Answering Your Questions About Working With a Customs Broker

A customs broker can be a good person to have on call when you import or export materials from another country, as they can assist with getting those items across the border quickly and easily. If you've never worked with a customs broker before and have never imported or exported goods, note a few questions you might have about the process and these services in particular, and this can ensure you make the right choice for your international trade.

1. Can a customs broker help with taxes or other fees?

One of the jobs of a customs broker is to note the goods you're importing or exporting and the corresponding taxes, tariffs and other such costs and fees for moving those goods across the border. They can then note if you have any options for reclassifying that material or otherwise saving money on those costs. This doesn't mean falsifying paperwork or doing anything illegal but simply being more aware of your options than you might be, so you face the least amount of cost as possible.

2. Does a customs broker arrange freight?

A freight forwarder is a professional who works with different freight companies to arrange the pickup and delivery of your items once they've crossed the border. A customs broker, on the other hand, simply gets your items through customs but doesn't necessarily arrange freight or transportation.

You might note, however, that while they are very different professions, a freight or brokerage company may have both types of individuals working for them. This is so that they can do everything needed to import or export and then also transport your goods.

3. Can a customs broker work with any border for any country?

Some customs brokers may specialize in one country or area of the world in particular, and they may be very familiar with that country's changing laws regarding the importing of goods. They may also offer translation services for your paperwork, which is especially good if a country requires paperwork in their native language as well as in English.

However, most customs brokers are able to assist you no matter the country to which you're importing or the country from which you buy materials. They will also usually have outside translation companies they work with as needed, if they don't offer the translation work themselves. If you have any concerns, ask a potential customs broker their experience with a certain country in particular so you know they're qualified to assist.