There are many solutions for dropshipping, each with pros and cons but the best solution by far is a private dropshipping agent.
A dedicated dropshipping agent in China is the next step for dropshippers reaching high daily volume (20-30 orders per day) to successfully propel their business forward.
This dropshipping agent will be your on-the-ground confidant and get you faster shipping, cheaper prices, more oversight, and an anxiety-free dropshipping experience.
Now what exactly is a dropshipping agent, how do they work and how can you get one? This article will cover everything you need to know.
What is a Dropshipping Agent?
A dropshipping agent is someone who takes care of the entire order fulfillment process for you.
They will handle communications with the Chinese factories, purchase products as soon as you sell them, and ship them out a lot quicker than a regular drop shipper would.
On top of that, dropshipping agents are able to perform thorough quality control and repackage orders in your own branded packaging.
Dropshipping agents in China are especially common as communication with Chinese factories is next to impossible if you don’t speak Chinese.
These agents are able to negotiate with factories and get you the absolute cheapest pricing possible.
This way, you will wind up with individual products being far cheaper than if you were to dropshipping directly from AliExpress or other commonly used marketplaces and thus drastically increasing your profit margins.
Some dropshipping agents have warehouses where they can store your products in bulk in case of a busy season.
Essentially, dropshipping agents are the best solution for those who find success with dropshipping.
Benefits of a Dropshipping Agent
#1 — Cheapest Product Sourcing
By dropshipping products from AliExpress, using a third-party service or even attempting to find a private drop shipper, you will always wind up paying too much for a certain product.
This is where a dropshipping agent truly shines.
A dropshipping agent has the connections and speaks the language to communicate with factories and get you the cheapest pricing possible.
#2 — Fast Shipping Times
Dropshipping from China is a pain, mainly because products can take weeks and sometimes even longer than a month to arrive at your customers’ address.
Especially when dropshipping from AliExpress, where processing times can take up to 7 business days and tracking numbers are often fake.
With a trustworthy Chinese sourcing agent, you don’t encounter any of these issues.
They will purchase products as quickly as possible (sometimes even same-day) and ship them out as quickly as possible.
This will get you processing times of less than 48 hours which will drastically increase your shipping times.
Furthermore, a dropshipping agent will always provide real tracking numbers.
And, in addition to everything else, the dropshipping agent will know exactly which courier service to use at which time to provide the fastest shipping possible to your customers’ address.
Basically, with a dropshipping agent most of your orders will arrive within 2 weeks time and thus drastically reduce your charge-backs and customer complaints.
#3 — Quality Control
Factories in China have different quality control measures than we are used to. This results in many orders showing up faulty, wrong or broken.
Electronics that don’t work, clothing pieces with holes, the list goes on. This results in customer complaints, chargebacks and negative reviews.
A good dropshipping agent will perform a thorough quality control for you and relieve you and your customers of a lot of pain.
They will check for any mistakes and faults on the product. They will also check the packaging and ensure the products could not be damaged during shipping.
This may seem like a small benefit, but good quality control is crucial to a long-lasting business
#4 — Custom Packaging
Your average dropshipping package arrives in a white box or bag with a Chinese label slapped on it.
This doesn’t look particularly professional and it certainly doesn’t help after the customer has had to wait for several weeks to receive it.
A dropshipping agent will be able to provide custom packaging for you.
This can be as simple or fancy as your budget allows.
Just adding a label with your logo will make the package look a lot better already.
And if you want a custom printed package and some fancy coupons inside the box, you can.
#5 — They Want You To Succeed
Working with a dropshipping agent is very different from working with AliExpress suppliers, third party service or even a private dropshipping supplier.
On the contrary to all of those, a dropshipping agent actually wants to see you succeed.
You are not just a number to them, not just another sale or not just another subscriber with a monthly plan — you are their employer.
And their income is directly dependent on yours.
Therefore, a dropshipping agent will do everything in their power to give you the best service possible and help your business succeed.
They will go above and beyond.
When Can You Get a Dropshipping Agent?
Of course, dropshipping agents won’t work with just anyone (It’s actually a big red flag if they claim to do so).
Most agents will require you to have a decent amount of daily orders (MOQ). Around 20 – 30 orders a day.
