All Replies on Shipping - How do you handle it

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View Don W's profile

Shipping - How do you handle it

by Don W
posted 10-13-2011 03:58 PM

24 replies so far

View CharlesAuguste's profile


126 posts in 2569 days

#1 posted 10-13-2011 04:09 PM

Well Don ive been selling stuff on e-bay for many years, and found the best way to ship is to use the USPS boxes and ship most item priority the buyers pays for the shipping i try my best to not make money with the shipping,
that way you dont fell like you been had when you get the package. I have a small digital scale that i use and you can figure out shipping cost on

-- "the future's uncertain and the end is always near" J. Morrison

View Don W's profile

Don W

18755 posts in 2595 days

#2 posted 10-13-2011 04:19 PM

so you drive the package to the post office? Or is there a better way to pay for it and just stick it in the mailbox?

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2720 days

#3 posted 10-13-2011 04:20 PM

Hey Don,

I do a fair bit of selling on ebay and also thru other site. I’ve found the key to sales thru the mail is really understanding the USPS fees and what they offer. Flat rate can really be your friend, you get the boxes for free, they mail them to your house and you can print postage from the USPS website once you setup a account. As for weight you need to buy a scale or borrow one at home. I found anything over a pound or so is worth sending flate rate anything less is not. My coworkers joke with me about how well I can quote what someone will cost and what box to get but I feel it’s really the key to sales.

Take some time and look over the boxes offered by the USPS, the local post office does not keep in stock all the flate rate boes they offer. You want to get to a point where your using the smallest boxes you can plus doing EVERYTHING at home and dropping off the boxes or having them come to your house and pick things up.

So other tips I’ve found helpful is try and have the actions all finish at the same time so your not boxing everything the same day.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View Dan's profile


3630 posts in 2908 days

#4 posted 10-13-2011 04:47 PM

I am with you Don, I hate shipping items… However here are my tips..

I order my fair share of planes and when they are sent to me I often save the boxes and fillers that they used. I don’t let them pile up but I always keep some on hand for when I sell something. I just re use the box and bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

As for the hassle of going to the PO… If you pick up a scale you can weigh your packages yourself and print the shipping labels right off ebay and its paid off the pay pal account… I don’t do this personally because I don’t have a scale but this seems like it would be really easy… Then you just have to drop the box off.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View WayneC's profile


13754 posts in 4125 days

#5 posted 10-13-2011 04:59 PM

Shipping has been my main barrier for using ebay. I have a bunch of things I could sell.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2989 days

#6 posted 10-13-2011 05:04 PM

Check with the USPS. I think that you can arrange for pick up at no charge. The flat rate boxes are a great way to ship, even if it is something heavy up to a certain weight. They are trying to be competitive with the other carriers since the USPS lost a ton of money last year. Maybe you saw that they are considering cutting out Saturday delivery.

View DeputyDawg's profile


196 posts in 3993 days

#7 posted 10-13-2011 05:49 PM

You really got some good reply’s and they are right on. We ship at least a couple of times a week and only use USPS
There rates are good, the boxes are free, and shipping them is a breeze. I did find a peanut packing item on craigslist, bought packing tape on big rolls, a digital scale from the post office. and the best part is to set up a account with USPS so you can weigh the package print the label and you can also notify them via email that you have a package to be picked up and they will be at you door the next day to pick it up if it will not fit in you mailbox. Also another tip is to use Regional Rate boxes. They are a little less shipping cost. Good luck and hope your frustration can be over.

-- DeputyDawg

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2720 days

#8 posted 10-13-2011 10:48 PM

I really like Craigslist for some things. I’d easily take a 10% cut on price to not have to deal with the shipping but your right Craigslist people are looking for the deals and not the higher end goods. That said I used to sell industrial sewing machines and parts, mostly to students and meet some really nice people.

you gota love the “curb alert” thing on CL. if you don’t know what I’m talking about search in you local area.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View DS's profile


2926 posts in 2448 days

#9 posted 10-13-2011 11:18 PM

For a while I sold quite a bit on ebay… USPS Priority Mail is awesome.
I hated going to the post office because there was always a big line.

Set up an online account and get a scale.
You can print your postage at home and schedule a carrier pickup.
You’d never need to leave the house!

Packing materials were the most expensive part of shipping for me.
Here’s a tip: Shop for packing tape and bubble wrap at your local dollar store!
It is cheaper tape, but, on the bright side, it’s CHEAPER tape!

