As we find ourselves shipping more and more orders across our northern border to Canada, we're learning more and more about the best practices for handling these orders. We wanted to write up this post to explain the Canadian shipping options we currently have and why we chose them (and didn't choose others).
Generally speaking, the cheapest carrier for the packaging sizes we use traveling from the US to Canada is UPS. DHL oftentimes has a reasonably competitive rate and offers less fuss when it comes to customs paperwork, so we offer to ship via their services as well. When it comes to evaluating the total costs for shipping to Canada, there are three types of fees we consider (in addition to the actual cost you see on the checkout page for the selected service).
Three Types of Fees:
There are three primary fees associated with international shipping: customs/duties, brokerage fees, and taxes.
Customs/Duties: Luckily for us, sporting goods are subject to 0% customs when traveling from the US to Canada or vice versa. So that's great! As a general rule, we don't have to worry about these fees. If there's an issue with customs/duties, American Hurling will cover the charges.
Brokerage Fees: These are the fees that shipping couriers (UPS, DHL, USPS/Canada Post, FedEx, etc.) charge to fill out the paperwork associated with customs. Unfortunately, even though our products aren't subject to customs fees at the border, paperwork still has to be filled out in order for the package to continue on its merry way. Because couriers handle these brokerage fees in different ways (and oftentimes tack on absurd fees for packages with a larger monetary value) we choose to offer only the shipping services that include brokerage fees in the original shipping cost. This helps to avoid any large "Collect on Delivery" charges where the courier won't give you your package until you pay them additional funds for the delivery. This makes our initial shipping costs (the one calculated by the site and paid upon checkout) slightly higher than they could be if we offered the cheapest options, but it saves you money in the long run by avoiding any charges when the package is delivered. If there's an issue with brokerage fees, American Hurling will cover the charges.
Taxes: Canada has a different policy for taxation on e-commerce goods than the US. Our understanding is that Canadian customers will be charged GST and (depending on your province) HST upon delivery of online purchases. This is the same charge that you would face if you were to go to the store and purchase an item, except it is collected upon delivery of the online purchase. These taxes are the responsibility of the customer.
Summary: While we know that our Canadian shipping options aren't the cheapest, we have selected them based on extensive research and experience with all of the choices available to us. We can guarantee that our shipping options won't be subject to customs/duties or brokerage fees and, if for some reason these charges do pop up, American Hurling will cover them for you.
Additionally, the shipping costs for multiple items doesn't increase much over the cost of a single item as long as we can fit them in the same type of packaging. Due to this, if possible, it's a great idea to set up a single order with friends (or to build up a wish list of a few items yourself before placing an order) rather than purchasing separate shipments of single items more frequently.
We're constantly on the lookout for better Canadian shipping options to save you money as well! We're committed to being as transparent with our shipping processes and rationale as possible and currently our selected services are the ones that provide the best price to you from checkout through delivery rather than just the cheapest option to get the package moving that will be subject to hefty "Collect on Delivery" fees when the package arrives at your door.
We're excited about the growth of gaelic sports in Canada and we hope to send more and more equipment your way moving forward!