Ebay - Shipping & Handling

United States
February 26, 2007 12:04pm CST
I have a question for anyone that sells on ebay. I have recently gone thru my storage unit & found several things I want to list on ebay. I have read several ebooks on ebay so I know how to set up a listing but the shopping & handling part has me at a loss. I don't want to be a power seller, like they teach you in the ebooks, I just want to sell a few unwanted items. Can anyone tell me how to figure out the shipping & handling? I know you have to consider postage & packaging, but not knowing who will bid on a worldwide listing, how do you determine the range? I can just imagine taking a dozen packages to the post office, asking them to tell me how much to send to ANYWHERE in the world, then after they tell me, leave without sending anything. I don't think they'd like that too much LOL. Is there a better way? This is a question that NONE of the ebay ebooks has answered for me yet.
9 people like this
40 responses
@shmeedia (1045)
• Canada
27 Feb 07
i don't know if this was ebay's version of a x-mas gift, but i actually received a nice little sellers' package after selling a few items. in this package, ebay included cheap but good weighing 'plates' which can weigh things up to quite a large amount (but definitely not your stereo), a measuring tape, some useful reminder notes and a few shipping enveloppes. this might be a better option than spending the money to get your own scale. other than that, the post office should be happy enough to weigh things for you or tell you price ranges, even if you walk away without posting anything. they are not solely there to sell their wares, but also to give info to the general public. they have always been really helpful to me! i thought i'd be annoying them too at first, but i was wrong :) i actually did what you suggested: walked in with an example envelope with the dimensions i wanted to post, and said 'gimme the shipping charges for Canada, the U.S. and abroad'. i was expecting a long complicated conversation, but i was done in a minute :)
• United States
27 Feb 07
Ohhh, I love freebies! Were you selling higher priced items for such a sweet treat? I sure would like to spend the wally world cards I'm winning on something else. LOL I'm glad to hear the post office is so kind and patient. I still wouldn't want to do it at Christmas though. roflol I hadn't thought of narrowing it down to just US, Canada & abroad, but I guess that would pretty much cover it. Thanks for simplifying it for me.
1 person likes this
@shmeedia (1045)
• Canada
27 Feb 07
no, i didn`t sell high-priced items at all :) all were under 7$ including shipping! I find it funny though that nobody else has mentioned receiving this cute freebie package...so i wonder if it really was a one-off thing, possibly to all new ebay sellers at x-mas time, exclusively. either way, i was surprised and happy to receive that little box! :) i`m glad i could help you out. the post office people really are helpful too. and you will probably have access to flyers and info on the spot, that you can walk out with (more freebies, yay!)
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Feb 07
Love the freebies, so I'll be looking forward to setting up my first few auctions to see if I get one too. :) Speaking of freebies, send me a message & I'll share one of my favorites with you. I see you're in Canada, so you could join, if you're interested.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
most people I think just estimate on shipping and handling. I know that is what I do. I just look at what others have for a shipping cost and usually put down my cost around there. Always ask a little more for shipping then you think it will actually cost because you have to pay for envelopes unless you do priority mail. Also, be sure to send items in padded envelopes because people get upset up the items are even minutely damaged. As for internation shipping, you can either write in the item description that the cost to send internationally will be determined after the auction ends or you can check that you do not send items internationally. Hope this helps.
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Feb 07
I hadn't thought about the bubble envelopes, but you're right. I don't want to send something only to have it broken in route. I have seen quite a few posts from mylot members complaining about the s/h costs for the items they've purchased, so I'm trying to figure out the best way to minimize any potential complaints. Especially since I saw they're raising the postage rates again soon. :(
@Aurone (4757)
• United States
27 Feb 07
Thats what I do too, I look to see what other sellers are charging to ship the same item and it usually works out pretty well.
1 person likes this
@Gemmygirl1 (2870)
• Australia
17 Apr 07
Unless you have a set of accurate scales & a sheet of all the postage prices in the USA & world wide, the only way you'll know what to charge in postage is if they're taken & weighed at the post office. You can only become a power seller if you make over a certain amount of money in a certain time frame anyway. You need weight your items, to go to the USPS website, & there is where you can find out the postal charges. On there yuo can find out exact weights for US zip codes, as well as many other countries. Postage you cant really charge more than it is going to cost you, but you can charge a small amount more for packing fees (make sure they're packed properly) & you can also charge a small handling fee for the time it takes to pack up & take the item to be posted. I usually just select World Wide as my postal range, that means, anyone, anywhere can bid or buy the item i'm selling & since they're the ones paying for the items & it's shipping, i don't care where it's being sent to. Good luck with selling your items, just be sure to be fair with your handling fees as there is always a chance someone will not be happy if you charge too much more than actual postage & that could result in negative feedback for you.
