With all of the options available, choosing a customs broker in Toronto may seem complicated. Narrowing down your options can be difficult, which is why we wrote this step-by-step guide on how to find the right customs broker for your business.
What is a customs broker and what do they do?
A customs broker is a licensed individual or company that works with border agents to ensure goods being imported or exported have met all of the requirements. They assist with paperwork, navigating through potential tax issues before they arise and ensuring your shipment moves smoothly across the border. All customs brokers in Canada must be licensed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Do I need a customs broker, or can I do it myself?
Though any person can import and export goods themselves, using a customs broker will simplify the entire process. All shipments must adhere to Canada’s customs laws and regulations. Failure to comply with customs regulations can result in hefty fines and delayed shipments.
Certified customs brokers ensure that every detail is complete and accurate on all paperwork. In almost every case, by using a certified customs broker you can guarantee your shipment will be cleared quickly and easily.
How to find the right customs broker in Toronto
Not all Toronto-based customs brokers will deliver the same quality service. Because Toronto isn’t a port city, you need to do your research before you choose a customs broker.
Step 1: Do your research
Doing your research means asking around, looking at reviews, and consulting with other business professionals who have dealt with customs brokers in the past.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has put together a list of Canadian customs brokers. If you’re starting your search from scratch, you can look there first to find a licensed customs broker. The list provides you with a full name, contact information and location information.
Step 2: Consider your business needs
Always consider your business needs when doing your research. Not all services are the same, and you want to ensure you have a clear understanding of your own needs before you consult a customs broker.
Whether you need help with finding a carrier, completing paperwork, or getting your shipment through customs, having a good understanding of your needs will help you narrow down your options when finding a customs broker in Toronto.
Step 3: Compare rates
Comparing rates and services will ensure you get the best deal possible. Most customs brokerages provide free quotes on their website.
Some factors to consider when comparing rates are:
- The type of service provided
- The number of shipments per year
- Location of the shipment
- Location of the delivery
- The broker’s experience
Step 5: Check out reviews and track records
The last step when finding a customs broker in Toronto is to compare reviews and track records. Choosing a reputable broker with experience is important. You never know what issues may arise that are out of your control (weather delays, natural disasters, etc.). An experienced customs broker will be able to navigate your shipment through these delays at the smallest impact on your business.
Reputable and experienced customs brokers have typically dealt with many different types of customs transactions. They are able to provide you with accurate advice to help you navigate clearing your shipment.
Step 6: Confirm they have a physical office
Before choosing a customs broker, confirm they have a physical office in Toronto, or in the GTA. It’s important that the customs broker has a physical presence in the location they’re licensed to operate in. Having a physical office will allow you to schedule meetings in-person should any problems arise.
Step 7: Bonus: do they offer additional services?
You never know where your business might take you, so choosing a customs broker that offers additional services can be beneficial down the line.
Additional services can include:
Choosing a customs broker that has more than one location is a great service in itself. Here at Welke, we have locations in both Toronto and Vancouver to ensure we can support all of your Canadian customs needs.
Contact us if you’re located in either Toronto or Vancouver and need a customs broker. With over 35 years of experience, our dedicated team of customs professionals can clear your shipment quickly, while complying with the ever-changing trades landscape.