Storage Auctions

Shipping & Boxes

Shipping & Boxes
« on: February 13, 2012, 11:21:06 AM »
I just can't seem to wrap my head around shipping on ebay.  Right now I have been putting everything in flat rate boxes, and it just seems like I'm charging too much for shipping light items that won't fit in a small box.

That being said, I would like to get a scale and go that route.  So far, I imagine that I get an item I want to sell on ebay, wrap it up, put it in a box, weigh it, then calculate the price somehow?  My biggest problem with this... everything I have to sell is a different size & shape.  Where do I get a bunch of boxes of random sizes?  I don't mind buying them, but I want the best deal possible for the most amount of common sizes.  If anyone has a system that works really well, please fill me in. 

As an example, I have a lot of books (media mail I'm guessing), collectible figurines, china, clothes, you know... the usual load of storage auction finds.

Offline Alias

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Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2012, 11:44:38 AM »
I always just keep an eye out at stores. Grocery/liqour stores are bad. Everything thing comes bulk and you know if you need that size they will ALWAYS be there.
Look out for stores that receive odd shape/size shipments. Auto parts stores, stationary and art stores.
Places like Target size have compactors but if they are stocking shelve and you ask for the box they will hand over empties.

Do the same with bubble wrap and peanuts.

I've never once bought shipping  supplies except maybe packing tape. Usually I even get that free from post office.  Tho I'm not a big shipper. I do mostly craigslist.

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2012, 12:26:12 PM »
The Dollar Stores/Dollar General used to be great around here for boxes - but now they all went to the compactor!  Try your Hallmark Store/card store - I talked to the Manager a few years ago, and she now saves all the "odd" shaped (and normal shaped) boxed for me to pick up. 

I have never used the USPS Flat Rate boxes - think I can pack and ship cheaper in my own boxes.  (Oh, I did use them for a while - used to break them open, turn them around, re-tape, and re-use.  Of course, that was BEFORE they started printing on the inside too!  :-\)  As I mentioned before, to me the fastest way to lose a potential bidder is to charge too much for shipping.  You might want to weigh each and check the USPS website as a guide for postage cost.  Then keep track of your shipping and over time you will develop your own "cost list" on what to charge.  That way you can dial it in for a true shipping charge.

Good luck!

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2012, 12:36:44 PM »
How do I determine the shipping amount ahead of time if people live all over the U.S. and it costs a different amount to ship to different areas?  Is there a way to just put in the weight, then have the shipping automatically calculated depending on who buys it?

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2012, 12:43:36 PM »
How do I determine the shipping amount ahead of time if people live all over the U.S. and it costs a different amount to ship to different areas?  Is there a way to just put in the weight, then have the shipping automatically calculated depending on who buys it?

I use the USPS calculator and assume a far distance. I live in central texas and assume my buyer lives in maine.

I will say this. GET A SCALE!!! I also will suggest you buy one off ebay. I paid under $20 for a 40lb max scale as opposed to the one I saw at Wal-Mart, 3lb. max for $25.

I will use the flat rate when it makes sense, but now I can figure out when it makes sense and when it doesn't.

Also, look into the padded flat rate envelopes. They can actually be quite versatile.

The shipping aspect was my biggest hurdle as a new ebay seller, so I can relate to the frustration.

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2012, 12:58:20 PM »
Is there anywhere I can get a ton of padded flat rate mailers for free or cheap?

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2012, 01:13:09 PM »
I do mostly flat rate boxes and have not had a complaint yet.  Another route that you can go is the Zone shipping boxes.  They are like flat rate boxes but you pay based on what "zone" you are shipping to.  So for me in GA I pay cheaper if it is going to a zone 1 or 2, then I do for zone 8 (california).  For up to 15 lbs it is still under $10.  The boxes are free like the other priority mail boxes.

