Monday, May 20, 2013

Shipping on eBay

The dollhouse is bursting at the seams, and I really need to get rid of stuff. Though I sold a few small items on Etsy, I don't think it drives enough traffic. Next stop, eBay.

My questions have to do with shipping. On Etsy, I found in order to move the few things I did, I had to have zero shipping. The buy it price included shipping. But how to handle that on eBay?

I've poked around on eBay and have seen ridiculously low postage rates that won't even cover the cost of a box, packing tape or bubble wrap. The post office figures shipping based on zone plus weight of package, but if you don't know where the buyer is located how can you figure out the real mailing price?  They also have a flat rate if it fits in the box, it ships which is what I used on Etsy plus an extra $1.85 for insurance. Currently the medium flat rate is $12.35 and the large flat rate is $16.85. Tracking is included.

Let's use the teacup above as an example. The original price of the cup was $15.00 and I've seen the cup on  replacement china sites for $25.00. Do I start the bidding $30 ($15 for the cup plus $14.20 for the medium flat rate plus insurance?) Do I start the price low like $9.99 and hope the price goes up to cover the shipping? Or the bid starts at $9.99 plus shipping ($14.20) My goal is to get the stuff out of the house, but I'd like to earn a few cookies for the time it takes to upload pics, monitor the site, pack the item, go to the post office, and buy packing tape and peanuts? What to do, what to do?


  1. with eBay, you have to factor in an average cost of shipping.. to the buy it now price, with free shipping. or start low biding and hope it will rise.. and have a shipping cost... it really is up to you.. then think about international shipping, takes it to another ball park.. and more bidders of course.. but if you want to move stuff.. think of the figure you would like to get, cut it a bit.. and cross your fingers it goes up, if it does not, then at least you have sold the item, which means another item out of the house. and remember little fish are sweet, and better than no fish sold at all.. sometimes bidders surprise, and sometime they disappoint, but what you loose on the hurdy gurdy, you pick up on the merry go round. grin. good luck.. best thing to do is just start.. grin. Dragontoots..

  2. You can choose for the buyer to calculate their own shipping based on their zipcode. I tend to include in the listing that buyers only pay actual shipping charges and I refund any overpayment and bill for any underpayment-- been on eBay for 12+ years with no problems.

    As for selling- if it's WORTH $30 start it at $9.99 and it might sell for more. If you start it at $30 it won't sell at all.
    People like to feel like they're getting a deal, and you have to get a bidder's emotional involvement in the process in order to get the bids to raise.

    All of my auctions start between 99c and 9.99-- with no reserves. I've sold items that were worth $1k this way and its never failed me.

    However, there are times when you THINK something is worth more than it is-- and the reality is its only worth what someone wants to pay for it.

    End all your auctions on Sunday nights between 8-11pm EST-- thats premium bidding time.
    Friday and Saturday nights are dead.

    Use the eBay scheduling feature to have them start a few minutes from each other, run them 7 days.

    I agree with Dragontoots above, sometimes you win, sometimes the bidder wins, but it all evens out.

  3. CJ, look at the USPS website. I have found the regional rate boxes are nearly always a better price than the flat rate boxes if you can find one that fits the items you're shipping. The Priority rates are now really variable so I would choose calculated shipping dependent on zipcode using the Ebay calculator. You can save a lot of money if you print your own labels through Ebay or the USPS site.

    Auctions are not doing as well as they used to. I would recommend starting at the lowest price you would be happy with because many auctions now only get one bid. The replacement sites are usually far above what the item will sell for on Ebay so if you use that as a guideline, it is unlikely your items will sell. You can search on completed listings by narrowing down your searchwords then clicking on the Completed Auction links on the left hand side.

    If you choose to use Fixed Price, Ebay now is phasing in automatic Immediate Payment Required. It is wise to set up the shopping cart to handle multiple item purchases, especially if you're listing like items.

    Finally, shipping overseas is a crapshoot. Given Paypal's strict requirement for Delivery Confirmation under $250 and Signature Confirmation at or above, many sellers these days no longer ship overseas. If you choose you can block international sales in your seller preferences. It is not enough to set them in the sell your item form.

    Finally, the rate of nonpayment has skyrocketed with the new brand of commodity buyers. There are several bidder blocks you can set in seller preferences that are handy. Block as high as you can for violations and block bids from any bidder with two or more Unpaid Items in the last 12 months. That seems to help. If you get any lowball offers, general consensus seems to be to add those buyers to your blocked bidder list.

    My brother in law has just started back to selling on Ebay and has had a lot of problems with scammers. The number of people buying for resale has skyrocketed and they seem to know all the angles to get a reduced price. So you need to protect yourself as much as possible.

    You can facebook me or email if you have any other questions. I haven't sold on Ebay for five years at least but I still buy a lot there and post daily to the Ebay boards.

    Karen Humphries

  4. Wow, that was a lot of "finally"s

  5. All good advice from EBayers, I can't think of anything more to add except good luck! :)

  6. Toots, Andy, Karen, and Robin, thanks for the help. I think I'll start with some of the smaller items to test the waters.