• United States
17 Apr 07
Thanks for the tips Gemmygirl1! I always appreciate help from others with more experience. :)
@cjthedog64 (1553)
• United States
1 Apr 07
I use ebay's option to let the buyer calculate shipping to their zip code. I don't have a good scale, so I estimate the weight. If it feels like around 3 pounds, boxed up, then I put the weight in at 3.5 pounds. That way I know it'll be covered, or at least close. The buyer puts in their zip code and pays you whatever the cost comes up to. Sometimes I'll use the print at home postage they have (easy to use if you know the weight!) but usually I just run it into the post office and pay cash there. That keeps my paypal account higher. LOL! That way if I've gotten the weight wrong, I'm not overpaying.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Apr 07
Hi cjthedog64, That sounds like an easy enough system to follow. I'm all about learning ways to save so I appreciate the tips. Unfortunately, I don't have a good scale to use either. I definately think my bathroom scale lies to me every day and the only other one I have at the moment is a baby scale for up to 25 lbs, but it says "Not Legal for Trade" on the front. When my daughter was a baby, 21 years ago, I used to think it was a strange thing to put on a baby scale, I mean, who would trade their baby. It makes a lot more sense to me these days. LOL
@14missy (3185)
• Australia
2 Mar 07
I have started selling things recently on eBay. Only books and clothing but the postage costing was the hardest thing for me to work out. Some people post things so cheaply and others are a bit over thetop with their fees. I found that if you go on your postal web sit (or there is a link on Australian eBay) you can work out what it would cost before you put your item up for sale. Good luck and happy selling!!!
• United States
2 Mar 07
Thank you. I knew I didn't want to trust others pricing, too much room for error. From what I've read on your ebay discussion, you've done well. I'm glad I read it too, I liked the mystery box response. LOL ;D
@mizcheekz (178)
• United States
1 Mar 07
I sell a few things on ebay and have never had anyone say anything about my shipping charges. I usually weigh the item and add a little and that's the shipping, in the US, regardless of zip code. (and that's through USPS) Have you ever considered Craigslist for your larger items? Then there's no shipping worries and it's free to list. That's what I use for bigger items that wouldn't be cost effective to ship. If you haven't used it before, definitely check it out before you start listing everything on ebay. Otherwise, don't stress too much about the shipping fees. If you weigh your item, and I use a cheapo kitchen scale from walgreens, and check the price on the USPS website you should be good. I normally add $1 or something just to cover my paypal fees, because I'm like some other buyers, I won't buy unless they accept paypal but sometimes on cheaper items it isn't worth it if you have to deduct fees. I think a lot of people do this, just as long as you don't add $10 on to shipping. In fact, your listing could be flagged if your shipping is too outrageous because then they assume you are trying to avoid final value fees by just putting it in shipping. But that's a whole other subject. Good luck and I'm sure you will do fine!
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Mar 07
Thanks for the input. Yes, I understand, I did hear something about 99 cent auctions. lol :) I'm still in the process of cleaning out my storage and my sell pile is getting bigger every day. Today I got a notice that my apartment complex is going to set up a garage sale in about two weeks. I think, after starting this discussion, that I may just list a few of the better items on ebay to see how it works out. In the meantime, I think I'll try the garage sale & if anything is left, & my test ebay items do ok, I may add more. From what I understand, the fees can really add up just for your listing, not to mention the fees to accept payment. If you don't mind, send me a PM with your link to craigslist so I can check it out as an option. Thanks in advance. :D
• Philippines
27 Feb 07
Ive been to eBay couples of time but I never tried trading from there. Im still not used to their programs and have some skeptical thoughts of how the transactions work. MAybe someday I'll joined in the site.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
I made several purchases from ebay, over the years, and have never had any problems. It'll be my first attempt at selling though. :)
• United States
27 Feb 07
I think someone mentioned in another posting to purchase a good set of scales. If you are just selling a few items here and there, then you don't need to worry about such an expense. If the items are small enough, then purchase a $10-20 scale (kitchen scale, bathroom scale) to weigh your packages. Remember to account for what type of packing you may use. For example, a book will obviously be somewhat heavier when packaged in a box, and even a large amount of newspaper stuffed into a package to secure loose or fragile items can add significantly to the weight, as well as the box itself. After you have a fairly accurate weight, you can use the "calculate postage" option as www.usps.com for both domestic and international postage, using the rates you find work best for you. Remember that those rates represent what it costs to ship the package, not the cost of the shipping supplies, so you'll want to factor in the cost of shipping supplies as well. And S&H can also include your trip to the post office if it is a significant distance. Just don't get too greedy, or you'll scare off bidders.
