Shipping is a huge factor in your eBay business. It can suck up your profits if you price shipping too low, and it can drive potential customers away if the shipping prices are too high. How can you handle shipping costs while still maximizing eBay profits? Here are my tips.
Reuse and Recycle
Since I do a lot of buying online and receive several free books or products from companies, I save and reuse as many packages as I can. This tip alone has saved me about $50-100 a year. I also will save and reuse tissue paper from presents to wrap clothing in before placing it in a packing bag.
Some people have shipped items jammed in old cereal boxes or cracker boxes. To me, that is taking the recycling part a bit far, and I always attempt to make my packages look nice, not like leftover trash. Bubblers are easy to reuse because you can cut a little bit off the top and place a new label over the old label so remember to save those whenever you get them.
Cheaper Packing Supplies
For most of my sales, I ship in poly mailers that I buy in bulk. I usually buy this one and a larger one, and each bag comes out to .09 to .11 per bag. If the item is fragile, I wrap it in tissue and bubble wrap first, both which are also cheaper bought online and in bulk.
I also like to stick to more expensive items that fit into USPS flat rate boxes. These boxes can be ordered in bulk for free through the USPS website, and they make setting shipping prices much easier. I like to sell bulk lots of clothing, as is cameras, and computer parts, and flat rate boxes make shipping these items simple.
Calculate the Potential Profit of Larger Items First
Large items are a pain to ship, so make sure the profit is worth your time first. A larger item will require a large box (if you don’t have one on hand), a lot of packing material to keep the item safe, and a trip to the post office, since you probably don’t have the right scale to measure a large item. These are all extra costs on top of the actual shipping costs, so factor them in!
If you are going to be spending that much time and money on shipping costs, make sure you will be seeing a worthy profit. You might be better off selling it locally, through eBay or Craigslist.
Don’t Just Charge Shipping
If an item costs you $2.50 to ship, then that is not how much you should charge. You should charge more because eBay and Paypal will take a small percentage of that price. Also, you have to calculate how much shipping material will cost you. A shipping price of $3-3.50 for an item that costs $2.50 to ship will give you the right funds needed for shipping, without overcharging your customer.
Ship Via eBay
Since eBay does take a percentage off of shipping charges, they give sellers a discount on shipping if you purchase shipping labels through them. As long as you have a small kitchen scale, you can easily calculate the costs of smaller packages. Other online companies offer discounted shipping costs, so be sure to do your research if you ship several items each week.
Schedule Package Pick Ups
Once upon a time, I use to take all of my eBay packages to the post office and wait in line to have them checked. Talk about a waste of time and gas. Now I can easily schedule a package pick up and leave my items on my porch.
If you live in an area that does not offer this service or an area that is not safe to leave packages on the porch, try scheduling your shipping days to happen once or twice a week. Write on your profile and on every listing that you will ship items on days X and Y, so that buyers will know when to expect their package.
Here are my tips. How do you save money on shipping costs?