US imports

I have asked Choppaweeza provide advice based on his business experience in this forum. There are a variety of ways of avoiding Australian regulations... please don't expect him to give advice in those areas.
chopaweeza
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Post by chopaweeza » Fri Aug 19, 2011 10:40 am

Been flat out with a shipment and getting married at the end of the month .

When you hire an Import Service they take all the guess work out of it . Most will also give you free storage , cover most of the fees & charges and most will also do you a deal on the insurance . My company covers everything except GST & AQIS as part of a standard port to port contract .

The big shipping companies love sticking it to the one off importer . The price you get quoted is rarely the final price for shipping . So , the shipping company may have quoted you say $500 per bike . That sounds good right ? Well , it only covers the US end freight forwarding and sometimes the US Customs Clearance . You will also have to pay for the Australian Freight Forwarding , Customs Clearance and a whole raft of possible charges . That is how they make their money .

Importations Services hire the container off these companies . We get a bulk rate on pretty much everything . We have to pay all the things mentioned above but as it's a bulk rate it reduces the overall price per bike space . We then sell that space to customers as a package and it usually works out alot cheaper . Plus , we take care of most of the additional rubbish the various companies throw at us .

Buying bikes online can be pretty easy . We do it often and rarely have any issues . There are a number of rules I recommend you strictly adhere to however .

If in doubt Walk
Ask alot of questions of the right type
Avoid any situation were the owner is absent
Get a second opinion
Stock is king . Cool parts will usualy have to be repalced for compliancing anyway .
Forget anything with an aftermarket or modified frame -It will never get approval
No Choppers - Nearly impossible to legally bring in .
No re-stamps - Common in the US to restamp genuine numbers onto a replacement frame . In Aus it's called Re-Birthing and it's illegal
Avoid any payment that involves Western Union or Paypal as a Gift .
If the sellerer baulks or wavers Walk .
If the seller starts with excuses Walk . If they are difficult now just wait until they have your money
Always call the seller and talk to them . Internet scams work both ways and it re-assures both sides it's real .
If there is any doubt about the condition Get It Inspected
Get a clear copy of the title with the owners name visible(they can black their address) . Check that the name is that same as the seller and that it isn't under finance .
Ask the seller about any extra or stock parts . These can add thousands to the value .
Ask for a service history is less then 5 years old
If post 1988 don't even try to import yourself . It's a minefield and most get blown up .
Allow for additional time . Import Approvals for Pre 1989 models can take months and you have to have that done before the ship sails .
Be aware of the costs . All of them . Too many people get caught out because they don't know what is involved .

Wayne
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chopaweeza
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Post by chopaweeza » Fri Aug 19, 2011 11:02 am

fluffer wrote:This much i know:

Purchasing in the states is easy but depending which state you are in there are differant requirements. ie: california requires change of ownership to be done within 7 days and you must provide a US residential address. Also if you are going to be riding the bike while over there you need a minimum standard of personal indemnity insurance.
You must provide export notification (prevents theft insurance claims apparently) when you export.
Costs so far: $1200 for shipping agent fees. This is for LCL cargo door to door from the agents business in Fresno to the agents business in Lilydale. It includes crating, shipping,port charges and import approval. The agent has agreed to commence permit approvals (he claims 4 weeks) while still over in the US and will store bike in Fresno if there is a hold up.
On arrival you must have import approval and you will be up for Quarantine fees ($36,00 I think) and Customs fee which include 10% GST on purchase price and ALL transport and insurance costs plus yet another processing charge.
As a believer in O'TOOLES law (MURPHY was an optimist) I still don't know if this is a doable proposition but when my mate gets back i will do a complete feasability study along with a cost analysis breakdown :lol: :lol: and let you all know.
Alot of this is rubbish and I'd like to wallop the person thats told you this .

I have at any time up to 6 clients in the USA on bikes they bought there for holiday use and for export with me . Change of Title is only needed if you are riding the bike around the USA . For export it's not needed . If you are intending to ride it in the USA then transfer it over . I've yet to have a customer fined for late transfer . Most Aussie Insurers will allow you to take out a 3 month foreign vehicle insurance to cover you riding your bike there . RACV are amongst the cheapest for that . For a US address your hotel will suffice as it is your residence at the time of application . On a Fly/Buy/Ride/Export deal always allow the first day of the trip to deal with the DMV as it will take an entire day .

