Superior Customs ClearanceThe internet is awash with training programs promising to make you rich by discovering the inside secrets about importing. But they can’t help you find what port your product arrived at, and how to process your paperwork within 24 hours to save storage fees.

These courses talk about how to select products, identify overseas manufacturers, generally in Asia, and then how to sell them, usually online.

Many people have been very successful, but often the key information as to the difficulties with Customs and Quarantine are missing, and this is where costs can mount rapidly once the products arrive at an Australian port.

The best tip these online and seminar courses could give is to contact a licensed customs broker like Platinum Freight Management before the product leaves the foreign port.

Platinum Freight CEO Peter McRae, who lectures in customs brokering, says people looking for a home-based business often create a good income but can get caught with the cost of imports or choose products that are prohibited to import.

These might include certain vitamin products, knives, food or handheld laser pointers. Some of these products require licences, some are simply prohibited. They also can hit problems importing secondhand machinery which is difficult to clean – resulting in quarantine costs of up to $4,000!

A good customs broker can help you by explaining the processes, such as:

  • whether a product has any special restrictions or prohibitions with Customs
  • whether a product has any special restrictions or prohibitions with DAFF
  • what paperwork you will be required to produce to Customs and DAFF (such as commercial invoice, packing list, packing declaration, airwaybill, sea freight bill of lading, fumigation certificate)
  • when the cargo is expected to arrive into Australia
  • when the cargo should be in your possession

These import training programs can walk you through the process, often helping you to identify the best manufacturers offshore and then promote them online. But it is the role of a licensed customs broker to help you with the paperwork, identifying any substantial costs even small importers face when they come to dealing with Customs or DAFF.

For example, if a product arrives at one of the mail centres in Australia via the postal system and it is valued at or below $1,000 AUD and doesn’t have any Customs or DAFF concerns, the package should arrive at your home or business with no fuss. But once it hits just one dollar over $1,000 AUD then importers start facing Customs import duty and import GST.

Some importers attempt to process the paperwork themselves with Customs, but for the sake of say $90 and ten days in anticipation waiting for the parcel – this could be money well spent.

First you have to wait for a letter from customs – that is a minimum two day turnaround, then there will be the duty assessment and other potential customs questions which could be another three to five days.

Customs Brokers are linked electronically to Australian Customs and DAFF and will customs clear the shipments within 24 hours.

Platinum Freight Management, CEO Peter McRae says a good customs broker will have identified the import duty and any possible concession that may be available for goods which are not manufactured in Australia.

The savings that you make using a customs broker makes it a no-brainer – they alleviate the problem and save you time.