Frequently Asked Questions

Exporting Basics: Getting Started

How can I determine whether to export on my own or use an export intermediary?

As a potential exporter, you have the option to do it yourself (direct selling) or let an intermediary handle your export sales for you. The choice is usually based on the level of involvement and resource you are willing to devote to exporting and how much control you want over the process. In direct selling, you have full control and essentially do all the work, such as identifying and developing export markets, finding customers (buyers, agents or distributors), and dealing directly with the customers. In indirect selling, you cede some control to the intermediary, but avoid the burdens and complexities of doing it yourself. The intermediaries, such as Export Management Companies (EMCs) and Export Trading Companies (ETCs), already have the necessary experience and relationships abroad and will incur some or all of the initial costs to find you customers and generate orders. You mostly pay only when and if any business actually results, usually in the form of a commission based on a percentage of the sale. It is not unusual for novice exporters to start with an intermediary and graduate to direct selling as they gain confidence in their export potential and more familiarity with the process.

For more information, be sure to view the Export Tutorial titled Methods and Channels.

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Can’t find the answer to your question? Identify the Pennsylvania County where your company is located to access the contact information for your local Regional Export Network Partner.