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What is the most efficient way to calculate shipping?

I'm new to etsy and calculating the shipping has been one of the most challenging things for me. For awhil I was estimating and would end up eating the cost on alot of items. Ive purchased a scale and just downloaded a Click n Ship program to my PC.

My question is- do people normally weigh out every single item and individually calculate for that item based on whatever is listed online before they put their item up for sale? Also is there an easy way to figure out rates if I only know the weight of my package? Say it is 3lbs. All I need to tell the customer is the estimate for USA, Canada, and Everywhere else. Well usually when you try to calculate shipping with any of the apps or programs I've seen, you have to enter a specific zip code, which would be impossible to do if I'm looking for a general estimate for countries outside of the US.

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated! Or just anything you can tell me about shipping! Thanks so much!

14 Responses

If your items are different weights, then pick one item of each weight, pack it up like you're going to ship and then weigh each one. Make a note of it and then go to usps.com and use their calculator to figure it out. However, the best thing you can do is figure out what the furthest zip code is from yours and use that rate. I don't know how you'd do that though, since I was given the one that's furthest from me, years ago.

ETA
One thing you can do to make it easier is to use the priority mail flat rate packaging from the PO, which is free.
don't forget package size which can also change the price of shipping!

choose a zip that's as far away from you as possible. I'm mid-Atlantic (east coast) and I picked an easy to remember zip code in Cali (always feel sorry for the midwesterners who have to work harder to figure out the farthest zone from them). Shipping internationally usually doesn't require that you have an exact location to give you a quote, just the country. Australia is typically the most expensive place to ship to but check out a couple of places.
Anything up to 13 oz. ships by weight and cost the same anywhere in the U.S.A. Anything else I ship priority flat rate and it is the same price according to which size box you use. International orders go by 1st class international or priority international. I charge a flat rate that covers the cost. I have ate some $ on a few international orders but just by some change so that's okay.

Hope this makes sense.
If you have items that fit in the post office's "flat rate" Priority Mail boxes, you could just use them, always ship Priority and charge the flat rate (or a little more to cover packing materials and such, which can be expensive). Otherwise, using the furthest zone from yours to calculate shipping (use the post office's website as Amy stated above, or go to your local post office for help figuring that out). If you end up overcharging someone a lot because they're in a zone close to you, you can always refund them a few dollars. I've done that a few times.
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Inactive Etsy Member 12:42am Nov 14, 2012 EST
I prefer flat rate priority shipping since all of my items are under 70 lbs. within the USPS it cuts down on the weight confusion and is pretty inexpensive. For international...I have only gotten a few Canada orders so far and its actually less than I thought so I had to refund one customer the overage. Now I know.

I guess it is kind of difficult to figure out if you havent shipped to a particular country I weighed my priority package while at the post office so I know the exact weight to enter upon shipping outside of US.
Thank you so much everyone! These tips do help! Yes most of my clothing weighs different or is too light to really benefit from using the flat rate packaging. I think figuring out the zip farthest from me will be the best bet and also it's good to know that I can just enter a country and don't need the exact zip codes there.

Is there a country that tends to be the most expensive besides Australia?
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Inactive Etsy Member 12:59am Nov 14, 2012 EST
Erica, i found priority to be the least expensive as its only 4.90 with delivery confirmation. That's up to 70lbs....i found it to be not so great for my little tank tops that weigh less than 1lb so for those, i want to try another route. Perhaps first class would work for you(if not already using) but i think it has to definitely be under 1lb.
You can use the USPS calculator to figure out shipping costs anywhere: postcalc.usps.gov

First class mail is up to 13oz. I always use 90210 to calculate shipping anywhere in the US ;) As for international, I use Australia for my "everywhere else" shipping price since it's in the most expensive zone to ship to.

Don't forget to figure in handling costs too (cost of packaging like bubble mailers, etc). I use an etsy calculator to help me figure out how to most effectively price my items:

www.gregledet.net/efcm.html

P.S. There's really no need for the Click N Ship program anymore since you can print out labels for domestic AND international packages through Etsy now!
After much research, I just use US, Canada, and Everywhere Else (using Australia). Since you're on the opposite coast, maybe plug in a few far-flung countries and see what seems to be the most expensive.

Many buyers completely understand that shipping may be off, and many of us sellers refund if there is overcharges. It's easy to do through Paypal. Not sure about Direct Checkout.

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