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Don W's profile

Don W

18755 posts in 2595 days

#10 posted 10-13-2011 11:26 PM

Thanks guys for all this information. It helps a lot. I see on ebay a 55 lb scale is pretty cheap. I think I’ll order one and see how that goes.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Retrowood's profile


117 posts in 2447 days

#11 posted 10-13-2011 11:33 PM

While I don’t sell on eBay any longer due to the fees involved, I sold for over 8 years basically depleting a household full of collectibles, books, tools,etc. I found that USPS is very reliable to use overall. If you frequent coffee shops, print shops, etc they will usually gladly retain boxes and packing materials for you as long as you regularly pick them up. I use a local firearms dealer as he hates all the boxes he receives items in and really likes it when I deplete his inventory. Buy packaging tape by the multiples, $ savings. I use confirmation of delivery on anything shipped Parcel and insure everything over $25.00. I code the boxes w/ a shipping cost, type, Insurance and if I want Confirmation of delivery. Saves a bunch of time and the counter people at P.O. really like it when you know just what you want when you step forward. Keep all receipts for validation of shipping, dates, Insurance, C/D and location shipped to. Once you get a system you might even enjoy it. You will also discover best times and days to ship on so you’re not standing in line for an hour.

-- Retrowood

View Brit's profile


7387 posts in 2871 days

#12 posted 10-14-2011 11:13 AM

Ok, this must be an issue with I sell mostly on and when you post your item for sale, there is a link to the Royal Mail site where you choose the service you want and enter the weight of the item and it tells you the cost which is shown on your post. After the item sells and you have received the payment, you click a link to print the postage label, pay for the postage with Paypal and the printer spews out the pre-paid label. It is nicely integrated with, although you don’t have use the service if you don’t want to. What I hate is when someone asks: “How much to ship the item to Outer Mongolia?” I must admit that on occasion I have just replied saying I’m not prepared to ship there simply because I can’t assed to find out the cost. :-)

The biggest pain is making or finding the boxes and packing the items. It is also the most time consuming part IMO. Such is life my friend. As far as weighing them is concerned, if I was doing it every day, I’d invest in a decent set of post office scales. Since I’m not, I use kitchen scales up to 2Kg and if the item is over that, I use a cheap spring balance which is meant for weighing your suitcase in oder to avoid paying excess baggage charges. Not very accurate, but works.

-- - Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2720 days

#13 posted 10-14-2011 06:00 PM


They do offer that here as well but I’ve found the prices are a bit higher. If you buy postage direct from USPS you get free email notification for you and the buyer and a discount on the price of shipping.

Now wile were on it. Lets talk about the USPS I agree it’s the best for the price but how many on this thread live in a major city. I’ve been having a LOT of issues with delivery and just plan old “I don’t give a crap attitude” when I have an issue. When I live in a small town, I had no issues but it’s a lot different here in NYC. What I’ve learned is if I”m sending high priced or to a major city I insure or try and use UPS.

If you’ve ever had to deal with a USPS clam it’s not fun. Often your waiting 8-10 weeks and ebay wants you as a seller to refund the price to the buyer ASAP.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 2590 days

#14 posted 10-14-2011 07:08 PM

FYI – UPS does not offer insurance for packages. Most people think they’re buying insurance for their packages with UPS but they’re not. What you are buying is the right to declare a particular value above the undeclared maximum liability loss of $100. The nightmare of filing a claim with UPS is well known, and as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the biggest scams in the shipping industry – do a Google search.

From the horse’s mouth –

The USPS, on the other hand, does provide their customers with real insurance for their packages.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18755 posts in 2595 days

#15 posted 10-20-2011 01:34 PM

First, thanks everyone for the advice. It has helped. But….

Second, if anyone else is watching here are a few “newbie” mistakes maybe I can help other from avoid. I had a portable table saw I really didn’t use anymore so I posted it on ebay as local pickup only. I got bombarded with request to ship it everywhere. I finally agreed and had to cancel the first add and recreate it (more ebay fees). Then all of the requesters started throwing low ball prices at me. If I had known I would have just left it local pickup. I finally got a reasonable offer, went to the online shipping wizard for a quote, and sent an invoice. I go to actually ship the thing, go through the same wizard, but this time instead of $69 as quoted, its $82 to actually ship, plus another $12 to pick it up. Add the final $15 ebay fee and I would have let the saw sit in storage in case I ever needed it again.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2720 days

#16 posted 10-25-2011 01:47 PM

Speaking of heads up on things to watch I’ll throw this one into the ring and ask if ANYONE has ideas please feel free to post.

Is a buyer issue and I know this is mostly about selling. I bought a 606 plane about 2 months ago. The seller sent it delivery confirmation and used paypal seller paypal seller protection. Fast forward package never show. They have delivery confirmation from the USPS but the mail room at my work says they never got it. I open tracer with the USPS, don’t hear back, Call back speak with a manger and see says the delivery confirmation really just means it left the main hub at radio city and other then checking the computer on there end. She can’t really say 100% that it made it into out building. I then speak with the manger in out mail room who I’ve know for 4 years. He show me how they scan every package that comes into the building. He says this does happen a few times a years but they only have one guy per floor and they go back and recheck what was handed out.

