Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shipping And Mailing

As many of you know US Postal rates are due to rise on Jan 27,2013. Some of the prices will go up significantly.. Not sure how that will affect my online sales.. especially my International ones... I guess time will tell. See them here: https://www.usps.com/new-prices.htm

I have been reading the forums and lots are complaining already. Whatever.
And I realized from reading... that way too many of you are not using the PO to your best advantage.

I use PayPal... I have not considered using Etsy Direct checkout and not sure I need to. I have yet to have one customer come to me and say they don't want to use PayPal or ask me about Direct Checkout. I am Happy with PayPal. I have been using it for 12+ yrs... and I still also sell on Ebay- which requires it. I don't want to mess that up for myself.

I print my own labels from my printer. I save about $.25-$.75 or more each time I print from home. I print through PayPal... but could also, and have also used Ship-n-Click through the PO (and now they accept PayPal as payment).
Even with the cost of my printer ink and paper- it is way worth it to me to just print from home. My time to drive to the PO, stand in sometimes a long line to have my package weighed and priced. I find that Printing my own- in my own time frame is worth it to me.

This is what I use..

Postal Scale
This is my second scale... it weighs up to 35#-- My old one weighed up to 5# and that was fine when I was just starting out and my items didn't weigh all that much. The first scale I bought at a Wholesale Club for under $20. This one I bought on Ebay around $25... but I can have heavier packages.. I ship a lot of books-- this one is better for me. This one also has the option of being electric or battery.
I package up my items.. and weigh them... Always round up.. If something weighs 1#, 2.3 ounces... Then the price you figure is for 1# 3 ounces. You can check by going to www.usps.com and clicking "calculate a price".
Then I get into my PayPal account and click to ship the given item.. follow the instructions. I have a page ready in my printer:
Now- these I bought a huge box of at least 2500 from someone on Ebay years ago.. and love them- I am concerned that I won't be able to find more like these pages when I run out. They work perfect.
The sticky part that is missing here-- has the actual label that you put on your package. I also put a piece of tape on it-- just to make sure it sticks. (next time I ship- I will correct this with a picture of that too). But you could just use plain paper and use clear tape to affix it to your package.
The little receipt part-- I cut out and put in a notebook along with details of the sale. I do this each year...and then keep it with my records for that year.
If I am shipping Internationally...This process also works.  I can't--through PayPal or Ship-n-Click ship 1st class International this way.. but it is easy to fill out and print the correct custom form and attach it to my package and pay for it at the PO. Priority International mail DOES work this way. Very easy to fill in the information you need on the custom form.. and print off your shipping label and put it in your mail box or at the PO- already paid for. (I do hear that through Stamps.com you can do International 1st class mail-I just have not tried it).
Due to the Patriot's Act-- according to my PO-- they just need to see the package that you drop off- you can't just drop it into a mailbox-- the kind you see on the street. Not a big deal then.. I walk into my PO-- they know me now. I don't have to stand in line for pre-paid and let them know I have left a package. Most POs in my area are the same way. I do have one- that does make me stand in line to tell them that my package is paid for.. so I try not to have to go there!
For USA mail.... IF  I am already going out that day or the next.. I take it with me for the PO. I don't make a special trip.
Generally, I leave the package in my mailbox for my mail lady to get.. Or if I have a lot of packages that day or it is a nasty day-- I call the PO and have my mail lady pick up my packages at my door. You can contact the PO the night before or with my local PO-- if  I call early in the morning (before 9am) and before my mail lady has left the PO for the day-- she will stop in at my home and grab my packages. This saves me the gas and the time to go out and cuts down on my expenses. I can ship daily in that case. To many of you say you will only ship 1-2 days a week. There is no need for that-- if the postal worker can come to you.
Hoping that these ideas help you to streamline your shipping process.


  1. Dearest Linda,
    Those tips might work for you but I often need to ship international, even for Canada you need to fill out those papers and they have to be handled at the Post Office. It is already hard enough to guess the weight of my items and putting it on my website so when they purchase something the calculation is being made, based upon weight and state or country. At times I loose money and PayPal is great but they charge their fee! Also on the postage.
    Let's hope the future will still be bright for business, for all of us. We are in a bad and downward economy that is for sure. But people did vote for it; not us though...
    Hugs to you,

  2. In the USA-- I can fill out the customs forms drop off the package at the PO. Since I have a postal scale-- there is no guess on the weight of the item. Good luck to you also with your sales this year!

  3. Thanks for the great tips! I have always just gone to the post office, but if my business picked up significantly, I would definitely start doing what you do!

  4. I do most of these already but this is a Great article on shipping!