How to Ship Your eBay Merchandise
Shipping can be the most time-consuming (and dreaded) task for eBay sellers. The best way to avoid shipping problems is to do your homework beforehand, determine which method is likely to work best, and spell out in your item description exactly how you intend to ship the item.
Don’t even think of selling an item without evaluating your shipping options:
You don’t have to seal the package right away, but you should have it ready to seal because the two critical factors in shipping are weight and time. The more a package weighs and the faster it has to be delivered, the higher the charge. The time to think about packing and shipping is before you put the item up for auction.
Know your carrier options.
In the United States, the three main shipping options for most eBay transactions are the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS.
Before quoting the shipping fees, make sure that you include all appropriate costs.
You should charge a nominal handling fee (up to $1.50 isn’t out of line — even more under special circumstances) to cover your packing materials, which can add up quickly as you start making multiple transactions. You should also include any insurance costs and delivery-confirmation costs.
It’s best to post a flat shipping amount (or use the eBay online shipping calculator) to give buyers an idea of how much shipping will be. This way, buyers can include this cost when they consider their bidding strategies. Figure out what the packed item will weigh and then estimate shipping costs; the online calculators can help.
If the item is particularly heavy and you need to use a specialized shipping service, be sure to say in your listing description that you’re just giving an estimate and that the final cost will be determined prior to shipping. Optionally, you could tell the bidder how much the item weighs, where you’re shipping from, and what your handling charges are (a few bidders don’t mind doing the math).
When the auctions ends, e-mail the buyer and congratulate him or her on winning; reiterate your shipping choice and how long you expect shipping will take.
Make sure you’re both talking about the same timetable. If the buyer balks at either the price or the shipping time, try working out an option that will make the buyer happy.
Send the package.
When should you ship the package? Common courtesy says it should go out as soon as the item and shipping charges are paid. If the buyer has followed through with his or her side of the bargain, you should do the same. Ship that package no more than a day or so after payment (or after the eCheck clears). If you can’t, immediately e-mail the buyer and explain the delay.