So, you are a US resident, considering buying a cart in Canada? You want to make your dollar stretch, and get the best value possible. Right now there are many questions going through your head! Can you do this? Is it cheaper to buy in Canada? Will Canadian dealers take your foreign currency? Does Canada have the same kind of golf carts as the US? Lastly, what can you expect at the US border, and is there a way to make it easier?
Guess what! We have the answers to all of these questions, and more!
First question is, can you do this? In short, yes you can. You just have to be aware of a couple of rules, and some simple tips.
Are golf carts cheaper in Canada? Over all, they are a little less money, once exchange is factored in. In our research, we have seen the average 4-5 year old electric golf cart advertised for $2800 to $3800 US dollars, depending on the options and condition. With current exchange of 1.33%, that means that $1000 US dollars is worth almost $1330 Canadian. So a basic golf cart that is selling in the US for $4160 Canadian is only $3133 US! Now, look at a fancy orange golf cart with additional options like an upgraded body with lights, custom seats, and custom wheels, and you only pay $4700 US dollars! Do your research ahead of time, and you will save money!
Most private sellers and dealers will prefer Canadian currency, as it makes it easier for exchanging and depositing. If you pay with a credit card or debit card, be aware that your bank will automatically do the exchange for you, and most banks will also charge a service fee to do so. Some dealers will even insist that they take your money at par, and you will not get the value you were hoping for. Take an extra minute before getting on your way through the border, and exchange your money at a bank or currency exchange. Remember that if you cross the border with more than $10,000 (US or Canadian) you have to declare it at Canada Customs. You will still be allowed to cross, as long as you can prove that it is not proceeds of crime!
Canada has the same kinds of golf carts as the United States; as a matter of fact, most of the golf cart sold in Canada came from either Georgia or California. The exception to this is Chinese and other foreign made carts that are not Yamaha E-Z-GO, or Club Car. GEM (Global Electric Motorcars) cars are mostly made in Canada through Polaris, but they aren’t golf cars, so we won’t get into that!
What can you expect at the US border crossing? According to Michael Jones of Jones & Jones Customs Brokers and Trade Consultants, if the golf cart is gas-powered, then it must conform to EPA standards. The easiest way to tell if the gas golf cart conforms to the EPA standard is to look for a label inside the engine compartment. The label says, quite literally “This equipment conforms to…” If it has that label, you are good to go! If not, then ask the dealer why not! It should! Electric golf carts do not have to conform, as they are electric.
You should not have to pay duty at the border, as long as the golf cart was manufactured in the US. If the cart was manufactured outside of the US, you will likely have to pay a 2.5% duty.
If you plan on registering your golf cart with your State’s DOT as an off road vehicle, please check with your local DMV office. Some states require an ORV to be registered and even insured. If you are planning on operating your golf cart on privately owned property, then check there.
If you are a reseller, and you are planning on reselling your golf cart, you must use a customs broker. The rest of us are okay though; as a private buyer, you do not have to employ the services of a customs broker, but if you would rather avoid the potential hassles and paperwork that some of us envision, you still can. Some of us could be a little intimidated at border crossings, and might want to avoid this mess altogether. If so, give Michael a call!
It’s easy! It is potentially a great deal! It means you can finally afford that new golf cart! If buying from Canada means saving money, then why not do it!?