Individual sourcing agents, although they are stereotyped as being always taking kickbacks in between, still there are some really professional and loyal players that worth a check, it requires sharp observation, gut feeling and sometimes just good luck from the buyers in getting a real good one. The most precious advantage in engaging a really professional sourcing agent is that, the sourcing agent search suppliers without bias against any type of business, so they can show different choices available to the buyer, and they will always fight for the client's interests and terms. But suppliers especially trading companies sometimes can pose difficulties to their client especially when dramas happen in a business process due to natural conflict of interests. In addition, some sourcing agents can offer good references of suppliers to their clients and deal directly with the suppliers to save time for everyone. They also charge very reasonably and flexibly, in addition, they can devote more personal time and attention to their clients.
Another group of service providers are buying offices. But one of the differences is that some buying offices may be more suitable for big buyers only, because in processing large orders, for big buyers the consultancy cost may take up just a small part of their budget. However, for the majority of buyers which are small to medium businesses, entrepreneurs or start-ups, a big buying office may just cost them as much (or even more) cost as a trading company, because buying offices require higher investment in renting large office area, hiring multiple employees, etc.
Finally, it should be noted that dealing directly with manufacturers that do domestic business only is definitely frustrating, they usually export to overseas via trading companies. Fortunately foreign buyers can build an export conduit by engaging sourcing agents, business interpreters, buying offices or trading companies to bridge the gap.
Therefore, I suggest foreign buyers carefully examine the price, quality and service in engaging different types of business in the supply chain. Not any one of the three above-mentioned players is guaranteed to be the best choice. You will need a Guangzhou interpreter,