Q:

How do you find a customs broker?

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Quick Answer

To find a customs broker, ask for referrals from industry peers, consider a fully automated broker, choose a broker who is familiar with your shipping needs, and ask for additional services. A custom broker’s main job is to assist in paying duties and accounting for goods.

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Full Answer

Ask for references from industry peers, freight forwarders and transport companies for a customs broker with a good track record. Contact four of five customs brokers, and evaluate their experience, expertise strengths and weaknesses. Prices vary largely based on volume.

A fully automated broker is a good option because his information is likely to be up to date. Although a lot of filing is now done electronically, there are companies that still get government updates by paper and use manual billing.

A good customs brokers is familiar with or specialize in the goods you are shipping. Regulations, taxes and duties vary depending on the types of goods being shipped. It is also a good idea to choose a broker based on the size of the business. A small- or medium-sized broker is often ideal for a small- or medium-sized business for example.

Lastly, find a broker who provides extra services. Such a broker should correct mistakes and find out what is missing when filing paperwork and paying taxes. An interactive broker is especially useful for a new shipper. Smaller companies tend to provide these services for free, while larger ones may charge a small fee.

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