Tuesday, May 12, 2015

How to Get Started with Shipping (Shipping for Dummies Series)

New to selling online and wondering where in the world to start with shipping?
This post assumes that you have no experience whatsoever with shipping. Hey, we've all been there, right? We'll keep adding more and more topics relevant to shipping as time goes by! Please connect with us in the comments or on Instagram if you have any additional questions regarding shipping. There is a lot to cover, but we have to start somewhere right?
...Let's start at the very beginning.....
Basic Shipping Supplies You'll Need to Ship from Home
1. A postal scale. You can order one of these for under $20 on Amazon. In fact, here's a link to the postal scale
that was just delivered to us today!
2. Packing tape. We buy ours in bulk here in Indiana, but you can order it online too! Be sure you get a tape dispenser, it's a cheap plastic thing but it will make your life so much better! (The Amazon link is one that I ordered last summer and we still use it.)
3. Scissors. I'm guessing you already have a pair!
4. Boxes. You can order plenty of Priority boxes from the post office, but we'll talk about that in another post. Please don't use boxes that had food in it. The cardboard is not strong enough to resist any impact and some practically dissolves with a drop of water. You can also order them or get them from Staples. Recently we got a deal from some Pratt 6x6x6 boxes. We've used Pratt brand quite a bit and these are great to ship item via First Class Mail.
5. Bubble wrap. We buy a ginormous roll in bulk to save on money, but you can pick it up almost anywhere.
Calculating a Shipping Cost for an Item over 13 Ounces
First, go grab your whatchamacalit. Then get a box to put your whatchamacalit in, add some bubble wrap if needed, and fire up your postal scale.
Jot down the weight of your item.
Ensure you have the destination zip code for your item.
The easiest way to initially estimate a shipping cost is to head on over to the USPS website.
Click "Calculate a price" on the left side.
On the next page, skip to #2 and input your zip code and the destination zip code.
Skip to #5 and select package. (I'm doubting you will be sending anything huge yet. Also, flat rate boxes are generally a rip off and you want to save money, not waste it!)
A #6 will drop down where you can enter in the weight. Plug in your weight and hit continue!
Next you'll be facing a page that looks like this and can be overwhelming. Don't freak out.
Click on Priority Mail options if your item weighs over 13 ounces. This is what you will see:
You want to focus on where it says "Priority Mail 1-Day"- this is what it will cost you to send your item in your box to your destination. Note that this changes based on location/zip codes! Usually you can click on "Other Options" and obtain the cost to send your item Parcel Select. However, the website is being wonky for me today so I can't. Sorry about that!
Shipments Weighing Under 13 Ounces
If your box with packing material and item weighs in under 13 ounces, congratulations! You can save money shipping via First Class! Unfortunately you can't ship First Class through usps.com, so here's a handy dandy chart to go by instead. (Chart snippeted from Pitney Bowes' 2014 Postal Rates Chart.)
You can ship First Class through Paypal and stamps.com, so all is not lost!
What Next?
Assuming you have payment, you can print postage through USPS.com, stamps.com, or through Paypal. Those are topics for another post- this is just to start out, remember? However, I'm sure you can figure it out. If you can't, just holler! If you are shipping a super duper heavy book, Media Mail MAY be a better option, but you have to follow the rules or you'll end up in a hot mess. (Again, another blog post!)
Again, this is a very minimal introduction. Did it help? Let us know? Have more questions? What are they? We are here to serve!
This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through to some websites and make a purchase, we may obtain a small portion of the profit from the sale of the item or other items because we sent you to the website. We only link to products that we have personally used- we can prove it!