Q&A…the extended version.

Have a question about reselling? Shipping? An item?

Ask here!  Just write your question in the comment section below. There are a lot of us that have knowledge on many different areas!

This post will up from Tuesday until next Monday so that I can enjoy this holiday week with my family!  I hope you have a great Thanksgiving….and an equally great sales week!

Be safe!


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25 Responses to Q&A…the extended version.

  1. Leah says:

    Does anyone have experience shipping items to Canada? Just wondered if it is complicated and do you worry that things will not arrive? Do you have to fill out customs forms for this country?

    • shannon says:

      Sorry, I should have hit ‘reply’. See my response above. 🙂

    • Valerie says:

      A note about international shipping. I recently sold an item to a buyer in Canada. There’s a spot on the customs form where you have to say what type of item it is– “merchandise” or “gift” or – can’t remember the other choices if any. I always put merchandise. The buyer asked me to put “gift” in that box instead— Found out later this is ILLEGAL! I had no idea. So just a warning.

  2. shannon says:

    No, it’s not complicated. It’s probably the easiest country to ship to, so if you want to get your feet wet in international shipping, it’s a good place to start. Shipping prices to Canada are not THAT expensive, so it’s not large amounts you’re asking. I’ve never worried about items not reaching their destination.
    Yes, you have to fill out a customs form, but shipping through Ebay has made that SO easy. They fill out the form for you, and it’s integrated into the label. (most online international labels are that easy, especially using First Class International) You just sign the label and you’re good to go. If you use Priority Int’l, it’s more copies of papers and you need one of those plastic envelopes to stick to the box. Your PO will have them. I mostly ship FC anyway. It’s cheaper.

    • Leah says:

      Thanks, Shannon… appreciate your help! 🙂

    • Jackie K says:

      As Shannon says, it is an easy customs form through eBay shipping. you can edit the description and contents as necessary to simplify reading the label – otherwise it’ll copy your auction description directly.
      Of note, though, is tracking is not available for first class international through USPS, you need the more pricey priority shipping for that. I’ve only had one Canada package go AWOL tho’ (it turned up 3 months later battered on my doorstep!) – so not a huge gamble as far as I’ve experienced.

  3. Karen G says:

    I am struggling where to start with shipping larger items. I have heard Greyhound is a great way to go, but my question is simply. Where do you get the large boxes? How do you pack it to make sure it ships ok?

    • Jackie K says:

      Hi Karen – I’m interested in the answers to this too! How large is large to you? I restrict myself in my purchases if I don’t have a good cheap (free?) box to use for shipping. I also want to explore other shipping methods other than the USPS.
      I have sourced packaging from the local grocery store when theyr’e stocking the shelves and simply ask for their box discards. A small boutique business allows me to have their boxes and packaging from their received items.
      When I buy boxes, bubble packaging or mailers I reuse the boxes they’re shipped in too. (I buy in 50’s and 100’s, so the shipping boxes are amply sized) I also buy boxes online through eBay.
      In packaging items I consider “Smash & Splash” – ie: what happens if the package is dropped and what happens if the package gets wet. I float the item inside the shipped box buffered by bubble wrap, peanut packaging, coils of reused cardboard, and those inflatable plastic bags. Believe it or not – I often am able to thrift buy packaging supplies!
      Much in packaging depends on the weight and awkwardness of the item itself.
      I could go on and on!!!

    • I remember using Greyhound about 8 years ago to ship a chair. Arrived well and intact. I don’t ship big items anymore. Big boxes can be found at appliance stores…at least in my area. I packed the item I shipped with some nice, thick blankets I had thrifted. Now this was before the “bedbug” epidemic…so people weren’t as nervous about used linens….so I don’t know if that is still a good idea. They do sell bubble wrap in Humungo rolls at shipping supply outlets. Hope this helps a little.

  4. Shirley Wall says:

    Hi – Thanks for all your help and for sharing your knowledge. Just a few random questions:) Do you always use delivery confirmation? Is there certain things you insure through the Post Office, such an item that sold over $____ and then you insure it? Also, do you have a “limit” for what you will list, I can’t think of the right word – but for example, if you think an item might only sell for say $1.00 will you not list it because of the time involved in listing and shipping? Do you use random boxes that you “collect” or do you buy shipping boxes other then the PO’s flat rate boxes? Happy Thanksgiving to you! I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family. Shirley in Washington

    • Jackie K says:

      Hi Shirley – yes i always use delivery confirmation when I can – it’s just 19 cents through ebay shipping (or free on priority shipping). My loss comfort level is about $20-$25 – any loss bigger than that and I’ll want to pay for shipping insurance. I use ShipSaver insurance for that coverage, it’s cheaper than the post office and is integrated into Inkfrog’s auction software that I use.

      when talking margins for sale – I want to list for at least 4 or 5 times what I paid for the item AND consider the fees/costs involved for ebay/paypal/packing. Practically that means I don’t want to list anything under about $8.99 to start unless I’m clearing inventory.

      yes and yes for the box sourcing question!

      jackie K in Florida

    • Annette says:

      Re. boxes. It has gotten to where I am just as much on the lookout for boxes as I am for items to sell. Yesterday morning, I picked up several boxes at the Target while doing my shopping … lots of suppliers were restocking the shelves and were more than happy for me to take their boxes. I’ve stumbled across boxes in the Starbucks, taking my kids to the dentist, etc. And the place where I get my haircut saves their boxes and packing materials for me in which their hair products are delivered. Also, when you get these “free” boxes, be careful as to what is marked on them. For instance, some of the boxes from my hair salon have “aerosol” and associated codes printed on them. You will need to mark out anything that is on the USPS do not ship list.