1 person likes this
@albert2412 (1782)
• United States
27 Feb 07
Most post offices here in the United States have a mechine in the lobby which will weigh your package, tell you the postage, and allow you to drop the package into the mechine for latter pickup. I like to use a one tate priority box, as it is often cheaper. If you want to know about postage to other countries you will have to go inside the post office and ask a window clerk.
• United States
27 Feb 07
You still have to enter the zip code though. I wouldn't know that til the item sold LOL, but you're right, weighing it at the post office will give me a very accurate weight so I could figure out how much to show as s/h when I set up the ebay auction.
• United States
27 Feb 07
I am an eBay Seller and have sold many items around the world and if you want to sell on eBay you need to offer this, especially since it allows you to sell your items to everyone. The best to do is to calculate your shipping and if you want to add handling charge for doing it will allow you to do so. Just make sure you weight your item, I always include a pound over what I weight for packing items that I might include with the item. This way you are protected. In the end, it seemed my shipping quote was always a little higher than what the actual cost was, which I would consider good since you don't want to be cheated on shipping, ever. Also, if you go to http://www.stamps.com, and you order the service they will ship out a 25 pound scale to you for free, which is a great deal, especially if you are going to ship often. Otherwise you can use a house scale for your weight measurements and go to http://www.usps.com for instructions on weight and measurements of the items. Good luck to you.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
A one pound (avg) addition for packaging sounds like a good idea. I don't want to get cheated on postage either so I'm definately listening to the more experienced sellers LOL. As I continue to go thru the stuff in storage, (AND starting this discussion) I'm finding out I can probably sell a lot more than I had originally thought. I hadn't even thought about some of the things that have been mentioned! So I'll definately be getting a scale & adding to the excel spreadsheet I started for my books. I see I'll need to add a column for dimensions too. LOL Thanks for the ideas.
@glenry86 (211)
• Australia
27 Feb 07
depending on what you are selling and how big the item is, you may be able to estimate how much it will cost, sending worldwide will be difficult but if sending within australia, i would try www.austpost.com.au, you will be able to put in measurements of your pascel and get a price,you could always have pick up only or post to australia only, be careful not to overcharge on postage as this may stop people from bidding or may make people give you negitive or neutral feedback rather than positive.i think the austpost website would probably be your best bet mate.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
LOL, G'Day mate! Yes that's what I'm trying to prevent. I have a reputation to maintain, you know? grin I happen to be in the US, but I do appreciate your imput, in case someone else browsing this post may find it useful. :D
@Jans5411 (72)
• United States
27 Feb 07
I generally list items using the 'shipping calculator' feature on ebay. As others have already mentioned - get ahold of a good postal scale to weigh the item and packing material. Be sure to select the option on ebay's shipping calculator to include the cost of your shipping materials - bubble wrap, boxes, etc. Unlike some others - I only accept paypal, not checks or money orders. It works well for me.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
I don't remember seeing that before. I'll be sure to watch for it. :)
@yorb24 (2180)
• United States
27 Feb 07
Well do you have a postal scale? You can get them reasonable on ebay for about 20 to 30 dollars. Don't buy them in the stores, they are very expensive. If you have one, weigh each item, take into account the packaging and add a few ounces. Then go to the postal website and look up that weight for different classes of mail (first class, media, priority,etc). Media mail would be best for heavy items. The usps website will list the United States by zones. I think it's 1 through 8. Just look at the weight and then each of the zones and make sure you charge over the highest shipping for whatever zone. That's what I do. A scale is really a necessity if you plan on selling alot. Then for overseas, you can do the same thing. If you know the weight ahead of time, you can find out all shipping prices at home and don't have to lug everything to the post office. Just go to the postal website. In fact, try downloading the shipping assitant from their site. It's for free. Good luck! I've been selling for years! Btw, with priority mail, it's 4.05 for up to 1 pound anywhere in the US.
• United States
27 Feb 07
Geez, I remember when priority mail started out. Up to 2 pounds, in 2-3 days, for 2 bucks. No scale yet, but I'm finding out from this discussion that it's a must have tool, even for just a few items. Scratch that, I was just reminded of the 2 big boxes of books I already started cataloging and those stacks of VHS tapes in the spare bedroom. Yep, Definately a must have. :D
• United States
27 Feb 07
When I wanted to get rid of some of my things especially books and the DVD's and VHS my toddler doesn't want to watch, I just go to the USPS website and look in there. Usually media mail is the cheapest and I will just put extra for a tracking number. For other items, I use the flat rate box of $7 no matter what the weight as long as it fits in the box. I usually don't ship worldwide just in the US. Just like you, I don't want to be a powerseller but just getting rid of some stuff to be able to buy other stuff at ebay.
