I'm not a super veteran (about 200 ebay feedback) but I will give the advice I know. I've sold shoes, jackets, suits, shirts, etc on ebay. First off, you should never go to the post office unless you know for certain what you need from them beforehand. These days the only time I ever go to the post office is to make sure I have the correct customs forms filled out for international shipments, which I find to be a pain. If you research all the rules, I believe you can avoid this, I just haven't gotten around to it. With proper planning you should be able to avoid the post office altogether. How to save money (this isn't shady, USPS welcomes this): USPS Priority is your friend. And USPS Priority Flat Rate is an even better friend. I used to try to save money by using Parcel Post but it's not worth the trouble any more. Priority will get to your buyer in 2-4 days and the materials are free, they will be happy and you will be happy. The only time I would use parcel post now is if the buyer was both a) in the same state and b) the item was very heavy and did not fit in a flat rate box. If it is within the same state they will still get it within a couple of days. Also, Parcel Post isn't even that much cheaper any more. everything which the USPS provides for free, order it at usps.com. You can get every single type of Priority and Express box and envelopes. Usually you have to order 10 boxes at a time but if you have an empty closet or garage space, this shouldn't be too much trouble. If the buyer of your item is across the country, you are probably far, far better off using the Flat Rate boxes, if it fits. I've put jackets in the flat shaped box, and shoes (which are missing the original box) in the cube-shaped box. You will save $2-3 per shipment compared to metered Priority and it is the exact same shipment time. Most dress shoes with original box will fit inside the USPS "Shoe" box, a special size they introduced recently. You probably saw commercials for it about a year ago. I find this more convenient than trying to find boxes of this size in bulk. I might look for a cheaper source if I still shipped parcel post, but as I said I don't. buy common supplies like tape at some place like target. You will get raped at the post office. other more specialized items like box sizes not provided by USPS, or packing peanuts, you will probably have to get at some place like office depot. I usually recycle peanuts that people used when sending to me, or I use crumpled up newspaper. Newspaper is heavier than peanuts but, if you are using a flat rate box, you could pad it with a lead weight if you wanted. Lastly, sign up for an account at USPS. This will make it possible to schedule pickups at your house for priority items. USPS will come to your house as long as at least 1 of your items is Priority. You can specify that they come to the rear of your house, or whatever. I have a patio with a door so I tell them to come there. I have never, ever lost a package this way and I live in a terrible neighborhood. Probably going on 30 shipments thus far. I don't know why you don't see this option but when I print out a label, I see a checkbox to automatically notify the buyer's email of the DC number. Maybe you need a USPS account for this. Also, always, always get insurance and delivery confirmation. I still end up going to the post office when I have an emergency, but it's mainly due to lack of planning. Also I don't have a large apartment so I don't over order supplies. But if I had a house, I would order everything at once and have it ready. One endeavor which I am about to embark on, which I don't know much about is bulk boxes, not from USPS. I need a slightly larger box than the priority shoe box since I sell a lot of sneakers which have larger sizes. Do any of you purchase bulk cardboard boxes?
post #16 of 48
11/4/07 at 1:58am