Let’s make this clear right away: small businesses need a customs broker just as much as medium to large businesses, if not more so.
While larger businesses employ a customs broker to help them save millions on pre-established success, the role of a broker becomes even more important to a small business trying to succeed in an increasingly online and global market.
Why? Because the typical small business owner plays many parts. They’re the sales representatives, customer service, the purchasing department, and much more. For a small business to thrive, the owner needs to commit all their efforts towards day-to-day operations.
And now, with businesses reaching outside of their borders for goods and dipping into the e-commerce realm, the goal is to deliver goods to customers quickly and efficiently. But how do owners do that while handling the many parts that keep the small business afloat?
The answer: hiring a customs broker.
A customs broker is invaluable
A customs broker can come at a cost, but their knowledge and expertise makes them important enough to offset any upfront cost. More businesses are looking cross-border for goods to import, but that comes with a lot of tedious work, i.e. documentation and border regulations.
The right customs broker will help small business owners by alleviating much of the stress involved with cross-border trade. Without a broker, owners will need to know the smallest of details in regards to tariff classification, develop contracts, and deal with government agencies — all time-consuming, detail heavy endeavours.
And none of that is simple. If just one aspect isn’t done properly, it could result in serious fines, and sometimes, business crushing consequences. Most, if not all, issues come from the tariff classification. The list is generally unchanging, but a country’s laws and regulations on certain goods can change with a moment’s a notice. The smallest tariff error could lead to unpleasant complications.
With a customs broker, the tariff problem is lifted off the shoulders of the small business owner. The broker will handle several other time consuming tasks as well, and they’ll do it to the owners benefit, such as:
- Keep an eye on the Harmonized System codes
- Gather all customs documentation
- Broker preferential tariff treatments
- Determine goods exemption
- Determine product admissibility into Canada
- Make sure duties and taxes are applied correctly
A customs broker is good for advice, too
Running a small business means being smart and frugal with your capital in order to succeed. If an owner isn’t necessarily willing to invest in a long term commitment with a broker just yet, they could still employ one solely for advice at the beginning of the importing process.
At the very least, a customs broker will help the owner understand the process behind border transactions. They can provide advice on things like term agreements, tariff classification, entry types, compliance process and, in the end, make small businesses more competitive in an increasingly hostile environment.
Contact Clearit Canada for more information on customs brokers and how we can help your small business soar in the import world!