Clearit.ca's Blog on Customs Brokerage and News Updates
In a world where the options for customs brokers are seemingly endless online, choosing the right one for your business needs has never been more complicated. You need a customs broker that is poised and ready to guide you through the shipping process, without hiccups.
Finding a customs broker that fits the bill may take a bit of research. Unfortunately, the consequences of choosing wrong can be costly and waste time, so it’s crucial that you approach this process with care.
Below, we will outline the key differentiators you need to look for in a customs broker. Your shipments need to clear customs with ease — now, how can we ensure that?
“Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” – Henry Ford on his business relationships.
1. Check out the Canadian Society of Customs Brokers (CSCB) for an unbiased breakdown of some key questions you can ask your potential broker.
Here are the questions they recommend asking first:
- Do you have any specific areas of expertise?
- Do you have any background knowledge on the goods I will be shipping?
- How have you built compliance plans in the past that minimize administrative monetary penalties (AMPS)?
- How will my account be handled — will a single person be responsible for it?
- Are you a member of CBSB?
- … and more, depending on your business goals.
2. Make sure that your customs broker is always fully plugged in and learning about regulatory changes as they come.
One of the key responsibilities of a customs broker is to be aware of the changes happening in the policy realm on the global trade side. Shifts in regulatory framework come often and without a firm grip of understanding on these changes, you may find yourself out of luck.
3. Check online reviews and references to make sure that the customs broker has a roster of satisfied clients.
Manage your expectations here, because some customs brokers may have confidentiality agreements between themselves and their clients, so they might not be able to disclose who their clients are. That being said, hopping online and checking reviews — or even asking for a few references — is a great way to ensure that your customs broker knows what they are doing.
4. Have a solid terms & conditions agreement in place between you and the broker.
A good customs broker will present you with this document during the initial discussions for your partnership. At the end of the day, any disputes are a waste of valuable time for both involved parties. That’s why you need to make sure you have clear boundaries on both sides before working together.
5. Does the customs broker have the right toolbox to get the job done?
A customs broker that works efficiently has the toolbox they need to get the job done quickly, without any missteps. This could mean a variety of things: are they using useful technology? Are they using tools to deliver approved permits in a timely manner?
The bottom line here is that, as an importer, you are responsible for the accuracy of the information in the declarations you put forth. In accordance with Canadian regulations, you’re also technically accountable for all reporting and record keeping.
That’s why keeping business dealings and documentation around this process tight and accurate is incredibly important for the success of your business. But worry not! A solid customs broker will help you do that without any issues.
Having a strong customs broker as a partner is the safest bet for keeping you and your business working successfully. If you’re ready to get the conversation going with our team, we’d love to connect! Drop us a line here.