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I’ve talked to lots of people about selling on ebay.  Their one hesitation is usually shipping. Shipping on ebay can be intimidating for some poeple.

That doesn’t have to be you though!  I am going to break shipping down for you as simply as I can.  There is a certain amount of knowledge that you can only obtain from actually selling and shipping items 

You can avoid a lot of the headache if you understand how shipping methods work and how ebay charges for shipping. 

Using your local post office for shipping on ebay is not efficient, and it costs more.  

Ebay gets a commercial rate. Do take advantage of this.

Since you already know how to create a listing, let’s jump right into shipping!

There are two ways that you can charge for shipping on ebay:

1) Flat shipping- buyer pays your set price for shipping

2) Calculated shipping- buyer pays for shipping based on the shipping method and their distance from you

There are advantages and disadvantages for both.  With flat shipping, you must be close enough to the correct price without being way over or under.  This will come with experience.

You don’t want to overcharge on the shipping because it will decrease the number of potential buyers- they don’t want to pay high shipping fees, especially when sites like Amazon have a prime service with free shipping. 

Undercharging will put you in the hole.  

I will keep a dollar or two extra for my time/shipping supplies. If it is a large amount that I have overestimated, I will refund the buyer the excess.

I use both flat fee and calculated shipping.  The one I choose depends on the item.

It is also important to understand how each type of shipping works.  You need to know how you will be charged so that you can decide which method is better for you and for your buyer.

If you are unfamiliar with how postal zones are mapped, click here.  It is important to understand this before we move on.

Most common rates for shipping on ebay:

USPS Ground Advantage

-for packages weighing 70 lbs or less

-$100 insurance is included

-calculated by postal zone (distance from the seller to buyer) & weight

-replaced First Class Shipping

-use bubble mailers, poly mailers, and lightweight boxes for shipping, just not anything that says Priority Mail

USPS Priority Shipping

-for any packages up to 70 lbs and up to 108 inches in combined length (of the longest side ) and girth (the distance around the thickest part of the package)

-insurance for $50 for loss or damage is automatically included

-calculated by weight & postal zone (the distance from the seller to the buyer)

-best for shipping small, valuable items up to some mid-sized items.  Very large packages can be quite expensive to ship.

-use free supplies from USPS and any other shipping supplies that you choose.  I often use recycled boxes, just nothing with alcohol-related graphics or wording on the outside.  This is not allowed by USPS.

USPS Media Mail

-for any packages containing books or other media

-no insurance for damage or loss and is subject to inspection

-calculated by weight and dimensions, not distance

-slower than Priority Mail but much more cost effective for heavy books

-use bubble mailers or boxes, just nothing that says Priority Mail on it

USPS Cubic Rate for Priority

-cubic rate can only be accessed through Pirate Ship Shipping

-calculated by dimensions, not weight

-can be purchased for boxes or mailers (bubble or poly)

-not for tubes or packages over 20 lbs or 18 inches long

FedEx Ground or FedEx Home Delivery

-FedEx Ground is for any packages up to 150 lbs, up to 108″ in length and 165″ in length plus girth, FedEx Home Delivery is for any packages up to 70 lbs, up to 108″ length and 165″ in length plus girth

-calculated by weight, dimensions & zone

-delivery is typically 2-3 days

-much less expensive than Priority Mail for larger packages

-use any generic packaging you would like, nothing that says Priority Mail

-can only be delivered to a physical address

UPS Ground

-UPS Ground is for any packages up to 150 lbs, up to 108″ in length and 165″ in length plus girth

-calculated by weight, dimensions & zone

-day-definite delivery in 1-5 days

-much less expensive than Priority Mail for larger packages

-use any generic packaging you would like, nothing that says Priority Mail

-can only be delivered to a physical address

**important note- if you want to ship a package via FedEx or USP, be sure to exclude PO Boxes in your listing (near bottom of listing page) so that the buyer cannot buy with a PO Box shipping address.  Otherwise, you will have to pay for Priority Mail, and that will likely cost you quite a bit more, reducing your profit.

Ebay International Shipping

-restricted to the items that your buyer’s country will allow to be imported

-First Class International shipping does not include insurance, you will be responsible for loss or damage

-First Class international also has different weight parameters than domestic shipping, so read up on international shipping before you start

-Priority International shipping can be insured

-postage fees will rely heavily on distance, so calculated shipping would be the best option

-you can opt out of international shipping if you do not want to offer this, make sure you exclude other countries than your own in your listing

Ebay Global Shipping Program (GSP)

-all packages go to a central hub in Erlanger, Kentucky.  You are responsible for getting the item there, ebay is responsible for delivery, damage & loss.

-costs the buyer more in most cases because they are being charged a fee for the operation of the shipping hub & ebay’s employees

-your shipping costs will only be from your location to Kentucky, this will be like any other domestic sale.  Ebay will combine your shipping fee with their fees and international shipping rates into one price for the buyer.

-if you do not want to use the GSP, you need to opt out in your seller preferences.  It will most likely be added to each listing automatically, and it is easier to opt out than unchecking the box on every listing.

-more info about the GSP can be found here.

Pirate Ship Simple Export Rate

-cheapest international shipping for up to 4 lbs

-door to door tracking to 55 countries

-easy customs form printed on the label

-inexpensive insurance

-can only be added to your account by messaging Pirate Ship through their website

Click here to find out more about Simple Export Rate.  

Go here to find out more about how Pirate Ship works.

How to calculate shipping costs on ebay

If you used calculated shipping, there is an ebay shipping calculator built in. If you use flat shipping, it is up to you to determine shipping costs. Some people will use a website like Pirate Ship and enter a zip code to a city far away to decide the most something will cost and base their cost off of that. Some sellers will charge a flat rate based off a shipping rate table or off experience.

Whichever method you use, be sure to take into account the weight of shipping materials.

Just a few more tips:

  1.  If you are using calculated shipping, fill in the custom weight section near the bottom of the listing.  This will ensure that ebay collects the correct amount for shipping.  Unless you are using a bubble or poly mailer, you need to package the item and weigh it.  This works especially well with large packages.
  2. Handling charges can be added to calculated shipping so if you are going to be using special packing supplies like a moving box or more than the usual amount of packing peanuts, etc., you can add a handling charge in a box in the shipping info.  The buyer will only see the combined price (shipping price + handling fee).
  3. FedEx charges will show up on your monthly ebay invoice.  They are not deducted from your Paypal account when you purchase your shipping like with USPS.
  4. Unless you exclude countries that you do not want to ship to, you can still make sales to those countries, even if you check the no international shipping box.  It is very possible that you can offer both regular international shipping and GSP at the same time.  So opt out of one or both of them in your seller preferences so that you are not surprised by an international sale if you don’t want to sell internationally.
  5. Invest a few dollars in a postage scale.  This is a step you do not want to skip.
  6. You can offer more than one postage method.
  7. If you offer free shipping, you can add that into your price.  You are not responsible to provide it for free.  The buyer pays, whether the shipping is free or not.  When you are looking for completed items to determine your pricing, look to see which listings included free shipping or not and base your price accordingly.
  8. For First Class and Flat Rate Priority, the price is the same for APO addresses as well as Hawaii and Alaska.  Postal zones do not apply.

Related: A Cheat Sheet for the Best Ebay Shipping Supplies

Check out my video explaining all the ins and outs of shipping on ebay.

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