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8 ways to tell if you’ve got a great customs broker

You don’t just want any customs broker—you want a great customs broker. A truly great broker is your powerhouse at the border.

What defines greatness in the customs brokerage world? Containers_78998400_s

Here are our top 8 factors:

  1. Presence at the border and all major border crossings
  2. Key contact person, not a faceless call center
  3. Local representation
  4. 24/7, after hours availability
  5. Conducts a product database review
  6. USMCA/CUSMA assistance
  7. Online access/visibility, data imaging
  8. Regular progress meetings

You have your own priorities in a Canadian customs broker or U.S. customs broker:

  • You may value a broker who is reliable and responsive, you may value affordable pricing or presence at all border crossings. 
  • You may want someone to ‘just handle things’ so you don’t receive phone calls for each and every shipment. 
  • Your priority may be having someone available after hours and on weekends to clear your shipments.

Being in the industry ourselves, we understand what importers want. And what they don’t want. 

We’ve seen companies cut corners on compliance or documentation in order to prioritize speeding goods across the border. Efficient clearing of goods is important, but you want your paperwork complete and accurate the first time

Even if you’ve engaged brokerage services, you as the importer are ultimately responsible. You don’t want to have to fix mistakes or omissions after the fact. You want to know your HS codes are correct and your documentation is complete—and if they aren’t, you want to know that, too.

The best customs broker builds an importer’s capacity to do what they do best.

Here’s what we think makes a great broker:

  • Great communication at every step of the journey.
  • An accurate and up-to-date product database with your product information like HS codes, country of origin, etc. So your broker doesn’t need to call you for every single shipment.
  • Permits are taken care of. 
  • The benefits of an online portal so you can track and trace shipments live.

Here’s what a customer thinks makes us a great broker...

"Regularly reviews your activities and identifies opportunities to reduce duties and simplify the import process."


Cole International has moved shipments across the border and the globe for more than half a century. We offer Canadian customs brokerage services and U.S. customs brokerage services—and we’ve got a presence at every major border crossing. We listen to our customers and make sure we are providing the level of service that they need so their business thrives. 

Contact us today!

Customs Brokerage. It's what we do.

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