When shipping, PayPal shipping should always be your first choice. Packages under 16 oz can be sent First Class. It’s very important to know that a shipping weight is always rounded up and inclusive of ALL packaging and the label. So if your package is 16.0 oz, it has to be sent Priority Mail. Below is a table showing the current rates for shipping through PayPal. The First Class rates are the same as at the Post Office, but First Class shipping over 13 oz is only available online through PayPal. Both First Class and Priority Rates are cheaper online than at the Post Office.
How do I ship online?
Online shipping is not difficult, but it does take some getting used to. First, you will need some supplies. Amazon is a great source for reasonably priced shipping supplies. You can always go to Staples, but you will find that their supplies are significantly more expensive than buying ahead at Amazon.
A scale: A kitchen scale works just fine, but if you do not have one, then you can usually purchase a postal scale for under $20. This is the biggest investment you will make in shipping online.
Polymailers: These are plastic mailers that are used to package your shipment. They are about $13/100, so extremely inexpensive compared to manila envelopes, they also hold up much better than paper when packaging clothing. The mailers that you receive can vary in quality. Lately I have been using these colored or printed mailers because they are sturdier than recent orders I have made of the white mailers. The white mailers are cheaper, but you are talking about a couple cents per mailer extra for colored which are much better quality.
Shipping Tape: Even if you are going to use labels, you will want to have some of this around to make sure that a package is secure or that there aren’t any loose edges that could catch in sort center machinery.
Shipping Labels: Much easier than printing on paper and taping. At around $0.04/label, it’s well worth the extra expense.
Clear Bags: Even when using a polymailer, you should always put the contents inside another plastic bag. This helps to prevent damage in the event that the outside mailer is damaged. You can re-use bags that you get from online clothing orders, but these are a great option if you don’t have any available. More cost effective that ziplock bags from the grocery store.
Printer: You will need a printer! If you don’t already have one, consider one that allows you to print wirelessly from your phone. I love our Epson Printer and have been happy with the cheapy refills!
Once you have your supplies and have made a sale, it is really easy to prepare your shipment. Fully package the items. Weigh the items (in the shipping packaging) on your scale. If it is under 16 oz, go to PayPal (we will discuss over 16 oz next). Next to the transaction, you should see a “print label” button. Enter the shipping weight and click the purchase button on the bottom of the screen. Print the label, affix to the package and you’re all set! You can leave the package in your mailbox, in a blue box (if under 13 oz) or schedule a pick-up online. The tracking for your package automatically uploads in PayPal and your buyer is notified of the shipment.
If your shipment is over 16 oz, you have a couple options. The first thing to do is to ask the buyer what their zip code is. Priority Mail has two different options. First, regular Priority Mail is distance based. So if your buyer lives a state or two away, this is often cheaper than the second option, Flat Rate. Flat Rate is the same price, no matter where you are shipping. USPS.com offers free packaging for flat rate options. You simply order online and they are delivered within a week to 10 days. I find that the most useful are Padded Flat Rate Envelopes, Regional Rate A1 Boxes, and Regional Rate B1 Boxes. Once you have your buyers zip code, weigh the package and put the details into the USPS online shipping calculator. This will tell you the cheapest way to ship. Regular, distance-based, Priority Mail postage can be purchased on PayPal like a First Class Package. PayPal also supports Small, Medium & Large Flat Rate Boxes (these can be ordered online or picked up at a Post Office). If you will be using a Regional Rate Box, the postage must be purchased at USPS.com. When shipping through USPS.com, there is the option to notify the recipient of shipping by providing their email address. This is a great way to let the buyer know that the package has shipped and ensure that they have the tracking available. The rate between a cardboard Flat Rate Envelope and Padded Flat Rate Envelope is different. Using the wrong type of postage could result in postage due when the buyer receives the package. It should also be mentioned that not all Priority boxes and envelopes are flat rate! Be sure that if you are using Flat Rate postage that “Flat Rate” is printed on the box or envelope that you are using. It can be a costly mistake!
Need supplies? The collage below has everything you need and is clickable! Just click what you need for a link to what I use to ship my packages!