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Topic: Tips for keeping the cost of shipping and packaging low  (Read 3115 times)
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« on: July 07, 2010 07:36:45 AM »

Wow I can't believe I've been a member since 2004 and haven't posted anything  Huh

Anyways, would like to get tips on getting price breaks on shipping through USPS and packaging materials. I'm always shocked that some people can offer free shipping and I'm wondering how I could do the same. Also are there any good sites for purchasing discount packaging material (I create jewelry FYI, but also looking into reselling vintage items)

Thanks for the tips!
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2010 10:09:17 AM »

Here are a few things I do to keep shipping and packaging low:

-Reuse boxes or make your own box if you have an oddly shaped item.  You can turn a box inside out to reuse for business purposes (just don't do this with a Priority Mail box--that's illegal).  The worst thing to have to do is buy boxes. 

-Reuse packing materials, like packing peanuts, paper wrapping,  bubble wrap--as long as it's clean, dry, and odor free no one will know where it came from.  Also use newspaper or dollar store plain tissue paper.

-Use the smallest size box or envelope possible.  Bubble mailers rock!

-Ship First Class instead of Priority whenever possible--ESPECIALLY internationally!

-Get Delivery Confirmation.  Yes, this is an extra 80 cents, but it's proof you sent the item in case your buyer would say they didn't get the item.

-I also don't sell things that I know will require a lot of postage (big stuffed things, mostly)--if you want to make pillows, just make the cases and have the buyer stuff it themselves. 

-Use Parcel Post for big packages unless they need to be rushed.

Good luck! Smiley

Wallets, Jewelry, & Home Decor from Recycled Materials: http://sugarshoxcrafts.etsy.com

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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2010 12:32:39 PM »

Thank you for the tips!

I'd also like to know about any good wholesale sites out there for packaging. I'm sure I will have to buy this stuff at some point Smiley

And am I living in a fantasy world or is there a way to get a price break from USPS if you do a lot of shipping??
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2010 03:30:18 PM »

Hi surrealsignal

What sugarshox said is generally correct, be efficient with your packaging, width, height and length all matter if you are trying to post for as cheap as possible.

I would say if your products have a general size go onto Ebay and get a bulk deal on say 50 or 100 small bubblemailers or boxes, there are LOADS of suppliers on Ebay for packaging.

USPS is just a standard mailing service so you wont get a break from them, doesn't matter how much you ship, they charge per package.

It is possible to get a good deal from a proper courier, but it would probably only be in your interests if you were shipping tons of goods every day, I assume you are in the beginning phases of business so you have a while to go yet for this to apply to you.

But don't worry about all that start slow & choose a good price for your products, if you incorporate packaging in your pricing then you can ship for free also.
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« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2010 06:50:06 AM »

Uline.com has shipping stuff for the best prices around. You might get a deal on ebay, but make sure they don't kill you on shipping and find someone you can go back to and get the same stuff. Searching around for bargains sometimes takes more time than it's worth.

If someone told me I had to stuff my own pillow, I'd leave their shop immediately...

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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2010 10:28:03 PM »

My personal favorite for shipping supplies: www.lintonlabels.com

A lot of those places that always offer free shipping have actually increased their prices to totally cover shipping, then just dropped the shipping. (Not all, but many do this.)

Are you charging actual shipping cost or are you charging for the mailer, packaging, etc also? Make sure all your costs are covered!

If you use Endicia or some of those other online postage printy sites, they'll often give you a small discount on shipping price. I use Endicia, and not only does it hide the actual shipping cost on the label (so that customers don't think I'm overcharging when I'm actually just charging shipping + packaging) but it gives a small discount and free delivery confirm. It does cost on a monthly basis, but I ship a fair amount so it's totally worth it for me.

Hope some of this helps!

« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2010 06:29:56 PM »

Uline.com has shipping stuff for the best prices around. You might get a deal on ebay, but make sure they don't kill you on shipping and find someone you can go back to and get the same stuff. Searching around for bargains sometimes takes more time than it's worth.

If someone told me I had to stuff my own pillow, I'd leave their shop immediately...

The only reason I am contemplating selling pillow covers instead of actual pillows is because of the shipping and cost of materials.  I just can't find a way to make stuffed pillows both affordable to the buyer and cost-effective to me to sell.  Both shipping & material cost (we're not even talking about labor)are so high that I would have to charge a lot to just break even on the sale--I don't think a customer would want to pay $8-$10 in shipping costs (my regular size stuffed guys cost about $4 to ship, and pillows would be 2 to 3 times bigger). Stuffing is also expensive with the cost of that material in itself--unless you're using fiberfill (which loses its resiliency after a month or so), pillow forms are expensive to be buying, especially for larger size pillows!

Wallets, Jewelry, & Home Decor from Recycled Materials: http://sugarshoxcrafts.etsy.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/sugarshoxcrafts
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2010 06:52:38 PM »

USPS actually does offer a slight price break if you set up a business account and have it so that you can calculate and print out your shipping labels online. You need a shipping scale, because you'll need to enter the weight of the package. It makes it easier because then you don't have to stand in line at the post office either, and you can actually schedule for the postman to pick it up from your house.

USPS also offers some free shipping supplies through their website. I know you can get most of the flat rate priority mail packaging for free. You just have to set up an account and order it through their site.

« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2010 06:31:57 AM »

Thanks for all the great tips and sites everyone. I can tell this is a topic on everybody's mind, not just my own Smiley And Sugarshox I totally agree with you, the idea is to sell the highest quality product without getting hammered by shipping expenses (from both the seller and the buyer). I firmly believe that if you make something to sell you should make a profit (unless its a trade with someone)
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2010 01:27:10 PM »

I sell and ship mostly clothing items so I always ship priority. The boxes are free and the actual cost to ship priority vs. parcel post is never more than it would cost to purchase boxes/packaging to ship it in. Also, as a bonus, the USPS will deliver the boxes right to my home and pick them up for me.

« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2010 11:11:14 PM »

i get boxes from local businesses, find out when their deliveries come in and ask for their empty boxes.  you take them and it saves them having to trash them so most are happy to do this. grocery store milk boxes are perfect for storage but they don't have lids, but most other boxes have flaps.  my fiance works at toys r us and brings home boxes for me every week as needed.
i also use blank newsprint as packing material and to cover boxes.  call your local newspaper and ask for the ends of the rolls of newsprint.  they sell them for around a dollar each and there's still a ton of paper on them, it just wont work with their machines.  this is also great for pattern making and for kids to draw on since it's huge and cheap! (great table covering for a kids table too)

« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2012 01:52:37 AM »

when buying a pillow case/slip i would not expect to get a pillow aswell. everyone has pillows and they dont use them all at the same time - they just want a change in the covers. however buying a cushion for your couch i would usually see them pre-cushioned out and bought that way. rarely do you see cushion covers on their own for sale. well, thats just me and everyone i know though. great packaging tips very helpful thankyou!!

Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together.

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