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General shipping questions, tips and answers

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So I've been getting some really good deals on some sets and the bidders on eBay are eating them up...but, I feel like I lose dang near all my profit from shipping. Costs are outrageous and I can never seem to get it right when trying to plan. Anybody have advice? I'm new to all this so any help is greatly appreciated! :)

 

My advice is to either stick to selling items on ebay where your selling and shipping fees are a much lower percentage of your profits or to bundle items together to spread shipping cost across multiple items. Sure you can raise prices on what you have going now but your sales will suffer. Hang in there and keep trying and down the line you will figure out what makes financial sense to sell online and what doesn't. There is no substitute for experience.

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It helps if you are top rated plus and get the shipping discounts on ebay. Try to qualify for this. Don't be afraid of offering a return policy. I have only had 2 returns ever. Also, for items weighing more than 3-4 pounds consider using Fedex instead of Priority. It can be much cheaper depending on where you are shipping. Just offer generic expedited shipping in your listing and then you can decide if you want to use Priority or Fedex. 

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Thank you all very much! I've been lucky so far, not lost any money, but just curious as how I could increase profit. I will definitely take all of the suggestions. Cheers!

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Does anyone have problem printing USPS labels on eBay? I keep getting the "Unable to resolve the server's DNS address" error message.

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I person wants me to ship to Canada, but I have never done this. What is involved and how much does it cost?

If they pay through PayPal and you print the label through PayPal you don't do anything but fill in the extra customs form right in PayPal.

From Can to US you just have to declare value, describe, and give the weight of each item in the parcel.

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Hi! New eBay seller here. Someone earlier today asked about shipping to Canada, which answered some questions I had about that, but now I have a potential buyer asking about shipping to Germany. Any advice on that? This is my very first listing/sale, so I listed US only, just trying to get my feet wet, as it were, but the quantities requested are high enough to make me consider it. The items concerned are 10-20 polybags. Thoughts, comments, and potential concerns are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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If you can fit it in a small flat rate box, you can ship cheaply to Europe but use the GSP if you aren't sure and let eBay take care of shipping it overseas and you are only responsible to get the package to Kentucky.

Ex astris, scientia.

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IMHO, international shipping where you handle all the forms just isn't worth it.  I've literally spent hours at the post office with ridiculous forms to send items outside the US.  Global shipping services, such as eBays GSP are the only way to go.   I still get pleading e-mails from overseas buyers to ship direct, but unless they're willing to pay for my time and assume all liability, its just not worth it to me.  And my time isn't cheap.  

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^^ Thank you for comments, redghostx. I forgot to mention, there is no free shipping involved. The auction has calculated shipping, so I'm not worried about having to eat costs. I'm more interested in reliability and expediency. The GSP sounds easy and relatively risk-light. Are there drawbacks to this? And considering that I don't have to worry about shipping costs, is it still the best choice? I don't know how to go about it, but a bit of looking should solve that. I think my biggest concern is customs. I just...have no idea. I'll be looking into it more in depth once I get off work, but until then...!

 

 

Thanks!

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^^ Thank you for comments, redghostx. I forgot to mention, there is no free shipping involved. The auction has calculated shipping, so I'm not worried about having to eat costs. I'm more interested in reliability and expediency. The GSP sounds easy and relatively risk-light. Are there drawbacks to this? And considering that I don't have to worry about shipping costs, is it still the best choice? I don't know how to go about it, but a bit of looking should solve that. I think my biggest concern is customs. I just...have no idea. I'll be looking into it more in depth once I get off work, but until then...!

 

 

Thanks!

From what I've read the GSP is going to be more expensive for a buyer, but it simplifies things on your end quite a bit.  You won't have to deal with customs. 

You should be able to edit the auction to allow the GSP as a shipping option.  Then you just have to ship to ebay's shipping center.  PayPal will take an additional ~1% for an international buyer.

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IMHO, international shipping where you handle all the forms just isn't worth it.  I've literally spent hours at the post office with ridiculous forms to send items outside the US.  Global shipping services, such as eBays GSP are the only way to go.   I still get pleading e-mails from overseas buyers to ship direct, but unless they're willing to pay for my time and assume all liability, its just not worth it to me.  And my time isn't cheap.  

So, things may have changed since you gave up international shipping. But everything can be done quickly online and your items can be dropped off at post office or picked up by postal carrier without you having to wait for anything. Just an FYI. On Paypal and USPS.com, the customs forms are literally one more page to complete. A few line items, done. You just need to be cognizant of the max. size rules just like when you ship domestically.

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Haha. Everybody is zone 8 for me. But as mentioned above I add shipping to all my auctions but list as free shipping. That way it's covered by the seller. I still sell at my prices and make good profit. Just gotta know the weight and size limits in order to maximize profits. Grab free boxes when you can and order materials in bulk.

