What to Look For in a Customs Broker

customs-brokerageWith expanding markets and a growing demand for cross-country trade, the global economy has become a single giant commercial hub to capture everyone's demand. Due to this increasing trend, there has also been an increase in the number of complicated rules and regulations concerning the clearance of these trade-able items across borders. These include increased documentation, more secure and regulated laws regarding the clearance of imported items and a heightened trend towards professional and licensed dealing. For these purposes, almost every country has its own custom regulation institution set up to monitor these transactions across borders such as the Australian Custom Brokerage Agency and Canadian Customs Brokers Agency.

Basically, the primary purpose of such institutions is to facilitate your international dealings and to ensure that your merchandise gets delivered across with utmost security and premium safety. But with bundles of unnecessary paperwork to sign before carrying out each transaction, these procedures sometimes become a headache not only for you but also for your business. It means that you have to make extra calls to regulate your items, calculate additional duties, classify expenditures, and monitor every proceeding process while simultaneously keeping a strict eye on your business. It not only becomes really hectic but at times almost impossible. Therefore, hiring someone to do these tasks for you is a better alternative to save your time as well as make the whole process smooth and more convenient. So hiring a qualified customs broker is the right call make at such a time!

Once you have decided that you need someone to handle your import related legal matters, the next step is to search for an eligible candidate who could flawlessly carry out all your dealings for you. It might be hard at first. You may have to conduct interviews, go through resumes, do comparative analysis and scratch your head over the very important question of who is the most suitable candidate for this position.

Therefore, let's make your job easier and go over the six most important qualities you need to look for in a customs broker before you make a final choice.

1. Choose Your Forte Broker

If you deal in some specific industry such as textile or food & beverages sector, it is important to hire a broker who is already familiar with the related risks and challenges in that industry. A well acquainted broker will be aware of the charges, warranties, discounts or additional paperwork required as part of being in the industry that could benefit your business immensely in financial terms.

2. Choose a Broker with In-Depth Knowledge

It is always better to go for a candidate who has some prior education in this field or who has been affiliated with a professional customs brokerage body in the past. Having someone on your team who is conversant in import and export regulations will always yield positive externalities for your business. With a better know how, he will have more intuitive knowledge of the field to share.

3. Choose a Broker with Reputation and Positive References

A well reputed broker with positive references from the previous customers will always be a handy tool for your business. When you are hiring a broker, examine his past records and customer satisfaction ratings. Go through the details of his earlier dealings and check whether the orders were delivered/ cleared in appropriate time.

4. Choose a Broker with Representation and Inward Networks

Another important aspect to consider while hiring a customs broker is his networking and representation record. It will be convenient if your broker has links on certain ports where you want to get your merchandise across or has inward connections with other firms and agencies in the operational sector.

5. Choose a Broker with Technical & Field Expertise

When choosing a broker, ensure that he is on the same page as your business. What it means is that he is equipped with appropriate technical expertise to tackle your legal business matters. He is well aware of your computer systems, tracking websites and operational ports. Moreover, he has enough knowledge in the field to provide relevant advice on legal matters based on his prior field experience.

6. Choose a Broker with the Perfect Overall Package

It is a bad idea to choose the first broker you find with all these qualities. It would be much better if you shop around and look for all the alternative options available and then make your final decision. Choose a broker that offers all these services and that too with a good price. Remember that there is no hurry to draw up a contract as soon as you meet him.

Just keep in mind, that in the beginning you might find it difficult to adjust with a new customs broker but try to give it some time. Communicate with him and discuss how you want your work done. It is a two-way process and you need to put in your fair share to ensure that your business runs smoothly and effectively.

Peter Bertrand, a renowned customs broker and an active member of Canadian Customs Brokers Society, talks about the dos and don'ts when a hiring a professional customs broker. Mr. Bertrand not only has remarkable experience in the customs protocols but also owns an imports regulation advisory firm.

If you have any questions, please ask below!