This series is brought to you by Kimberly from Homemaking Expert. Kimberly is a stay-at-home mom who uses eBay to supplement her family’s income while her husband finishes college. She writes at Homemaking Expert about cleaning, cooking, budgeting and all other things related to making a house a home.
Packaging and shipping your items can be the most time consuming part of selling items on eBay. There are several tips that I have learned along the way that have really helped me to streamline this process. I only ship using the postal service, so my tips are specific to that option. You can also ship using FedEx or UPS, but I find that to be a bit more expensive and time consuming.
As I mentioned in the Listing Your Item-Part 2 post, I personally charge my buyers the shipping cost. Most people who purchase items online are expecting to pay for shipping so I don’t feel charging shipping deters people from purchasing from me.
To calculate shipping I weigh my item and then use eBay’s shipping calculator to determine what to charge. I always add one pound to the weight to account for a box or packaging materials. Then I charge the lowest shipping method, such as parcel post or priority flat rate. I let my buyer know in the description that the cheapest shipping is rarely the fastest and if they’d like a faster method to let me know and I’d tell them what the difference is that they need to pay.
(Note – the shipping calculator is available at this link and in the listing section where you choose your shipping cost for the item.)
As I mentioned in the Getting Started post, I rarely pay for packing supplies. I find boxes to reuse, keep newspapers and magazines to use for packaging and save brown paper bags to use to wrap items. If you are shipping an item with Priority services, those boxes are available for free at the post office or you can order them online for free and have them delivered to you.
The only packaging supply that I ever pay for is tape and larger manila envelopes. And those supplies I purchase at The Dollar Tree.
I always try to have my item out to ship within 48 hours of receiving payment. This is a bit obvious but extremely important - do not ship an item before you receive full payment for that item!
For the first 90 days of you being a new eBay seller, your money is held in your Paypal account until three days after the item shows delivered. So, the sooner you ship, the sooner you get paid. I always use eBay or Paypal to print my shipping label so that the tracking number is automatically updated to my account and Paypal, eBay and the buyer can track the package easily.
Here is my process for shipping – on the last day of the auction I package for shipping everything that has sold. I then weigh each item and write on the package the weight and the contents. Then I make a list of the items and the weight of each and stack the packages in a closet waiting for payment.
Usually each buyer will pay within 3 days. As the item is paid for, I can reference my list for the weight, go through eBay to pay for a print the shipping label, cut the bottom half off of the label, which is your receipt, and tape the label to the package.
Here’s the best time saver tip – I schedule a pick up. That’s right, the mailman comes to my door and picks up the packages. You have to have at least one priority item to schedule a pick up, and you just go online, let them know where to get them, how many they are getting and what time you’ll be home. Then they pick them up! Great, huh?! You can run a business without ever even having to leave the house!
Tomorrow we will talk more about what happens when the customer receives the package. We’ll go over feedback and how important that is and what to do if you have an unsatisfied customer!
Upcoming Posts in This Series
What to Sell
Listing Your Items – Part 1
Listing Your Items – Part 2
Customer Service Tips
Tips for Success
My eBay Successes & Stumbles