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Old 01-04-2019, 01:01 PM   #1
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Default Etsy Shipping

I am looking for ways to cut down on shipping cost for handmade cards sold on etsy. I currently charge $2.95 for a single card ($0.50 for additional cards), and while this probably won't even cover my personal shipping expenses (incl. material) I am looking for ways to reduce the shipping cost for buyers.

This is how I ship now:
Place card +envelope in clear card sleeve
Wrap in tissue paper
Place this between heavy weight card stock to protect from bending
Use padded envelope for shipping with first class mail.

Some other card sellers on etsy start their shipping cost at 0.80. How do those sellers ship their items? Am I over doing the packaging?


What are your thoughts and ideas?
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Old 01-04-2019, 02:07 PM   #2
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I'm so glad you asked this, because I'm interested in lowering my shipping costs too, for both my cards and my jewelry.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:23 PM   #3
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Just adding to my questions....

I currently use the etsy click and ship service and ship first class with delivery confirmation as "first class" package.

Wondering if I were to ship in a legal unpadded 6x9 envelope like these, could I simply place stamps on it and mail it that way without delivery confirmation and send as first class "letter"?
Does anyone know the restrictions on these? (I cannot seem to find this info on the USPS site). I'd love to be able to charge only 1.50 for shipping instead of 2.95 which doesn't even cover my own cost for shipping.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:40 PM   #4
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EllibelleView Post
Just adding to my questions....

I currently use the etsy click and ship service and ship first class with delivery confirmation as "first class" package.

Wondering if I were to ship in a legal unpadded 6x9 envelope like these, could I simply place stamps on it and mail it that way without delivery confirmation and send as first class letter?
Does anyone know the restrictions on these? (I cannot seem to find this info on the USPS site). I'd love to be able to charge only 1.50 for shipping instead of 2.95 which doesn't even cover my own cost for shipping.


I ship first class via paypal all the time - the limitation is over 13 oz. Then that has to go priority.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:41 PM   #5
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EllibelleView Post
Just adding to my questions....

I currently use the etsy click and ship service and ship first class with delivery confirmation as "first class" package.

Wondering if I were to ship in a legal unpadded 6x9 envelope like these, could I simply place stamps on it and mail it that way without delivery confirmation and send as first class letter?
Does anyone know the restrictions on these? (I cannot seem to find this info on the USPS site). I'd love to be able to charge only 1.50 for shipping instead of 2.95 which doesn't even cover my own cost for shipping.


But seven ounces first class is about that - so it depends on the weight of your item.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:07 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by UnderstandBlueView Post
I ship first class via paypal all the time - the limitation is over 13 oz. Then that has to go priority.
But first class letter or first class package? Up until now I always shipped my cards first class package (because you can't choose first class letter with etsy's shipping service). The cost for first class package is around $3.50 for a 3oz mailed as package but would only be approx. $1.15 mailed as letter. I am unsure if the yellow legal envelopes with clasp would be allowed to be used as "letters". I am considering using those envelopes and mail as stamped letters if allowed.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:31 PM   #7
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EllibelleView Post
But first class letter or first class package? Up until now I always shipped my cards first class package (because you can't choose first class letter with etsy's shipping service). The cost for first class package is around $3.50 for a 3oz mailed as package but would only be approx. $1.15 mailed as letter. I am unsure if the yellow legal envelopes with clasp would be allowed to be used as "letters". I am considering using those envelopes and mail as stamped letters if allowed.
Based on your description of how you pack it, I suspect your envelopes are too rigid and possibly too thick to qualify as letters.

The people charging 80 cents are most likely not using much padding.

One option would be for you to mail something to yourself, packed as you would like to mail it. Use two addresses-- like, send it to yourself at home but put your office address as the return. That way, you can test to see if it might come postage due or be returned to sender. (Although sometimes this is not foolproof-- one office might let it through but another will flag it.)
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:59 PM   #8
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Quote:

Originally Posted by EllibelleView Post
I am unsure if the yellow legal envelopes with clasp would be allowed to be used as "letters". I am considering using those envelopes and mail as stamped letters if allowed.

Pretty sure clasped envelopes require a surcharge because they aren't machinable.

See section 3.8 at this link
https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/201.htm
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Old 01-05-2019, 06:07 PM   #9
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Thanks for your inputs!

