Expenses for Sundry but Necessary Shipping Materials
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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:51 pm 
 

Howdy All,


Just thought I would open up a line of discussion regarding shipping costs and handling fees. I just finished shipping out 218 items, in 81 packages, to 5 different countries all over the world.  Here is my truck bed yesterday before I headed to the post office:

Image

Just for fun I kept track of the amount and cost of materials for packaging. The amounts are as follows:

333 feet of packing tape
054 feet of scotch tape
188 comic bags
012 Life magazine-sized bags
020 comic boards
090 shipping pads
005 cubic feet of packing peanuts
200 feet of bubble wrap
015 large envelopes
010 small boxes
003 medium boxes
003 large boxes
001 extra large box
001 medium mailing tube

That comes out to a total of $127.90. My shipping and handling fee is $1.50 per customer regardless of how many items they have. So for this auction I charged S&H fees of $121.50. Pretty close! My desire in doing this is to avoid yet another fee ala eBay and PayPal.

You other guys out there who sell and ship in large quantities, what are your thoughts regarding shipping & handling fees? I used to write it off but now the volume is getting higher and I can't just find any old box around the house - I have to have shipping supplies on hand and in bulk!


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:50 pm 
 

I pay very little for shipping supplies, which is why I can keep my costs low.  I bag all my items in protective sleeves and I use a lot of packing tape and masking tape.  I also have to buy large envelopes and blank labels to print my shipping inf/postage on.

However, I have been using my real job for years to acquire boxes, packing foam, bubble wrap . . . there is no shorage of boxes to pack things in and boxes to cut up (to make protective cardboard sleeves for items).  It's all going to go in the garbage anyway, so it's no problem for me to take as much as I want.


In addition, I buy large lots and I re-use virtually everything that I receive - even beat up boxes can be cut into cardboard sheets.


Of course, I also use lots of priority mail supplies (which are free).


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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:27 pm 
 

You guys are higher-volume than I'll ever be, but here's my thoughts:

1. I try for Priority Mail shipping whenever possible, both because the supplies are free and because at least one PM package is required to request a pickup at my home.

2. About a year ago, I started storing boxes and packing material from shipments I received from Amazon, my eBay purchases, my comic book guy (who is in New York), etc. This has eliminated having to buy boxes and packing peanuts from Office Depot, where the prices are sky-high.

3. I try to pass along these savings to my buyers, but I still sometimes charge a small handling fee of between 10 cents and 50 cents. As a small-time eBay seller (whose average sale is less than $20), I can't afford to operate indefinitely with both eBay and PayPal fees unless I get some of those fees "returned."

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 4:34 pm 
 

well we don't have anything like that here. i try and re-use my materials and i use boxes etc for material from work too. but i tend to go and buy nice jiffy's to send my stuff out in and keep the cost as close to "break-even" as i can.

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:36 pm 
 

I hope you guys in the US realize how lucky you are to have a massively subsidized postal system, heh. Afaik, nobody else in the world gets pickups for their post, free boxes, free padded mailers, and dirt cheap domestic shippping ;)

I charge a small amount for shipping and materials. Usually it works out to be about $1.5, or a bit more for international shipments. I used to try to keep my s/h really low, but I still couldn't compete with the US sellers, and was starting to have to eat too much of the cost.

I re-use boxes whenever I can, but I lucked out and bought a whole bunch of good boxes for books at Zellers for $0.25 each last Christmas, which really helps. I use a lot of brown paper, envelopes, magazine bags, cardboard backing, and tape. I use plastic bags for padding msot of the time, but have re-used peanuts for really delicate stuff. My material cost is usually around $1, and the rest of the s/h goes towards PP fees. I still eat a bit of the fees, but most of it's covered these days.

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:55 pm 
 

Xaxaxe wrote:You guys are higher-volume than I'll ever be, but here's my thoughts:

1. I try for Priority Mail shipping whenever possible, both because the supplies are free and because at least one PM package is required to request a pickup at my home.

2. About a year ago, I started storing boxes and packing material from shipments I received from Amazon, my eBay purchases, my comic book guy (who is in New York), etc. This has eliminated having to buy boxes and packing peanuts from Office Depot, where the prices are sky-high.

3. I try to pass along these savings to my buyers, but I still sometimes charge a small handling fee of between 10 cents and 50 cents. As a small-time eBay seller (whose average sale is less than $20), I can't afford to operate indefinitely with both eBay and PayPal fees unless I get some of those fees "returned."


I agree with all this. Free shipping materials through the USPS is the best deal ever.  I have a source where I score cheap packing peanuts and comic book boxes to ship with.  I do buy high grade packing tape, and bubble envelopes of various sizes.  I've noticed in the last few years simple cardboard boxes are absolutely cost prohibitive...if I had to use these, even buying in bulk, I'd have to add several dollars to my shipping just to break even.

