Shipping - How do you handle it

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Forum topic by Don W posted 10-13-2011 03:58 PM 1989 views 1 time favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don W

19697 posts in 3418 days

10-13-2011 03:58 PM

I’ve been selling stuff on ebay for quite a while, but I’ve always found the shipping to be a hassle. I don’t mean I produce products specifically to sell, but just things I no longer want or need. I dislike the whole process so much I tend to hold on to things just so I don’t have to go through the shipping process. Once it’s sold you have to find a box, pack it so it’s shippable, figure out how to send it (ups or usps) and get it shipped.

I have no plans to ever do any of this kind of stuff for a living, but don’t mind making a few things to sell, and I have a slew of planes I’ve picked up tuned and restored because I enjoy doing it. I just don’t need them all and will never use them all. My wife loved to go antiquing, so it’s not like I’ll just stop buying this stuff.

So the question for everyone that seems to have mastered this processes is, where do you get the boxes, how do you weight it, how do you ship it? Is the process really this much of a pain, or am I just going about it all wrong?

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

24 replies so far

View CharlesAuguste's profile


126 posts in 3391 days

#1 posted 10-13-2011 04:09 PM

Well Don ive been selling stuff on e-bay for many years, and found the best way to ship is to use the USPS boxes and ship most item priority the buyers pays for the shipping i try my best to not make money with the shipping,
that way you dont fell like you been had when you get the package. I have a small digital scale that i use and you can figure out shipping cost on

-- "the future's uncertain and the end is always near" J. Morrison

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Don W

19697 posts in 3418 days

#2 posted 10-13-2011 04:19 PM

so you drive the package to the post office? Or is there a better way to pay for it and just stick it in the mailbox?

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 3543 days

#3 posted 10-13-2011 04:20 PM

Hey Don,

I do a fair bit of selling on ebay and also thru other site. I’ve found the key to sales thru the mail is really understanding the USPS fees and what they offer. Flat rate can really be your friend, you get the boxes for free, they mail them to your house and you can print postage from the USPS website once you setup a account. As for weight you need to buy a scale or borrow one at home. I found anything over a pound or so is worth sending flate rate anything less is not. My coworkers joke with me about how well I can quote what someone will cost and what box to get but I feel it’s really the key to sales.

Take some time and look over the boxes offered by the USPS, the local post office does not keep in stock all the flate rate boes they offer. You want to get to a point where your using the smallest boxes you can plus doing EVERYTHING at home and dropping off the boxes or having them come to your house and pick things up.

So other tips I’ve found helpful is try and have the actions all finish at the same time so your not boxing everything the same day.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3730 days

#4 posted 10-13-2011 04:47 PM

I am with you Don, I hate shipping items… However here are my tips..

I order my fair share of planes and when they are sent to me I often save the boxes and fillers that they used. I don’t let them pile up but I always keep some on hand for when I sell something. I just re use the box and bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

As for the hassle of going to the PO… If you pick up a scale you can weigh your packages yourself and print the shipping labels right off ebay and its paid off the pay pal account… I don’t do this personally because I don’t have a scale but this seems like it would be really easy… Then you just have to drop the box off.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View WayneC's profile


14359 posts in 4947 days

#5 posted 10-13-2011 04:59 PM

Shipping has been my main barrier for using ebay. I have a bunch of things I could sell.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3811 days

#6 posted 10-13-2011 05:04 PM

Check with the USPS. I think that you can arrange for pick up at no charge. The flat rate boxes are a great way to ship, even if it is something heavy up to a certain weight. They are trying to be competitive with the other carriers since the USPS lost a ton of money last year. Maybe you saw that they are considering cutting out Saturday delivery.

View DeputyDawg's profile


196 posts in 4815 days

#7 posted 10-13-2011 05:49 PM

You really got some good reply’s and they are right on. We ship at least a couple of times a week and only use USPS
There rates are good, the boxes are free, and shipping them is a breeze. I did find a peanut packing item on craigslist, bought packing tape on big rolls, a digital scale from the post office. and the best part is to set up a account with USPS so you can weigh the package print the label and you can also notify them via email that you have a package to be picked up and they will be at you door the next day to pick it up if it will not fit in you mailbox. Also another tip is to use Regional Rate boxes. They are a little less shipping cost. Good luck and hope your frustration can be over.

-- DeputyDawg

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 3543 days

#8 posted 10-13-2011 10:48 PM

I really like Craigslist for some things. I’d easily take a 10% cut on price to not have to deal with the shipping but your right Craigslist people are looking for the deals and not the higher end goods. That said I used to sell industrial sewing machines and parts, mostly to students and meet some really nice people.

you gota love the “curb alert” thing on CL. if you don’t know what I’m talking about search in you local area.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View DS's profile


3547 posts in 3271 days

#9 posted 10-13-2011 11:18 PM

For a while I sold quite a bit on ebay… USPS Priority Mail is awesome.
I hated going to the post office because there was always a big line.

