An export agent is a person who acts as a middleman between a company that has a product it wants to export and a foreign company that would like to import that product. He helps set up the transaction and make sure that everything goes smoothly, which often includes the shipment of the product. In exchange for his help with these transactions, he usually receives a commission. This can translate into a significant amount of money when a person is working with multiple companies or even a single company that has many products to export.
There are many types of products an export agent may handle. For example, he may deal in the exportation of everything from light bulbs to furnishings. Some people in this field help companies export a wide range of products while others may specialize in a single type of product. The choice is usually up to the agent, with one exception. If exporting a particular product is prohibited by law, he cannot legally help to arrange its exportation.
An export agent also has some choices in how involved he is in the export process. For example, some are minimally involved. They match buyers with sellers and help to make sure the sale is complete. Then, they collect their commission. Others, on the other hand, handle not only the the transaction, but also the shipping of the product from one country to another. In many cases, this involves arranging freight with a company that handles overseas shipments.
Often, export agents spend a significant amount of time performing research. This may involve finding new markets in need of products and companies capable of producing large quantities of in-demand items. Many join trade organizations and export associations to stay abreast of the business, network, and get leads. Additionally, an export agent may spend a significant amount of time studying export laws and creating contracts and invoices for his clients.
To become an export agent, a person may train himself by reading books about the business; some may take courses or go to work for established exporters in order to gain experience. In most cases, a person who wants to start this business also needs business licensing. He usually needs an office or at least a space to work and keep records as well. This doesn’t have to be a commercial space, however. Many export agents work from home.