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Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Ship on Ebay!

I'm sure there are many different methods for shipping, however, this is what has worked for me. If you have any tips to add, please leave a comment so we can all learn and benefit.

1. I use two different types of envelopes...
Envelope 1:
The flat rate priority mail envelopes are free from the post office- or you can go to and order them for free.
I use the priority flat rate envelope to ship anything that weighs 13oz or more. You won't believe how much you can pack in these envelopes. They cost $4.90 to mail and I charge the customer $6.95 (your handling fee will help pay your ebay and paypal fees)

Envelope 2:
I call this a manilla envelope. They have a metal clasp in the back. Mine measure 10x13 and I purchase them in a box at Sam's Club.
The manilla envelope is for items weighing less than 13oz (including the envelope and tape) I also use these for international shipping. You can ship up to 4lbs internationally in this envelope. Sending them first class mail will cost $1.80-$3.20 for domestic. I charge $4.95. They will cost anywhere between $5.00-13.00 to ship internationally (depends on weight and distance) and I charge $14.00. This higher handling fee covers three things
a. You will pay higher paypal fees because international shipping cost more and your fee is based on the total money sent to you. (item price plus shipping)
b. When shipping internationally you cannot use the automated machine. This means you may have to spend time waiting in line and you have to go during regular hours.
c. When shipping internationally you will need to complete a customs form.
International customers are generally very understanding about the higher shipping.

2. When I receive an email from paypal indicating a customer has paid for their ebay item, I fill out an envelope right then. First I look at the amount of shipping that's been charged, so I know what envelope to use. Next, I fill out the address label and lastly, I write what item needs to go in the envelope on the inside flap. They look like this...
On international items I write the price the item sold for so I can fill out the customs form when I pack the envelope.

3. Using my envelopes as my list, I go into my ebay room and pull everything that needs to be shipped. I bring my clothes, envelopes, tape gun and customs forms to my kitchen table. (You can grab a stack of customs forms at the post office)
4. If it's over 13 oz it WILL fit into the priority envelope. (I've only had 2 items, really bulky jackets, that wouldn't fit) People often ask, "how do you ship your jeans? They won't fit in the flat rate envelope." Jeans easily fit- with a little practice. To demonstate, I'm going to show you how to pack this size large denim jacket (much bulkier than a pair of jeans) Lay the item flat...

Fold over...
Fold in arms...
Roll once...
Roll twice...
Now push it in the envelope...
This doesn't look like it will fit, does it? Here's where you need to really pack it in. First I stand up the envelope and tap it on the table- This will settle the item in. Then I use my hands to tuck in the item as I roll the envelope over...

It may not be pretty, but it's in. I use a piece of tape to secure the envelope...
The post office will allow a piece of tape to go from indentation to indentation- no taping the sides. Where my fingers are in this picture is about where the indentations are.
Here's my packages all ready to mail. To conveniently transport them to the post office I stack them in these great recycle bags...
I don't like to have stuff laying around so I generally ship 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) My 18 year old daughter loves to drive and so is the primary person to do the shipping. If you're unable to go to the post office during regular hours you can ship domestic
items using the automated postal center...
Don't be afraid- it's wonderful. Typically there's no line and after a little practice you'll get really fast. However, if I'm going during the day, I usually let the post office workers do my shipping. You will be asked if you want delivery confirmation, tracking number, etc. Unless it is an expensive item (Over $30.00), I just send it regular mail. I have had 3 packages lost in the course of selling hundreds of items. When the customer says they haven't received their package, I usually ask them to wait an additional week and recontact me. If they contact me again in a week, I have to trust they're being honest and issue a full refund. I do not include a packing slip with my items. Computer ink is expensive so just the item goes in the envelope. The customer receives an email invoice from ebay when the auction ends and an email invoice from me. I have had 1 customer say she would have liked a packing slip. When I first started selling on ebay I really took each criticism from my customers to heart. I wasn't experienced, so if a customer made a suggestion I followed it. However, I've learned that some people can just be really picky and negative. If you have a system that works, don't let one comment change your method. If several people make the same comment, then it's time to rethink your strategy. We all want to keep our expenses down and our profits high.

I'm sure I haven't answered all of your questions, so please leave a comment and I will answer back with a comment so everyone can read the suggestions. I hope this helps all of you who want to sell on ebay but were worried about shipping. We're coming into the holiday season and most of us can use some extra cash- ebay is a great solution. Have a great weekend. Love, Kelly.


  1. Oh no!! It's a great post and so helpful for beginner like us. i haven't started yet but yes I am keeping, reading and learning the tips. And let me tell you, you are the only one I'm learning from.

    I am waiting for more posts like you.

    From India, with love.

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to help those that are just getting started. I have tried to find the other posts that you have done but I am not sure how many there are. Can you put a link to each one, or let us know the easiest way to find them. Thanks!!

