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How to choose the right customs broker?

How to choose the right customs broker?

Every importer desires a stress-free shipment. This desire is unsurprising, as the payments and paperwork involved in the import process can be daunting. Customs brokers work to help importers achieve the hassle-free importation that they desire. The number of customs and freight forwarding businesses in the UK alone has peaked at over 6,000 in 2022. Yet, finding the right customs broker is challenging for most importers.

This article discusses the factors importers should look for while hiring a customs broker.

Hiring a Suitable Customs Broker: Factors to Consider

  • Explore Your Options: One of the essential things to keep in mind with choosing a customs broker is to keep your options open. Refrain from deciding on one customs broker at the start of your search. This way, you will be able to compare the services of different brokers to arrive at the best option.

  • Proven Experience: This point might seem like a no-brainer since every customs broker claims to have significant experience. However, provable experience sets a good customs broker apart from an amateur. When choosing a customs broker, opt for one with solid and provable experience. This experience includes knowledge of import procedures, documentation, and clearance requirements. More importantly, determine if the broker has experience clearing the type of products you intend to import. You can discover if the broker has this experience by looking through the agency's website or asking around.

Customs agent

  • Take Reviews Seriously: Reviews help determine whether a customs broker provides good service. Many importers often fall victim to scammers or subpar custom brokerage firms. In both cases, the importers incur significant losses. Try to seek reviews before hiring a customs broker to avoid situations like this. The import community is close-knit, so there are high chances that you will find an importer already trying out the customs broker you're checking out.

  • Approval and Licensing: Most countries try to regulate the activities of customs brokers. This regulation aims to protect importers and exporters from falling victim to bad actors. They do this by implementing a licensing process for customs brokers. Other countries like the UK provide importers with a list of approved customs brokers. This way, only licensed customs brokers are allowed to provide services to importers. Thus, only hiring licensed and approved brokers is advisable. These brokers have undergone a verification process from the state and are in a better position to render quality services.

International customs broker

  • International Footprint: While small businesses are more suitable for specific needs, international agencies are the best bet for customs brokerage services. Global companies often have a strong relationship with government agencies and wield enough influence to ensure your clearance is hitch-free. More importantly, they have the requisite resources to undertake their tasks effectively. Most global customs brokers invest in sophisticated technology that helps them track your shipment through the clearance process. With systems like this, you are more likely to get your money's worth.

Customs delay

  • Speed: Regardless of the customs broker you decide to settle with, the speed of delivery is critical. The point of outsourcing the import clearance process is for your goods to be shipped efficiently and promptly. Some customs brokers have a reputation for clearance delays and long waiting times. These brokers should be avoided, as their delays can cause considerable losses to your business. Hence, when faced with multiple options of customs brokers, it is advisable to pick a broker that promises a fast-paced clearance process.


The work of a customs agent is vital to many import businesses. It helps importers focus on more relevant business issues and also helps ensure that the Customs Authority clears goods without any inconvenience to the importer. However, the ability to enjoy these benefits depends on hiring a competent customs broker. You can achieve this by applying the tips mentioned above.

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