Vehicle Import Approvals (VIA) . These are currently at 6-7 weeks for a pre 89' model and 10 days for a post 88 model . VIA for a pre-89 is the owners responsibility and it should always be applied for in the owners name . Post 88's need to go througha RAWS and your Import Agent will take care of that .

$36 for an inspection fee is brilliant . The best I can get is $65 and thats because I have an established track record . However , if they find any dirt , oil or such then it's off to be steam cleaned . That can be pricey . GST isn't as bad as the 22% Import Duty we used to have back in the day . But , they do charge it on everything .

Crating & Uncrating is a lurk . Only general freighters still charge that . They rarely ever do crate a bike anymore as it's usually strapped straight to the deck and it's usually a BS charge . I personally would never use a company that charges for Storage or Crating .

Your shipping agent should be covering alot of the charges as part of their fee . I'm disturbed that they aren't bundling the clearance fees into your package . You really should have shopped around for both a better deal and a better price .
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RickB56
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Re: US imports

Post by RickB56 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:20 am

OK, so let's distill this down as much as possible.

If I buy a bike in the US, might be Ebay or other, can I give you (Choppa or Brassy) the details and you take it from there?
Do you have the ability to take possession and store a bike pending import approval?
What would be the cost for instance to import it from LA? Shipping within the US extra of course.

As you say Choppa, "the more you know". So, a walk through of the process and cost of getting that 80's shovelhead (just an example) I want to buy, out of the hands of the seller and into mine would be fantastic.

chopaweeza
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Re: US imports

Post by chopaweeza » Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:23 pm

I have the ability to take possession of and store anything if I have the owners written approval to act as their agent . I always work with the client from the time the client starts looking to the time it arrives in their garage . Just having someone else do it leaves it open to overcharging and I avoid being in that situation were possible .

Costs and steps vary depending on the condition of the bike , the cost of the bike , the location of the bike , how well you can negotiate and where you are located in Aus . I'm not going to mention prices or fees as that would make this into a sales pitch .

With the Import Agents(IA) help you find the bike . As there are recent changes to what they will & won't allow the IA will go over the bike for you to see if it will pass Vehicle Import Approval (VIA) . Bikes extensively modified from stock , have modified frames or aftermarket frames will not pass so don;t waste your time .

The IA will give you a list of questions to ask the seller . He will also give you a number of photo requests and paperwork requests also . The IA's job at this time is to check all this for problems . On average I find that a third of all bikes fail this stage .

Assuming the Title and VIN check out . Plus not other issues have been found you talk to the seller about price , extra parts , Prep and payment . Always double check everything with your IA as they have done this many times before . If it all checks out and a price has been agreed the client pays them . The IA will spell it out as to how it can be done safely for both sides . Avoid fully credit card payments , Western Union or Paypal as a gift . You will loose your money with any of these as you have little recourse .

When the bike has been paid for the IA starts the VIA . VIA requirements have been changed again in the last month and the form has yet to be updated . If they don;t add the new additional information it will delay the VIA application . VIA for a pre-89 takes time . Currently 5-6 weeks if you have already established yourself with ID on their system . 6-7 weeks if you are applying for the first time . The bike can not leave the USA until the VIA is approved so allow time for this .

US Road transport . Varies wildly and there are alot of cowboys calling themselves bike transporters . Generally the further from the port of exit the more expensive the cost . Make sure the transporter is fully insured , is a covered transport and doesn't crate the bike .

Prep - it's preparing the bike for export . Current rules require - The bike be thoroughly cleaned , battery disconnected and less then a 1/4 tank of fuel . Some shipping companies require additional things too . I always recommend the client ask the seller to do these things as part of the sale price to save a few dollars .

Warehouse - Some will bill you per day for storage . Some will give you a free period before charging you . Some will barrel it into the total cost or write it off . ASK or you may get a rude shock .

Now if you are doing it yourself this is were it gets very different .

DIY- There are alot of variables and it depends on the shipper . You will have to pay for Customs Clearance on both ends , the Freight Forwarding on the Aus end as an extra , any port costs or fees and it's entirely possible they will hit you with all sorts of extra's . ASK before agreeing to anything as this is were they make their money . You will also have to pay GST on the bike & freight charges too

Through an Import Agent - Most will have all the above as a part of their fee . Some will require you pay the GST & AQIS seperately but generally they spell out the costs for you .

Marine Insurance - Many IA's have it as part of their standard fees and the rest as an extra . I strongly recommend you get it if it isn't included .

