How to Start a Customs Brokerage Business | 7 Steps You Can Apply Today


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Importing and exporting requires many complicated procedures. A customs broker is a company that takes care of all these complicated tasks for you. They make international trade an easy and streamlined process so your business can focus on what’s important- growing the bottom line! The ability to trade securities is also highly valued in economics related to managing financial and material assets. Thus, if you have the necessary knowledge and experience or have excellent organizational skills and are ready to provide services to clients in the financial market, you will be interested in this post on how to start a customs brokerage business.

Who is a Customs Broker?

How to Start a Customs Brokerage Business

A person who operates “customs brokerage” as a business with the permission of the Ministry of Finance is called a customs broker. Customs brokers receive requests from others and perform customs clearance on their behalf. Furthermore, a customs brokerage is a type of brokerage that assists in releasing goods through the customs departments of different countries. 

A broker of this type can represent an importer or an exporter and assist in preparing essential documents and papers that help make the movement of goods between countries orderly and straightforward. Sometimes, a customs broker will also act as an intermediary between customers and governments if there are problems with shipments.

In many cases, customs brokers are based at the main points of entry into the country. Brokers operate in seaports and airports where goods are shipped to international locations or received from overseas locations. Brokers at different ends of the transaction will often stay in touch with one another as it’s not unusual for shipments to travel from the origin port through distribution networks and finally arrive at their final destination. 

Throughout the process, both parties share data that allows shipments to be cleared and received in a way that complies with applicable laws at the receiving port of entry. This can include preparing documents, arranging tax payments, tariffs, and other relevant taxes, and even the organization of transportation of the goods cleared by road or rail to the recipient’s place of business.

Benefits of Becoming a Customs Broker 

How to Start a Customs Brokerage Business

There are several benefits to opening an independent business as a customs broker. If you are thinking about the future, you can consider these options and expand your playing field:

Increased income

If you work for a company, you will only receive income on a fixed salary. However, if you open your own business, you will have a chance to increase your income. This is because you will receive compensation directly from the customer to earn everything except expenses and labour costs.

Another advantage is that you can achieve your target income depending on the content and amount of work you undertake. Thus, your hard work will be evident in your income, so that it will be rewarding.

You can efficiently work at your own pace

If you work for a company, you can’t work as you like. However, once you open the business as a customs broker, you will be able to work at your own pace.

This is because you can control the content and amount of work by yourself. This includes selecting a company as a customer and increasing or decreasing the amount of work. You can also fulfil your desire to spend more time with your family and, conversely, to work harder and earn a higher income.

You can concentrate more on your work

Even if you pick the most superficial customs clearance work, the content of the work will change. This will be dependent on the type of work you handle, the size of the company, the country you handle it, and so on. Therefore, if you work for a company, you may have to work in a genre that you are not good at.

However, if you set up your own customs brokerage business, you can choose the content of the work you will undertake to some extent. Since you can work by focusing on the genre you are good at, it is easy for you to demonstrate your skills, and there is also the advantage that you can work happily.

Read More: How to Contact Big Companies for Business.

You will help companies to save a lot of time and money

Working with a customs brokerage can save companies a lot of time and money. As brokers can collect relevant data, organize the preparation of necessary documentation, and generally manage the entire import/export process for their clients, companies can focus attention on other matters while waiting for the shipment to arrive. 

There is no worry of ignoring something vital that would result in a customs shipment for a while or an accidental failure to comply with trade regulations. In this perspective, using the services of a customs broker is usually the most prudent way of conducting any transaction involving the import or export of goods.

How to Start a Customs Brokerage Business

How to Start a Customs Brokerage Business

To start a customs brokerage business, do make use of the following tips:

Get a good marketing plan

Starting a customs brokerage firm is not easy. So, it’s best to get a good marketing plan to avoid possible risks and maximize your results. You can begin by developing marketing strategies regarding your Service, Point of Sale, Promotion, and Price. After all, through these fundamental strategies, you will help you are and, consequently, generate income for your business; you can also create a 20% coupon code and share it on Reddit, the Facebook market, and some Facebook groups.  

You can also make sure to start a newsletter, offering a 10% coupon to anyone who would subscribe. A passing score is 75 percent or better. If I want to order something online, 99% of the cases I’ll order from Amazon. 

Opt for a good insurance plan

When starting a customs brokerage business, you must have basic insurance. This protects you against any liability that may come up during the process of starting or running your business.

