How to Start an Import Business in Australia

In order to start an import business in Australia, there are a few things you need to do. There is plenty of free information online about how to get started so it should be easy enough for anyone with the right skill set and willingness to learn new things. If you already have some experience importing from overseas, then this process will be much simpler for you.

Why is importing such a Big Business in Australia?

There are a lot of reasons why importing is such a big business in Australia. Firstly, there are plenty of Australian companies that don’t produce their products domestically and need to import them from overseas suppliers. Secondly, Australians like to buy imported goods because they feel that it allows them access to more variety than what the domestic market can offer.

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Things you need to Start importing in Australia

There are a few things you will need in order to start importing goods from overseas into Australia, the first of which is an Australian Business Number (ABN).

This number will allow companies that import products for sale in Australia to be taxed appropriately and legally under our system here. Additionally, you will need to register your company with the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (ACBPS) who has a number of different types of import licenses that can be obtained depending on what type of goods you are importing.

Finally, in order to do business here as an importer, you will have to file your taxes correctly for income tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST) with the Australian Taxation Office.

How to Start an Import Business in Australia: ings you need to Start importing in Australia. There are a few things you will need in order to start importing goods from overseas into Australia.

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1) A business partner

First, find a business partner who can help with the importing and other things that need to be done in order to get your company off on the right foot. You may also want someone else depending on what they do as this will free up time for you to focus more on running your own company if necessary or wanted.

2) Establish networks and connections in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne, and Brisbane

Having contacts in these cities will make it easier for you to find the products that are available overseas, get your goods delivered faster, and have less trouble with customs when importing.

If you know people who already import into Australia then let them help point out what they would do differently if they were starting again. They may also be able to point out which contacts are worth your time and who you should ignore.

3) Understand the type of Importation businesses

There are different types of Importation businesses that you can choose to start. Your choice will depend on the type of goods that you want to import, how much money and time you have, what your skillset is like, and so forth.

A few examples would be ETC-Export trading company, Export management company, Import/Export merchants or agents.

4) Know the Startup Cost Costs

Figuring out how much money you need to get your business up and running is the next step.

Start with a rough estimate of what it will cost for office space, supplies, personnel (including yourself), transportation costs, taxes/fees related to importing goods into Australia. Find out if a little upfront cost would be enough to get you started – or if it will take a sizable investment.

If it is the latter, start working on your business plan so you can get some more financing to make things happen!


The Startup Costs Worksheet in this resource has everything you should consider when preparing to start an Import Business in Australia .

5) Create a feasible Business plan

The Import Business Plan will be a roadmap that you follow to get your business off the ground.

This document should include details about how much money is needed, what type of product or service you’ll offer and information on any profit projections for your company.

A good place to start when putting together this plan would be by creating a SWOT analysis for the Import Business.

6) Research other markets where you intend to find suppliers

If you’re a business owner in Australia, the first thing to do is find out what other markets are open for your products or services. There may be some countries that we can get better pricing on goods because of things like lower wages and higher shipping costs . It’s best if these countries have similar cultures when it comes to attitudes towards the environment and animal welfare.

You need to also put ino consideration factors such as travel and accommodation cost if need be, manufacturing and research potential of suppliers in such countries, possible legal risks if you enter into contractual agreements with a company in such country, and the potential impact on your existing business.

7) Register your Business as an Australian Company

No matter what someone’s nationality is, if they want to do business in Australia then they need to register their company as a corporate entity here.

Get your import and export licenses. When you register your company as an Australian company, the next thing to do is apply for import and export licenses.

You can’t legally trade in Australia without these two types of licenses so it’s important that they’re applied for before trading begins.

Licenses are granted by a number of different government agencies but all callers will need to register with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) to do so.

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In addition, you will need an ABN number which is a tax file and identification number for all companies that operate in Australia.

You should also make sure that any goods imported are labeled correctly according to regulation under Customs Act 1901 as failure to do this can result in substantial fines.

8) Choose your Business Model

Pick a commission model if you believe your product will be easy to sell.

If, however, you think sales could be difficult for this particular product and company, then it might make sense that price-wise the business should operate on an hourly retainer basis in order to ensure payment even when there isn’t much revenue coming in.

The thinking behind these two approaches comes down mostly based on whether or not one thinks they’ll have more success with selling products than others do: If someone believes they can move inventory quickly enough so as not need a structure like commissions (or likewise), but instead just want manufacturers’ prices plus markup percentages off their own desired retail pricing points; all else being equal between brands, then they can negotiate with suppliers for lower prices.


The import/export business is for people who love building relationships in other countries. But it also requires an organised mind that can handle logistics and the legalities involved with international trade. If you have those qualities, take the plunge into creating a thriving import/export business today.

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