Then for either you organise your local transporter . At you place (it is different for a post 1988 model) you have to modifiy the Shovel to pass the relevant ADR's for the year of manufacture . You will need to get an ICV Engineer to issue a certificate for it to say it's ADR approved before Rego .

Now , the above is a general run through . The version I use for my clients goes for alot longer and is tailored to the individual bike. The above is for a 1982 Shovelhead . Do Not assume that it is the same for every make , model or year .
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Aussiehard
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Re: US imports

Post by Aussiehard » Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:13 pm

Brassy & Choppaweeza are both interstate so if Fluffer can do something in Melb we would have experience on 3 states. Help to avoid further local transport costs.

chopaweeza
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Re: US imports

Post by chopaweeza » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:28 pm

The rules are Federal for 95% of it . Only the actual compliancing for pre 89' models varies slightly from state to state so having an extra opinion won't accomplish much . Choosing an IA based on how close to you is faulty . I get alot of WA customers because I'm overall cheaper then a well known local . I get alot of Vic clients for the same reason . Go with an IA that gives good service and explains everything .
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fluffer
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Re:

Post by fluffer » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:23 pm

fluffer wrote:
RickB56 wrote:But hay Fluffer, where is your mate at the moment? I've been watching a bike or two in the Seattle area. Just can't see buying without someone having a look. My daughter and her boyfriend are heading over to Seattle today.
Got no flamin' idea. He's probably on a beach, drinking Jack and being a typical Aussie (perving).
Supposed to be buying a bike and doing the coat run frm La La Land to San Francisco and catching up with KeithSB on the way thru.
Sooner or later he will give me a bell (if only to gloat) and I will find out what he's been up to. :?
I was right about him being on a beach (Venice) drinking and perving, then he was surrounded by cops on pushbikes who told him he couldn't drink in public. laffin' me bum off!!!!
"better to die on your feet than live on your knees"

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Re: US imports

Post by fluffer » Wed Aug 24, 2011 4:30 pm

Aussiehard wrote:Brassy & Choppaweeza are both interstate so if Fluffer can do something in Melb we would have experience on 3 states. Help to avoid further local transport costs.
My mate got back yesterday so it is still early days yet.

As soon as we get the bikes sitting in the garage at home i will give yoa a breakdown on costs so far.
As soon as we get the bikes registered, I will give you a breakdown of that.

Fact is i have had so many differant stories from so many differant people (s'pecially importers trying to scare me orf doing it myself) that I am simply going to state what happened for us and leave it at that.

At the moment we are looking at going back across next year for a holiday and maybe buy more bikes, got 2 other blokes interested so far and if the costs do work out ok then it will be a case of the more the merrier. But till we get the costs sorted i can only venture an opinion and as we all know, opinions are like ###holes, everones got one.
"better to die on your feet than live on your knees"

Brassy
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Re: US imports

Post by Brassy » Mon Jan 16, 2012 5:40 pm

Those import approval guys are full on at the moment they want to know absolutely everything, even on matching numbers stock bikes i.e if there is any mods to the bike at all and frame mods, what year is the motor, what year is the frame its like they are looking to knock a couple back so look out. I just got off the phone from them trying to explain that everything is stock and matching, what the displacement size of the engine was how many gears it has what side it shifts on I mean everything.
Why does everything I eat taste like 50 weight ?

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Re: US imports

Post by fluffer » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:27 am

[quote="Brassy"]Those import approval guys are full on at the moment they want to know absolutely everything, /quote]

Hah!! Knew a fellah who got his import approval (Harley) rejected because he had failed to declare whether the vehicle was a left or right hand drive. :shock: :shock:

In our case, the mate took photos on his phone while in the states and added that as an attachment to the application.

Sold one bike (profit paid for the trip) and in the process of registering the Heritage right now.

For you Vic guys, if youse are interested, I found a bloke down Geelong way who stocks exhaust systems (as in legal) for Yank/Brit bikes.

Will let ya know how we go. :D
"better to die on your feet than live on your knees"

chopaweeza
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Re: US imports

Post by chopaweeza » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:00 pm

Not that complex . They recently swapped over to a new format and new paperwork . The database was finished 6 months before then new forms were . So , every VIA bounced as incomplete . Many mistook that as being a refusal . Many genuine refusals they call you personally to explain why . When we were importing for other people we had 8 refusals . Only 2 failled to pass on appeal . Both those were SEVS and not normal VIA . We have had refusals based on VIN irregularities , wheel size , belief the frame is modified and in one case they believed it was a duplicate VIN & vehicle . All those were sorted and passed on appeal .
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