Do I Need a Customs Broker?
Navigating customs can be a complex and challenging process. With different rules and regulations from country to country, and different requirements for different types of shipments, it’s no wonder so many businesses face delays and fines when things go wrong.
However, using customs brokerage services can be a good way of avoiding these issues. If you’re wondering whether a customs broker is right for your business, read on to find out exactly what a customers broker will do, and how they can help you.
What’s included in customs brokerage services?
Each customs broker might offer slightly different services, but most will offer a combination of the below.
Customs brokerage services will typically include checking the documentation for goods that are being exported and imported, including obtaining the correct classification for your goods. They’ll check if any special licences will be required for importing or exporting, and ensure goods are compliant with local laws and regulations.
A customs broker will usually work out the necessary taxes and duties that will need to be paid and could also arrange for the goods to be physically transported. They could liaise with government authorities on your behalf, acting as a point of contact as well as providing advice and guidance.
What are the advantages of using a customs broker?
Using a customs broker can bring many advantages when you’re importing and exporting. One of the main advantages of customs brokerage services is that the broker will be an expert in all things customs. They’ll know the correct and most efficient processes, ensuring documentation is correct to reduce delays. A customs broker will ensure your shipment and accompanying documents adhere to local laws, giving you peace of mind that your shipment will be lawful.
Using customs brokerage services can help to streamline your shipment process. You’ll have one point of contact to deal with, rather than having to speak to numerous government agencies. A customs broker should have extensive experience with dealing with different customs agencies, and so will know the best way to manage each shipment in each location.
A customs broker can often help prevent you from overpaying or underpaying your tax and duties. As they’ll know the exact amount you should be paying for your shipment, you won’t risk paying too much or facing delays if you don’t pay the necessary amount. A good customs broker can often find optimisations for your shipment, including in paying duties. They can often save you money over time, in both paying only the right amount and also in avoiding fines and delays.
A customs brokerage service will also often save you a lot of time. You won’t have to spend time researching various laws and regulations around your shipment. The customs broker will already have the knowledge and expertise required to successfully ship your goods.
How do I know if I need to use customs brokerage services?
There is no mandatory requirement to use a customs broker. However, many businesses choose to do so in order to save time, money, and resources, and avoid fines and delays that can come when customs are dealt with in-house.
If your business is new to importing, using an experienced customs broker can be a big help. You’ll have the necessary guidance required to ship goods correctly, without having to waste resources learning the processes yourself.
Using customs brokerage services can be beneficial whether you have large volumes of shipments or small ones. For those shipping large amounts, using a customs broker means the business doesn’t have to employ a team solely to deal with customs. Outsourcing can help to streamline the business and leave it with the experts.
For those who find they’re shipping small amounts, a customs broker can also be advantageous. There would be little point in spending time and money employing people to solely deal with customs in-house when dealing with small volumes of shipments. Similarly, it could be a waste of an employee’s time to expect them to learn the process as well as deal with other responsibilities. A customs broker will be dedicated to dealing with your shipments, bringing all the experience and knowledge needed to manage a possibly complicated process.
How do I find the right customs brokerage services?
When looking for the right customs brokerage services for your needs, you should make sure to research customs brokers extensively. Check their website to check what services they require and ensure that they match your business needs. This could include covering the location that you’ll be shipping to, as well as the specific customs services they offer.
You could also contact the customs broker directly to discuss their services and make sure they can offer everything you require. You could also look online for customer reviews, to read about first-hand experiences of the customs broker.
You could also look for the custom brokers’ accreditations. For example, custom brokers in the UK could have a CCS export badge, which means they have been independently reviewed and certified to meet the HMRC’s standard for customs clearance.
You should also check their operational hours. Often, customs clearance issues can arise any time of day, not just between 9am and 5pm. A customs broker that can extend their operational hours outside of this could help to reduce any delays that arise, as they will be able to deal with problems sooner.