Before modern technology took business and trade communications by storm, the proximity of your customs broker was a major determining factor in choosing a customs broker. That yesteryear reality is today's common myth.
Today, rather than going to your local directory listing for service providers, you can run a simple internet search and be connected with a variety of services providers in far reaching locations. The options are endless and proximity is no longer a determining factor due to online accessibility. Instead, the selection of a customs broker can now be made based on the qualifications and level of service.
Another contributing factor in dispelling the myth that you need a customs broker within close proximity is that U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Canada Border Services Agency themselves are now automated. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has reported that over 99% of all entries are filed electronically.
If qualified and approved by Customs, a customs broker can file releases at any point of entry regardless of their physical location. It is no longer necessary for a customs broker to have a physical presence at every point of entry. This means you can now choose your service provider based on their expertise and the quality of service they provide.
When looking for a customs broker, rather than proximity, make your selection is based on the following criteria:
- Do they employ experienced employees?
- What methods of training and education do they provide to staff?
- How many Licensed Customs Brokers and Certified Customs Specialists do they have on staff?
- Do they have a good history in clearing/releasing goods within your industry?
- How long have they been in operation?
- What types of clearances and projects have they successfully performed?
- Do they operate 24 hours, 7 days a week, including statutory and public holidays?
- Do you get a live person or an automated phone system when you call? When you have an urgent question or issue the last thing you want to do is leave a voice mail.
- Do you have access to knowledgeable staff when you need them?
4. Company Culture:
- Are they client service driven?
- Do they focus on detail, accuracy, and upholding compliance?
- What are their notable achievements and successes?
- How does their level of service and expertise compare to their competitors?
- Can they provide solid testimonials and references?
- How would other related service providers, such as trucking companies, rate their service?
6. Import-Export Education:
- What measures do they take to keep their clients informed?
- Do they provide trade compliance seminars and webinars?
Technology has made it possible for people to communicate and have access to services and products unlike any other time in history. In choosing a customs broker make your selection based on merit, effort, knowledge, and education. Select a customs broker that knows the importance of being available 24 hours, 7 days week when it pertains to international trade.
What do you look for in a good customs broker? Share your thoughts in our comments section.
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