19

subscribers
How do you handle customs declarations for international shipping?
Last activity on  |  10 answers
A great question!Here's the facts: Your backer rewards are absolutely Merchandise.  They are not gifts, and no government in the world will see them as such.  Period.  : OCan you mark it "gift" and get away with it?  Probably, but it is international tax evasion.  If you get caught... you're gonna find yourself in a lot of trouble.  : /  Simply not worth it.-Anecdote: We sent out rewards all over the world.  We sent all items to the EU with properly declared customs forms as merchandise and the actual values of the products.  Many of them came back to us anyway because the customs agent (as every one is different) couldn't find a packing slip with item-by-item value declaration on it, and he wanted to be 100% certain to milk the person of every penny ..err euro.  -  And that was on properly declared items.So yes: Merchandise.  And yes, you should mark it the full value (of the pledge level).  If you included shipping in the pledge value you can reduce the declared value of the package by the amount of included shipping.  When they are charged VAT it will be on the value of the package + the cost of shipping.  This new total will roughly reflect the actual pledge amount, and thus they will charged the correct amount of VAT without being charged on shipping twice.-Suggestion: Use E-declarations by using an online service like USPS.com, Stamps.com, or paypal.com/shipnow. - Filling out paper forms by hand is murder; the e-declaration is really really easy as it imports data from previously filled out fields, then asks simple questions like: Merchandise or Gift? ; )Always open to private or specific help as well,John Wrot!
John Wrot!

18

subscribers
What do you wish you had known before you ran your first project?
Last activity on  |  7 answers
Kickstarter cannot deliver that *initial* audience.Once you have enough backers, and a REASON to promote your project (making your goal, then stretch goals and freebies), you hit a certain point where your backers will promote the project and you can, in principle, sit back and watch the money roll in.  But you somehow have to hit that first critical mass.  We thought we'd be visible on the front page for a day or so - but we were only there for a matter of a half hour or so...and then you had to already know that we existed or you'd never find our project.   We didn't expect that...we thought we'd get hundreds of page-views per hour...what we actually got was crickets!Our first Kickstarter failed horribly because we didn't understand that.  But after we retreated, re-tooled and did some up-front promotional work - the second one took off nicely.  The backers from that first successful one then formed the core of people who started the third and now fourth (and soon FIFTH...you heard it here first!!) projects - so we don't need to be so concerned.But the first time out, it's tough.  Nobody knows who you are, whether you'll deliver (lots of projects don't!) - whether you can deliver on time - whether the quality of the rewards will be up to your claims.  Nobody is searching for your keywords - and initial failure gets you pushed down the search further and further.   Unless you get a "Staff Pick" (we never did) or somehow find out how "Sort by Magic" works and exploit it - you're not going to get an audience.So the first Kickstarter is without doubt the toughest...and the only defense is to pre-promote it somehow.
Renee Launer

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