      • Shirley Wall says:

        Hi Jackie & Annette – Thanks so much for your input! It is so helpful! Annette, I loved the “mental picture” of looking for boxes everywhere. I feel like I am constantly on the lookout for anything I can use for packing but I need to expand my searching. I have seen free “packing material” listed on Craigslist but never located close enough to where I live – yet. I have also found some packing supplies at my local Goodwill and St. Vincent. Jackie, thanks so much for sharing your pratical insight on all my questions. I appreciate it so much. Shirley

    • Gretchen says:

      Hi Shirley, I have only bought 1 box for shipping, and then didn’t need it. I get them from the grocery store, or pick up any box I see that might fit my needs. I insure for things over 50.00…. and in general I won’t list anything on ebay for less than 9.99 plus shipping. (exceptions would be something I can relist for free and want to get rid of) I read somewhere on a website you should always start at the highest price feasible, because if there’s only one person out there who wants it, they’ll pay for it. I don’t know why anyone lists for .99. For example, there was a pottery dog I really wanted to buy, there was one bid on it already, it was up to 2.50, I used bidnapper and placed a bid for 20.00, well, I got it for about 3.00, it was really worth more than 3.00 but I guess the seller started at .99. I think that’s a big issue for newbies, underpricing. Also, don’t forget that ebay gets a percentage off the shipping charges, so you have to factor that in.

    • Hi Shirley!
      I always use delivery confirmation. Even on small things. Just saves a headache down the road.

      I usually insure if the item is over $50.00….breakable or not.

      I try and list things for at least 12.00 now. When I first started out, it was 6.00. I steadily rose that over time.

      I have my husband bring boxes home from his work. I used to go to Walmart all the time. And right now is a GREAT time to go to Walmart in the wee hours of the night/morning when they are stocking during the Christmas season…..TONS of boxes. You just have to ask someone when they usually start their stocking shift. And then run around the store with a cart.

      That’s just my routines….have a great holiday…and thanks for your great questions!

  5. Gretchen says:

    Question about shipping charges. I’ve started using the calculator for shipping costs, which is great, except that ebay now takes a percentage of that. So that when is says something is 14.50 to ship, ebay gets about 1.40 of that, so I’m still needing to fiddle with it. I’ve starting rounding everything up by a pound in the estimator, but then I worry that will deter far away buyers.

    • Yeah…the balance between keeping the shipping charge reasonable and still being able to make a decent profit is more challenging with this new policy. I’ve just continued to charge actual shipping (no handling) and try and make sure my profit stays reasonable, even with the bite taken out. Easier with Buy it Now’s than auctions….where you never know what price you’ll end up with.

  6. claudia says:

    Hi…..I am new to selling on ebay and was wondering if an item comes boxed should I just use packaging paper and ship it or put it inside another box…. specifically it is a latch hook kit and it is packaged in a sturdy box…i have the same question for board games,toner cartridges,???thanks…..

    • Definitely put it in another box in which you there is still enough room to wrap your item in some cushiony material (bubble wrap, foam wrap). The cardboard used for most products isn’t sturdy enough to ship it itself….the product’s box could very easily be smashed…which could easily damage the product …. both would not make a buyer happy.

      And especially during the holidays….you need to be extra protective when wrapping packages. There are so many packages…yours could be on the very bottom of a pile.

      Good question…I know other people have wondered the same thing.

  7. Jessica says:

    Yes, I have a question, as I’ve been listing more things at once I have run into buyers buying more of one item and then after the fact asking about a shipping discount. And if it was free shipping items it’s a pain because I can’t even adjust the invoice. Do you do any kind of set rule for shipping on multiple items? I’ve been playing with it, and changed a bunch of my “free shipping” items back to a small flat shipping price and set the rule up in eBay to make shipping free on multiple items after the first, most expensive one, and that actually works nice, but I worry that not having free shipping will hurt my place in search, and did get nice feedbacks about the free shipping when I had it. Just curious about what everyone else does!

    • I give shipping discounts on multiple items. In fact, if someone buys a large quantity or a few high priced items, I don’t charge shipping at all. I can adjust the invoice on Ebay before I send it. I have also refunded partial shipping funds many times when the items bought don’t add up to the shipping cost, if they didn’t wait for an adjusted invoice from me.

      I think people expect shipping discounts on multiple items. As long as you are trying not to make a profit on the shipping charges, you should be fine.

      Good question Jessica! This one comes up quite a bit.

      • Gretchen says:

        Jessica, twice this weekend I found myself way over charging on shipping, trying to walk the fine line between ebay now charging a % on shipping charges, and not lose money on the shipping. Both times I refunded a couple of dollars to people, without even tell them ahead of time. Ebay has acquired a bad reputation with some people, so they are wary of sellers. I try to do anything I can to make them feel better about using ebay. So even if they had paid individual shipping on multiple items, anytime I can save them money I do, even if it’s after the fact of payment.

  8. Bargain Bon Vivant says:

    Priority Mail International-
    I shipped a flat rate package PMI and only 1 form printed but the PO accepted it with a shrug and an “it must be ok, the form says nothing about extra copies”. I’m just wondering if this is new, typical or some kind of problem??

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