I decided to change my shipping costs to 1.50 for now and will take the first one to the Post office to see what they say. I did get some of those clasped envelopes but might look for other 6x9 envelopes without the clasp. I just don't feel anyone should have to pay that much shipping for a card ... I did have ok sales before I stopped listing my cards, but I never did like charging that much.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:28 PM   #10
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You can put Scotch tape over the metal clasp. It can go first class Letter. Watch your thickness, too. Over 1/4" requires extra.
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Old 01-05-2019, 08:38 PM   #11
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What size is your card? 6 x 9 feels big.

You could send an A2 with one thin piece of cardboard in an A7 envelope. Mark it "do not bend" and pay one stamp plus extra ounce maybe...at 80 cents that sounds like that is what those people are doing.

Unless you are doing embellishments etc that would not machine well at the PO (I have gotten cards where the pearls were tearing through the envie) in which case you need hand cancelled/non machinable and that is around that price too....

I like the send it to yourself idea to test it.
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Old 01-06-2019, 05:27 AM   #12
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I have never been able to mail the yellow 6 X 9 envelopes as letter; they've always been classified as packages for me.

I think the A7 envelope is a great idea for an A2 card, or the white envelopes that the size of cardstock folded in half (5.5 X 8.5) fit in.

To protect the inside I get the thin foam sheets used to pack dishes.
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Old 01-06-2019, 06:41 AM   #13
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I've been selling on Etsy for 9 years and send even the smallest items (and my cards) as a first class package. The cheapest for now until the rate goes up is $2.66 if you buy on-line. Post office rules are you're not supposed to ship merchandise as a letter, even if it fits, it should go as a package. Also you have no tracking or proof of delivery if the item doesn't arrive or if a customer makes a claim it didn't arrive.
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Old 01-06-2019, 04:18 PM   #14
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Thank you everyone for the input and ideas! My cards are usually A2 size or 5.25 square, and those square ones would fit perfectly into the 6x9 envelopes. I will look for an alternative to the clasp envelopes.

Heather, thank you for the advise about the post office rules. I wasn't aware of that. Had a look at the USPS site including their business tab and cannot find any info about this. Wonder if it's just so the seller has proof of shipment should an item gets lost...

I just hate to ask almost $3 for shipping for an item that costs under $5.
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:59 AM   #15
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Many shop operators on Etsy who charge less than the cost of shipping just increase their retail price to cover the difference. Not all, but a lot. Some sellers don't worry about shipping costs and offer reduced or free shipping without compensating in the retail price.

In my last shop I toyed with "free" shipping as well as reduced shipping charges. One item did not sell until I increased the price to cover all shipping/handling costs and used the "free shipping" method. Seriously - two months at a price + actual shipping cost and it did not sell. The day after increasing the price it sold.

When working on reducing your customers' costs, make sure to base total price on total costs + your labor. And remember, unless you are a corporation (LLC or other) there is no profit - anything above costs is personal income and taxed as such in the US.

All that said, I think the best method is to sell a quality product at a fair price.
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Old 01-07-2019, 11:49 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by EllibelleView Post

I just hate to ask almost $3 for shipping for an item that costs under $5.
I've had many sales where shipping was close to or even higher than the item cost, it's never been an issue for me.
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:06 PM   #17
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I've had many sales where shipping was close to or even higher than the item cost, it's never been an issue for me.

I guess I had an ok amount of sales too, when I charged 2.95 for shipping. I didn't list any new cards for a while, and just decided listing cards again this year, thought it might be a good idea to look into lower shipping costs.

Reading everyone's opinions, I will be going going back to my original cost of shipping when I get the time to update my listings.

Thank you all again for your input!
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Old 01-09-2019, 01:25 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by EllibelleView Post
But first class letter or first class package? Up until now I always shipped my cards first class package (because you can't choose first class letter with etsy's shipping service). The cost for first class package is around $3.50 for a 3oz mailed as package but would only be approx. $1.15 mailed as letter. I am unsure if the yellow legal envelopes with clasp would be allowed to be used as "letters". I am considering using those envelopes and mail as stamped letters if allowed.
One tip I learned from a postal clerk at our local post office about the clasp envelopes. Take the clasp off! If you leave it on, they will have to charge the non-machinable surcharge, even if you cover it with tape as I've seen some people do (& as I did myself). Pry it off carefully (it's not hard) and just use the adhesive on the flap to seal the envelope--no surcharge. Then it's just the cost of the postage. HTH!
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