It is imperative to set aside an adequate amount of money to get the essential insurance policies for your business. On the other hand, it’s best to know the insurance policies you are purchasing in advance. 

Some basic insurance policies you can opt for when starting a customs brokerage business include:

  • Health insurance
  • Insurance against errors and omissions
  • General Insurance
  • Payment Protection Insurance
  • Liability Insurance
  • Workers Compensation Insurance
  • Property insurance

Choose a suitable location for your customs brokerage business

When setting up a customs brokerage business, a major factor you need to consider is the right location. This can boost and expand your business to the desired level. Another merit of this business is running it from your home or in a commercial facility.

Regardless of where you run your brokerage business, the basics you will need are a computer, telephone and fax machine. Other essential amenities are utilities and subscription fees.

If, however, you intend to develop a business that can compete adequately in the highly competitive environment, it’s best to avoid running your business from home. 

Managing your business through a commercial facility will further allow you to employ the right people. This will also show your customers that you have an official consideration of your business.

Check this post Businesses to Start with 100k.

Apply for a trademark protection

Applying for Trademark Protection is generally not considered a priority among most entrepreneurs in customs brokerage. However, it is necessary to protect every aspect of your business. First, apply for Trademark Protection for your company names, logo, slogan, or any production material you consider important.

Sort out the technical and labour section of your customs brokerage business

The customs brokerage business is one that now relies on technology to keep up with trends. Thus, it would be best to get the right software that will allow you to track multiple activities simultaneously. Other equipment and tools you will need are; computer, telephone, printer and fax machine.

For your business to be successful, you will need to employ competent people to help achieve your intended goals and objectives. Some of those you will need to hire are; Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Administrator and Human Resources Manager, Accountant, Marketing and Business Development Executive, Customer Service Executive, Security Agent and Cleaner.

From the above analysis, you will need at least seven key people to run your customs brokerage business successfully.

Business sectionApproximate cost required
Office space$500-$1000
Registration of a trademark$2000 to $5,000
Purchasing of equipment$1,000- $2,000
Employment of staff/professionals$1,000- $3,000
Insurance coverage$3000-$5000
Customs broker license$800-$1500

Set up a good financial strategy

This step is essential, as you will have to prove if everything you want for your Real Estate Brokerage Company will be possible. Therefore, knowing the estimates of Fixed and Variable Costs, Expenses, Working Capital, Cash Flow, and Profits will be necessary.

Some costs you can incur when starting a customs brokerage business have been summarized in the table below:

Get the proper certification

As with many businesses, professionals who desire to work as customs brokers must undergo training and certification before working with clients. The scope of customs brokerage training varies from country to country. But typically involves learning all about government regulations that apply to any inbound shipment to ports in the country where the brokerage is located. 

At the same time, the training will also include vital information on international trade regulations and general rules that apply to virtually any type of import/export situation. In some nations, customs brokers will work as apprentices or be mentored by established brokers for some time before they can get their independent clients.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anyone be a customs broker?

To become a customs broker, you must pose the following attributes:

  • Ability to work with a sense of responsibility and high concentration
  • Interest in overseas situations and international transactions
  • Competence at detailed office work
  • Good communication and negotiation skills

Is a customs broker license worth it?

A customs broker license is worth it, as this business option comes with various merits. However, according to Customs and Border Protection, there are about 13,000 active, licensed customs brokers in the United States.

Where do customs brokers make the most money?

Customs brokers make the most money via compensation directly from their customers.

Can anyone be a customs broker?

To become a customs broker, you must pose the following attributes:

  • Ability to work with a sense of responsibility and high concentration
  • Interest in overseas situations and international transactions
  • Competence at detailed office work
  • Good communication and negotiation skills

Is a customs broker license worth it?

A customs broker license is worth it, as this business option comes with numerous merits. The average broker’s commission is between 5 and 11 percent of the shipping charges, sometimes higher. Ron W. estimates that most brokers are lucky to earn a net profit of 1 to 2 percent after expenses. 

Where do customs brokers make the most money?

Customs brokers make the most money through the compensation they get from their customers. If you don’t pay any domain fees or hosting fees, 100% of this income will be your profit. 


In conclusion, a customs brokerage is a business option that comes with various merits. And if you desire to harness these merits, the steps on how to start a customs brokerage business above would be indispensable for you.

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