Name Your Price

When your business is international, know what costs to factor in your pricing.
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One of the most difficult aspects of taking your business international is pricing products. According to Marcia Youel Smith, president of Reston, Virginia-based Columbia Cascade Inc., which produces software used by associations, educators and government agencies to calculate export pricing, international pricing is a two-step process.

First, find a base price that takes into account the additional expenses you incur just by crossing borders. These include:

  • international market research
  • export distribution fees and sales commissions
  • international advertising and marketing
  • translation
  • product modifications to comply with international standards
  • packaging that meets export requirements
  • export consulting, accounting and legal fees

Then, once you have a specific international customer to quote for, you have to consider the costs particular to getting your goods to that company, such as:

  • shipping and handling (packing, marking, labeling, consolidating and containerizing)
  • preparing export documents, certifications and licenses
  • compiling export shipment documents
  • insurance certifications and policies
  • dangerous/hazardous materials declarations and certifications
  • freight-forwarder, consignee, customhouse-broker and/or consulate fees

"Pricing can be a confusing task," Smith concedes, "but you get better at it once you're familiar with all the factors."