How to Save Money when Shipping Items: a New eBay Seller’s Guide

Shipping fees can be a costly surprise to new eBay sellers who may not be familiar with sending items through the mail. Depending on the size and method of sourcing items, shipping fees can be the most expensive part of listing and selling items for some eBay sellers. Keep reading to discover seven ways to save money when shipping eBay items and improve your profits.

Weigh items before listing

After taking photos and measurements of your item, it is ideal to immediately package the item ready for shipping. Not only does this reduce the chance of damage before the item is shipped to the buyer, but it also helps with calculating shipping costs.

Before creating the listing, carefully wrap the item in protective packaging material and put it an appropriate box or padded mailer. Then, weigh the entire package using a digital scale. These can usually be purchased for less than $20.

Weighing the item in this manner makes using eBay’s Calculated Shipping option easy. Calculated Shipping automatically calculates the buyer’s shipping cost based on their location and the dimensions and weight of the package.

Read more about packaging items safely for shipping here.

Source cheap or free packaging materials

One area in which it is easy to save money is packaging materials. People who have recently moved often want to get rid of boxes, packing peanuts and bubble wrap quickly. Keep an eye out for packaging being offered on community websites and Facebook groups. Freecycle or Craigslist are also worth a look.

To purchase cheap packing supplies, consider eBay and Amazon. Prices can be very competitive, especially for packing tape. UPS and other shipping companies offer a free supply of limited packaging materials for customers. Avoid moving stores such as UHaul that tend to have a high markup on packaging supplies.

Whichever method you choose to use to find cheap packaging supplies, make sure the materials are fit for purpose before using. Boxes should be clean and sturdy. Don’t skimp on fillers that will help prevent item damage.

Shipping company discounts

Sellers are eligible for substantial USPS and FedEx discounts when using eBay labels. There are discounted international shipping options as well as domestic. The biggest discounts are available for eBay sellers who complete more than 300 transactions every month.

There is no formal enrollment process required to access these discounts, though sellers must print USPS and FedEx shipping labels through Seller Hub or My eBay to be eligible.

eBay sellers are also able to access special discounts with UPS. Sellers looking to take advantage must first sign up for a UPS account with their eBay seller ID. After completing a sale, sellers then need to access their UPS account to purchase and print shipping labels.

More quick tips for saving money on shipping on eBay

Here are a few more ways to save money when shipping eBay items, from combined shipping discounts to shipping insurance.

Offer combined shipping discounts to buyers

eBay has a number of different ways to offer combined shipping discounts to buyers. Offering this kind of discount can not only save both buyer and seller money but also incentivize buyers to purchase more items.

It is easy to set up shipping rules that will automatically add a discount to the shipping cost for buyers who do purchase more than one item.

Always compare shipping prices

Don’t assume that all shipping companies are equal and have the same pricing structures. Depending on the weight, dimensions, desired speed of delivery and destination of the item, shipping costs can vary between companies.

As a new seller, it is important to shop around and experiment with shipping. With time and experience, choosing a shipping company will become second nature.

Buy extra shipping insurance

Though it may not seem a money saver at the time of purchase, having shipping insurance can save sellers a lot of money in the long run.

With eBay’s Money Back Guarantee offering buyers a full refund in the event that an item does not arrive, sellers can easily find themselves out of pocket. Having shipping insurance can definitely help in these unforeseen and unfortunate situations.

A final tip – Never overcharge for shipping

eBay is not favorable towards sellers who charge high or excessive rates for shipping. Sellers who offer free or low cost shipping on the other hand, are rewarded with higher visibility and ranking.

eBay aside, it is not secret that free shipping has become a common selling point for many online retailers. Some buyers will actively search for matched listings with the lowest shipping costs.

While offering a fair price on shipping in all listings may not immediately be a money saver, it can however prove to be more profitable in the long run.

Read more about getting shipping rates right here.

Veteran eBay sellers, do you have any tips of your own for saving money when shipping items?

Gemma is our all things eBay expert. Originally from the UK, she now lives in Canada and travels extensively. You can read about her travels at her blog Off Track Travel.

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