Understanding the Costs of a UK Customs Software Implementation

On this page we dive into the costs involved when looking to integrate a Customs Software solution. Our aim is to provide a clear and concise overview of how much customs software costs and how we price our own solution, ensuring you can make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with business objectives.

Types of Customs Software


All-in-one applications typically are designed around simplifying the process of starting up a global operation. They proudly wear a jack of all trades badge, making starting up easier for businesses, but normally have a core focus such as freight management or warehouse management.


  • Everything in one place, reducing the amount of systems to work with.
  • Great for businesses who are starting from scratch and want to simplify the setting up process.
  • Single point of contact for support.
  • Typically have native integrations between the modules in the system.


  • Businesses with more complex processes or plans to expand in to a great variety of customs offerings will find themselves limited.
  • Typically operate walled gardens and are unable or unwilling to integrate with other systems.
  • Single point of failure from a systems and support perspective.
  • Customs is secondary to the main application so typically not as easy to use and lacking in quality of life features that help when dealing with higher volumes or more complex processes.

Specialised /Dedicated

Specialised and dedicated customs platforms are typically focused solely on providing best in class solutions for customs filing and duty management. This makes them the ideal system for a business with a wide range of customs requirements, those looking for the most efficient operation, or companies who already have their other operations covered with existing systems.


  • Dedicated focus on providing best in class solutions for customs filing.
  • More likely to cover a wider range of customs processes and systems, future proofing against changing customs needs.
  • Typically designed to integrate with existing systems.
  • Dedicated focus on customs clearance, promoting ease of use and accessibility even at high volumes.
  • Typically have greater expertise relating to customs within their support and development teams.


  • Will not cover business needs outside of customs and compliance.
  • Data will be spread across different systems.
  • Can add complexity to infrastructure as integrations may be needed to link key systems.

Cost Considerations When Choosing a Customs Management Solution

Fixed Setup Costs

Just as any other digital solution, a customs & regulatory compliance platform will often come with initial costs. These could be associated with the initial software setup, integration with your existing systems, or perhaps initial consultancy fees to ensure you’re utilising the platform to its fullest potential.


Depending on whether the platform is on-premises or cloud-based, there may be costs associated with buying and maintaining the physical servers or computers on which the software runs. It's essential to determine the platform type to assess potential infrastructure costs, as on-premises solutions typically come with higher initial setup and ongoing maintenance costs. 


Should you opt for a hosted solution; costs could be incurred for using third-party hosting providers. A genuine SaaS (Software as a Service) solution, like e-Customs, on the other hand, typically hosts the platform in the cloud and will have its hosting costs factored into the subscription fee. 


Depending on your company's security protocols and the platform's design, there may be a need for a VPN (Virtual Private Network). This can either be for securely accessing on-premises systems or third-party hosted platforms. With true SaaS platforms, like Descartes e-Customs, the need for a VPN may be reduced or eliminated, but always check with your IT team to ensure adherence to security best practices. 


A critical factor in the successful adoption of any new platform is ensuring that users understand its full functionality. Some advanced providers will offer built-in, self-serve training modules, this is how e-Customs is built, while others may charge for 1:1 sessions or specialised workshops. 

Base Platform Fee

As with most digital platforms, there will be a basic fee associated with just having access to the platform. This might be determined by the range of core features provided, user licenses, or other foundational factors. Some providers, like Descartes, may include a starter level of other essentials such as user licences and message volumes, in the base platform fee.


More advanced customs & compliance platforms, like e-Customs, are designed to scale with a business. This means that the full range of functionality may not be needed from day one, but can be added as the business grows and expands in to new operations and processes.

Volumes of Declarations/Messages

Cost might be determined by how many declarations or messages you process through the system. It’s essential to clarify whether there are any volume-based fees or if there are extra charges for peak volumes to prevent unexpected costs.


User licensing will typically factor into the price of a customs & compliance solution. Costs can be structured based on the total number of individual user log-ins created or, alternatively, the total number of users accessing the system simultaneously (concurrent users). For businesses operating in shifts or having fluctuating user needs, it’s essential to understand this pricing structure. E-Customs operates a concurrent model to allow more flexibility in handling shifts and seasonal peaks.

Support and Maintenance Fees

Ongoing support and periodic updates can often come with associated fees. These could be covered under a standard subscription package, or there might be premium tiers of support for extended hours at an additional charge.

How is Descartes e-Customs priced?

There is no one solution for all businesses and as such our modules are designed to work for companies of all types, from small to large, simple to complex. How much your solution subscriptions costs will depend on what you need, and what you need can be broken down into three categories: Modules, Users and Volumes. Let’s go through each of these now.

We have a pricing model based on three key elements:

1. Modules needed.
2. A monthly committed declaration volume.
3. The number of concurrent users required to have access at the same time.

Core is the central module needed to access the software and run any additional modules.

Duty Management
This set of modules encompasses a range of options for suspending or avoiding duty payments.
The Descartes Volumes Model
Committed volumes allow for a predictable expense each month, while still offering competitive pricing.

How does Descartes customs filing pricing work?

Aside all the below, the Descartes base platform gives users a true SaaS platform with no server or hosting fees and no VPNs required. Along with 24/7 support with customs expertise there is also extensive self-paced training and online help.

Additionally, the platform provides a Standard API for seamless integration with existing systems, dedicated customs focus with workflows and functionality all built around efficient, accurate and easy compliance.

Base Platform

  • £306 per month
  • Set up fee of £670
  • Includes the Core module
  • Includes the first 50 declarations per month.
  • Includes the first 3 concurrent users.


  • £56 per month
  • Based on concurrent usage to allow for flexibility in shifts.
  • Users shared across all modules.



  • Starts at £2.44 per entry.
  • Tiered pricing structure with discounts available for committed volumes.
  • Volumes shared across message types and modules, except for customs warehousing.

Professional Services

  • £1,400 - £20,000
  • Tailored and priced to meet the needs of more complex projects.
  • Integrated support
  • Project management
  • Support with transfering existing data.

Customs Declarations Calculator

Try our online calculator by answering just a few questions we will be able to calculate the percentage range of your potential savings from your current declaration price.  


Like to know more about your potential cost savings?

*The online Return on Investment (ROI) calculator provided on this website is intended solely for informational and illustrative purposes. It is designed to offer a general estimation of potential savings based on the inputs provided by the user. However, please be aware of the following: By using the online ROI calculator, you acknowledge and accept the limitations of the tool and agree to use its results for informational purposes only. You also understand that the calculator is not a substitute for professional advice. The operators of this website disclaim any liability for decisions made based on the calculator's results.

Drive Efficiency through Descartes Customs & Regulatory Compliance software platforms

See how easy it is to perform the day-to-day customs filings. Our highly skilled and knowledgeable client relationship management team can run live demos to suit your needs and requirements, you can ask all questions you like regarding our customs solution.