If you are involved in international trade, finding the right customs broker becomes an important decision. Unfortunately, not all customs brokers will offer the services your company needs to be successful. However, following these ten tips will be helpful in finding the right customs broker in Canada for your business. Read on to find out more.
Before delving into the tips of finding a customs broker that suits your specific business needs, it’s essential to understand what is a customs broker.
What Is A Customs Broker?
A customs broker is a professional licensed by the Canadian government to help companies comply with customs regulations when importing and exporting goods. Customs brokers are equipped with knowledge that helps smooth goods transition over the Canadian border.
Some of their key competencies include understanding import and export regulations, customs classification, valuation, and documentation. They also have strong relationships with customs officials, which can help streamline the process even further.
Now that we know the basics, finding the right customs broker in Canada for your company comes down to 10 key factors:
Consult The Canadian Society Of Customs Brokers
The Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) is the primary professional body for customs brokers in Canada. They are a not-for-profit organization representing the interests of customs brokers and their clients.
The CSCB website is an excellent resource for finding a customs broker that suits your company’s specific needs. They will give an unbiased overview of different customs brokers and what they can offer your business.
Your Customs Broker Should Be Up-To-Date On All Regulatory Changes
A customs broker who has a grip on the latest changes in customs regulations will save you a lot of time, money, and headaches. They will be able to quickly adapt your company’s importing and exporting processes to comply with any new changes.
References And Online Reviews
When narrowing down your options, read online reviews of different customs brokers. You can also ask for references from companies who have used their services in the past.
A good customs broker should have no problem providing you with the contact information of previous clients. However, you need to be aware that confidentiality agreements with their clients may gag some customs brokers, so not all feedback will be readily available.
Make Sure Your Agreement With The Customs Broker Has Clearly Spelled Out Terms & Conditions
To avoid any misunderstandings or problems down the road, your company’s agreement with the customs broker must be clear and concise. You should state all your company’s requirements and the customs broker’s responsibilities in the contract.
By having a well-drafted agreement, you can avoid any headaches or disagreements down the road. After all, disputes always waste time and money.
Seek Out A Customs Broker With Experience In Your Industry
Different industries have their own unique customs regulations that need to be followed. A customs broker with specific experience in your industry will be well-versed in the compliance requirements that need to be met.
Work Only With Custom Brokers Who Are Licensed
The first step in finding a reputable customs broker is to ensure that the Canadian government licenses them. You can verify this by checking the list of customs brokers licensed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
The CBSA is the federal government agency responsible for administering customs regulations. The agency also has the power to investigate any complaints against customs brokers.
Do They Have Offices In The Port That Concerns You?
If you’re importing or exporting goods through a specific port, choosing a customs broker who has an office in that location is essential.
This will help ensure a smoother and quicker transition for your goods. Dealing with a customs broker who works through their network of associate custom brokers may result in paperwork mix-ups, which can cause costly delays.
Choose A Customs Broker That Fits Your Business And The Size Of Imports/Exports
Customs brokers should be able to provide the services that your company needs. For example, if you’re a small business that only imports a few shipments per month, you probably won’t need the same level of service as a large company that imports goods daily. Furthermore, if you engage a large custom brokerage firm as a small company, you may not receive the attention your company needs and deserves.
Are They Ready To Work With New Import And Export Businesses?
Your customs broker should also be comfortable working with businesses new to importing and exporting. They should be able to provide you with the guidance and support you need to get your business up and running.
A good customs broker will take the time to understand your business, and it’s specific needs. They will also be patient in explaining the complexities of the customs process to you.
How Will They Communicate With You?
Communication is critical when working with a customs broker. After all, there will be times when you need to provide them with necessary documents or information.
Your customs broker should have a precise method of communication. They should also be able to provide updates on your shipment status promptly.
Most customs brokers offer real-time tracking of your shipment, which can be very helpful. This way, you can always know where your goods are and when they will arrive.
Overall, finding a great customs broker comes down to doing your research. By following the tips above, you can find a reputable and experienced customs broker who will be able to help your business run smoothly.