Dec 21, 2006, 6:33 PM
Post #11 of 11
How does one go about obtaining a broker? Does anyone know the additonal time time required working with a broker or what the broker's charges run?
My only customs broker experience has been when crossing from Calif to Baja in the Tijuana area. The "commercial" port of entry in this area is called Otay Mesa. Even though it's called the commercial port, you won't be in line with the big rigs hauling trailer's full of goods. The trucks enter throught the border a few miles away and I'd imagine other crossings have the same set up.
At Otay Mesa in the Aduana parking area there are about 6 offices of customs brokers. We hadn't even gotten out of our truck before a guy approached us and asked if we would be needing a broker. He worked for one of the brokers and provided invaluable assistance by guiding us through the various stages. I gave him my list of items and receipts for the stuff we were bringing in (solar electric system components -panels, batteries etc- for a house) and he took an inventory of the stuff and submitted it to his office. The broker spent about 3 hours itemizing everything and veryfying prices and country of origin info.
It took about 20 min. to pay the import duty and another 2 hours of waiting for our trailer to be inspected since there was a group of about 30 vehicles waiting in the inspection area (it seemed like all the inspectors went to lunch at the same time). Total time spent was about 5 hours at this busy border crossing.
I believe the broker's fee was about 10% of the value of the load. Our "Rep" from the parking lot helped by "overlooking" some of the items in our tRailer on the inventory list, and he stuck with us all the way thru to the inspection where he told us "let me handle this". He flung the doors of our trailer open when the inpectors approached, and told them "they have this, this, and this" and slammed the doors closed before the guys knew what hit them, and signaled for us to get in the truck and start the engine. Somehow it worked and we gave him a very generous tip. Without his assistance, this may have taken another couple of hours while we figured out what to do next.