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Discussion Starter #1
I've tried to find this out in previos threads, but did not find.

How do you determine what to charge for shipping an an order. I have bought from other sites and have done some research, but I can't tell how to set up my delivery charges. The going rates seem to be $5-$6 for US Postal, $7-$8 UPS Ground, $15-$18 UPS Second Day, $30-$40 overnight.

And on my order from a site I like, I was charged $5.99 for 2 shirts coming US Postal. Why not $5.99 per shirt? Would this company be eating the shipping costs if I ordered 4 shirts by standard mail?

And what about International rates? I'm not sure I want to sell overseas at this point until I get a grip on shipping costs in the States.

Appreciate your help...this part confuses me more than any other aspect of the start-up phase.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

I live in California and I can send a shirt to new York in a large envelope with cardboard inserts for under $3. On my web I charge $4.50. The envelope and the general cost of taking it to post office are covered. You can get actual cost of anything by going to shipping and postal websites. get yourself a scale. As my orders get bigger I charge more and select appropriate shipping company. Set up some weight and box sizes (samples) and see what the rates would be to the furthest point in the US from your starting point. it is not hard to figure. Lou
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

As Lou said, it's pretty much a matter of just weighing stuff and figuring it out. The USPS website has postage calculators if you want to play around with those to get an idea of rates. International isn't much harder, though you're right that it probably wouldn't hurt to get your head around local shipping first.

Shipping tends to be one of those things that has a base cost, and then slowly rises. So shipping two shirts won't necessarily cost much more than one (if you're using flat rate services it won't necessarily change at all). Some stores will eat the cost on larger orders, because the shipping cost isn't that significant and it's considered a good way to entice people into buying more of your product (hence lots of places doing free shipping on orders over $100 - they're essentially offering a 5-10% discount).

Some sites charge a handling fee, some don't. If they do it's sometimes large, sometimes small. Most people here will tell you not to charge a large handling fee, which I'd certainly agree with. A small fee is okay (badalou's above is a good example of a reasonable handling fee), but don't use it as an opportunity to increase your profit margins, so much as an actual handling fee used to cover petrol, packaging, etc. A lot of buyers will have used eBay before and seen the people who charge $10 handling fees on everyday objects - it has made people fairly sensitive to such things.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

And on my order from a site I like, I was charged $5.99 for 2 shirts coming US Postal. Why not $5.99 per shirt? Would this company be eating the shipping costs if I ordered 4 shirts by standard mail?
$5.99 per t-shirt is VERY expensive when it only costs around $3 or less to actually mail it. Customers don't like expensive shipping charges. I read somewhere that it's one of the leading causes of "abandoned shopping carts" (unfinished orders).

My advice is to figure out which shipping method you want to use, get the actual costs for shipping the shirts and supplies, and just charge the customer what it costs you. Don't try to make a profit on the shipping, the t-shirts have a high enough markup ability.

If you ship within the US, you can ship one t-shirt first class mail for under $3 (that's including the cost of the postage, shipping envelope from uline.com and printer labels from onlinelabels.com). Priority mail is $4.05 for 2-3 day delivery and they provide the pretty envelopes.

International shipping will vary (about $6-$12) depending on method and weight.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Re: Determining Shipping Cots

Well thanks for the feedback. I may need to do more homework at the Post Office. I thought I was lookintg at costs approaching $5 per shirt.

I would like to offer at least 2 sources (i.e. US Postal & UPS, or DHL, etc). Maybe that is not necessary?

Would it be better to build a small portion of that cost into the price per shirt and just say "shipping included" using my preferred method of delivery, but then offer options like 2-Day and Overnight delivery for a fee to cover the extra costs?
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

I'm trying something different. In the past, I always had $5 shipping on any quantity. I could ship 2 shirts for $4.05, any more and the cost went up a bit, but who cares, I sold more shirts.

Now though, I offer free shipping on any order. My shirt prices are a little higher to compensate, but I think in the long run, I'll come out ahead with shipping since the price is factored into EACH shirt.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

I think that's a good strategy, neato. I do the same with the CDs I sell off my site. Simpler all round. Only thing is, you make less profit on international sales, which would not be acceptable if moving big volumes overseas. Most of my sales have come from within my country, so not really an issue in my case.

Probably still acceptably simple to just have a note onsite that all international orders attract $x extra to cover higher shipping costs. No reasonable international client is going to baulk at that, if the extra costs do only cover extra international shipping expenses.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

Man, I'm glad you mentioned that Ross. I hadn't even thought about international orders. I better take care of that. Thanks for the heads up!
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

I would like to offer at least 2 sources (i.e. US Postal & UPS, or DHL, etc). Maybe that is not necessary?
I wouldn't think it's necessary. I've seen some shops that do (threadless offers like 5 different delivery methods), but it can be more trouble than it's worth if you don't have the time to work with the vendors, schedule pickups/dropoffs. USPS will come to your house for free and pick up packages and you can schedule it online.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

Rodney said:
USPS will come to your house for free and pick up packages and you can schedule it online.
Jeez, you guys have got it good in the States. Australia Post only offers this sort of service for a hefty fee, which is economically unpalatable unless you're doing pretty good business. I believe you guys also get free packaging from USPS.

