The 4th quarter of the year is usually the busiest of the year for online sellers. With Christmas not that far away, I thought it was a good time to repeat this post about shipping. I know I’m already doing a lot of it!
Shipping for eBay can be complicated, but with a little practice at packaging and using the appropriate postal services, you’ll be a whiz at it in no time.
Priority Mail Options
Priority mail itself has several options. All priority packages usually arrive within 2 days of shipping, whether it’s straight priority or using priority flat rate boxes. Priority mail flat rate boxes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. The small box is 5-⅜” x 8-⅝” x 1-⅝”, and is about the size of a VHS tape. There are two medium size boxes. The first is a square shaped box measuring 11” x 8-½” x 5-½”, the second is a shirt box shape measuring 11-⅞” x 3-⅜” x 13-⅝”. The large flat rate also comes in two sizes. A larger square shaped box measuring 12” x 12” x 5-½” and a board game shaped box measuring 23-11/16” x 11-¾” x 3”.
Priority Flat Rate
The prices to ship in these boxes are flat rates for each size. The small box costs $7.15 to ship from the post office, $6.25 on eBay to ship. Both medium boxes cost $13.60 to ship from the post office and $12.05 on eBay, and the two large boxes both cost $18.85 to ship from the post office and $16.55 on eBay to ship. The premise of the flat rate boxes is “if it fits, it ships”, so you can stuff these boxes, and as long as it doesn’t alter their shape, and they don’t weigh more than 70 pounds, they ship for the above mentioned prices, to anywhere in the United States. Priority mail flat rate boxes are available for free at your local post office, or can be ordered online at the USPS website and they’ll be delivered to you at no cost by your postal carrier. There is also a priority flat rate padded envelope that measures 12″ x 9″ and costs $6.49 when you ship through eBay. These are great for clothing items that can tend to be heavy like jeans.
When shipping straight priority, (not flat rate), your item can be shipped in any packaging, depending on the size of the item. Fragile items can be shipped in cardboard boxes, with the item carefully wrapped in bubble-wrap. If extremely fragile I suggest double boxing. I think that the larger bubbled wrap works best for cushioning and protecting breakable items. I have found that packing peanuts does nothing for the protection of fragile items. More often than not, items packed with just packing peanuts still gets jostled about, and end up broken. I shipped a snow globe to Texas in a box surrounded by packing peanuts. It did not end well. The snow globe broke open, leaking it’s liquid contents all over and out of the box. That was when I learned that if you’re shipping something liquid, you should contain it in a plastic bag before packaging, just in case of leakage. Packing peanuts can be used as a filler around a bubble wrapped item.
I wrap anything that isn’t clothing in some sort of bubble wrap. (Small bubbles are fine for non-breakables,) just to help keep the packaging from being dinged.
Non-fragile items like clothing weighing less than one pound can be shipped first class in poly bags. Poly bags are self-sealing, dense plastic bags that come in a variety of sizes. Sizes I frequently use are 6” x 9”, 7.5″ x 10.5″, 10” x 13” and 19” x 24”.
When I sell DVDs or jewelry, I like to use a self-sealing bubble or padded envelope to ship. They also come in a variety of sizes, and help protect the item being shipped. Padded envelopes can also be sent priority or first class, depending on the weight of the package.
Priority mail rates are based on the weight and size of the package, and where it’s being shipped to. The farther away from you, the higher the cost. USPS has a Postage Price Calculator that makes it easy for you to figure the cost of the shipping before you list. If you’re doing free shipping, this will help you determine the cost of your item.
The above was done for a package being mailed from Maine to California, weighing 3 lbs 4 oz. Fitting your item into a flat rate box instead of a plain box would be less expensive.
First class mail is up to 13 oz. at the post office and 16 oz. on eBay. First class rates are based solely on the weight, it’s destination doesn’t matter as long as it’s domestic.
Shipping on Etsy works the same as on eBay. On Poshmark and Mercari they send you the label to print. If you don’t have the label sent to you by Mercari, you’ll have to go to the Post Office to purchase it.
I know that this looks very involved and confusing, but it’s not as bad as it seems. eBay has helped simplify it quite a bit with it’s shipping program. It won’t be long before this is all second nature to you, and you’re on a first name basis with your local postmaster.