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USPS Rate Hike: Your Reselling Business Can Still Come Out a Winner

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In addition to the things justapilgrim listed above, just going have to raise prices on listings accordingly...

I only use the USPS. Free supplies for smaller sets. 99% of the time I use carrier pick-up because my mail person is awesome!

I just wish the USPS had supplies for larger sets like the GE, TB, and others.  

Edited by jgschmieg3

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Be sure to check the latest international rates!!

The first class international rate categorizations changed...meaning, you will now pay the same for 9 oz as you will for 32 oz. And 64 oz increased dramatically.

Priority international increased quite steeply, as well.

Update your listings if you offer international shipping yourself!!

 

Also --- I noticed on the 123 Price List, that commercial domestic first class package weights go up to 15.9 oz...what is the deal with that??

Also also --- the "minimum weight" for domestic first class used to be 3 oz. It is now 8 oz. Meaning from 1 oz to 8 oz, you will pay for 8 oz.

Edited by minicoopers11
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11 hours ago, justapilgrim said:

"The sky is falling!!" USPS to raise shipping rates as much as 25%

Unless you are completely new to the selling side of Lego investing, you have probably heard that the United States Postal Service is increasing shipping rates. There are plenty of articles and news stories documenting why they are doing this, and that is not what this blog entry is for. There are even plenty of news articles that will help the eBay sellers navigate the new fee structure for shipping, a decent summary can be found HERE I had been meaning to make a post about this topic earlier in time for the Christmas rush, but I figured that with this news, it would fit in nicely with our new Blog/News series that Brickpicker has been developing.

How to "win" at shipping

The difference in a successful Lego investor/seller and one that is just scraping by with small margins can be as simple as understanding your shipping options, and ways to save money.

  • If you use the USPS for your primary shipping option, use their free shipping supplies. Looking at their website, the USPS offers 73 different options of free shipping supplies  It always makes me wonder when fellow brickpickers post their deals on Staples boxes if they are paying for their boxes and then turning them around and using the USPS services. The Game Board shipping box with outside dimensions: 24-1/16" x 11-7/8" x 3-1/8" is one of my stand by for those medium sized sets. Feel free to "make your own" size, just be sure to use the USPS service. These supplies can be delivered straight to your house at no charge and can be rather convenient.
  • This goes with the first post, but know your box sizes and know your flat rate costs. Did you know that an entire set of 9 Mixels fit perfectly in a padded flat rate shipping envelope? These you can ship anywhere in the USA for around $6. Will that set you sell fit in a medium flat rate box? (did you know that there are two versions of this? a flat and a square one?) Know your dimensions, know your sets. You can be overpaying for your shipping without even knowing it. For loose Lego or anything in a polybag, the padded flat rate shipping option is amazing. There are probably options out there that you don't know exist. What is a regional rate box? Do a little of your own research and you may find better options than you are currently using.
  • Make a shipping plan. This is mostly for the eBay sellers, but it's good to have a plan with any time you will be doing shipping. There is nothing more deflating than paying an extra $20 or more to ship to Hawaii, Alaska or Puerto Rico (all in the US) or some other obscure territory that you didn't know existed and is suddenly hot after your Lego sets. I personally ask buyers living those states to ask for a shipping quote (include that in all your listings!!), I will also make a note that I will add an extra $10 or $20 to cover the extra expenses. I am 100% convinced that there are people living in all these remote places that do a lot of their online shopping to take advantage of those that don't know any better.
  • Reuse shipping boxes. This doesn't work if Amazon is your primary selling venue, but if one isn't already doing this, they need to start. Your Tumblers just arrive in mint condition? Well, tape that box right back up (after you remove the invoice sheet) and put it into cold storage as is. If you do most of your buying online this should be a no brainer. For the larger sets that I end up building, I break down the large boxes and keep them in the garage. Chances are your local Staples or Walmart doesn't carry a  decent box option in hand for exclusive sized sets, so start building your stash.
  • Use cheaper options, but know their unique tricks too. I live in a small town that doesn't have a FedEx or a UPS store. Scheduling a pickup is an option, but I am a little concerned with theft, and it doesn't usually fit into my schedule. There is a Ma and Pop type shipping place in town that charges $3 to drop off a package. I think I probably left 20 packages there before the lady told me one of their little secrets. A lot of FedEx shipments use both the USPS and FedEx trucks. Look at your label. If there is both a USPS and FedEx barcode on the label, you can just drop off at your nearest post office and pocket your $3.
  • Become the master bundler. If you don't know the maximum weight of your first class package, you probably don't dabble in the small stuff, or are just new to this. Well, it is 13oz. Did you know that a lot of polybags are so light you can fit 5-10 in one first class package? I have found that as my ebay presence has grown, and I have navigated the shipping challenges, I have been able to use that to make more money. For international buyers that are requesting a quote, I always let them know that I can add any small items for little or no extra charge. I have been pleasantly surprised how many will add a few polybags or loose minifigures. They are already paying shipping so they are saving quite a bit buy just adding on to their existing order. One of the things I like most about eBay is the ability to create your own bundle. You may be the only listing with Star Wars and Friends sets. By sending them to the same buyer you can save by shipping them together.
  • Time your auctions accordingly. This is probably most important for the West and East coast sellers, but it is good to know, If I live on the West Coast, time your auctions to end at a decent time for West Coast people, when all the East Coast people and their expensive shipping rates are in bed. This is going to take some trial and error, and will greatly depend on your volume of sales. Once you get into a groove you may be surprised how much you save selling closer to home. This also works with the "or best offer" option. This lets you screen where you send your Lego and give priority to those that live close.

