Introduction: You will get a ton of unlicensed inspectors and freight forwarder pretending to be inspectors responding to your post.
Remember that product inspection is the place with the most blatant bribery in China - which is why the Chinese government now has stringent requirements for licensing. And that is why you should be concerned about non licensed inspection companies.
Always ask if the inspection company is licensed and then ask for a copy of it.
Be cautious when choosing an inspection company.
If you are doing private label, have significant modifications, doing unique products, or if your product requires certification, then always...
1) Do AQL inspection in China prior to shipment. The is called a pre-shipment inspection. AQL is a statistical random sampling and acceptable quality level, program.
2) Stipulate that your product must pass inspection before shipping, and before payment (or payment of balance) if you do not arrange terms.
3) Make sure your inspection company is LICENSED as an inspection company.
4) Make sure your inspection company has an anti-bribery policy.
5) Make sure your inspection company rotates inspectors, so that the 3rd party inspector does not build a relationship with the factory boss.
6) Make sure your inspection company does not do shipping, photography, sourcing, prepping, etc. It may appear simpler to use a all-in-one shop, but it can lead to problems. Inspection companies that do those things are financially motivated (will make more money) if they approve products of questionable quality. By law, licensed inspection companies are not allowed to be sourcing companies, photography companies, freight forwarders. Companies that offer more than inspections cannot be licensed as an independent inspection company.
7) Make sure your inspection company has labs and knows what certifications are needed for products.
8) Ask to see the standard inspection template for your product. Example, pyjamas may have a standard 150-point inspection. A cell phone case may have a standard 30-point inspection. An electronic drum kit may have a 300-point standard inspection. All reputable inspection companies have thousands of these templates. They simply add your own specific needs on top of these.
By the way, some certifications require 100% inspection - a licensed inspection company will know which ones do.
This should cost $100-$300 per day. I ship by full container and thousands of products and it has not cost more than a day.
If you purchase WHITE LABEL (means that you just put your logo on something, and maybe your own box) that does NOT require certifications (ex: electrical certifications, safety certifications, textile certification, FDA certification, etc.) And your order is less than $800 then you may have other more economical options.
Consider a visual inspection. It costs less.
Also consider shipping the product to yourself. It's economical but you don't have the same recourse because technically you have taken possession of the product.
Lastly, if the product fails AQL inspection, and and the remedy requires a second inspection, NEVER have the factory pay for the second inspection. The inspection should always be paid for by you. Otherwise you are paying the Fox to guard the Chickens. Instead, stipulate that the cost of a second inspection, if required, will be deducted from the balance of the order.
Reputable licensed inspection companies include SGS, Intertek, VTrust, and QIMA (formerly called Asian inspection), Qualityloyal. You can Google these. There ARE other good ones as well.
You can also get video from all of these companies and others. This is 2022. Video is not a new technology. Do not be impressed by anyone who claims to be the only company offering video.