Tuesday 18 February 2020

Buying Sandboards from Overseas

Morning broke on what I thought would be a good day; I got woke up by a loud knocking on my door and I finally got my first ever, brand new sandboard, fresh from the United States of America! It was also a good deal because: the exchange rate was doing well at the time, I find shipping times from the USA to be fast so I know I wouldn't be waiting, and I didn't have much choice because not too many sandboard merchants are keen on shipping to the British Isles.

"Sport 120cm Sandboard Package" by Jack Soley is a public domain work.

Sandboard with Lustrum Bindings: $198.95 (£159.14)
Shipping to the UK: $89.80 (£71.83)
Total Cost: $288.75 (£230.97)

Exchange rate at time of purchase: £1 = $1.2502

I just went online and bought a standard sandboard from an online store, it just so happened to be Venomous Sandboards at Sand Master Park; a place which I have applauded so many times on this blog, and I was happy to buy from them because I'm familiar with their brand and I know the quality they strive to achieve.

I won't be talking about my board just yet, but I will be talking about buying boards from overseas and if its worth it?

What are the benefits?

Importing is Cheap

The benefits of buying from abroad are plentiful! The cheap prices for delivery and the board itself are one of them. You might get a bit lucky buying a board if you take advantage of exchange rates; for example, let's say you want to buy the Sandboard and Shipping for $288.75, if the rate is 1.26 dollars to the Pound, you'll be paying £229.17, but if you wait a week and the rate changes to 1.28 dollars to the pound, you'll now be paying £225.59; a difference of a couple of pounds might not be too drastic but that difference could be used to buy waxes or something else of good use! Even if the exchange rates don't work in your favour, a difference this small isn't worth thinking about.

But I hear you ask, what if you're on a budget but still crave the adventure and thrill that a new board can bring? Wild West Sandboards of Australia can offer you a 90cm board that's 11mm thick and just shy of 2kg for what would be described by many as a nice price.

Wild West Small Sandboard with Neoprene Bindings: AU $279.99 (£144.55)
Shipping to the UK: AU $69.90 (£36.09)
Total Cost: AU $349.89 (£180.64)

Exchange rate as of 18th February 2020: £1 = AU $1.937

With deals like these, it's easy for any sandboarder to be sweet-talked into buying a board at these prices!

More Variety

Pre-owned boards can be priced anywhere between £60 - £150, so it's making more and more financial sense to pay a little extra to buy a new board that may even give you some free goodies like some wax bars, and most definitely the peace of mind knowing your board's going to last for a long time before you end up buying your upgrade. Some sandboarding merchants in other countries may offer a warranty on boards, something that you most definitely won't get when buying pre-owned. Finding sandboard sellers from abroad will also open doors to find more styles, shapes, and colours due to different tastes and preferences in that area.

"Sandboards" by Leonardo Pallotta is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

It Supports Sandboarding Businesses

Also; Sandboarding is a niche sport, hence why the companies that make sandboards don't have a huge number of orders and why there are few merchants out there; buying brand new from these sellers will not only support their livelihoods, but it'll keep the trade alive for people who want to buy new sandboards (people who want upgrades or those who are new to the sport), and those profits can be re-invested to expand their services (i.e. Shipping to more countries or making bigger and better boards).

"Beaufort City Hall ribbon cutting" by TheDigitel Beaufort is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

What are the drawbacks?

Delivery & Import Fees

So you might be thinking that buying from overseas is a good idea! It's cheap, gives you more choice, and it keeps the sandboarding industry alive; But before you get your credit card and buy yourself a big sandboard with the most comfortable bindings in the heat of the moment, don't let your guard down just yet; because someone who'll be waiting for your board to arrive just as much as you, will be someone from your country's tax authority. Before I even bought my most recent sandboard, I was given a suggestion to just fly over and pick it up!

If we take my board as an example, the breakdown for the import charges were that I didn't pay any customs or excise duties (however, tax rules change all the time and it depends on your country and the country you're importing from, so do your research!) I had to pay £36.74 of Import VAT plus another £12 fee for clearance which is applied to "help cover the cost of additional handling, administration, collection of monies and provision of facilities for Customs clearance of packages." (Parcelforce Worldwide, n.d.)

The cost of the delivery plus all import fees, came to £120.57 which is 75.8% on top of the board's price; which if you were to buy in the domestic market, the import charges won't apply and the shipping costs would be drastically reduced and in some cases, free. Some countries however will let you take the board without any additional charge and some countries will insist you pay a tax, plus another tax, and a fee on top of the taxes before you can even receive it. As I say, all countries have different tax policies and because sandboards are quite niche, countries will disagree on how they should be taxed.

"Parcelforce Import Charge Invoice" by Jack Soley is a public domain work.

Difference in Quality

Quality can seriously determine whether or not you buy from one country or not; according to a survey of 43,034 respondents, goods made in Germany are the most reliable and goods made in China are the least reliable (Dalia Research, 2017); but if you're from a country with good build quality such as Canada that was ranked 6th on this survey, it wouldn't make sense buying a sandboard from countries lower than you on the list such as the United States and Australia (ranked 10th and 14th respectively) despite having a much bigger Sandboarding market.

If you're in a country with high manufacturing standards and good quality control on goods, you know you're going to get a good quality product buying in the domestic market.

It Hurts Your Economy

Importing cheap boards can undercut the prices of a domestic sandboard merchant and therefore this forces a domestic seller to reduce their prices to remain competitive in the global market, which will drastically reduce revenues for the company; and if the business is in a country with high labour costs such as Canada or Australia, that means that the reduced price of the sandboards will mean that some businesses won't be able to create jobs to serve their community; and if people aren't employed or if the business isn't making enough money to stay afloat, the government won't be able to collect any taxes.

However, imposing an import tax still allows the government to collect some income but nowhere near as much as the Corporation Tax on a company, the Income Tax on a worker, and the Sales Tax on the customer.

Say what you like about the government; but if it weren't for taxes, we wouldn't have schools, hospitals, police, roads, etc...


Importing sandboards from other countries can support Sandboarding businesses around the world and help expand their services to provide more products and services to us, the public; whereas you'll have to pay around 75% more just for delivery and possible import charges, your country's economy will ever so slightly decline while another country's economy will ever so slightly improve; buying a Sandboard from abroad will give you more choice but you risk potentially worse build quality that might not last as long or perform as well as you would expect.

My experience with importing has been really good, it was easy and I'd happily do it again; but because the UK isn't a huge sandboarding country on the same scale as Australia, USA, Egypt, or the UAE; there isn't the demand for British made sandboards, but considering the build quality reputation of British made goods, I would give it a chance and if anyone reading this in the UK knows how to make a professionally made sandboard, get in touch. I'd like to be your next customer.

Reference List:

Parcelforce Worldwide (n.d.) Why do Parcelforce Worldwide charge customs clearance fees, Available at: https://www.parcelforce.com/help-and-advice/receiving/why-do-parcelforce-worldwide-charge-customs-clearance-fees (Accessed: 18th February 2020)

Dalia Research (2017) Made-In-Country-Index, Available at: https://www.statista.com/page/Made-In-Country-Index (Accessed: 18th February 2020)

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