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^^ Thank you for comments, redghostx. I forgot to mention, there is no free shipping involved. The auction has calculated shipping, so I'm not worried about having to eat costs. I'm more interested in reliability and expediency. The GSP sounds easy and relatively risk-light. Are there drawbacks to this? And considering that I don't have to worry about shipping costs, is it still the best choice? I don't know how to go about it, but a bit of looking should solve that. I think my biggest concern is customs. I just...have no idea. I'll be looking into it more in depth once I get off work, but until then...!

 

 

Thanks!

My reference to the small flat rate box is not about profit/loss but that it is EASY to ship and you can fill the form out online with USPS and be done with it.  GSP is the way to go because the buyer pays all shipping fees and customs/import taxes up front, this USUALLY leads to a small increase for the buyer but I have been surprised to find that a few times, the shipping/import fee has been cheaper than I can offer on my own.  If you use the GSP, then eBay takes care of customs for you and you limit your risk in the package getting lost or misplaced.  There is an entire section on eBay about the GSP and I recommend that you read it as it is thorough. :)

 

There is something wonderful about selling something to Europe, Asia, or Australia and simply dropping it off, postage paid, with no waiting, no paperwork, and no worries.

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So, things may have changed since you gave up international shipping. But everything can be done quickly online and your items can be dropped off at post office or picked up by postal carrier without you having to wait for anything. Just an FYI. On Paypal and USPS.com, the customs forms are literally one more page to complete. A few line items, done. You just need to be cognizant of the max. size rules just like when you ship domestically.

I've tried the online forms. My backwards (and only) local post office still relies on a procedure manual from 1927. I tried to just "drop off the package". No joy. They scanned it, then insisted I fill out paper forms in person. Never again. I've had nothing but headaches at my local PO with international shipping.

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I've tried the online forms. My backwards (and only) local post office still relies on a procedure manual from 1927. I tried to just "drop off the package". No joy. They scanned it, then insisted I fill out paper forms in person. Never again. I've had nothing but headaches at my local PO with international shipping.

Do you have an theorized ship center in your town/city? I have a Parcel Express and I am able to drop stuff off at either place which is nice because I can pick where I want to drop off items depending on what it is and where I am in town.

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Do you have an theorized ship center in your town/city? I have a Parcel Express and I am able to drop stuff off at either place which is nice because I can pick where I want to drop off items depending on what it is and where I am in town.

I don't. I live in an isolated small town with a busy post office. Drop offs require standing in line, which can be long.

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I printed a FedEx label through ebay, I assumed the address was a residential address and marked the label as such, but after checking the address on Google maps it doesn't appear to be residential.  Will FedEx still charge me for home delivery even if it's not a residence?  I went to void the label, but it says you can't because they don't charge until the item is delivered, so I assume I just trash the current label and print a new one if I want to correct it?  I think it's only like $3 difference so it's not the end of the world, I'm more curious than anything.  Thanks.

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I printed a FedEx label through ebay, I assumed the address was a residential address and marked the label as such, but after checking the address on Google maps it doesn't appear to be residential.  Will FedEx still charge me for home delivery even if it's not a residence?  I went to void the label, but it says you can't because they don't charge until the item is delivered, so I assume I just trash the current label and print a new one if I want to correct it?  I think it's only like $3 difference so it's not the end of the world, I'm more curious than anything.  Thanks.

​Yep just throw it away. With Fedex you don't get charged for the label until it gets scanned during shipping. Always a good idea to google map the address prior to purchasing to save a few bucks if it is a commercial address and not residential.

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Not really a shipping question, but I've just had my first ever sale of anything on ebay and was wondering what's the done thing, should I put a comp slip or some kind of communication with the buyer in the envelope with the polybag, or just send it as is?

 

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Not really a shipping question, but I've just had my first ever sale of anything on ebay and was wondering what's the done thing, should I put a comp slip or some kind of communication with the buyer in the envelope with the polybag, or just send it as is?

 

​You could print out the order details and add that, but I wouldn't bother with a  poly. Fine as it is.

I'd normally do it for larger sets.

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Not really a shipping question, but I've just had my first ever sale of anything on ebay and was wondering what's the done thing, should I put a comp slip or some kind of communication with the buyer in the envelope with the polybag, or just send it as is?

 

​I always add a packing slip no matter what.  It just looks more professional.

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Not really a shipping question, but I've just had my first ever sale of anything on ebay and was wondering what's the done thing, should I put a comp slip or some kind of communication with the buyer in the envelope with the polybag, or just send it as is?

 

​Yes, add a packing slip. As above poster said, it's more professional. And, when you get buyers who buy a lot of LEGO or a lot of duplicate items, it helps them to not confuse you with other sellers. The last thing you want to do is eat a negative that some other seller earned because you didn't i.d. your package contents and the buyer made a guess.

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