A customs broker service provider is a professional who assists you with clearing customs procedures during a shipment. These procedures commonly include certain regulations and standards for the export or import of goods.
The scope of a customs brokerage service provider's task entails completing all necessary documentation, meeting rules of government, calculating charges, and making custom payments on your behalf. Each of these tasks is critical for ensuring that all on time, cost-controlled and compliant clearance of goods. Other aspects that they look into include valuation, tariff treatment, trade agreement, valuation, goods marking and classification, anti-dumping rules, and refunds.
Given the criticality of the job, a high level of specialty and experience is required from providers. Also, only a few brokers are empowered to process entries nationwide. Hence, the process of hiring a custom brokerage service provider entails a lot of due diligence. You need to look into several factors before picking up one for your needs. Some of these factors include -
The first thing you should look for is if the provider is licensed or not. A licensed provider is permitted legally to carry out the business. It is always safe to trust a provider who is licensed because they play by the rules and will make sure you are compliant with all requirements.
A company with a dedicated brokering team is more specialized and therefore trustworthy. They deal with customs brokerage day in and day out and so stay abreast with changes in rules and regulations. Such companies usually have experts and well-developed processes to deal with all custom brokerage needs.
Not all custom brokers depend on technology to drive processes. Many providers are comfortable banking on manual billing and checking. This can lead to a lot of inaccuracies and a slowdown. Instead, if your provider's process is fully automated or application-driven, you can expect the least process errors.
Most firms prefer large custom brokerage companies. This is because large brokerage companies have the network and facilities to carry out efficient operations. But large custom brokerage firms usually have a bias toward large companies. This is not the case with small or medium-sized providers. They will value your business and give due attention to your requirements.
Not all custom brokers have their offices in all ports. So, most rely on subcontractors and networks to get the job done for you. This can lead to problems like delays and losses and no immediate responses. Therefore, it is important to make sure that your provider has offices in the ports you plan to deal with. If not, look for someone with a dedicated longstanding partner.
It always pays to go through the brochure or sample contract of a provider to understand their processes and most importantly to understand the delays and plan adjustments for import volumes. This will give you an idea of how they deal with unforeseen developments and what steps they are capable of taking to mitigate them.
Custom brokerage providers usually specialize in providing services to certain industries. Therefore, their understanding of the term and conditions for dealing with the product is robust. Similarly, they have good knowledge of government offices and processes. This makes importing or exporting products a lot easier. Besides, their experience and niche knowledge will assist you to save on time, money, and headache.
Word-of-mouth reference is not a good way to hire a custom brokerage firm. The best way is to carry out proper background work. It's a good practice to identify 4 to 5 custom brokerage firms and find out all the important details about them. Don't commit the mistake of going by reviews, pricing, reputation, past clients, and other related information. Instead, talk to them and ask them all the right questions about your product and their experience.
A good firm will always have a great way to communicate with its clients. Please check this out with every firm you evaluate. Make sure they are not only open to your mode of communication but also open to a sudden change in modes.
Identifying a great customs brokerage firm is a big challenge. But once you overcome the challenge, they will do all the spadework needed to assist you with customs clearance. This will help you focus on your core business and keep all distractions at bay.
Flatworld Solutions is one of the leading providers of customs brokerage services to clients across the globe. We have some of the most experienced and skilled customs brokerage experts who can cater to all your requirements with ease. We leverage the latest tools and technologies while delivering top-quality services to clients.
Are you looking for a reliable and cost-effective customs brokerage service provider? Then, look no further. Get in touch with us today!