If you’re within that range, they will most likely be glad to take you on.
Switching over at that point will save you a lot of money in product cost while increasing shipping times and reducing complaints and chargebacks.
How Does a Dropshipping Agent Work?
Your dropshipping agent will be available to you at all times during his or her work day (keep in mind the time difference!) through Whatsapp, WeChat and other messaging platforms.
Any questions you have, a good agent will reply to almost instantly.
The dropshipping agent will have an account on your Shopify store and be able to see and export the CSV’s of your orders so they can easily fulfill them for you.
Alternatively, you can also send them the CSVs by email if you’re uncomfortable with them having a staff account for your store.
They will then go to the factories to order the products you sold and ship them all out at the end of the day — drastically decreasing your average shipping times.
They will pay for everything from an account you set up for them.
How To Find a Dropshipping Agent in China?
Finding a dropshipping agent may seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be.
True, you cannot find them by simply googling around but there are still a number of ways to find a good agent.
Best method: Find a Dropshipping Agent By Reference
The first and best way to find a dropshipping agent (and how I found mine) — is by reference.
When hiring a plumber, would you rather look online for the first guy in your area or hire the one that your aunties and your neighbors have been raving about?
This is no different with finding a dropshipping agent — the best ones are the ones that a friend, acquaintance, or fellow group/forum member can recommend to you.
So what are the best places for this? Dropshipping Facebook Groups.
And there are literally thousands of those thanks to all the dropshipping gurus out there!
Find a couple of drop shippers in those groups and engage with them.
The majority of the members will be newbies that don’t really know what they are doing (very easy to spot) but every now and then you will encounter someone that is doing big figures and they likely are using a dropshipping agent.
Most of these agents are always looking for more clients to take on, so it shouldn’t be too hard for you to find one this way.
This strategy can be implemented on dropshipping and eCommerce forums as well.
Alternatively, you can also make a post on a dropshipping Facebook group explaining your situation and your needs.
These groups have dropshipping agents on them (not all of them are good, beware!) who might reply or shoot you a message.
Keep in mind that there are also many scammers in these groups and forums.
By simply making a post “looking for a dropshipping agent” you will get many replies from agents but long not all of those are legit or know what they are doing.
For this reason, I prefer to reach out to people privately and get a reference that way.
And please, do not rush this process. Finding a dropshipping agent doesn’t have to be a one-day feat. Take your time, this is your business we’re talking about! Find the right one.
Examples of dropshipping Facebook groups (no affiliation):
Find a Dropshipping Agent on AliExpress
As you may or may not know, most sellers on AliExpress are actually individuals that are hustling on the internet just like you and me.
They are not factories (at least the large majority isn’t) as you may think.
But most of them do have all the credentials a sourcing agent needs: warehouse, lives near factories and has connections with factories, speaks Chinese, etc.
That’s why searching for a dropshipping agent on AliExpress is actually not a bad idea.
Here’s how to find an agent on AliExpress:
(BTW this can be implemented on Alibaba as well)
Find suppliers that are offering the product you’re looking to sell and tell them what kind of daily volume you are looking at.
Then ask them if they would be willing to become your dropshipping agent and what exactly they can offer you in terms of pricing and faster shipping options.
Rinse and repeat until someone bites!
Find a China Sourcing Agent On Upwork
Another method of how you can find a dropshipping agent is on freelancing platforms such as UpWork and Fiverr.
Now heads up, I don’t actually recommend this.
While it’s super EASY to find a dropshipping agent on these platforms, they will charge high fees and likely see you as just another short term customer instead of a long term partner.
There are two methods to find a dropshipping agent on Upwork:
- Look for the terms “dropshipping agent” and “sourcing agent” and message the candidates that pop up
- Create a job posting (this is free) and specify your exact needs.
The same strategy can be implemented to find a sourcing agent on Fiverr as well.
Questions to Ask a Dropshipping Agent Before Taking Them On
As I’ve hopefully made abundantly clear, you don’t want to go for the first and best agent you find.
Instead, you want to take your time to find the right fit for your business.
The best way to find out if the agent is right for you, is by asking questions.
How long is your processing time?
The best dropshipping agent processes your orders very quickly, preferably within 48 hours and at most within 72 hours.