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Post Posted: Fri Nov 17, 2006 11:58 pm 
 

Howdy All,


I guess I find the consistency of materials to be essential. There is no time wasted mucking about for nice boxes and such, crossing out old addresses. Heck, half the time I have things shipped to me the boxes are falling to pieces! Storage is also an issue - who wants to store a bunch of old boxes when you could be storing a bunch of old D&D fanzines instead? :D

Also, I get my boxes from Uline. They are great! A 14 x 11 x 4" box costs only 54 cents. Down at the Office Depot it costs $2.50!

I use Priority Mail supplies as well but typically can't use that on over half of my packages that are shipped by other means.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 5:31 am 
 

I put up some simple shelves in my garage and I keep all my shipping boxes on them - usually stacking small ones inside of larger ones and those inside of larger ones, etc.  I choose one of two very large boxes and fill them with bubble wrap or foam.

The address labels I uses are 8 x 5 and will usually cover over any old addresses.

But I decided to sell RPG stuff regularly a few years ago and had to do a lot of similar "organizational" moves to keep the household from being overrun.    All at the behest of my lovely wife, of course.   :D


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:38 pm 
 

I have noticed a jump in shipping prices lately.  $3.50 used to be standard, $4.95 was a ripoff and $5.85 was stupid.

Now I see that $6 is about standard on Ebay, with prices slipping even higher in a lot of cases.  $6 used to be (and I am talking within the past year) the standard cost to ship a boxed game.  Also, most of these sellers do not offer real combined shipping.

("Real" combined shipping, in this case, means that four or so modules all get shipped in the same envelope for no extra charge after the first.)

The low end asking price has also gone up a couple of dollars, with starting bids for many module items often being in the $7 range.

I notice that a lot of auctions are closing with one bid or even no bids.  Is there a connection?

Mark  8)


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 11:57 pm 
 

I know I've had to raise my shipping costs, both to stop hemmoraging money  on them, and because Canada Post raised their rates. Also, eBay keeps pushing up their rates, so those costs have to go somewhere. Only the really big online sellers are making a lot of money at it, so us smaller guys really can't afford to lose much.

As it is, I'm liquidating my stock and getting out of the resale business. Just too much competition these days.

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:22 am 
 

The Collector's Trove wrote:[ Image ]


I hope Paul has a business account with the post office so he can handle his transaction in the back room of the post office; otherwise whoever is behind him on line is going to get pretty exasperated waiting for his transaction to finish.

  

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:20 am 
 

GraysonAC wrote:I know I've had to raise my shipping costs, both to stop hemmoraging money  on them, and because Canada Post raised their rates. Also, eBay keeps pushing up their rates, so those costs have to go somewhere. Only the really big online sellers are making a lot of money at it, so us smaller guys really can't afford to lose much.

As it is, I'm liquidating my stock and getting out of the resale business. Just too much competition these days.


A whole bunch of items, posted on Ebay by an Acaeum member, closed on Sunday night almost at the same time.

The items were priced at an opening bid of $7 and a shipping cost of $6.  (Less a few cosmetic pennies.)  Most of them did not have any bidders.

How much does an Ebay seller pay for each auction listing?  Where is the break even point when a load of auctions finish without any bids?

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 6:00 am 
 

I have a room where I keep boxes, peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.  Most of this is packaging from my eBay buys.  However, I am coming under increasing pressure to free the room for something useful.  So, stocks have been run low.   But as I work for a large high street and mail order retailer, I can pick up a lot of waste packaging from work.

As I always try and recycle packaging, unless the buyer has a specific requirement that I can't meet using my stock, I normally do not make a charge for packaging.  And sometimes I offer to ship for free (usually as a result of feeling guilty about taking so much money off someone as in the case of the S/W Hellbound).  I never charge handling.  And as I use my kitchens scales to estimate the shipping cost, I often end up falling short.  In fact, where I sell an item for  99p, it is not unusual for me to make a loss after eBay, PayPal and postage take their toll.

If I was a bit more serious about selling, I would certainly consider a flat rate of £1/sale to cover these costs.

  


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 10:48 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:

A whole bunch of items, posted on Ebay by an Acaeum member, closed on Sunday night almost at the same time.

The items were priced at an opening bid of $7 and a shipping cost of $6.  (Less a few cosmetic pennies.)  Most of them did not have any bidders.

How much does an Ebay seller pay for each auction listing?  Where is the break even point when a load of auctions finish without any bids?