Set up an online account and get a scale.
You can print your postage at home and schedule a carrier pickup.
You’d never need to leave the house!

Packing materials were the most expensive part of shipping for me.
Here’s a tip: Shop for packing tape and bubble wrap at your local dollar store!
It is cheaper tape, but, on the bright side, it’s CHEAPER tape!

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Don W's profile

Don W

19697 posts in 3418 days

#10 posted 10-13-2011 11:26 PM

Thanks guys for all this information. It helps a lot. I see on ebay a 55 lb scale is pretty cheap. I think I’ll order one and see how that goes.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Retrowood's profile


117 posts in 3269 days

#11 posted 10-13-2011 11:33 PM

While I don’t sell on eBay any longer due to the fees involved, I sold for over 8 years basically depleting a household full of collectibles, books, tools,etc. I found that USPS is very reliable to use overall. If you frequent coffee shops, print shops, etc they will usually gladly retain boxes and packing materials for you as long as you regularly pick them up. I use a local firearms dealer as he hates all the boxes he receives items in and really likes it when I deplete his inventory. Buy packaging tape by the multiples, $ savings. I use confirmation of delivery on anything shipped Parcel and insure everything over $25.00. I code the boxes w/ a shipping cost, type, Insurance and if I want Confirmation of delivery. Saves a bunch of time and the counter people at P.O. really like it when you know just what you want when you step forward. Keep all receipts for validation of shipping, dates, Insurance, C/D and location shipped to. Once you get a system you might even enjoy it. You will also discover best times and days to ship on so you’re not standing in line for an hour.

-- Retrowood

View Brit's profile


8170 posts in 3693 days

#12 posted 10-14-2011 11:13 AM

Ok, this must be an issue with I sell mostly on and when you post your item for sale, there is a link to the Royal Mail site where you choose the service you want and enter the weight of the item and it tells you the cost which is shown on your post. After the item sells and you have received the payment, you click a link to print the postage label, pay for the postage with Paypal and the printer spews out the pre-paid label. It is nicely integrated with, although you don’t have use the service if you don’t want to. What I hate is when someone asks: “How much to ship the item to Outer Mongolia?” I must admit that on occasion I have just replied saying I’m not prepared to ship there simply because I can’t assed to find out the cost. :-)

The biggest pain is making or finding the boxes and packing the items. It is also the most time consuming part IMO. Such is life my friend. As far as weighing them is concerned, if I was doing it every day, I’d invest in a decent set of post office scales. Since I’m not, I use kitchen scales up to 2Kg and if the item is over that, I use a cheap spring balance which is meant for weighing your suitcase in oder to avoid paying excess baggage charges. Not very accurate, but works.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View need2boat's profile


544 posts in 3543 days

#13 posted 10-14-2011 06:00 PM


They do offer that here as well but I’ve found the prices are a bit higher. If you buy postage direct from USPS you get free email notification for you and the buyer and a discount on the price of shipping.

Now wile were on it. Lets talk about the USPS I agree it’s the best for the price but how many on this thread live in a major city. I’ve been having a LOT of issues with delivery and just plan old “I don’t give a crap attitude” when I have an issue. When I live in a small town, I had no issues but it’s a lot different here in NYC. What I’ve learned is if I”m sending high priced or to a major city I insure or try and use UPS.

If you’ve ever had to deal with a USPS clam it’s not fun. Often your waiting 8-10 weeks and ebay wants you as a seller to refund the price to the buyer ASAP.


-- Second Chance Saw Works Blog: Positive Rake

View pierce85's profile


508 posts in 3412 days

#14 posted 10-14-2011 07:08 PM

FYI – UPS does not offer insurance for packages. Most people think they’re buying insurance for their packages with UPS but they’re not. What you are buying is the right to declare a particular value above the undeclared maximum liability loss of $100. The nightmare of filing a claim with UPS is well known, and as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the biggest scams in the shipping industry – do a Google search.

From the horse’s mouth –

The USPS, on the other hand, does provide their customers with real insurance for their packages.

View Don W's profile

Don W

19697 posts in 3418 days

#15 posted 10-20-2011 01:34 PM

First, thanks everyone for the advice. It has helped. But….

Second, if anyone else is watching here are a few “newbie” mistakes maybe I can help other from avoid. I had a portable table saw I really didn’t use anymore so I posted it on ebay as local pickup only. I got bombarded with request to ship it everywhere. I finally agreed and had to cancel the first add and recreate it (more ebay fees). Then all of the requesters started throwing low ball prices at me. If I had known I would have just left it local pickup. I finally got a reasonable offer, went to the online shipping wizard for a quote, and sent an invoice. I go to actually ship the thing, go through the same wizard, but this time instead of $69 as quoted, its $82 to actually ship, plus another $12 to pick it up. Add the final $15 ebay fee and I would have let the saw sit in storage in case I ever needed it again.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

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