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Opening my own language school... Merchandise

Viewed 1182 times 2012-7-16 16:14 |Personal category:Opening my own language school...| Merchandise, Language school, Business, NanNing, GuangXi

Though we are a very new company, we wanted to start as professionally as possible, so we wanted to get some merchandise prepared to give to students who register with the school. We thought about a number of possible items such as school bags, books, notebooks, pens, flasks, t-shirts, caps etc etc, anything we could stick our name on really, but we settled on school bags, pens, notebooks and flasks.


We had a VIP card at the local stationary shop, so we asked if they give discounts for bulk purchases and whether they can get stuff printed onto the items we wanted, they said this would be no problem, just choose what we want and they would do the rest.


Maria and I went to the shop to browse over what we wanted; we set a budget of 1000RMB total for 100 school bags, 100 notebooks and 100 pens. We selected a cheap school bag, simple, plain and very cheap, we then selected a notebook with very little writing on the front so that printing extra words would be easy and finally we chose a pen which had a big blank space on it where we could put our company name. We totaled the price and they gave us an estimate of printing, it was within budget, so we said we would come back the next day with the school logo so that it could be printed on the items.


We left and a short while later the shop called to inform us that they did not have enough notebooks so we would have to choose different ones. No big problem really, so we went back the next day and selected a different note book, but this note book was a little large with only a few pages, so we asked the manager if it could be modified, she said that should be no problem, so we left again and waited for a price of the modified notebook. We got a call a few hours later saying that they could not modify any items except for printing words onto them. Frustrating but understandable.


We went back the next day to get the total quote for the items and the printing. The printing onto the bags would cost 1RMB per bag, this was acceptable. They said the printing onto the pens would be more expensive because the print surface was so small, the cost of the pen was 1.1RMB, and the printing would cost 1.2RMB, more then doubling the cost of the pen, unacceptable. The book price was very expensive, more than the school bag, so we said we didn’t want the notebook and we decided to choose another pen and not print onto it. So from our initial 3 items requested form the stationary shop, they could only really give us 1 that we wanted and pens which were not branded (unless we paid a stupid price).


We gave the stationary shop a name-card with our company logo on it and asked that it be printed onto the school bad, they said they didn’t know if this was possible. We were surprised as they had already gave us a quote for printing our logo onto the bag, so why was it now not possible? The logo is simple, 1 color and we didn’t even expect it to be perfectly clear, but the shop said they would have to check with the supplier. We told them we were in a rush, we had already wasted a few days with no success and we needed the bags within 2 days, so the shop said they would do their best to get an answer from the supplier as soon as they could.


The next morning they contacted us and asked us for a large scale version of our logo, we had no time to go to the shop, so we asked them to visit the school, they refused, so we said they could just print words, we were running out of time and were too busy for any more messing about. They also said they did not have 100 pens, only 75… at this point we were too fed up to argue, so we accepted the situation and made them guarantee delivery by the following morning or we didn’t want anything. They accepted our terms and we sent the receptionist to pay the deposit.


The next day came and they delivered the bags, thank god they delivered on time! I fully expected them to be late!


So bags and pens were sorted, the other item on our list was flasks.


During all the messing about with the stationary shop, we also went to the wholesale market near the city centre to look for flasks. We saw a shop with numerous types of flasks, so we went in to have a look.


The cheapest flask they had for sale was 5RMB retail price, to me this was very reasonable, but Maria still thought it was too expensive. We asked for the wholesale price, this was 3.8RMB per flask, to me, this was very cheap, but Maria thought it was too expensive. She started to do what she does best, bargain over price. She whittled the price down to 2.8RMB per flask, at that price, I have no idea how the supplier will make a profit as they also have to deliver the items.


We accepted the price and asked for the flasks so we could go and print onto them; they said they offer the printing service, so we asked the cost, 1RMB per item with a 20RMB fee for the printing template, this means that the total cost for 100 flasks was 400RMB, 4RMB for a water flask, I thought this was very cheap!


We paid the fee and set date for delivery of the flasks, again saying that if they did not deliver on time, we did not want them. They agreed and we left.


They phoned a few hours later saying their stock level for the flask we chose was not high enough, so they would use an alternative flask also, this was not a problem, as the alternative flask was more expensive and we would be charged the same price.


On the Friday morning the flasks were delivered with no problems and the Saturday morning the bags were delivered. Everything seemed fine, so even though we had a few problems, we were satisfied.


The wholesale market was cheaper and more efficient but they have no tax receipt, if they had tax receipts it would be a very simple choice, we would buy all merchandise from there in the future, but without tax receipts we can not claim the cost on our tax return. Annoying!

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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My name is Daniel, I am 27 and I come from The UK. I have been in China since September 2009.


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