Whether you’re importing raw materials or finished goods, or exporting your MADE IN USA goods a freight forwarder with an intricate knowledge of customs, duties and tariffs can save you headaches and money. Through our membership in the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle we’ve had the pleasure of meeting just such a local woman. Cheryl Wilson is Founder & CEO of JC Logistics of Des Moines, Washington.
Cheryl has generously offered to mentor SFI members, and offer classes on the mysterious world that is international freight forwarding. We had a chance to sit down with Cheryl to learn how she became a customs broker, what some of the horror stories she’s seen are, and learn a little more about the ins and outs of her trade.
SFI – How did you get into being a customs broker?
CW – After obtaining a degree in Economics from the University of Washington I went to Business Careers to have them assist me in finding a job. After many interviews with finance companies I decided that avenue was not right for me. A counselor at Business Careers suggested a new path for me and indicated she thought my personality was perfect for a new position that had just become available. It was in International shipping. Even though that was not in my degree field I agreed to give it a try and I have been in the industry ever since. Someone at Business Careers (not my counselor) knew my fate and sent me where I needed to be.
SFI – What one thing would you tell someone new to import/export?
CW – There will be problems. The world of international shipping can be very complex and if you do not hire the appropriate professionals to help steer you thru it, it will become very costly and time consuming quickly. There are almost always delays and unexpected extra costs, and be sure to know your Duty rate before importing so it does not come as a surprise and consume all of your margins.
SFI – What is the biggest horror story you have ever experienced?
CW – We move live pets and were boarding 5 live pets in our very small house for a week and then turning them into the airline for a flight to Germany. Meanwhile one of the pets needed a special kennel built because of it’s large size and the kennel was to be delivered to us. When it came time to take the animals to the airline the kennel still had not been delivered. UPS misplaced a 6 foot long kennel somehow and the 5 pets had to stay with us an additional week.
SFI – What makes JC Logistics different from your competition?
We are a small family owned business that caters to the needs of our clients. You will have one point of contact thru the entire process of your shipment who will be an English speaking person as a first language. Phone calls are answered right away or returned within the same day and the same is for emails. We strive to have the best customer service rating in our industry and have many client testimonials to back up our claim.
We would like to thank Cheryl for sitting down with us, and be sure to sign up for our newsletter to learn when she’ll be doing workshops on how you to can export worry free.