How to Successfully Export from Australia: A Beginners Guide

Exporting goods from Australia can significantly increase your turnover and profits as you expand into new, international markets. Although there are challenges with international trade and exports, there’s plenty of guidance and support available if you know where to look. Our introductory guide will help you understand what you’re getting into, and link to some of the best resources to help your expansion plans go smoothly.

Understand if you have the time, energy and resources to start exporting

Exporting to an international market can be difficult. There are lots of areas you’ll need to consider, regulations you’ll need to follow and costs you’ll need to pay. It’s vital that you and your business has the capacity, commitment, expertise and resources to pursue exporting outside Australia.

Some areas to think about:

  • Australian rules and regulations on export.
  • Rules on import, tariffs and taxes for the country you’re exporting to.
  • The costs of exporting – Logistics, shipping, freight handling, travel, insurance and more.
  • The division of responsibility between you and any importers.
  • Market research to understand demand in another country.
  • Costs of modifying products for the new market.
  • Planning all the areas you’ll need to cover for export.

 

Get some help

The good new is that there is plenty of support from the Australian Government. Here are the main points of contact for exporters:

Austrade

Australian Border Force

EFIC - Finance for Australian Exporters

There is also the Export Council of Australia which is a not-for-profit organisation.

Put the time and management expertise in place to deal with exporting

The challenges of exporting will take your attention away from your domestic operations. Make sure you’ve got people in place that can handle the existing side of the business while you focus on the new export market. Ideally, you should have strong domestic sales and an expert business operations team in place before you start looking at exporting.

Make sure you’re financially prepared for exporting goods

Exporting goods can challenge the financial reserves in your business. Make sure you’ve got enough money in the bank to cover all of your domestic operations and keep everything running smoothly. Separate out your export budget into another area so you won’t need to touch the money you need for your regular business operations.

Understand that exporting is a great way to build your business, turnover and profits

Even though exporting can be challenging, it’s one of the best ways to grow your business and your profits. Research shows that businesses with an international market are more profitable than those who only cater to Australian customers.

Explore and use all the resources available to you

AusTrade was setup by the Australian government to give Australian businesses access to all the knowledge, support and resources they need to get ready to export goods. There’s a wealth of information available on AusTrade’s website including downloadable guides, tools and resources so you can cover all the essential areas. These include:

 

The information in these guides is excellent, and you should spend time studying them in detail so you can understand the various nuances of international trade.

Understand the support that’s available

In addition to providing training and guides, AusTrade also has a number of trade services that can help you. These include:

  • Information and advice on doing business internationally including marketing briefs, cultural tips, local commercial practices, strategy, marketing, promotion and more.
  • Tailored services including specific market and country research, partner and customer profiling and identification and market introductions.
  • Referrals to specialist service providers in Australia and oversea covering areas like lead generation, laws, accounting, financial services, networking and industry specialists.

Understand the taxes and tariffs you’ll need to pay

  • Work out if you can claim from the Duty Drawback Scheme
  • You won’t normally need to pay Goods and Services Tax to the Australian authorities on exports out of the country.
  • You may need to pay other processing fees for exporting goods.
  • You will typically need to pay import duty, customs fees, and other taxes when you import into another country. There’s lots of great information on the main international markets here.

Learn about prohibited and restricted exports

The Australian authorities do restrict or prevent some types of goods from being exported. These include some biological materials, some chemicals, some animal and plant species, weapons, pharmaceuticals, and more. You can find more information here. It’s also important to understand the rules around quarantine. You should also learn what Australian Customs needs from you if you want to export.

Receiving payment from overseas customers

If you have overseas customers who are paying you in foreign currency, the exchange rate you receive could be eating away at your profit margins.

Consider using the TransferWise Borderless Account.

Until recently, Australian businesses had 3 options to receive money from overseas customers:

  1. Get paid into a local Australian based, Australian dollar account.
  2. Open a Foreign Currency Account, usually with a bank
  3. Use a payment gateway like PayPal, Braintree or Stripe

Unfortunately, these options are usually filled with fees, balance requirements or massive exchange rate mark-ups.

In October 2017, TransferWise released the Borderless account in Australia and it’s really impressive. It allows you to receive, hold and transfer 27 different currencies.

The unique feature though, which is particuarly useful for businesses, is the ability to have local bank account details in USD, EUR, GBP or AUD. This makes receiving money from customer abroad, exceptionally ease.

For the full review of the TransferWise Borderless Account, click here

Please note: All information is accurate as of October 2017, but rules, regulations and charges can change. Please check the websites and agencies listed in this post for the most up-to-date details. This covers most common ways of sending money. it doesn’t cover EVERY single method of payment. Some, but not all of the companies mentioned are affiliated with The Currency Shop. If you choose to use any of these companies, we may receive a referral fee.