Top 15 Most Useful eBay Shipping Tips
Since we started selling on eBay in 2002, we’ve shipped 1000s of eBay packages! Along the way, we’ve learned a few eBay shipping tips and we thought beginner and experienced seller alike might find them useful.
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eBay Shipping Tips #1: Use a Dymo Label Printer
Here are a few reasons why we love it so much:
It saves time. We can simply print the label and slap it on the box. No more cutting the label out of paper and taping it to the box.
It saves tape. Now we can just stick it directly on the box, and since they are thermal printed we don’t have to work about the ink smearing if the package gets wet.
It saves ink. We hardly ever use our regular printer now that we have the DYMO. The Dymo label printer doesn’t use any ink, so we don’t have to buy it nearly as often as we used to! (and ink is expensive!)
eBay Shipping Tips #2: Order eBay Shipping Supplies
eBay now sells their own branded shipping supplies. As a bonus, if you are a store owner, you will receive a coupon every quarter to get shipping supplies for free! We love their tissue paper because it’s large and not so thin that it rips every time you touch it. We’ve also ordered the circle stickers which are a nice touch to seal our tissue paper wrapped items.
Other items you can purchase are various size boxes, bubble envelopes, and poly mailers.
eBay Shipping Tips #3: Order Free USPS Boxes
One of the best free resources available to eBay sellers is free USPS boxes and envelopes. You can order which every size you need online and have them shipped directly to your house at no cost. Our favorite is the padded flat rate envelopes. They are versatile, cheap, and “if it fits, it ships”.
Sometimes, for better protection, we like to put the item in a box and then slip the whole box inside a padded flat rate. One tip that we learned a while back was that you can take one the free priority shoe boxes, cut it in half, cut down the sides a few inches to make flaps, and it easily fits inside the padded flat rate envelope.
Another thing to keep in mind about the free USPS boxes is that you can cut down or even combine boxes to make them bigger. However, you can only do this on regular Priority boxes. You cannot alter flat rate or regional boxes or envelopes.
This is one of the most cost-effective eBay shipping tips we can give you! You’ll end up using these boxes all the time and they’re absolutely free!
eBay Shipping Tips #4: Wrap Clothing with Tissue Paper
We’ve found that taking the extra few seconds to neatly wrap clothing items in tissue paper before packing adds a nice touch that customers like. We have often received comments in our feedback about how nicely packaged the item was. Sometimes it’s the small touches that sometimes make the biggest difference and set the tone for a pleasant transaction.
eBay Shipping Tips #5: Use Heavy Duty Tape
This is one shipping supply we don’t skimp on. A few years ago we tried lowering our costs by purchasing cheaper tape online. However, the tape we received was really thin and not very sticky. We ending up using 3 times as much tape as normal and not saving any money after all. So we went back to our trusty, heavy-duty tape we were using. Yes, it costs a little extra but at least we don’t have to worry about boxes busting open during shipping!
eBay Shipping Tips #6: Get Free Bubble Wrap
We all know that buying bubble wrap can be one of the biggest shipping expenses. However, there are many options available for finding free bubble wrap. Here are some great places to check out and ask about free bubble wrap for eBay shipping.
The Nextdoor App. With the rise of online shopping, there’s a pretty good chance that your neighbors are throwing away tons of valuable bubble wrap. Send out a simple request for bubble wrap on your neighborhood Nextdoor network.
Craigslist. Craigslist get’s a lot of traffic and you could easily put out an “in search of” post for bubble wrap. You never know who might be willing to give it away instead of throwing it away!
Local Facebook Groups. If your city or neighborhood has a Facebook group you should definitely put out a post requesting bubble wrap. People will be happy to let you pick it up so that it’s not filling their recycle bins!
Freecycle.org.Post a “wanted” ad on freecycle.org for free bubble wrap. Also, keep an eye on new postings… it might just pop up and you could be the first to find it!
A few other places of business to ask:
local car dealerships and auto body shops
local recycle centers
eBay Shipping Tips #7: Use a Giant Sharpie
All shipping carriers ask that you mark out any barcodes on boxes that you reuse. This is where a giant sharpie comes in handy. It’s also great for crossing out old stubborn shipping labels that you can get off. Just use the sharpie to blackout the old information and then place your new label on top of the old.
eBay Shipping Tips #8: Include a Business Card with Your Shipments
We used to print out packing slips from eBay to include in each package with a handwritten note. Not only was this taking extra paper and ink, it was also taking more time.