I use the postal scale at work to weigh my packages if not doing flat rate.  Will break down and buy one for the house if sales stay steady.  Most of my boxes and shipping supplies (foam/bubles/nuts) come from the company dock before they go into the trash or recycle.  I just check the pile each morning on my way into my office.  Grab any paper boxes (great for cleaning units) or small computer part boxes to use for shipping items.

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2012, 01:39:26 PM »
Is there anywhere I can get a ton of padded flat rate mailers for free or cheap?

USPS.gov website. They will deliver free to your house, but you'll have to wait for them. Took about 10 days or so last time I ordered them.

You could also check your post office. My local PO doesn't have the padded mailers, but yours might have a better selection of flat rate materials.

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2012, 02:26:39 PM »
Buying a good scale is a must. I bought mine off of ebay a few years ago, its digital, uses a 9v battery and the top opens wider if you need it to. It is exactly the same as our post office scales, so I don't get any surprises. 

I use the eBay shipping calculator. Enter the box dimensions (this is IMPORTANT) if its an over sized box. If my weight is, lets say 5 pounds, I put it in the calculator for 5 pounds 2 oz just to be on the safe side. I haven't had any major shipping mistakes since Christmas :) But I did learn a great tip on here....add a shipping and handling fee. I use $2.00 which covers insurance and delivery confirmation on parcel post. Sometimes parcel post comes out to more than priority. Its one of those things you will get the hang of.

A good source for boxes is nursing homes. Various sizes and the larger ones have handles (at least ours do around here). I have been shredding newspaper for extra cushion but I do buy bubble wrap.  A good place to get wrap is moving and storage companies. I used to live in an area where they sold it in bulk. Definitely take advantage of the free post office boxes.

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2012, 03:52:02 PM »
I use the USPS calculator and assume a far distance. I live in central texas and assume my buyer lives in maine.

I will say this. GET A SCALE!!! I also will suggest you buy one off ebay. I paid under $20 for a 40lb max scale as opposed to the one I saw at Wal-Mart, 3lb. max for $25.

I do the same thing!  I figure from Tucson to DC should just about cover it!

And as far as a scale~I use my husband.  He can usually guesstimate it quite accurately.  I have used an ordinary house scale.  I'd step on it....weigh myself....step off and back on with the package~necessity is the mother they say~of course it's a battery operated one and the battery just died~ ::)

Just shipped out 4 items this morning and was pretty danged close on all!
Oh and I always use delivery confirmation (figure that in your cost) so I know when it has been delivered.  Important to me as I'm a worrier~


Offline alloro

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Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2012, 03:55:05 PM »
I use the white shipping boxes all the time, along with bubble mailers. They're only about 40 cents each for the boxes and 20 cent for the bubble mailers. Get a couple of different sizes and use whichever one is appropriately sized for what you're shipping.

Here is what I use: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=shipping+boxes+white+corrugated&_frs=1&_trksid=p3286.c0.m359

Re: Shipping & Boxes
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 03:24:31 PM »
How do I determine the shipping amount ahead of time if people live all over the U.S. and it costs a different amount to ship to different areas?  Is there a way to just put in the weight, then have the shipping automatically calculated depending on who buys it?

When I was selling a lot, I would use the farthest postal code from where I lived for my postage rate. Since I live in New Jersey, I think I was using the Beverly Hills zip code. I then charge a flat shipping rate for all my auctions. I have a UPS account, so the price for shipping isn't listed on the shipping bar code. The only time I used the US postage service was when shipping a small item and charging a minimum $8 for shipping was excessive or shipping internationally. International shipping is a whole other ball game.

As for boxes, I used to get boxes and packing materials from work. Some days I get several boxes and a whole bag of bubble wrap, other days I couldn't find anything. I even dumpster dived behind strip malls looking for boxes and packing material. When I stopped selling my basement was full of odd and end boxes and packing material.  I only once paid for boxes, I was selling 80 of the same item at 200+ bucks a pop and it was far easier to figure out shipping costs once, not to mention just repost the ad over and over (but I would take new photos for every item). As for other materials, it was just packing tape, paper for the laser printed labels, analog scale and some padded envelopes.        


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