1 person likes this
@Lushlie (572)
• United States
27 Feb 07
If you have a lot of stuff that you are going to be selling I would suggest that you get a small postage scale. You can get one at Walmart for $20 or less and will take a lot of the troubles out of guessing about the cost of shipping. Another idea is to take advantage of the flat rate shipping boxes that the post office has. Hope this helps you....I have been selling on Ebay for many years and love almost every minute of it.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
I've only gotten thru half of the storage unit so far, but I've already found more than a dozen items I just can't/won't donate or give away. I guess with that many, I should use the next walmart card I earn, and spend it on a good scale. OK now, you can't leave me hanging like that! What do you mean Almost? Do you have a bad experience to share? Something I need to be prepared for? Anxiously waiting your response.
@simesc (248)
27 Feb 07
The shipping and handling is used by different people on ebay for different things. Most include the fees that Ebay will charge them, the listing fee, final listing fee, the paypal charge for receiving the money.......... It is best to weigh the packages that you are going to send and calculate the weight, do not forget that when they are wrapped they will be heavier also. For international sellers you have to be careful, it can be very expensive to send to some countries so you have to be careful If you calculate these figures wrong, you can lose a lot of money and also could end up paying for the auction and make a loss
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
That's exactly what I want to avoid! I would sure hate to wind up Paying to get rid of my "junk" LOL. I think I'm going to only try my test auction with a US shipping only, just to get the feel for setting things up. I've also gotten some good advice on having contact me information for shipping costs outside a given area rather than putting in a set price.
• Philippines
27 Feb 07
you got a good question, i am about to ask that same question here on mylot, as i have several things that are needed and used clothes to sell. i am planning to sell it on ebay.ph. all i want to know is how the shipping cost maybe...
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
Please feel free to keep reading. I've been getting some very good advice from experienced sellers. I hope we can both benefit from their posts.
27 Feb 07
I have sold several things on ebay. I tend to look at how much others are charging for the same item - you can usually get a good idea from that. I also look at the post office web site (royal mail as I am in the UK) which tells you how much it would be to send items anywhere in the world providing you know how much the item weighs. I tend to say I will post in the UK and give the postage amount and ask that if someone outside the UK wants to bid they contact me for the postage costs. That way they tell me where in the world they are so I can work it out and e-mail them back. That way you can even take the item to the post office, weigh it and they will let you know how much it will be. Good luck
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
LOL Call me cautious Nelly, but I have a problem depending on someone else to do their research correctly. You are right though, at least I'd have an idea and could see if there was a trend on current auction items. Knowing my luck, it would probably wind up costing me more in the end. I thought by getting a little feedback I could, hopefully, prevent some of the "newbie" mistakes they don't tell you about in the books.
@Michele21 (3094)
• United States
26 Feb 07
I always look at other people that are selling the same or similar things and see what they are charging. There are usually a wide range of prices so I pick something in the middle...
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Feb 07
Does that normally work for you? I'm afraid to lose money by doing an average. Murphy's law, you know.
@Sasselle (698)
• Australia
26 Feb 07
As I'm unsure of where you are in the big wide world I can't give you any weblinks but most post offices have online sites where you can get a price for postage. You just need the weight of the item and depending on what it is - you just enter the information and the destination and ... volia ... a price appears!! So if you have some decent scales it should be easy for you - and it's a lot easier just to look something up online than to drag yourself down to the post office just for a price. This is also extremely helpful when you are going to post the item as you know how much it's going to cost you. As I'm in Australia, I personally list on my auctions a price for delivery Australia wide and then one for worldwide. The worldwide price I use comes from the country farthest away that I find I have most business with [in my case the UK]. You also will find that there are different prices to send goods overseas depending on if you send it via air or economy/surface mail. For my first few auctions when I was starting out I only listed a price to send locally and had written on the auction "contact me if you want a price for overseas" and then i could get a price for them exactly. If you decide to add a handling fee for your auctions, you need to make sure it's reasonable. A lot of ebay sellers have 99c auctions and then a HUGE shipping and handling fee - this it to avoid eBay fees as you don't pay them on shipping ... also if something goes sour on the transaction eBay will only repay you the cost price ... not the actual price that you paid including s&h. The forums over on eBay [under the help section] are a great place to hang out and learn more. Hopefully you'll be up and selling soon!
• United States
27 Feb 07
Good idea. I haven't really noticed multiple prices before, as usually anything outside of the states has a much higher shipping cost and keeps "IT" (lol), out of my price range. I'm just finding out that ebay even had a forum but, now that I do, I'll have to take a peek or two. Thanks for the advice.