus, placing an ad is typically very affordable, so you won’t have to spend much money to get started. And since classified ads are usually short and to the point, it won’t take long for you to write up your listing.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when selling your solar panels through local classifieds services:
- Include All Relevant Information: You first want to ensure that all relevant information about your solar panels is included in your ad. This consists of the panels’ make, model, and year, how many there are, and their condition. The more information you include, the easier it will be for potential buyers to decide whether or not they’re interested in your panels.
- Mention Your Asking Price: Another essential thing to include in your classifieds ad is your price for the solar panels. It’s fine to list a specific price, or you can mention that you’re open to negotiating with potential buyers. Just be sure to do some research beforehand so that you have a good idea of how much similar panels are selling for, and don’t accidentally overprice or underprice yours.
- Spend a Little on Featured Listings: While you don’t want to spend too much money selling your solar panels, a little extra on featured listings can help you reach more potential buyers. Featured listings are typically more expensive than regular listings, but they also appear at the top of search results, making them more likely to be seen by potential buyers.
- Proofread Your Ad Before Publishing: Once you’ve included all relevant information and mentioned your asking price, proofread your ad before publishing it. This will help ensure that there are no typos or grammar errors that could turn potential buyers away.
- Monitor Your Ad Regularly: Once your ad is published, monitor it regularly to respond to any questions or inquiries from potential buyers. This will help ensure you don’t miss out on a sale and can negotiate with interested parties promptly.
- Respond to Inquiries Promptly: When people inquire about your ad, respond to them as soon as possible, so they know that you’re still interested in selling the solar panels and haven’t already sold them to someone else.
If you have old or used solar panels that you no longer need, there are a few ways to sell them. Try selling online through classifieds websites or marketplaces. Or, sell through local classifieds services by listing them in print or online.
Be sure to include clear photos and detailed information about the solar panel, such as its condition, age, and make and model. You should also mention your asking price but remember that you may need flexibility in negotiation. By following these tips, you can sell your used solar panels quickly!
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