Sunday, October 8, 2017

Shipping from Home ✽ Things to Know

When selling on Etsy, you could guesstimate your shipping prices, take your orders to the post office as you get them and ship them from there. It might work well if you sell the same one or two things, giving you a really good idea of shipping, and if you give yourself an estimated shipping time that allows you to take orders in batches to the post office, so you aren't constantly running to the post office with each package.

Or, you could buy a letter scale, set up a account, keep packaging materials on hand, and manually key in each packaged product's size and weight when you set up your listing info. This gives you exact shipping cost for each order, no matter where it mails to, and allows you to reduce the time that you spend at the post office!

I started out with the first option, and quickly realized it wasn't ideal, because I have such varied package sizes. And always I seem to get to the post office during lunch hour, which is a wonderful time waste... ha. I've been shipping from home for several months now, and it's been so much easier! There have been a few things to learn, though, and so I thought I should share those with you as well :).

-Shipping actually costs less on Etsy than on USPS's website! Not always significantly, but enough to be worth it. This might affect your Etsy billing schedule a bit as your number of orders grows; it makes your fee to Etsy larger, obviously, so you may hit your fee threshold before the end of the month, and pay your bill both in the middle of the current month and again and the customary 1st of the month payment. After this happens, they bump your threshold up, and payments will be at the beginning of the month again... until you hit your next growth spurt :)!

-You can purchase labels from Etsy, but not schedule pick-ups. This means you will still need to have a USPS account, if you expect to schedule pick-ups. Also, I forgot both my first username and password on their site. It was a pain to set up another, since I'd already had one for my address, and I suggest using something you will never ever ever forget. Haha!

-You CAN NOT schedule same-day pick-up after 2:00 a.m., so take that into account when planning how much time you need to ship out. I had to run my package to the post office anyway the first time I tried to do at-home pick-up, because I needed to get it picked up that day, and didn't go to schedule it until 10 o'clock, since I didn't know that yet :P. Scheduling is free, as long as you don't want it picked up at another time than they deliver your mail at.

-I have been told that you can place packages under 13 ounces in your mailbox with the flag up and it will be taken with your regular mail without scheduling. I've not tried this, but it seems to be the norm. Everything above that weights still needs be scheduled.

-You can print your labels on plain printer paper, but you can NOT place tape over the label bar code (it can wrinkle, glaring light back at the scanner and making the bar code inreadable). For this reason I'm now going to be using actual adhesive shipping labels, because I was worried about the bar code, which is the important part of your label once you've paid (it's what they'll use to scan your information into the computer when they get it), getting wet and running without anything covering it. It's not a necessity, but for peace of mind I thought it was worth it. I can't find a way to change the size of Etsy labels, so I have the half sheet sized labels.

Do you ship from the post office, or prefer to have it picked up at your house? Would you use adhesive labels or printer paper?

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