Sunday, March 13, 2011

How to Ship on Ebay

Today’s post is from Kelly at She is a wonderful blogger and along with her friend they have a very good blog I think every clothes reseller should visit!
Her insight on how she does shipping made my business a success. Just having a guideline for the cost of shipping makes posting, and defending your prices so much easier!

I'm sure there are many different methods for shipping, however, this is what has worked for me. If you have any tips to add, please leave a comment so we can all learn and benefit.

1. I use two different types of envelopes...
Envelope 1:

The flat rate priority mail envelopes are free from the post office- or you can go to and order them for free.
I use the priority flat rate envelope to ship anything that weighs 13oz or more. You won't believe how much you can pack in these envelopes. They cost $4.90 to mail and I charge the customer $6.95 (your handling fee will help pay your ebay and paypal fees)

Envelope 2:

I call this a manilla envelope. They have a metal clasp in the back. Mine measure 10x13 and I purchase them in a box at Sam's Club.
The manilla envelope is for items weighing less than 13oz (including the envelope and tape) I also use these for international shipping. You can ship up to 4lbs internationally in this envelope. Sending them first class mail will cost $1.80-$3.20 for domestic. I charge $4.95. They will cost anywhere between $5.00-13.00 to ship internationally (depends on weight and distance) and I charge $14.00. This higher handling fee covers three things

a. You will pay higher paypal fees because international shipping cost more and your fee is based on the total money sent to you. (item price plus shipping)

b. When shipping internationally you cannot use the automated machine. This means you may have to spend time waiting in line and you have to go during regular hours.

c. When shipping internationally you will need to complete a customs form.

International customers are generally very understanding about the higher shipping.

2. When I receive an email from paypal indicating a customer has paid for their ebay item, I fill out an envelope right then. First I look at the amount of shipping that's been charged, so I know what envelope to use. Next, I fill out the address label and lastly, I write what item needs to go in the envelope on the inside flap. They look like this...
On international items I write the price the item sold for so I can fill out the customs form when I pack the envelope.

3. Using my envelopes as my list, I go into my ebay room and pull everything that needs to be shipped. I bring my clothes, envelopes, tape gun and customs forms to my kitchen table. (You can grab a stack of customs forms at the post office)

4. If it's over 13 oz it WILL fit into the priority envelope. (I've only had 2 items, really bulky jackets, that wouldn't fit) People often ask, "how do you ship your jeans? They won't fit in the flat rate envelope." Jeans easily fit- with a little practice. To demonstate, I'm going to show you how to pack this size large denim jacket (much bulkier than a pair of jeans) Lay the item flat...

Fold over...

Fold in arms...
Roll once...
Roll twice...
Now push it in the envelope...
This doesn't look like it will fit, does it? Here's where you need to really pack it in. First I stand up the envelope and tap it on the table- This will settle the item in. Then I use my hands to tuck in the item as I roll the envelope over...

It may not be pretty, but it's in. I use a piece of tape to secure the envelope...
The post office will allow a piece of tape to go from indentation to indentation- no taping the sides. Where my fingers are in this picture is about where the indentations are.
Here's my packages all ready to mail. To conveniently transport them to the post office I stack them in these great recycle bags...

I don't like to have stuff laying around so I generally ship 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) My 18 year old daughter loves to drive and so is the primary person to do the shipping. If you're unable to go to the post office during regular hours you can ship domestic

items using the automated postal center...

Don't be afraid- it's wonderful. Typically there's no line and after a little practice you'll get really fast. However, if I'm going during the day, I usually let the post office workers do my shipping. You will be asked if you want delivery confirmation, tracking number, etc. Unless it is an expensive item (Over $30.00), I just send it regular mail. I have had 3 packages lost in the course of selling hundreds of items. When the customer says they haven't received their package, I usually ask them to wait an additional week and recontact me. If they contact me again in a week, I have to trust they're being honest and issue a full refund. I do not include a packing slip with my items. Computer ink is expensive so just the item goes in the envelope. The customer receives an email invoice from ebay when the auction ends and an email invoice from me. I have had 1 customer say she would have liked a packing slip. When I first started selling on ebay I really took each criticism from my customers to heart. I wasn't experienced, so if a customer made a suggestion I followed it. However, I've learned that some people can just be really picky and negative. If you have a system that works, don't let one comment change your method. If several people make the same comment, then it's time to rethink your strategy. We all want to keep our expenses down and our profits high.


I do things a touch different by sending out priority mail and posting it from home. I have to either do postal pickup (if I have no plans to go out) or I take it and drop it off at the nearby post office (which is inside a bank about 2 miles away!
As far as the kiosk, which I love, it is about 4 miles away but in-route to a lot of places I go, so I use it as often as I can, for some reason it seems cheaper then doing it with a person. I calculated it and I save the 19 cents confirmation charge -required to be paid online- and 17 cents per item just because their scales ring it up that way. That a lot of savings over time.
And no, I don't have trouble with not putting confirmation on my cheaper sales. If a customer is unhappy, a little confirmation number usually doesn't make them any happier and they still want their money back!


  1. Great post. I recently started shipping from home. If you don' should try it. It's fantastic. I've always had the mindset that I want to hand the package over..but its cheaper, priority mail includes free del. confirmation, and you don't have to leave the house.

  2. I love shipping from home but I only do it for the priority mail. The other ones I can save about 36 cents on each package if I take it to the post office. That is the 19 cents for the confirmation and for some reason each package was 17 cents cheaper. A postal worker said that all the digital home scales are calculated to do a higher weight so that must be it. In this biz, every penny counts!