For those with experience in selling online, Question about shipping???

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Forum topic by , posted 08-17-2012 11:12 PM 1518 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2387 posts in 3719 days

08-17-2012 11:12 PM

I hope I got the correct forum.

I do custom cabinetry / woodworking for a living. Lately I have visited a few auctions local and have been purchasing woodworking machines, tools, etc. at very low prices and hope to re sell some items on ebay. I hope to sell on CL some, but other things are best on ebay or other site like amazon.

So my questions are:

Just today, while at a supplier, (as you become a regular I guess there are extra benefits), my salesman told me he had over stock in the back I might be interested in. So I looked and I ended up buying 120 chrome oval closet rod 15mm X 30mm X 96”. They are all brand new. I paid the salesman 80.00. Online these are going for between 18.00 to 23.00 per rod plus shipping. I want to re sell these rods for around 12.00 – 14.00 on Amazon and ebay. Does anyone have suggestions on shipping something that is 96”. I might need to get online frieght quotes, check into Fedex, UPS and USPS.

I listed a tech “lot” of 18v ridgid tools. They are all broken in some way and that was disclosed. I anticipate the weight of the “lot” will be a little excessive and I fear shipping might be more then what is currently being quoted on ebay. Since I am sure I am not going to get much for the “lot”, I hope I don’t end up loosing money on the sale. Does anyone have suggestions on who is the best to go with for shipping.

And finally, I hope to begin a side venture of renovating old American cast such as older PM 66 and re selling. I am thinking about selling on ebay using freight shipping on pallet. A couple years ago I actually shipped an entire kitchen unassembled flat on a pallet. In that case, the pallet weighed 1000 lbs and cost me 400.00 from an online freight quote. It worked perfect for me and my out of town customer. Anyone have any advice / experience with shipping 500 lb table saws????

Thanks in advance for any advice or experience anyone can share… :)

-- .

16 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3820 days

#1 posted 08-17-2012 11:51 PM

Fedex is a good choice for long stuff. I don’t like them
much otherwise, but they seem to be able to handle
longer items without dropping them better than other
carriers… better training maybe.

I usually ship smaller items via USPS because generally
rates are competitive and they treat you better in
the case of insured loss or damage than UPS or
Fedex will. The latter 2 are for-profit companies and
have a vested interest in denying insurance claims, imo.

ebay has a freight quote system plugged in. You do need
to learn a bit about freight class codes but it gets you
out of the situation of providing freight quotes to
“pie in the sky” wannabe buyers 1500 miles away.

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2387 posts in 3719 days

#2 posted 08-18-2012 12:57 AM

Thanks Loren, I do need to look into the ebay freight quote system. I really do appreciate all of the advice and will certainly remember what you said when it is time to ship something.

-- .

View Terry Mobley's profile

Terry Mobley

2 posts in 3220 days

#3 posted 08-18-2012 01:19 AM

Hey partner,

I do a good deal of selling online, just a few tips….

1. The magic number for the United States Postal Service is 108”, combined dimensions, add lenght + height + width, if it is less than 108 you can ship via USPS. As long as you measure your box, and weigh it, the ebay shipping calculator will be spot on. For smaller stuff I recommend you get a shipping scale, they are very expensive at any store I have found around here… but I got one on Ebay for 17.99 with free shipping and have been using it for years. I print all my labels at the house, when I first started I just printed them on regular paper, cut on the dotted line, and taped em to the box. Now I have a label printer, but either method works just fine. I have not done any selling on Amazon, but Ebay offers discounted shipping if you buy/print your labels online…

2. I have found that undercutting isn’t always the best plan, for example if the going rate for your curtain rods is 18-23 bucks… sell them for 18-23 bucks.

3. I have shipped large items a few times using, it worked well for me, ymmv.

-- My fingers were a little bit too long anyway...

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2659 days

#4 posted 08-18-2012 01:41 AM

Like Terry, we sell a bit on eBay.
We tried Amazon, but had problems with communication and shipping quotes so dropped them, (What they quoted usually proved to be only about 85% of the actual cost).
Box up your stuff as if you were ready to ship, measure it, weigh it and plug those figures into the Shipping calculator on eBay for your preferred method of shipping.
There are different shipping zones so usually we let the calculator tell the buyer how much it’s going to cost.

Then again, sometimes we pick the zip code that is farthest from us and use that as standard shipping, then add $3.00 for the wife to print the label, drive to the PO and stand in line. (The $3.00 pays for her burger, coke and fries at Dairy Queen… hey, it works for me!).

I have shipped a few items and learned to let the buyer figure out his own shipping…. I do big stuff FOB, the buyer sends a truck, I load it on the tailgate of a trailer. That’s it!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3719 days

#5 posted 08-18-2012 02:06 AM

Thanks for the advice. It makes sense to package up the item and weigh and measure and using the shipping calculator. I think the pointers you all have given me will help a lot going into the future.

One question, I currently have a lot of small stuff listed that should be less expensive to ship. I just used medium flat rate box price. Is the flat rate boxes good deals, or is it just better to use my own packaging and ship according to actual weight / measurement calculator.

-- .

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2659 days

#6 posted 08-18-2012 02:13 AM

Jerry, it really doesn’t matter with flat rate as long as you have shipping set up so the buyer is paying for the shipping.

They can always look at shipping and decide one way or another to see if it’s worth it.

Then again, as often as we can, we use flat rate shipping because it’s a lot easier on us and the wife still get’s her $3.00 meal.

