running an import agency is a great money maker and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home on a part time basis. Obviously there are a few things you need to know before you can begin making money. You must fully understand the role of an import agent so you can truly decide if it's what you would like to do. An import agent acts as a go between, introducing foreign sellers and home based buyers to each other. They never get involved in the buying and selling of gods themselves, so there is no financial outlay or risk involved. An import agent makes his money in the form of a commission from the seller based on the value of the order and can range from 2.5% to 15% but normally around the 10% mark and as this is based on the gross value of the order before handling and shipping costs are deducted the opportunity to make a sizable commission is there. Identify the best markets to export from, this will enable you to discover the overseas exporters who are worth dealing with. Look to countries with a weak currency, this makes their exports cheaper and so more attractive to the importer. Look to places such as the Far East, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. Seek out small to medium sized manufacturers who wish to export, but cannot afford to employ an overseas sales force. Establish links in those countries where you may have friends or family, people who have a working knowledge of the language and the culture and also possibly business minded. This will afford you your 'Unique Selling Point' needed to become a successful go between with exporters and importers who are not familiar with each others ways and customs. Take time and choose the right products, don't assume because it is cheap in china that it will automatically sell like hot cakes in the USA. Go for tried and tested products to begin with, such as, gifts, crafts, furniture and jewelry. Don't get involved with electrical items or toys because the standards in the country of origin may not be up to the same as the country you wish to sell in, and in certain instances you could possibly fall foul of the laws covering such standards. Start building your contacts, attend International Fairs where you will find exporters who are eager to make contact with agents and importers. Remember agents receive their commissions from the seller not the buyer so concentrate on manufacturers. The bottom line with this business is, that once you have established a few solid contacts and manged to introduce sellers to buyers you should if you are running this as a serious business start to make sizable commissions. This is only the start, repeat sales will follow and if you have done your homework properly then importers may even employ your services to source particular products from countries they haven't previously dealt with. As with any business, treat it seriously and you can make a very good and interesting living from it, treat it as a toy and you wont.