Choosing Customs Brokerage Services
No two customs brokers are alike. If you’re evaluating brokerage services for the first time or exploring a change in provider, here are some factors you should consider, beyond broker fees.
As you know, customs brokers play a central role collecting duties on behalf of importers, ensuring companies comply with complex government legislation, and pulling together key documentation to get goods cleared. A good customs broker is vital to the well-being of any company moving goods across the border, but our role doesn’t necessarily stop there.
The right broker can provide you with a competitive edge by delivering business intelligence and services that help you assess the impact of regulatory changes and capitalize on trends and emerging markets.
Your Cross-Border Trade Business Partner
If you are planning on choosing or switching customs brokers, you should know what you can reasonably expect your new broker to do for you during this process and what the broker will ask of you. Key issues in the discussion with any customs broker include:
- Size of your company, volume and the type of goods you ship
- Provider’s experience and references for clients in your industry
- Alignment of the service provider with your company’s strategic direction
- Location and responsiveness of the brokers’ service personnel
- International affiliations for customs brokerage and freight forwarding
- Timeliness and sophistication of reporting
- Location of offices at key border crossings
When seeking a customs broker, be sure to ask the right questions. We have compiled a Guide to Choosing a Customs Broker to help with the process which includes a checklist.
FAQs for Choosing a Customs Broker
Along with asking the right questions about your business, here are some critical tasks a new broker should do for you:
- Review your transaction history, tariffs used, rulings received, any penalties received, etc. and identify any areas of concern
- Create an assistance package clearly outlining the information required from you for a smooth transition
- Answer any questions you might have about the transition
- Outline a schedule to gather any supporting documentation
- Notify your carriers of the change in providers
- Assign a service representative to keep current on your business and to provide an accessible contact
In turn, your broker may ask for these items:
- Request information that will enable a thorough review of your customs transaction history
- Ask you for a signed Power of Attorney (US) and General Agency Agreements (Canada) to transact
- Request or do a credit check to establish your credit
- Ask for a signed document confirming you have ended your relationship with your current provider
- Ask you to provide a reference if you are satisfied with the service delivered by your new customs broker
Experienced brokers, like Willson International, build their business on executing with excellence, and will provide a “no obligation” analysis of your customs brokerage fees, needs and history.