Mark   8)




Opening bids on every auction of $0.99 or less generate a fee of $0.20,  from $1.00 to $9.99 the fee is $0.35, from $24.99 through $49.99 the fee is $.0.60, from $49.99 to 99.99 the fee is and it contiues to scale up from there.  Add ons such as BINs, reservess, bold title, etc. add to that price.  If the item does sell Ebay then also takes out another fee based on what the closing price is.  After that Paypal comes in (assuming the buyer pays that way) and also takes a percentage of the total payment. :roll:   it gets pretty sickening after awhile.  In the end, Ebay is usually in on anywhere for 8% to 12% of your total sale price.  :evil:  Here is alnk to the fee schedule:



http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/fees.html



Its pretty much BS, especially taking into consideration what high quality services that they provide to thier customers outside of just barely manging the site on a daily basis.  I mean someone selling illegal items? 3 to 4 day turnaround time if you are lucky?  Someone libels you in you auction? Two week turnaround time. :roll:   Ahh, but of course if you says something along the lines of charging to take paypal, you keyword spam(withou paying Ebay for it) or if you post a payment option that Ebay doesn't deem "accectpable", your auction will be down with a matter of a couple of hours.  Its pretty much a joke nowadays.  I will be quite happy to see a viable competitor come along very soon.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:28 pm 
 

Here is a sample of the spreadsheet formula I use.  (I actually have five different excel books, each with about 10 pages each tracking every item I have ever bought and sold . . .)

www.beyondthebreach.com/forums/sample.xls

Anyway . . . the formula works like this:  I list all items I will be selling from a particular lot and enter in the total amount spent (including any shipping fees) in the "Lot Cost" field.

The "Net Profit from Lot" field shows an even larger negative as it is PRE-calculating my ebay fees.  I keep some standard amounts entered for listing fees (40 cents refers to my most common auction price - a 35 list plus a 5 cent BIN fee, whereas 06 cents is an inventory listing fee.  I can overwrite these as needed for more expensive items).

As I sell an item, I enter in the amount under the "Sell Price" field.   NOTE:  I have the formula worked out so that it accurately calculates final value fees above $25 which are charged at a different rate.  

For the shipping cost I charge, I enter in the amount in the "S&H Fee" and also the actual ship cost in the "Actual S&H" (For instance, I charge $5.25 for Priority Flat Rate, but is costs me $4.05 to ship).

It calculates out everything else . . . as you can see, a $30 sale item results in a $27.35 Gross Profit.  This amount is then added to the Net Profit From lot field.

If the person pays with Check/Money Order, then I simply overwrite the Paypal field with 0.00.  The main limitation is that if the buyer is International, I have to manually overwrite the formula in the Paypal field to be 0.039 instead of 0.029).  If there are multiple purchases, I have to elimate the extra +0.30 from all but one of the paypal purchases.  Also with multiple purchases, I enter in the ship charges for one item, and enter in 0.00 for the S&H fields in all other items.

In the end, I know exactly how much profit I have made from every lot I purchase.  Feel free to play around with the amounts if this is anything that interests you (the changes won't be permanent in any case unless you save it to your hard drive).


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:12 pm 
 

Beyondthebreach wrote:Here is a sample of the spreadsheet formula I use.  (I actually have five different excel books, each with about 10 pages each tracking every item I have ever bought and sold . . .)

Wow, am I glad to hear I'm not the only spreadsheet-retentive person that does this. :)

In my case, I was mostly curious as to how the various eBay feees were affecting my total "take-home pay," so I whipped up some decent spreadsheets about two years ago. Since then, they've grown and mutated and gone in all kinds of different directions.

(The answer, BTW, in case anyone is curious: my eBay/PayPal fees are usually 15 to 17 percent of my total sales every month).

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 7:31 pm 
 

johnhuck wrote:
As I always try and recycle packaging...


Good on ya!  I try and recycle the stuff as much as possible - not from a cost basis (and I appreciate that I am not a volume seller, but only sell a few bits now and again), but because I hate throwing stuff into landfill - especially all the plastic bits & padding that lasts for a hundred thousand years etc etc...  Although the local council has started putting out proper recycling bins now so it is a little better where I live. [insert suitable hippy-boy smiley here..]


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 9:45 pm 
 

OOh, love the spreadsheet from beyondthebreach!  My husband (who unfortunately for my happy-go-lucky IRS attitude happens to be a tax attorney) tells me I must declare any profit on the old tax return.  Sigh.  This will make it a lot easier!  Thanks!!


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:22 pm 
 

red_bus wrote:
Good on ya!  I try and recycle the stuff as much as possible - not from a cost basis (and I appreciate that I am not a volume seller, but only sell a few bits now and again), but because I hate throwing stuff into landfill - especially all the plastic bits & padding that lasts for a hundred thousand years etc etc...  Although the local council has started putting out proper recycling bins now so it is a little better where I live. [insert suitable hippy-boy smiley here..]

Quite right too - I salute you! Our family of 5 recycle just about everything, so our rubbish for a week fits easily into about 1 1/2 carrier bags (Most of this is, to my shame, disposable nappies, though having looked long and hard at the research it's kind of a coin toss to use them or not - Perhaps the Acaeum is not the place for the terry nappy/detergent vs disposables debate :lol: )

  


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Post Posted: Wed Nov 29, 2006 3:43 am 
 

johnhuck wrote:As I always try and recycle packaging


Ditto. I use plastic shopping bags for padding on a lot of stuff. Crumple those up, and they're really very effective. Any box I receive (or use in the house) gets added to a pile unless it's thrashed, heh. And any packing peanuts and bubble-wrap that's in good shape gets re-used too.

Less waste, and saves me a few dollars here and there.

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