Here are a few things to look out for when choosing a customs broker
1. Knowledge regarding duty of different HS codes
Some products can be placed under multiple HS codes or have special duties depending on circumstances. A good customs broker must have the ability to help you decide whether your goods can be classified so you pay less duties. For example, foods that are considered basic groceries can be duty and GST free, and trade agreements such as NAFTA allows importing from the US to Canada to be duty free.
2. Additional services
After clearing customs, the next step is picking up the shipment delivering it to your desired address. To reduce the amount of work you need to do (making sure the customs are cleared before the last free date, and arranging delivery), look for a customs brokerage that can also offer delivery services. As a bonus, they might be able to offer you a better delivery fee, as well.
Responsiveness is very important when it comes to customs because the government is involved. Since customs must be cleared before the container (or goods) are able to be picked up, having a responsive broker who will speedily answer your calls or emails can reduce much stress and headaches. If your trucker goes to pick up the shipment and the goods are not released, there will be extra charges for dead run, wait time, and the warehouse will even start charging storage fees after the last free date.
4. Technology and Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) capabilities
Some ports have difficult requirements, and while your broker should be capable of handling all the issues, they might run into some unexpected issues, delaying your customs clearance. With the new EDI system, brokers can bypass most of these issues and can clear your shipments in the same day without many delays.
5. Points of contact
How many people will you need to contact in order to get your goods released? Having one person responsible for all your customs needs is much better than needing to find one person for ocean freight, and another for air cargo.