The processing time will drastically impact the shipping times so if they are not capable of providing you with an acceptable processing time, you should look for a different agent.
How long is the average shipping time?
A good dropshipping agent will have the best shipping lines available to them and should be able to provide shipping times of less than 2 weeks.
TIP: ask them for examples of tracking numbers from previous clients so you can check the total shipping time for yourself.
Can you show me your warehouse?
I like asking this question instead of asking “do you have a warehouse” as that could easily result in them untruthfully replying with yes.
A good dropshipping agent has their own warehouse where they operate from and they will be glad to show you their place of business.
What are your fees and how do I pay you?
Of course, you want to know how much your agent will charge you beforehand.
Most agents will use international wire-transfer and many even accept PayPal.
Can you provide custom packaging?
A good agent has the equipment and resources to provide you with custom labels and packaging options.
You should also ask them for examples as well.
How do you conduct quality control?
Do you see how I didn’t ask “do you conduct quality control”? That should be a given, I want to know HOW they conduct quality control.
An experienced dropshipping agent will give you a thorough answer that shows they know what they are doing.
The last thing I want to point out is that you want to pay close attention to the communication between you and the agent during this interview process.
How is their level of English? Are they polite? How quickly do they reply?
These are all very important factors to consider when choosing your dropshipping agent as you don’t want any miscommunication to occur.
What is your refund policy?
What is their policy for when products arrive broken, faulty or wrong and your customer demands a refund?
A decent refund policy also proves your agent will perform thorough quality control before shipping out orders.
Alternatives to Dropshipping Agents
A dropshipping agent isn’t for everyone.
Maybe you aren’t don’t a high volume of orders just yet or you prefer to work with a premium service instead.
For those of you, fret not, for there are many more options out there.
Third Party Logistics or 3PL
A third party logistics or 3PL service is where you hire a company to store and fulfill products for you.
These warehouses could be anywhere in the world including the US where from you could ship products domestically really quickly.
With this alternative, you steer away from the dropshipping business model as you own the stock that you are selling and are merely employing a third party company to fulfill your products for you.
This will require more upfront costs and risks but would decrease your shipping times by a lot when opting for a warehouse located in the same country as your customer-base.
Premium Dropshipping Services
These services provide sourcing requests, faster shipping, custom packaging, private labeling, and other features to improve your dropshipping business.
The drawback is that you will not nearly get the same personalized experience as you would with a dropshipping agent.
But it can be a good stepping stone for those who have yet to hit higher volume sales.
AliExpress dropshipping is the act of using AliExpress sellers to drop ship products to your customer for you.
This is the most common dropshipping method out there but does come with quite a bit of disadvantages such as slow shipping times and unreliable suppliers.
However, AliExpress dropshipping is free through apps such as Oberlo and Dsers and it is by far the best way to get started with dropshipping.
In fact, I start most of my stores primarily through AliExpress and once I reach a consistent daily volume of 20+ orders, then I switch over to my dropshipping agent.
CjDropshipping is a free app and service that creates a dropshipping experience almost identical to AliExpress.
Contrary to AliExpress, the products found on CJDropshipping are not from independent suppliers and are all stored in CJDropshipping warehouses.
Through this, CJDropshipping is able to provide faster worldwide shipping and a more reliable service than you would expect from AliExpress suppliers.
Hence why many dropshippers use CJDropshipping instead of AliExpress.
The only caveat is that AliExpress has a far wider range of products than CJDropshipping.
Read: CJDropshipping Review
As this article hopefully made abundantly clear, getting a dropshipping agent is the best step for your dropshipping business if you have a consistent daily volume of 20-30 orders per day.
A proper dropshipping agent will get your better prices, far better shipping times, customization options and generally a more hands-free an anxiety-free dropshipping experience.
However, this doesn’t mean that getting a dropshipping agent doesn’t come with any risks.
As of course, not everyone claiming to be a dropshipping agent can be trusted and you should do your due diligence and ask the right questions before taking one on.
Therefore, the process of finding and hiring a dropshipping agent should never be rushed.
I would also like to mention that there is no point in seeking a dropshipping agent if you aren’t doing a consistent daily volume.
No real dropshipping agent will want to go in business with you and you are likely to get scammed.