I probably left out plenty of other tricks, but this is a good start I think. What did I leave out? What are your secrets?

*photo credit is from the USPS website, I figure they won't mine if we send them some traffic*

USPS.jpg

 

View full blog article

 

It looks like the game board box ships for the Large Flat Rate price? 

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I'm not a fan of the USPS long boxes. Too thin and they bend, crush, & warp too easy.  Maybe you haven't received complaints, so I must not be your customer.  I know many folks here use them, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

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First class now is 16oz, not 13oz. And you don't need to do free shipping - use calculated shipping by eBay until you get a feeling for the costs, and you should be just fine.

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7 minutes ago, jgschmieg3 said:

It looks like the game board box ships for the Large Flat Rate price? 

Yes it is used for Large Flat Rate only which costs $18.75 and used to cost $16.85.  Unless you are shipping coast to coast or HI or AK, I'm not sure this is such a good deal.  I can buy boxes for medium sized sets for ~$1 or less in bulk from Staples.com and shipping via Priority Mail (non-flat rate) should be much cheaper than $18.75 in most cases.  Having said that, I do stock up on non-flat rate Priority Mail boxes from USPS which come in very handy for smaller sets.

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17 minutes ago, dinner41 said:

First class now is 16oz, not 13oz. And you don't need to do free shipping - use calculated shipping by eBay until you get a feeling for the costs, and you should be just fine.

Is it? Tested this in paypal yesterday...new rates were in effect, of course, but it was still limiting first class to 13 oz...

16 minutes ago, zskid00 said:

Yes it is used for Large Flat Rate only which costs $18.75 and used to cost $16.85.  Unless you are shipping coast to coast or HI or AK, I'm not sure this is such a good deal.  I can buy boxes for medium sized sets for ~$1 or less in bulk from Staples.com and shipping via Priority Mail (non-flat rate) should be much cheaper than $18.75 in most cases.  Having said that, I do stock up on non-flat rate Priority Mail boxes from USPS which come in very handy for smaller sets.

I've only ever found flat rate boxes to be useful for shipping de-boxed sets. Sometimes it is more cost-effective for a boxed set to Zone 8, but that is rare for me. Padded flat rate envelopes on the other hand are freaking amazing.

 

 

Edited by minicoopers11

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I rarely find a flat rate option that works best for me.  I dont know how many times I have got the thing packaged up only to see that I would save more than a buck to ship normal priority rate.  Someone already mentioned it but those long board game boxes do more harm than good.  My mother use to send them across the state with goodies for my daughters and I cant think of anytime that it arrived in decent shape.  Split right down the middle 2 different times.  Also the regional rate boxes work out for me even less.   Might have to do with me being in the corner of the country but im not sure on that one.

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Just wanted to point out a a few options. How many people knew that you can drop off FedEx shipments at a post office? I shipped some.ebay sales out this morning, first class has increased to 16 oz. Great for people selling Lego by the pound

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15 minutes ago, wsuskee said:

I rarely find a flat rate option that works best for me.  I dont know how many times I have got the thing packaged up only to see that I would save more than a buck to ship normal priority rate.  Someone already mentioned it but those long board game boxes do more harm than good.  My mother use to send them across the state with goodies for my daughters and I cant think of anytime that it arrived in decent shape.  Split right down the middle 2 different times.  Also the regional rate boxes work out for me even less.   Might have to do with me being in the corner of the country but im not sure on that one.

