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What is the difference between a sourcing agent and a sourcing company

What is the difference between a sourcing agent and a sourcing company in Australia? Find out why it’s far better to work with a team than an individual.

Clea Sherman
May 20, 2022

As a retailer looking to source goods from overseas, you’ll realise sooner or later that you need some help to find what you need. If you want to make the best use of your time and avoid making mistakes, working with a professional who has all the right contacts just makes sense. 

Once you come to this realisation, you will also reach a crossroads. Do you choose a sourcing agent or sourcing company? Take a look at the difference between the two and discover which option makes sense for your business. 

What’s the difference? Australian sourcing agent vs sourcing company

Both Australian sourcing agents and sourcing companies are professionals who will source products for you from international suppliers. The main difference is that a sourcing agent is a single operator while a sourcing company is a business with multiple staff.

While both will work to find you the best deals, a sourcing company tends to have a much broader reach and more resources on hand. Because they are sole operators, sourcing agents do tend to be less effective. The trade-off can be that they charge less.

Should I use an Australian sourcing agent?

It really comes down to “you get what you pay for”.

Sourcing agents may be cheaper at first glance, but they can cost you more in the long run. Without the resources and infrastructure of an Australian sourcing company behind them, a lone sourcing agent can't provide the same level of service or the speedy results you need.

Consider a sourcing agent who is working on their own and charging around $20 an hour. This person is likely only to take a cursory look at your company's needs. They will fulfil your request but with a minimum of effort because they have up to fifty other clients to deal with on their own. 

It’s unlikely that an independent sourcing agent will have time to spend time with you and learn about your company. They will only see a product that needs sourcing and head straight to one of the (limited) manufacturers on their list. You will then receive the goods with little say or input in regards to where they came from and how they were shipped.

A sourcing agent may put you in touch with what you need but it may not be available within the timeframe you need because they do not have the right shipping connections. 

If your sourcing agent only has contacts with a select number of manufacturers, there could be a better deal elsewhere that they are not aware of. It’s unlikely that they will take the time to do a thorough scour of the market and you’ll have no way of knowing whether or not they have done the amount of research you are expecting. 

Australian sourcing companies

A sourcing company offers the benefits of an international team.

When you connect with a quality sourcing company in Australia, you can expect:

  • Personal attention
  • The support of representatives in Australia and China
  • Bilingual team members who can communicate and negotiate on your behalf
  • Premium customer service
  • A huge range of international contacts with the highest standard manufacturers
  • Thorough quality control in terms of the product, the environmental impact, and ethical work standards
  • No ‘inbetweeners’ who are ripping you off
  • Clear and concise pricing
  • Faster production turnarounds
  • Clear and frequent communication and updates
  • More flexible supply and shipping options
  • Dedication to meeting the exact needs of your company

A lone sourcing agent can be helpful to your business but won’t have the means to tick all these boxes. By choosing a company rather than an agent, you will be getting the best possible service and experience. 

By paying slightly more for the full sourcing company experience, you’re more likely to get flexibility, service and better return on investment. 

Want a reliable sourcing company that leaves no stone left unturned when it comes to finding products and making sure you get the best deal? Reach out to Epic Sourcing today.

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