  3. Thanks for posting. Great tips.

    So, I'll tell you my process. I buy the white plastic shipping envelopes off of ebay(like that they are waterproof and weigh very little). They are perfect for shipping first class items. I use the shipping calculator for my auctions and give them a choice of first class or priority. I also use PayPal shipping. <3 this!!!!! I bought a huge stack of shipping sticker sheets(2 to a sheet) for really cheap off of Ebay. This saves writing addresses on each envelope and I don't have to worry about messing up numbers or zip codes. Nothing fancy with my packages either such as an invoice or tissue paper.

    I take all items to PO and drop them off. With PayPal shipping, confirmation is included for priority and an additional pennies for first class and parcal post.

  4. A couple other hints. I have my five-year-old stand on some items to shove them into a flat rate helps a lot sometimes.

    I also print all my shipping at home straight from ebay. Yes, it costs me for printer ink and I buy half sheet labels, but instead of $4.90, it only costs $4.75 for a flat rate envelope. And, delivery confirmation is included, so I always know when someone receives their item and they can check tracking too.

    Also, in winter when I do not want to drive to the post office with the kids in tow, I schedule the post office to pick up at my house for free. I just leave all my packages in a bag at the front door. I still have to go out to mail int'l first class mail.

    Love you blog!

  5. I love your blog and tips. After reading it for several months, I started selling on Ebay in July. I haven't made much of a profit by the time fees and shipping come in but I'm learning. I really appreciate your tips. I have always wondered how you do your shipping as it takes me quite awhile and I don't ship out nearly the amount you do.

    My only question is how do you know what an item weighs? I've been putting everything in the flat rate and charging for what it costs to ship. I think I'll try the manila envelopes.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to write your blog. My husband is even excited that I am doing this and even suggested a Goodwill trip while he was home on R&R. Thanks again!

  6. This is a very informative post. Thanks!

  7. Thank you thank you thank you! I've been waiting for this post for ages! Ok, just 7 days but it was a looooonnnng 7 days!
    I have been sticking things in boxes but I know I'm paying even a little for cardboard. I'm glad to know your method!

  8. Thanks for this post! I've been using the flat rate envelopes. But now, I'm beginning to list more fall/winter (thus bulkier) items. Any advice for shipping sweaters and other winter clothing? Would you use the flat rate boxes ($10.70 shipping) or something else?

  9. Just wanted to add - we did have a post office clerk accuse us of altering a flat rate envelope one time. It wasn't altered at all, it didn't even have tape on it. It just was super stuffed and didn't look pretty! So my husband took the package over to our local Hallmark store (which has a post office in store) and they shipped it for $4.90 with no problem and much friendlier service!


  11. Kelly, you need to start printing postage at home. You just need to buy a digital scale on Ebay for less than $30 and paypal labels.
    You can use paypal to print the labels. Its uploads the tracking info right to ebay and the customer gets a email as well.
    Also in case of a dispute, you have DC right there.

    Also you can schedule a carrier pick up for free!!

  12. I've had the same issue as Connie when using those Priority envelopes. I was told the envelope couldn't have any gaps nor could I use tape.

  13. Thanks for the post! It's always good to read how others do it. I'm using the flat-rate envelopes and printing postage at home via PayPal. I'm just printing on copy paper, though, and taping the labels on. My post office says to stuff as much as possible in the envelope and then tape it to death. I'm very glad to have the post office I do rather than the one some of you have. I've been rather amazed at the comments.

    As others mentioned, flat-rate priority packages receive a discount and free delivery confirmation if printed through ebay or PayPal. Delivery confirmation is only 19 cents for first class packages if printed through ebay or PayPal.

    Thanks for all you share! We're eager for more!

  14. this post was so helpful as well as everyone's comments. how long have you been doing international shipping? (and why am i so scared to try it?) and like other's i'm curious to know how you ship bulky jackets. with winter coming i've got some bulkier items i want to sell . .not sure how to do the shipping? thanks kelly

  15. I have to add...I am grateful for our friendly post office. They know me when I walk in and when it's busy, they tell me to just leave my packages at the end of the counter and they take care of it.

    According to the site, the flat rate envelopes are supposed to be closed with only the attached adhesive strip. My post office doesn't care as long as I have it ready to ship, they take it.

    Great tips everyone!

  16. I just started ebaying items this week and lost money on shipping because I didn't think I could make my items fit in those envelopes (and I only charged $5.00). Thank you SO much for this post because I have several more items that will be going out this next week and I don't want to lose anymore money. You are a lifesaver!

  17. The working home keeper and Whitney:
    The two items I've shipped that wouldn't fit in the flat rate envelopes were mailed in the priority mail teflon envelopes- These are much larger and are free at the post office. For these packages you'll need to weigh the item before posting and go on to find out how much priority postage will be- be sure and add $2.00 handling to cover your time and fees.

    I've been doing international for the last 2 or 3 months- like you I was really nervous. Once I found out $14.00 will cover it no matter what it's been great. On weeks I do a lot of shipping to Canada I can make over $40 on handling fees.

    Anonymous: I use a digital food scale to weigh my items to make sure they're under 13 oz. If they weigh more than 11 oz out of envelope I go ahead and charge the $6.95 and ship in a flat rate.

