Canadian Owned

Tips

(And ideas on doing Business in the United States)

"GOODS TO FOLLOW". Learn this phrase... and it will save you BIG MONEY some day. "Goods to Follow" is the term used to describe your purchases that you have made, which are not with you when you cross the border. It is a very useful method of declaring purchases which you want to include in your exemptions when you have been out of the country for an extended time. By declaring that you have goods to follow, you can make your declaration when returning from you long stay, and bring the goods over the border at a later time, without having to pay duty or taxes if your stay outside the country qualified you to bring the items in duty or tax free. So, when on vacation, you may purchase several items, have them shipped to our...your mailing address at our warehouse, and clear them over the border later. But, when you go home from your vaction, remember to declare you have goods to follow, what they are, and how much, so that they can give you any of the needed paperwork to clear the goods tax free when you bring them over. You should of course have your receipts with you for your purchases whenever you cross the border, and goods to follow is no exception.

Tip number 214. When crossing the border, remember to have pre-opened your packages before arriving at the border. This ensures several things. First, you actually do have what you THINK you have. Second, that if there is something wrong with your order, you can fix it before you cross the border, and Third, it shows the folks at Customs that you are being careful about bringing items over the border. If you make it easy for them to see you are trying to do things right, they will be more likely to help you if there is a problem.

Tip Number 215. Please do not smuggle or under-declare you goods at the border. Canada is one of the greatest countries on earth, and only by playing by the rules, and contributing to the tax base of the economy, may we continue to derive the blessings of an advanced society and enlightened culture that we have come to know as our home, Canada. As an immigrant to Canada *(yes, my family lives in White Rock) I believe all immigrants have an especially higher sense of obligation to follow the rules, particularly those concerning taxes, which support the very system of government which we, as immigrants, have specifically chossen to live in.

Tip number 641. PLAN which day is best for you to cross the border. Here is a VERY INTERESTING site by the Washington State Government which tells you which days, and which times of days, have the shortest and longest wait times, for traffic going to Canada and the US... a very interesting site. Check it out here.

Tip number 467. Credit Card Mailing Address versus Credit Card Billing Address! When you try to buy things online, sometimes you will be denied or turned down, when you use a mailing address that is different from your billing address. If this happens, you will need to call your credit card company and give them you mailing address. Most credit card companies allow you to have separate addresses, and there are many reasons for them to do this (your bill goes to a P.O. Box, but your packages go to your home is one reason). So, if you have problems, call your credit card company and tell them you want to add a mailing address to your account.

If you are interested in doing business in the U.S.A., here are 10 tips to help you get started.

1) Creat a US identity. Americans love to do business with American companies. For many years (before Free-Trade and open borders) they advertised "Made in America" to promote so-called "home-grown" industries. And while this philosophy is no longer promoted, it is a part of the culture of the United States. Even though they are probably the worlds largest consumers of foreign produced goods, they like a US face on the company they do business with.

2) Get familiar with the border procedures where you are planning to do business. Even if you are doing business "long-distance", you should become aware of how things are done at "your border crossing". If there are problems with your shipments or employees or service providers getting through the border in a timely manner, you need to be able to understand the problem before you can deal with it effectively.

3) Obtain a NEXUS card if you are plannning to cross the border with this capability. NEXUS provides the fastest way to cross the border for people who are authorized to use it. There are many limits to who can use this commuter lane, and when, but it can be a major asset to you when you decide to become a regular crosser of the U.S. Canadian border.

4) Speak to a licensed U.S. attorney about establishing a U.S. company. There are many regulations for different kinds of businesses, and ensuring you have good advice about how to proceed will save you a lot of trouble later. If the lawyer you use is also affiliated with an Accountant, this is very helpful. If not, see number 5.

5) Get good accounting advice in connection with good legal advice about how to establish your U.S. company. There are different requirements for record keeping and reprorting, and an accountant (NOT a BOOK-KEEPER) can fully explain the best way to ensure you do everything correctly, AND, at the same time, taking full advantage of the rules and regulations to allow you to keep as much of your hard earned money as possible (and legal!).

6) Establish business relationships with Customs Brokers in advance. Customs brokers are the experts at clearing goods through the border, and ultimately, unless you are prepared to do the leg-work yourself (more about that below) a customs broker will be a vital link in your cross-border venture.

7) Locate a warehouse and distribution point for your U.S. bound shipments. Product fulfuillment houses and shipping outlets can handle the final phase of processing your orders for delivery to your customers. Go with a company that is the right size for your business. A smaller firm would be more attentive to your specific needs if you are a small company, while a large firm would not be able to provide that same customized service as easily. Of course, if you are already a large firm, shop accordingly for a good sized fulfillment house.

8) Learn everything you can so you can clear your own goods over the border. It seems intimidating at first, but, once you understand the "system", it's really not too bad. Please keep in mind, its a government run "show", so the application of logic will only frustrate you if you try to "understand" what is going on. Hiring several companies to do all the steps needed to clear your goods over the border and deliver them to a central distribution place may be necessary, but, it will also cost a lot of money in the long run. If you are able to, hire dedicated employees to do these tasks directly. Even a part time employee who delivers your product to "your warehouse" in Blaine once a week will quickly master the basics of crossing the border with commercial goods. In the long run, there is a significant amount of money to be saved by doing it yourself.

9) Follow the rules. This may sound OBVIOUS, but there are many companies and individuals who become frustrated or lulled into a sense of superiority about how to get things done when dealing with the government. This is especially true when crossing the border. There may be a temptation to take short-cuts or to do other things that seem logical and or harmless even though they are, in-fact, illegal. DO NOT let this happen. Your very existance as a company may depend on your ability to cross the border on a daily or regular basis. If the officals at the border feel you are not playing by the rules, they will make things very difficult for you. If they catch you breaking the rules outright, it would be VERY bad for you and your company. For this reason, proper screening of employees who will be crossing the border on your companies behalf is a MUST. They need to be thuroughly screened, including criminal background checks!

10) Give good service. American consumers and businesses expect good service. Even if you have a great product, you must be prepared to back it up with a good warrenty and good.. very good customer service. If not, there will be difficulty selling your product or sercice.