OK so I go back to the sell he a nice guy and puts in for insurance and 2 weeks later say someone will be contacting me to ask about shipment. No one calls and so I call citi bank because I’m getting worried I’m going to be paying. I find on stuff over 100.00 its a safer to pay with a card. So the citi people put a dispute in with pay pal .

so about a week after that I get an email from paypal saying a hold has been put on my account. I call them to see whats going on. They paid out the seller the money for the sale but citi bank found in favor of me and took the funding back. So now paypal has said my account is locked till I pay them back the money they put out to the seller. I can not take any money out of my account and any money that goes into it from ebay would also be held till I pay them.

I’m going to speak to someone at my company today to see if the company or building has any insurance? but other then that I can’t see a way out of this other then paying the money even though I never got the plane.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2878 days

#17 posted 10-25-2011 05:19 PM

There’s lots of practical stuff here, but when I read the OP I’m thinking this is more of an emotional barrier than a technical one.

Consider how you look at the packaging and shipping portion of the project, and how that intersects with the payment stream. Once you get that all sorted out, mentally, in a linear way, I think you’ll find the shipping to be “a part of the main” (as John Donne so aptly put it).

Getting the tools—the scale—and the supplies—flattened boxes, tape, the sticky labels—will be like setting up your shop.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View TheBirdMan's profile


21 posts in 2432 days

#18 posted 10-26-2011 11:14 PM

I ship a fair number of products per week. When I started shipping website orders I was using recycled boxes and newspapers for padding things. The weight part was a challenge as it was to find a box to fix the order.

I talked to friends and went online looking for a scale and boxes. Both of these I found at one business that closed the doors. I picked up a great scale that can weigh things from about a 1/2 lb up to about 200 lbs. UPS & FedEx is who I use weekly and packages don’t have to be super accurate. Within a half pound seems to be their tolerance.

Turns out the same company that had the scale had pallets of new boxes which I got for about 25 cents per box.

If you get the newspaper everyday than keep the white paper and use it for packaging & padding. I order lots of product from manufactures and distributors so I normally keep some of the packing materials around.

Depending on how much you do on EBay the other option is to sell everything locally on craigslist for pickup only.

-- -- Pat, Colorado;

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3320 days

#19 posted 10-28-2011 02:46 AM

USPS will provide Priority Mail boxes for free if you order them online (they will even deliver to your house).

In terms of fees on eBay, you can easily calculate Priority Mail fees since they only vary by weight—and not by distance travelled. Something weighs 5lbs, it costs X to ship. (Don’t forget the weight of the box and paper and tape!) SO….. with anything smallish, I usually just calculate the Priority Mail cost and add a dollar; I occasionally come out a dollar ahead, sometimes a dollar behind, but never far off. For anything larger, I tell the buyer that they will pay actual shipping cost… and after the item has sold I get it weighed etc. before sending the invoice. (Sometimes I tell buyers “Send me an extra $40, and I’ll refund the difference after I ship it.” Most of the time they agree and it works great for both of us.

As for local pickup, you just have to say it LOUD AND CLEAR in your listing, and then flatly refuse anyone who wants it shipped. No other way to do it unfortunately. I have sometimes “bent” my rules and shipped internationally etc. only to regret the extra work and cost.

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View thiel's profile


387 posts in 3320 days

#20 posted 10-28-2011 02:47 AM

BTW… to all those frequent shippers out there…. if you ship a lot, you should definitely look into using to manage and print postage. Can’t recommend it enough!

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View Don W's profile

Don W

18755 posts in 2595 days

#21 posted 11-17-2011 04:27 PM

I just had another “gotcha” that I wanted to mention. Even though I only checked the US shipping, I had a guy bid on 2 hand planes outside the US. I didn’t even pay attention to the address until I went to ship. The the shipping was $62. I refunded the guys money, but I would have thought ebay would have stopped anyone needing shipping outside the US from bidding since thats how the offering was set up. It just racked up more ebay fees, including a refund fee. Morale of the story, watch were the buyer is.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Don W's profile

Don W

18755 posts in 2595 days

#22 posted 11-17-2011 04:29 PM

oh, and I will now add a line in the description “Only shipps to US”

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 2720 days

#23 posted 11-17-2011 04:54 PM


That’s a common trap and ebay doesn’t prevent anyone from bidding on your stuff. I put in the copy I only ship US please email if you live outside the US and would like to bid.

I think if you can cancel the auction even after and they will allow you to do a second chance offer with the next highest bidder or relist for free.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3490 days

#24 posted 11-17-2011 05:02 PM

I have been using the USPS for all my shipping. As long as it fits in a flat rate box im good to go. Set up an account online and you can print the shipping label from home, pay for the shipping and even set up a date for the carrier to pick up the items. The best part is its all FREE.. Well except for the paying for shipping part. I have found it to be very easy to use for the smaller items. Larger things will usually go UPS. I also have an acct with them and its basically the same. Print, pay and ship from your front door

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

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