A common misconception held by new businesses or ones that are bootstrapped for cash is that only big or established businesses doing a $5M+ in revenue could benefit from the cost savings that a Customs Broker can help coordinate. And that small businesses may not need to work with a customs broker. 

In our 60+ years of industry experience, we have seen lots of businesses start out small, develop contracts, self-apply tariff classification or determine what they see as a "value for customs" and sales take off. What happens next is what started out as a small error made at the beginning with such things as tariff classification, can become a very large problem once the volume takes over and you are transacting larger volumes across the border with the same information used the "first time".

If your business is just starting up, caution is advised when deciding not to use the services of a Customs Broker. Although you may choose to travel to the facility or port of arrival to prepare a formal declaration for Canada Customs yourself, it is highly recommended that you seek guidance and advice from a Customs Broker in the planning stages to help mitigate risks related to your cross-border business.

6 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Customs Broker

How You Can Add Value With A Custom Broker

  • Streamline the process of clearing customs
  • Ensure your customs documentation is prepared properly
  • Determine tariff classification
  • Determine the admissibility of your commodity into Canada
  • Ensure correct duties and taxes are applied to the shipment when appropriate
  • Determine if your commodity is regulated by any other government departments
  • Determine whether your commodity is entitled to any exemptions
  • Help execute vendor contracts
Why Should You Work With A Customs Broker?

Importer Benefits

Even if you do not plan to use a Customs Broker to transact business on your behalf when goods ship, by getting involved in the planning stages, a customs broker may be able to:

  • Provide advantageous advice on terms,
  • Make recommendations on countries of origin to source from,
  • Provide advice on tariff classification and entry types,
  • Assist in the decision making and compliance process,
  • Deliver the best solutions for your business,
  • Make you more competitive in the marketplace and
  • Help you gain a more positive relationship with both Canada Border Services Agency and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
4 Reasons For Determining The Correct HS Tariff Classification 

It is well worth the investment to consult with a Customs Broker in the planning stages. To have a clear understanding of your risks, proper tariff classifications and to not let a small issue in the beginning, turn into a large business killer.

Pacific Customs Brokers works with all types of importers from a broad range of industries. We offer Canadian and U.S. trade compliance advisory services and Customs audit consulting. At our core, we are problem solvers and work with a large percentage of small to medium sized companies. To learn more about how we can help you manage the risks of importing and improve efficiencies in your processes, speak with one of our trade compliance specialists today.

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About Author
Cherie Storms
CCS , CTCS, CBSA Professional Designate

Cherie Storms is the Operations Manager with Pacific Customs Brokers, Canada with over 15 years in international trade operations and regulatory experience. After she joined the company in 2007 she has become an Executive Board Member for the Canadian Customs Brokers Society, BC Region, and was invited to speak at the Women in Transportation Annual General Meeting in 2010 regarding her experience with running the international logistics efforts of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. Cherie is also a member of CCB's National Commercial Operations and eManifest Committee. In September of 2018, Cherie became a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadain Society of Customs Brokers. Cherie has spoken at many seminars on the importance of trade compliance and is currently enrolled in the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) Business Management Program with the goal of becoming an international trade lawyer.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.