Import of office equipment – copiers or printers

Are you interest in developing a profitable business, that is easy to launch, eco friendly involving reuse of second-hand equipment ? Think about the business of used photocopiers. The administrative management of any business requires a printer or photocopier. Buying new is often expansive, but have you ever offered them used equipment ? Locally, you may only have a limited supply, but globally, the possibilities are numerous. Access to it implies import procedures.

IMPORT: What do you need to know about international exchanges ?


First of all, find the right interlocutor, preferably a specialist in import-export, capable of a regular and quality supply, in a multilingual environment. Any professional wholesaler must be able to offer shipments in a full container, 20 ’or 40‘, or in a group, by mixing models or brands, depending on your ability to undertake maintenance. A little research on the internet will put you in touch with the players in this market.

Choosing the incoterm


The supply chain includes various side costs that you must take into consideration when agreeing on a purchase price, if you want to avoid any unpleasant surprise. You will have to choose an incoterm while negociating the contract. It will determine the subsequent costs to be included. Below, we describe 2 examples of incoterms commonly used for import among the 11 existing ones:

EXW ex works. You control the entire transport and risks of the goods , from the warehouse of departure to your place of delivery.

CFR cost and freight. The seller organises shipping and bears all risks until unloading of goods at the seaport of destination. Then, the buyer takes the rest of transport and insurance costs in charge, from unloading to head office.

Actually, the choice of incoterm depends on the interest you have in controlling shipping (price and delivery time). If you choose CFR, be sure that the seller passes these costs on to customer orders. While trying to find upstream the cheapest mode of transport , he won’t necessarily choose the faster. If you choose EXW incoterm, you have to manage the things, but you may curb the costs and delays. 

Details of costs


  • Transport : the carriers, with integrated customs broker services  can quote you the costs to be expected for a 20 ’or 40’ container. For information, a 20 ‘contains about 60-70  photocopiers and the double in a 40’, which allows you to determine an average cost of transport by machine.


  • Customs duties : they are specific to each country, due to the entry of the goods in your country. The freight forwarder will tell you the applicable percentage, knowing that the basic value for customs duties is the value of the goods + shipping and insurance costs. On top of that, you will need to know the customs nomenclature (tariff code of the HS European harmonized system): 8443 31 for photocopiers or 8443 39 for printers). Because of  bilateral agreements between countries , you may be exempted from customs duties at import procedures. In this case, the freight forwarder will notify you.


Some additional costs can be triggered if you are not vigilant. Your seller will most likely ask you for the payment before shipping or during transport, and will only release the container once the invoice is fully paid. In fact, the term “releasing a container” means providing you with the documents representative of the goods. These documents are essential for the recovery of the container (they are called B/L or Bill of Lading). They will be requested by the freight forwarder. Without it, the container cannot be released, and so, will have to be stored in port, which can cause significant additional invoices. As a consequence, vigilance is therefore required on the payments of the goods.

In conclusion, all costs shall be added to your purchase price, in order to determine your cost price, on which you will apply your margin rate.


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