Rule #1…. Never include shipping in anything over an e file size!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3820 days

#7 posted 08-18-2012 02:14 AM

Actual weight is a better deal generally. With experience you’ll learn
to estimate actual (packed, padded and boxed) shipping weight
within a few pounds based on real weight of the item.

If you have a lot of the same items figure the cost of new boxes
or new cardboard flats into your costs. Salvaging boxes is great
but it can be a bottleneck. You can build better cartons with
moisture-activated tape and fiberglass-reinforced tape than you
can with standard packing tape.

New box costs can mess you up so on the larger items your
profit margin may be in your ability to build cartons.

... kinda like cabinetmaking, but with sloppy tolerances
and floppy boards.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3719 days

#8 posted 08-19-2012 02:29 AM

I just sold my first listings tonight. A few items that sold are small kwik set lever handles (new in packaging). I had quoted medium box flat rate which I think is 11.35. At our shop we get 4’ X 8’ sheets of cardboard for free when we get supplies. Can I just make my own box with this cardboard using fiberglass reinforced tape?

In the future I am going to follow the advice given to us in this posting.


-- .

View rrww's profile


263 posts in 2285 days

#9 posted 08-19-2012 02:54 AM

The flat rate boxes are free at your local Post Office. You can make your own boxes as long as long as they are sturdy enough. If you make your own box you have to pay actual rate – the only way to get flat rate is use their boxes. You can order them and free tape & labels online from USPS. I find generally that flat rate is good for small heavy items – if they are light items pay the actual postage its cheaper.

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3719 days

#10 posted 08-19-2012 03:20 AM

So I sold my first 7 items. I was getting happy until I got confused. It appears only 2 of the items I sold is showing shipping charges, the other 5 items seem to be showing “free”. What in the world do they mean? All of my items I selected some kind of shipping method and none of them were “free shipping” options. I might be mis reading things right now. I am including a screen shot of what I am talking about. It shows “free”.

This shot is shown on the “sold items” screen. But when I click on the item, and scroll down to where the shipping info is shown, it does show my shipping option I chose which is “flat rate: 11.35”. I am confused and scared I might be on the hood for shipping. Four of the items I sold tonight sold for .99 and shows “free”. That would make those transactions upside down. Still confused, please help with advice.

-- .

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3719 days

#11 posted 08-19-2012 03:50 AM

I figured it out. As people pay for their product, the shipping total is updated from “free” to whatever shipping price option I chose. Shewwweeeeeee :) I was excited, happy, thrilled. Then I came crashing down at the thought of shipping all these great sales for free!!! What a night. Anyway, thanks for the help fellow Lumberjocks. Oh yeah, so out of 8 items that expired tonight, 7 of them sold.

Oh and so far ebay has told me everything I have listed has been “free” listing charges. I was expecting to have to pay a listing fee per item and likely a sales fee based on sales price. But it appears to me everything is being listed for free. The 8th item that did not sell tonight was a Kreg pocket hole jig and so I re listed it and they told me the listing fee is free. So do I need to be on the look out of some big fees coming my way soon. Just wondering what to expect.

-- .

View kizerpea's profile


775 posts in 2540 days

#12 posted 08-19-2012 11:25 AM

i work for ups ground freight. dont know the answer, but i,ll get it hit u back..its sunday but the boss will answer his phone anyway..i,m thinking if u set up a national account, its a flat rate to every where in the usa..i,ll check though…



View Don W's profile

Don W

18988 posts in 2740 days

#13 posted 08-19-2012 11:57 AM

I stopped selling on eBay. EBay fees will nickel and dime you to death. Figure 20% right off the top for eBay and PayPal fees.

Shipping for me is one of the biggest pains. I had a forum topic similar to this one wit a lot of good advice that helped a lot.

I do a lot of restoration work, but it’s a hobby. Having a bit of a business background I often look around and say, how could I make money at this. The short answer is, boy it would be hard. Good luck with your venture.

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

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 3719 days

#14 posted 08-19-2012 01:44 PM

Thanks Don and Steve.

So far this has been a bit of a garage sale. I have been able to sell off much of my auction buys that I do not want to keep and I even went through the shop and found items I will never use and listed those as well.

-- .

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 3023 days

#15 posted 08-19-2012 07:47 PM

There’s no single recipe for pancakes in the shipping world.

If this is going to be a regular part of your workaday world, consider getting a UPS and/or Fedex account. Quantity brings discounts in their world and it simplifies a lot of details. I have such an account with UPS and I get billed twice a month. Clearly the improvement in their cash flow is the trade for my discount.

Long things still go by UPS/Fedex; freight is weight.

USPS will pick up at your place. The Priority boxes are a great convenience. Stock them at home (they’ll ship them, you just pay the shipping), use the single sheet peel and stick labels. Label on the box, receipt (with tracking number and all) gets stuck on a master sheet with a one word note of the item in the box. Literally minutes from payment to out the door. Even if shipping by another method would be cheaper, the speed of Priority is a compelling factor to me.

Dallas, at our PO there is a dump chute for boxes and if the box is too large, a place on the counter. I can walk in, walk to the service desk, set the box down, smile at the employee and turn and run the gauntlet of scowls from the hoi poloi.

Anything that’s remotely breakable, double box it. If there’s a claim, UPS won’t even talk to you unless it was double boxed.

I do a lot of box making with my 4×8 sheets of corrugated. They can be cut (it takes extreme care) on the tablesaw. You can stick them together temporarily with hot glue, then seal all the seams with packaging tape. I buy the best ($$) tape I can find and use a made in usa tape dispenser. Fast and accurate. Sometimes I rip softwood 3/4×3/4 and use it for reinforcement inside corners. Hot melt or yellow glue.



-- " 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"

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