Since we usually have multiple packages to ship at one time, having a nice business card to include has proven to be much more time-effective.
You can read more about our choice of eBay business cards here.
Additionally, these business cards are nice and colorful. Something that will serve as a gentle reminder to leave us feedback and provides our eBay user ID and store name for potential repeat business.
eBay Shipping Tips #9: Pack & Weigh Items When Listing
There is nothing more frustrating than going to ship a sold item only to find that you didn’t charge enough for shipping (whether you charged a calculated rate or tried to include it in your listing price with free shipping).
The best way to get around this is to package and weigh your item before listing so that you will know exactly how much your item weighs and what size box you will be shipping your item in.
You can even use a sticky note or masking tape to write down the weight and dimensions and stick it to the item so you don’t forget.
eBay Shipping Tips #10: Don’t Store Items in Their Packaging
When we first started selling on eBay, we thought we’d make things easier and store all our item in the packaging that we intended to ship with. While this worked out okay when we had less than 100 items and most of it was clothing being shipped in padded envelopes, it started not working out so well as we grew.
First, we started running out of space to store everything. It takes less space to fold and stack clothes in a tote or store items on a shelf when you don’t have bulky boxes and envelopes.
Also, we started running out of shipping supplies. All of our envelopes were tied up in holding unsold items.
While it’s good to know exactly what you are going to ship your stuff in, simply use masking tape sticky notes to write down which box or envelope you want to use and the weight/dimensions of the package. Then stick the note or tape to the item and store accordingly. This saves a lot of time and space!
eBay Shipping Tips #11: Put Items in Your Mailbox
If you only have a few small items to ship, most of the time it’s not worth driving to the post office. Instead, you can put those packages in your mailbox! You may want to check with your postman ahead of time, but we do this and it works great. Our mailman scans the package right in his truck and the package is on it’s way to the customer!
eBay Shipping Tips #12: Use Flat Rate Shipping Instead of Calculated
Unfortunately, eBay’s shipping calculator isn’t fool-proof. We have had more than one occasion where the website didn’t calculate the shipping correctly and we ended up paying more to ship an item then what the buyer gave us. After calling eBay, they have admitted that the shipping calculator has glitches and doesn’t always charge the correct amount to buyers.
Therefore, we have gone to using flat rate shipping on most items. You can do this by going to USPS’s postage calculator and seeing what different weights cost going to the furthest location from you. Since we live in Iowa, we always estimate shipping costs based on Beverly Hills, CA, 90210. Then just charge a flat rate based on the furthest location it could go to.
eBay Shipping Tips # 13: Keep Shipping in Mind While Sourcing
Maybe you found a great item and you know you’ll make $15 profit on it when it sells. However, the item weighs at least 10 pounds and its dimensions are around 20″ by 16″ by 12″. It’s also very fragile, so you’ll need to take care when packaging so it doesn’t get broken in shipping.
In our opinion, an item like this would not be worth buying to resell. It’s not worth the $15 profit for the time and amount of packing supplies that will be tied up in shipping.
It’s important to keep this in mind while you’re outsourcing at thrift stores, garage sales, estate sale, etc.
eBay Shipping Tips #14: Use Paper in Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes
We love using padded flat rate envelopes and even flat rate boxes when it’s cost-effective. However, sometimes these envelopes/boxes are a little too big and the item slides around too much.
No worries! Since you’re paying a flat rate and don’t have to worry about the weight of the package. We like to use packing paper to fill up empty space in flat rate boxes and envelopes. It provides a little extra protection in addition to keeping items from sliding around.
eBay Shipping Tips #15: Cut a USPS Shoe Box in Half to Fit in Padded Flat Rate Envelopes
Did you know you can certainly ship breakable items in padded flat rate envelopes? You can!
Did you also know that it’s completely fine to cut and reshape the free USPS priority mailboxes? You can! However, make sure you only cut and reshape the regular priority boxes, NOT flat rate boxes.
The perfect box to use inside padded flat rate boxes are the USPS Priority Mail Shoe Boxes. You can cut these in half and then make your own little boxes to fit items in. We’ve used this method to ship small electronics, glass jars, etc. It’s the perfect solution!