Top 10 questions to ask when choosing a Customs Broker
When your business relies on the smooth, on time arrival of your goods in order to be successful – Making the right choice for your logistics partner is as important as your location, your brand and your products themselves.
We receive a number of questions from potential clients who are considering joining our Community – but the core questions remain the same. Ultimately, the answers come down to the nuts and bolts of:
“There are many customs brokerages out there, why should I choose Community Customs Brokers? “
To answer this, we have put together a list of our Top 10 questions and answers that address just that.
1. What do your bills really mean?
We find one of the best exercises to go through with a potential new client is a simple examination of their last invoice from their current customs broker. The first question we always get is “What does this fee mean?”.
So many invoices that we see include fees that even we are challenged to find logic in, fees such as:
- “Administration Fee”
- “Invoice Integrity Fee”
- “Email/Phone Fee”
When clients ask us what we charge for emails, phone calls and to review their invoices – the answer is always the same…. If we need to contact you to gain information to do our jobs – Ethically, how can we charge you extra for doing that? Our billing is transparent, fair and tailor made for your business needs.
2. Why does your quote show that my goods are Duty Free? I paid 6.5% on the same goods with my last broker!
This is actually one of our favourite questions – because the end result can mean that you are going to get a refund on your previous imports!
Not only will we assist you with ensuring any goods that qualify under one of Canada’s many free trade agreements are processed properly, we are happy to assist you with an audit of your previous invoices and arrange for the refund of any duty that you paid in error.
3. I don’t import very often, I don’t need a broker.
The reality is, if you have goods that come across the border for your business, and you have not actively engaged the services of a customs brokerage – You have a customs broker, you just didn’t actually choose to be in business with them.
While the end result is the same – this takes all of the negotiation and control out of your hands. You have no control over the costs billed to you – The goods arrive at your door and they came with a bill that you must pay in order to receive them. Whether you import once a year or once a day – Having a customs broker that cares about you and your business is always the right choice.
4. Can you take care of arranging the shipping for my goods?
Yes, we absolutely can. In fact, most of our brokerage clients prefer to deal with one familiar point of contact for all aspects of their logistics needs – we are happy to provide services through trusted freight forwarders for shipment via land, air or sea- both domestically and internationally.
5. I don’t want to talk to a new person every time- they never seem to understand my account.
When you join our Community, you are provided with a dedicated account manager who understands the specific needs and style of your business. You will always have a familiar voice on the end of the phone.
6. Your office is in BC, I’m in Halifax, don’t I need a broker in my city?
Almost all goods are cleared through customs electronically long before they reach the border. We have dedicated account managers who operate in every timezone. By operating this way, we are able to keep costs low and ensure you receive great service, in your local timezone, at great rates that your business deserves.
7. My business exports goods overseas, can you help with that?
We certainly can. We have many clients who both import and export goods globally. While we only service Canada for importation; we are happy to provide services for exporting to any country in the world.
8. A lot of my suppliers only ship to the US, I don’t have the time to keep going to get the goods myself from a service across the border.
The time and labour cost associated with doing this yourself can be hefty and prohibitive – Often you are left with either limiting your ability to stock a great product that only ships to the US, or pay high shipping costs for the same.
With Community Customs Brokers, you can have your goods delivered to our US Warehouse, cleared through customs and delivered directly to your door. The process is seamless and saves both time and money.
9. What are your rates?
Our process is different than many brokers for establishing your rates. Many brokers evaluate their desire to work with you strictly on your volume – if you import X times a year at X value, your rates are X.
As part of our Community, you are more than a random variable in an arbitrary formula.
If you give us 5 minutes of your time, we will put together a proposal for you based on a detailed analysis of your business needs. Whether you are new, growing or a long established brand – we will build a customized package to meet your needs.
10. How can I be confident that your team will do the job properly, every time?
This is, by far, the most important question we get asked.
Our founder and CEO, Cindy Christensen, built the Community brand with one goal in mind – To put her decades of experience in the Customs Brokerage world to work – for you. She has hand-picked a dedicated team of experts with a strict sense of values and standards; these are the guiding principles on which the company is founded.
To help you navigate through the complex compliance landscape (and avoid the penalties that can come from non-compliance), Community Customs Brokers’s team of professionals can provide answers to these and many other pressing questions related to doing business in Canada as an Importer/Exporter.