Shipping eBay Items with the U.S. Postal Service
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is probably the most efficient and inexpensive way to ship items you sell on eBay. It also supplies free boxes and labels for Priority and Express Mail packages. Here are some ways eBay members get their items from here to there via USPS (For a complete explanation of domestic rates, check out the USPS Prices page):
Priority Mail: This is the de facto standard method of shipping for eBay users. It offers free boxes and great rates. The promised delivery time is two to three days, although you may experience rare delays of up to a week during peak holiday periods.
Cost? Presently (rates are always subject to change), Priority Mail costs $4.95 for a 1-pound package. Over a pound, the charge is calculated according to weight and distance.
A $4.95 flat-rate Priority envelope is also available, though you can save money by ordering them online. You can ship as much stuff as you want — as long as you can fit it into the supplied 9½ x 12½ envelope. (You’ll be surprised how much stuff you can jam into those envelopes.) You can reinforce the envelope with clear packing tape.USPS Flat Rate Priority boxes ready and waiting for you!
There are also flat-rate Priority Mail boxes that come in three sizes and allow you to send heavy items for reduced rates. Order them directly from the USPS. The above figure shows you some of the wide selection!
Express Mail: If the item needs to be delivered the next day, use Express Mail. The Postal Service promises delivery no later than noon the following afternoon (even on weekends or holidays). And you can get free boxes.
Cost? Express Mail runs $13.05 for packages 8 ounces and under. Express Mail also has a flat-rate envelope, which is the same size as the Priority flat-rate envelope and ships for $17.50. (You get a 5% discount when purchasing your postage electronically.)
First-Class Mail: If your item weighs 13 ounces or less, you can use First-Class Mail. First-Class Mail is considerably cheaper than Priority. By shipping via First-Class Mail, you can have the edge on other sellers by offering lower shipping prices.
Media Mail: This is a popular option among those who sell books on eBay. It's the new name for two older products, Book Rate and Special Standard Mail. Media Mail rates start at $2.23 for the first pound and increase by $0.35 for each additional pound, up to 70 lbs.
Other options: The Postal Service offers all sorts of add-ons. It’s a good idea to get the delivery confirmation service that you can add to Priority Mail, as well as with other mailing services such as First Class or Parcel Post, for $0.75 — free on electronic purchases. It buys you the knowledge of when and where your item was delivered. Not only that, but if buyers report to PayPal that they want a refund because they never received an item, the scan on the delivery confirmation code prevents you from getting a chargeback.
If you’re an occasional shipper (you buy more than you sell on eBay) and don’t use PayPal, you can print bar-coded shipping labels with free delivery confirmation (for Priority Mail only) at the USPS site. No online e-mail functions are available, so you have to do all the e-mailing and record keeping yourself. But hey, the service is free. Just go to the USPS Web site and find the Click-N-Ship link.