Regional rate A and B are merely "2-pound flat weight" and "4-pound flat weight" boxes, respectively. No idea what the deal with C is, the cost is always absurd.

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15 minutes ago, justapilgrim said:

Just wanted to point out a a few options. How many people knew that you can drop off FedEx shipments at a post office? I shipped some.ebay sales out this morning, first class has increased to 16 oz. Great for people selling Lego by the pound

I wonder if this (16 oz first class) is available for commercial plus only? Are you top-rated seller?

Edit: there's only retail and commercial for domestic first class parcels now (no base or plus anymore). Think PayPal was just not fully up to date yesterday.

 

Edited by minicoopers11

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11 minutes ago, minicoopers11 said:

I wonder if this (16 oz first class) is available for commercial plus only? Are you top-rated seller?

I see it and I am top rated. 

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Yeah, I just had to ship a box to the other side of the country.. yowser.  That cut into my margins a little bit. 

I'm also not a fan of using their boxes.  If you want to ding your rating, then go for it... but, I wouldn't recommend that route, unless it's something small and easy to protect.  And if that's the case, then it's probably an item that would fall under the 16 oz rule.

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9 minutes ago, minicoopers11 said:

I understand the sentiment to not want to use the flimsy free boxes...

But...here are sturdy free non-flate-rate boxes that are invaluable. The last one is a new, larger size. I presume it's the same quality as the first two.

I use some of those, just not the long 3"W boxes.

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I feel like if a 25% increase in shipping is going to ruin you, you aren't doing this right.

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whom at amazon, may ask, will police what kind of boxes you use? i know its against their "policy" but recycling boxes in good condition works for me and i have not had a single complaint thus far. i have also received packages from the third party vendors that obviously recycled; these were still better packaged than amazon brand flimsy POS boxes. 

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2 hours ago, minicoopers11 said:

I wonder if this (16 oz first class) is available for commercial plus only? Are you top-rated seller?

Edit: there's only retail and commercial for domestic first class parcels now (no base or plus anymore). Think PayPal was just not fully up to date yesterday.

 

I did notice the maximum weight for First Class Package has been raised to 16 oz., and I am not a top-rated eBay seller. 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.08.23 PM.png

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1 hour ago, MarxMarvelous said:

I feel like if a 25% increase in shipping is going to ruin you, you aren't doing this right.

sure isnt going to ruin one, but if youre small parts or minifig dealer of mostly 1-3 oz packages thats a ~$.60 increase on EVERY package which is quite a hike if you ask me

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50 minutes ago, jerryherb said:

sure isnt going to ruin one, but if youre small parts or minifig dealer of mostly 1-3 oz packages thats a ~$.60 increase on EVERY package which is quite a hike if you ask me

I agree. It's not going to ruin me, but it takes a bit of the fun out of selling on eBay for me. Just about anything I could get my hands on was worth throwing up on eBay, which was fun. One day I happened upon a pile of rusty rail road nails at the train station. I took a picture and listed ten of them on the spot. Sold a week later to someone in Japan. It's fun to look at the world with eBay colored glasses.

 

Now, I have to find things that are actually worth something. I always had the feeling the ultralow Commercial Base Plus prices would have to end at some point. But it was fun while it lasted.

 

I'm interested to see if eBay adds any new benefits to Top Rated status when Commercial Plus goes away all together in 2017. 20% off seller fees is not nearly as exciting as my sweet sweet Commercial Plus. 2017 may see Top Rated Sellers deciding it's no longer worth the effort.

Edited by randrace
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there isnt another shipping option for small packs either. USPS has monopoly on small lightweight packages so they do what they want. i thought there was a law that required a special permission to hike their first class mail above the inflation rates. makes you wonder why every shipper raised their prices since their major cost - fuel is relatively cheap. someone needs to develop a reliable peer-to-peer shipping option bypassing these 4$$#0I3$. it also gets to me that my company pays 1/4-1/2 what it costs me to ship stuff via fedex. perhaps we can all get together here at BP and negotiate a discount :)

Edited by jerryherb

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1 hour ago, brickinfinite said:

I did notice the maximum weight for First Class Package has been raised to 16 oz., and I am not a top-rated eBay seller. 

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 12.08.23 PM.png

Thanks. Still not working on paypal.com yet. Good to know it's working directly through ebay though.

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