    Missy: Our ebay information is really scattered throughout all of our posts. Every Wednesday I post my top sellers if you want to make notes of brands that sell- and last week I posted how I organize my ebay items- You can find that at

    Thank you so much for all the comments. I knew if I posted this information I would learn from you. I'm definitely going to try the pre-paid postage on paypal- I had no idea you received a 15 cent discount and delivery confirmation. That could be a $50.00 savings for me each month with the amount I ship. I'm also grateful for my friendly post office- I had no idea the rules were different depending on the person. Thanks again for all the tips.

  18. I agree with the PayPal shipping - I use it, along with some half-sheet labels I bought on eBay a couple of years ago - 2 boxes and I still have a ton left! I ship in the flat rate envelopes whenever possible (mostly clothing) and charge $5.50. If I have several items, I'll drop them off at the P.O. Otherwise I just stick it in my mailbox for my route carrier. This type of shipping = MAJOR CONVENIENCE!

  19. love your ebay tutorial! i do include shipping confirmation with each sale. i have had it be my only proof, besides the receipt from the post office, for a dispute with paypal and/or a customer saying it was not received. so i go to and type in the confirmation and copy paste the results and send to customer in an email. oh, they say, the neighbor had it! that extra money has saved my butt too many times, and i didn't have to refund money. yes, there are some people out there that want to have their cake and eat it too. i always say CYA!
    keep up the great ebay sales. super time of year to sell!

  20. also, when i sell men/womens jeans, i have found that standing on the priority envelope will help the envelope to settle better and i get a better closure on the flap. this works on sizes up to 38 inch waist. after that i have had to use a box to ship. there is too my fabric to contend with in the bigger sizes. i haven't had any of my mail people give me any grief about the flap and i use tape all the way across.

  21. This higher handling fee covers three things
    a. You will pay higher pay-pal fees because international shipping cost more and your fee is based on the total money sent to you.

  22. I am so glad you posted this. I sold my first item this week and put in in the flat rate envelope. I was concerned what the buyer would think of the dress being folded up so much. Also I did have a question about when you list stuff. Does it make a difference what day of the week the sale ends on? For example are more people watching if the sale ends on a weekend or during the week. Or does it matter? Thanks for your great posts.

  23. Wonderful post! What a treasure trove for a someone new to selling to find. Excellent advice, take it and start selling! I had to learn it all the hard way, through trial and error. I must say, I have never 'squished' items into a flat rate envelope but after reading all the posts, I think I have been too fussy with my packing in tissue, etc. I do HIGHLY recommend delivery confirmation. I purchased a pair of citizen for humanity jeans, (I found out about this brand on this blog!), I purchased for $4.99 at Good Will. Sold for $50! However, the customer emailed to say Ebay didn't have their correct address. I emailed back delivery confirmation number and never heard back again, including in feedback. How do you handle feedback? Do you leave immediately after payment, or do you wait for their feedback first? As a seller your hands are tied and you are totally unable to leave negative feedback for buyer. I'd love to hear how other sellers handle it.

  24. Love the shipping tips, thank you! And I agree on using the Paypal shipping labels. Saves on having to write them, plus there's the discount. Half the sheet prints as the label and half as a shipping record to keep, so that's useful, too. I also use a digital scale, one I bought several years ago for breadmaking actually. It's on Amazon and weighs items up to 11 pounds, so it's useful for weighing lots of things around the house. Only $24 (Escali Primo Digital Multifunctional Scale). Best thing I've purchased in a while.

  25. Hi Kelly,
    Thanks for all the great info. One thing that I have found is that the other flat rate envelopes at the post office don't cost any more to ship. The ones that are the TYVEK. Maybe they are 5cents more but they can hold a lot more easily. I also have been printing the shipping labels at home and taping them on. No problems so far. When you pick them up at the post office it has a list of what it should cost to ship that envelope. THANKS for all your help!!

  26. Thank you so much for all the great info! I have dabbled in Ebay for some time now but you have inspired me! I have made approx. $150.00 in the last two weeks from clothing alone that I've picked up at thrift stores, Goodwill and garage sales. I've only had one incident with an unhappy buyer (refunded) but I guess that comes with the territory. Keep up the good work!

  27. I work at the post office as a substitute carrier and am sorry that some of you have had problems with the clerks. Usually the clerks are very knowledgable and helpful. Unfortunatly for whatever reason(could be working conditions) some clerks are just grumpy. I do know that the post office in general is trying to save money by reducing clerk hours, not replacing clerks that retire. My best advice would be to be nice to the clerks and try to establish a connection with them. Try to avoid the post office during peak times. If that doesn't work. Print your own postage and schedual a carrier pick up(must have at least one priority parcel for a carrier pick up.

  28. BTW, Thanks for a great blog! I love reading it and am working up the nerve to sell my first item on ebay and

  29. I would just like to clarify one as you are listing the item, you weigh it to see if it's over 11 ounces or under, then you know what to charge for I correct? Also, is anything that is sold internationally charged $14 for shipping? I've never sold international, so I'm curious. Thank you again for your wonderful posts!!!

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