I have never been a fan of checking references. But I have read everywhere that one should check references before working with a factory abroad. My logic on it is if you know you are engaging with a legitimate and reputable company, then that company would not want to bother it’s customers or clients for references (especially for small business/orders that will be non-significant to the other party). What is also the point of checking references when one is able to look up a company’s order history in the U.S.? Thanks Panjiva! Totally amazing find! You can look up a manufacturer’s history of shipments into the U.S. – Which clients (company names), what they sent, how much, how often. My theory on this thus far is it makes sense to talk to 1-2 references when you are just about to place an order. But, not before. Given the existence of a tool like Panjva.