Are you interested in selling on eBay, but not sure how to manage the shipping end of things? This article will provide you with a few basic guidelines for shipping products with USPS.
Begin by packing and weighing your item. Once you know the exact weight and size of your package, you can calculate the exact price to mail it at http://postcalc.usps.com/. If you forget this link, you get there from USPS.com.
There are many methods that you can use to cost effectively ship your items. Here are a few recommendations to get you started:
- The easiest thing to do for eBay listings is to list your item with CALCULATED shipping and enter the correct size/weight of the item with whatever shipping options are appropriate for its size (see below)
- Most of the time, customers will pick the top option you enter, so make sure that is the best option for most customer. (Also eBay will calculate your fees based on the first shipping rate listed.)
- You can specify $1-2 handing fee to cover your shipping supplies
- If you buy postage on eBay, you will get a discount, and the tracking number will automatically be updated to the customer
- The tracking is free for Priority packages when you buy postage on eBay
- If you are planning to print postage on eBay, you can use regular paper and tape around the bar code, or you can buy labels on eBay
- I usually order labels like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/100-Mailing-Shipping-Labels-USPS-PayPal-UPS-FedEx-Avery-48330-Free-Shipping-/170888085251?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c9b93f03#ht_1905wt_1397
- If you print postage online, you can request a home pick-up from your mail carrier for the next day at: https://tools.usps.com/go/ScheduleAPickupAction!input.action
If you are shipping items within the United States I recommend the following shipping options: First Class mail, Priority mail and Parcel Post. First Class and Priority are typically your best options, as customers like to get their packages quickly. If you are selling a heavy item, Parcel Post mail can provide a very cost effective shipping option.
First Class Mail
- For packages 13 ounces or less
- Takes 2-5 days
- Lowest cost option
- You will need your own box or bubble envelope to ship, since you cannot use USPS Priority Mail boxes for this method
- You can add delivery confirmation to track
- For packages 14 ounces and up (or lighter if you want them to get there faster)
- Usually takes 2-3 days
- Costs more than First Class
- Packages over 36″ when you measure Length + Width + Height are charged an additional charge, so make sure you enter the correct size when you calculate the price
- Flat rate boxes are handy, but you are generally charged MORE when you use them, unless you mail really heavy things, around 4 lbs or more
- You can order Priority boxes free at the following link (Pick the ones that don’t say flat rate or regional rate): https://store.usps.com/store/browse/subcategory.jsp?categoryId=subcatMSS_PriorityMail&categoryNavIds=catGetMailingShippingSupplies%3AsubcatMSS_PriorityMail
- If you buy the shipping online, delivery confirmation is included
- For over-sized and/or heavy packages
- If you ship it to close zip-codes with items under 2 lbs, it can cost more than Priority (especially if you add tracking), so in that case, I would just use Priority, since it will get there faster
- It doesn’t have the size restrictions that Priority Mail has, so it is good for packages over 36″ when you measure Length + Width + Height
- Is much slower than Priority – USPS will say it only takes about a week, but it often takes around 2 weeks if it has to go across the country
- For big, heavy things, it is significantly less expensive than Priority.
- You will need your own box or bubble envelope to ship, since you cannot use Priority boxes for this method
- You can add delivery confirmation to track your package
If you are shipping items internationally, you have two shipping options: First Class International and Priority Mail International. You should be aware of the fact that while USPS can get your package to the border quickly, they have no control over customs and local mail delivery within the destination country. The best you can do is get your item mailed quickly, and respond to buyers if they start wondering about their item.
First Class International
- For packages under 4 lbs
- Package must also be less than 36″ when you measure Length + Width + Height
- You cannot add tracking
- Usually takes 7-10 days transit PLUS 1-8 weeks to get through customs and destination country’s local mail service (Often Customs/local mail only takes less than a week, but occasionally it can take up to 8 weeks, so I always tell people this so they will know it can take that long.)
- This method has the lowest international shipping cost
- You will need to add a small custom’s form to the package (or if you print your shipping label on eBay, the form will automatically print out with the postage)
Priority Mail International
- For packages 4 lbs and over or over 36″ when you measure Length + Width + Height. You can also send lighter/smaller packages, however, it just costs quite a bit more than First Class International
- You can use Free Priority Boxes
- Includes tracking and insurance
- Usually takes about the same as First Class International: 7-10 days transit PLUS 1-8 weeks to get through customs and destination country’s local mail service (Often Customs/local mail only takes less than a week, but occasionally it can take up to 8 weeks, so I always tell people this so they will know it can take that long.)
- Cost varies from $22.09 to over $100 depending on size and location you are shipping to
- You will need to add a large custom’s form to the package (or if you print your shipping label on eBay, the form will automatically print out with the postage)
There are always a few unusual situations that pop up now and then. Here are a few for eBay sellers.
- This is for Military Mail
- Just mail via USA shipping methods
- You will need to add a custom’s form to the package (Small form if it is under 1 lb or large form for 1 lb or more)
- If you print postage on eBay, the custom’s form doesn’t automatically print, but after you print the shipping label, it brings you to a form to fill out online to print the custom’s label
- This is a USA territory, so just mail via USA shipping methods
- Does not need a custom’s form
- Mail via USA shipping methods
- It does need a custom’s form
That’s about it. Just remember to pack it securely, ship it fast, and respond to emails. You’ll be great!