Whether you’re a small e-commerce business that needs to bring cargo into the United States for resale or a brick and mortar store that ships globally, having a customs broker by your side will set you apart from the competition. The process of finding a customs broker to suit your needs can seem perilously complicated, but we’ve compiled a list of five things you should know in order to find the perfect broker.
Knowing your supply chain is the first step to finding a broker who understands your business. Do you need to bring cargo to the US? Do you need to send cargo overseas and have it imported there? Would a broker who has a strategic partnership in other countries be helpful? It’s important to consider both where you are and where you’d like to see your business success take you.
Different goods have different rules and you’ll need to know a little bit about those commodities you want to import. The value, the tariff code, descriptions, pieces, etc., are all critical information your broker will need and the more you have, the better you start. However, the key is that the information you provide is correct and verifiable so if you’re unclear about any part, make sure the broker knows and they should be able to work with you to help find the answers you need.
Air, ocean, rail, trucks, some combination or perhaps all of them apply to your cargo. The carrier options in logistics are limitless and sellers will need to have an understanding of their time table, the cost differences in each mode and what best suits their needs. This should also include the pickup transit of the cargo at origin, delivery to the mode of transport (ocean port or airport), recovery at destination and final delivery. Your broker works deeply in logistics and can help you find some efficient solutions if you ask.
First things first, a good customs broker will always save you money in the long run. By avoiding costly mistakes and errors that can create fees and penalties, having an industry expert in your corner is just about the most important thing you can do to facilitate your success. Many brokers offer a fee based schedule of services or the retainer option if you’re quickly ramping up your buying from overseas to meet growing demand. Don’t be afraid to talk dollars and cents and inquire what’s their broker fee versus what you have to pay in customs fees and tariffs.
Different countries have different rules and different fees associated with importing cargo into the US. The recent kerfuffle over Chinese tariffs and section 301 duties is a clear example that sometimes cargo from one country can cost a vastly different amount than the same cargo that originates in a different place. Having a supplier is important but having a conversation on how some adjustments to the origin can save you time and worry shouldn’t be an afterthought.
If you haven’t guessed, we at Everglory logistics can help you answer all of these questions and provide global guidance on importing or exporting cargo. Our brokers are part of a wide network of industry professionals who are experts at creative solutions to serve you at the highest value. Give us a call today and let’s see where we can help your business succeed.