For many places in the U.S., air conditioning is a definite desire — if not somewhat of a necessity. So for evaporative cooler importers, it is imperative to know where to ship them, how to ship them and what will happen along the way.
Knowing how to get the item through the gates of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the first step for evaporative cooler importers, as is what parts of the country will benefit the most from your products.
Read more for information on those things and additional tips to make your shipments go smoothly.
Also known as a swamp box, swamp cooler, wet air cooler or desert cooler, air conditioning systems provide cooling through the process of the evaporation of water. These units come in different forms such as standalone portable evaporative coolers that come as boxes or towers that can be plugged into a traditional outlet and cool indoors. Or it can resemble an HVAC unit that uses refrigeration, using the air outside to complete the process and circulate chilled air throughout a building.
Because of their very nature, evaporative coolers can only be used in certain areas of the country and for certain situations. Here, we will explain the pros and cons of evaporative coolers to help you strategize where your products will best sell and demonstrate to your potential customers the value of utilizing this type of climate control.
For dry climates, evaporative coolers work very well. The places where there are ideal conditions for this type of climate moderation are in the desert and mountainous portions of America’s western portion. This starts in Colorado, a small portion of west Texas and New Mexico over to the coast of California, Oregon and Washington.
Using an evaporative cooler in these climates indoors has the added benefit of adding humidity indoors to the liking of the people inside.
Evaporative coolers can also be used in places like Southern California, Las Vegas and its surrounding areas and some of the midwest including the upper parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. But as you go further east, the climate is too humid to be effective as a cooling option.
Since they need only water and electricity to cool, evaporative coolers are much more energy efficient and cheaper to install than refrigerant or coolant HVAC units. A 3-foot-tall cooler placed inside a home can be run for $1 or less per day for an equal cooling capacity to regular air conditioners. Also, in the winter, evaporative coolers can be used to serve as humidifiers in the winter.
On the flip side, evaporative coolers have their drawbacks in some regards. A water-based cooling solution adds humidity to the house. While that might be great for arid climates, using an evaporative cooler in Florida would be unbearable and ineffective since the air already has very high humidity levels.
The cooling effects for this type of air conditioning system are most effective in hot, dry air since an evaporative cooler uses water to cool the air and also adds humidity as part of its natural process. Another concern is that evaporative coolers need a fresh air source to continuously circulate, so if you used a standalone unit indoors, you’d have to keep a window or screen door open to ensure circulation could occur.
Lastly, while they don’t need extensive maintenance, evaporative coolers need more regular attention from their owner than a traditional HVAC unit does.
The CBP, mentioned at the very beginning of the article, is the regulatory body that decides what is let into the country from abroad. Even countries that have special trade agreements with American, like Mexico and Canada, are still subject to having their goods imported into America according to the CBP’s rules.
The biggest dealings an importer will have with the CBP is filing the necessary paperwork to be approved in the first place and then again at customs on U.S. shores and at U.S. borders. The paperwork alone can be overwhelming, not for the amount but for the precision required. Any mistake or omission on customs forms can result in delays or, worse, rejection of your evaporative coolers.
Another U.S. regulatory agency that would be involved with evaporative cooler importers is the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), whose goal is to monitor any consumer goods that don’t fall under the jurisdiction of other more specialized bodies (i.e. the Food and Drug Administration).
The CPSC deals with product recalls, safety education and regulations, laws and standards and also does research to offer statistics, and business & manufacturing resources.
Unless you have a giant stack of cash laying around — more on that later — the answer is yes, you will need a customs bond in order to import your evaporative coolers. When importing goods into the U.S., companies, individuals or wholesalers are required to pay duties and taxes to the CBP. Depending on the volume of items being moved, these can quickly add up.
What a customs bond (also known as a surety bond) does is create a three-party agreement. The principal (i.e. the importer) is obligated to pay these taxes and duties to the obligee, in this case the U.S. government. A third party, the guarantor (or the insurer) sells the customs bond as an insurance policy to ensure if the principal defaults for any reason, the obligee is still paid.
Since evaporative coolers fall under the CPSC, they require a customs bond. Even if a certain item being imported didn’t fall under a regulatory body, any shipment exceeding $2,500 would also require the bond.
As referenced earlier, a giant stack of cash could be substituted for a customs bond. However, the amount of money — $50,000 or more — might be cost prohibitive and can be tied up for years even after you are done importing goods. Meanwhile, a customs bond costs only hundreds of dollars. While the bond is a sunk cost and not refundable, it is a financially more palatable outlay for a business.
Evaporative cooler importers can quickly and easily purchase a customs bond through USA Customs Clearance, powered by AFC International. For a flat rate, we can provide you with a surety bond for a year and also automatically renew it for you so that you have no interruptions in your international shipping.
Also, with USA Customs Clearance, we offer customs consulting services to walk you through what it would take to engage in importation and also answer any questions you might have about any part of the process. The sessions are affordable and allow an importer to have the sole attention of one of our customs experts during the allotted time frame.
Besides providing the bond and advice, a customs clearance broker can work on your behalf. USA Customs Clearance will fill out all the associated paperwork for you, set up the international freight hauling, get your evaporative coolers through the CBP and even offer domestic transportation options to get your items from the port to you or retailers.
So when you’re ready to see how USA Customs Clearance can aid you in importing evaporative coolers to the U.S., call us at 855.912.0406 to get started today.