I recently sold a fragile collectible via Ebay, which the buyer won for $10. I had to pad the item well, but the package was very light and not so large - about a foot cube. Aust Post insisted on charging me the cubed rate rather than going by weight, and the postage cost ended up being over $20. Bloody ripoff. Be thankful you've got a far better deal with your postal service.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

Ross B said:
Australia Post only offers this sort of service for a hefty fee, which is economically unpalatable unless you're doing pretty good business.
The fee doesn't balance out with the postal discounts?

I have been curious about what the service costs, but unfortunately can't find actual prices on the Australia Post website.

(I haven't seriously looked into it as I live literally next door to a post office)

Ross B said:
I believe you guys also get free packaging from USPS.
They do for one service, but not another (if I recall correctly First Class you supply the materials, Priority they do).

Ross B said:
but the package was very light and not so large - about a foot cube. Aust Post insisted on charging me the cubed rate rather than going by weight
Their cubing rule is a pain. I can see where they're coming from, but I still don't like it. It seems like the rule should be a little less strict (I was hit sending a digital camera and printer - not exactly light, but enough empty space in the box to knock it up a category). If I were sending something like a model airplane or a broom, sure... but it doesn't just apply to eccentric items.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

Ross B said:
Australia Post only offers this sort of service for a hefty fee, which is economically unpalatable unless you're doing pretty good business. I believe you guys also get free packaging from USPS.

I really think you need to have a chat with Australia Post, because that's not true.

If you're shipping over a certain volume of parcels per week (30 I think, it may be 40), and have a business number, you can get:

free pick up, 3 times a week.
a franking machine (this may be over 100 parcels)
*major* postage rate discounts.
a personal customer service contact (mine's called Adolf, and yes, has a superb German accent).
discounted packaging


And no, there is no fee.
 

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The minimum for eParcel pickup is 20 per week, I'm guessing that's the same thing?

I'm not surprised it's not expensive - that would be out of line with just about every other service they offer.
 

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I found that it's not really covered on the site. The only reason I got all the info was from downloading their beta program for online postage calculation. A few days later the lovely Adolf called and said "So you're in business ah? Let's see what we can do for you.....".
 

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Have you considered hiring a freelancer to "write some code" that goes into your store to tap into the USPS shipping api so that it gets the rates "directly from USPS?"

By having it tap right into the USPS API you get actual costs and don't have to worry about setting rates. It would be based on "weight" of package and the zip code it's going to.

It can also be done for "UPS" and/or "Fedex".
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

monkeylantern said:
I really think you need to have a chat with Australia Post, because that's not true.

If you're shipping over a certain volume of parcels per week (30 I think, it may be 40), and have a business number, you can get:

free pick up, 3 times a week.
a franking machine (this may be over 100 parcels)
*major* postage rate discounts.
a personal customer service contact (mine's called Adolf, and yes, has a superb German accent).
discounted packaging


And no, there is no fee.
Well, it's true for me. I'm only starting up, and 20+ parcels per week is a long way off for me at the moment. Regardless, my point was that it seems to me that the USPS is far better value than the Australian equivalent.


my point was that it seems to me that the USPS is far better value than the Aust equivalent. Do an apple-for-apple comparison and tell me it ain't so.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

Ross B said:
Do an apple-for-apple comparison and tell me it ain't so.
While I do agree that the US offers better value than Australia (especially for international mail, which is probably even more relevant for us than it is for them), I don't think that the difference is as drastic as you portray. Our mail service isn't perfect (like the confusion the cubing rule causes a lot of customers for example), but it is pretty good.

There's probably nothing that Australia Post offers that USPS doesn't though, so that would (obviously) put USPS ahead.
 

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Re: Determining Shipping Cots

s for Australia Post, I agree with Solmu. It isn't perfect, but it's pretty damn good. I've found that their postage time calcualtions are pretty spot on (far more so than my experience with UPS).

With business rates, you can post a t-shirt to the US for 2/3rds the price the US sites charge to post here. The only major area I think AusPost needs to improve is online postage creation, but with the frank machines, that also isn't an issue.

Sure, it's more difficult before you break the business-level barrier (which is pretty low in my opinion), but being in Oz isn't so much of the disadvantage you seem to think. If you're outsourcing things like label weaving, tag making, custom shirt making, cloth dying etc, we can access the Asian wholesale market *a lot* more easily than the US, which can add up to large amounts of money.

Play to the strengths Australia offers (such as the "Made in Australia" campaign meaning you can claim back 50% of the overseas advertising costs from the government...that Rolling Stone ad just became a lot more managable).
 

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:thread cleaned up. please keep issues between members OFF board (like PM or email. questions about this should be sent via PM:

Please remember the forum rules:
Be Courteous!


Don't attack others with words. Personal attacks on others will not be tolerated. Flaming, derogatory insults and hate speech will not be allowed in this forum. If you disagree with another member’s point of view, do so in a mature and civil manner. If someone seeks help from other forums members, please do not respond unless you have something positive or helpful to add. If you find yourself being flamed or insulted by another member, please do not dignify that person with a response. Notify a moderator or admin and let us handle it.

So back onto the topic of determining shipping costs, as Angela points out, there are many modules available that will give your customers the exact shipping costs from the carrier, that way you can always be sure it's accurate.
 

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Another benefit of USPS is the carrier pick-up service. Just leave your prepaid package at the front door and the mailman will take it during his normal rounds. I use their flat rate priority mail option. I can get two XL shirts in the $4.05 envelope and up to 6 in the $8.10 flate rate box. I charge actual shipping costs because I always hate it when I go to buy something and see people trying to make a profit from shipping.
 
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