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eBay Advice; Shipping, Boxes, etc.


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#1 ThatOneGuyWho

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 09:50 PM

Alright, so I just started buying and selling on eBay. So far I've made over $1,000 but that's mostly from selling consoles as appose to just games. Profit was about $260 too which is great.

I know I'm doing stuff wrong already since I paid $40+ to ship 4 consoles and owe $70 in eBay / PayPal fees. My questions are all geared towards saving money on shipping but I'm open to more helpful tips.

1. I can get free boxes from USPS. If I have the shipping label already made and the box ready to go, do I have to pay for any additional cost? If I offer free shipping, what is the usual cost just for a shipping label (I know it varies depending on method)
Link to free boxes
2. What are some places to get boxes for cheap or free so I can ship from UPS or internationally if I wanted to?
3. Where is a good place to get cheap bubble wrap. I might just order from Amazon if anything but not sure what size wrap. I just need small for games and 1 set for consoles (3DS's, Vita's, PS3's, etc)
4. I shipped consoles so far via UPS. The girl gave me 2 day shipping w/o me noticing, my mistake. I should have focused more. I don't care when it gets to the buyer, I just want the cheapest. Can I just do domestic 5 days for all items or is there a certain method for different items?

Sorry if this is the wrong forum too, wasn't sure where to post this.

Any other tips would be helpful.

#2 DNukem170

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 10:05 PM

Don't use UPS, so I am not sure about them.

Free boxes should be paid for with the shipping label. However, make sure the postage dimensions and weight are accurate. Also, make sure not to get the wrong box (i.e. Flat Rate when you want regular). The actual rate for the labels depends on the service and weight. For consoles, you will usually use Parcel Select or Priority Mail. Whichever is cheaper varies from package to package, but the difference is usually minimal.

As for bubble wrap, Home Depot has some large rolls for pretty cheap. If you belong to a bulk store like Costco or Sam's Club, try there. And, as always, try Amazon.

For boxes, try a large retail store like Home Depot or Walmart in the early morning or late at night. Their freight crews usually work anywhere from 9pm to 7am.

Also note that you can also drop off pre-paid packages at Office Depot for both USPS and UPS.

#3 burritoman

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Posted 26 March 2013 - 11:31 PM

Get those Priority Mail flat rate boxes. It's easy to bundle stuff in them because you can fill them up until they are full for the same price as empty.

I pay about $10 to ship a console USPS, but their rates are astronomical if you are not using the flat rate boxes. There is a point where Priority Mail isn't much more expensive than first class/parcel. After you hit a few pounds you save more in a flat rate box.

Free shipping is a strange animal. Generally eBay charges you final value fees on your shipping charges, and if I offer free shipping, I bump the price up by a few dollars so it's a wash. People used to sell for $1 with a high shipping charge since they didn't charge on that. Since then eBay has changed.

I've never used UPS or Fedex. My dad uses UPS to ship golf clubs, because he works right next to a drop off center, and that's about all I know about it.

For games, I send them in padded envelopes. 2 for $1 at dollar tree. You used to be able to get boxes of 25 at Target for like $13, but that was long ago. Total cost to ship a game in a padded envelope is about $2.25-2.40 or so, before envelope cost. You could probably get the flat rate padded envelopes from that link to get those to send out for fast shipping. I use the small boxes for games, I put an optional $2-$3 charge on top of the price for that service. It's faster and easier since the materials are free.

If you have a printer, you can print your labels at a reduced cost with free tracking and eBay updates the item to show that without you keying in the numbers. You probably need a scale for that though, but you can get a decent one for $15 or so.

eBay fees are insane, Paypal fees are insane as well. I think they are switching next month to a flat percentage for each sale or something. There was a rage thread about it somewhere.

I've bought and sold on eBay since 1999, and have made a good amount of money and bought tons of stuff. I can't think of much else, PM me if you have any questions, because I rarely follow up on a thread unless I remember. I'll try to help any way I can.

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#4 kodave

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 12:08 AM

Alright, so I just started buying and selling on eBay. So far I've made over $1,000 but that's mostly from selling consoles as appose to just games. Profit was about $260 too which is great.

I know I'm doing stuff wrong already since I paid $40+ to ship 4 consoles and owe $70 in eBay / PayPal fees. My questions are all geared towards saving money on shipping but I'm open to more helpful tips.

1. I can get free boxes from USPS. If I have the shipping label already made and the box ready to go, do I have to pay for any additional cost? If I offer free shipping, what is the usual cost just for a shipping label (I know it varies depending on method)
Link to free boxes
2. What are some places to get boxes for cheap or free so I can ship from UPS or internationally if I wanted to?
3. Where is a good place to get cheap bubble wrap. I might just order from Amazon if anything but not sure what size wrap. I just need small for games and 1 set for consoles (3DS's, Vita's, PS3's, etc)
4. I shipped consoles so far via UPS. The girl gave me 2 day shipping w/o me noticing, my mistake. I should have focused more. I don't care when it gets to the buyer, I just want the cheapest. Can I just do domestic 5 days for all items or is there a certain method for different items?

Sorry if this is the wrong forum too, wasn't sure where to post this.

Any other tips would be helpful.


Is that $260 before or after the costs of shipping and fees?

1. Those aren't "free" boxes. They're only for use with Priority Mail and Express Mail or whatever, depending what shipping class is on the box/envelope. Try to mail anything by First Class/Media Mail/Parcel Post (or whatever they're calling Parcel Post these days) with one of those boxes and it's a no go. That means you have to pay the postage cost for whatever express service it is on the box. Some are flat rate, others aren't.

You can (and should) pay for your shipping online through eBay if you're shipping USPS. You get the online discount rate and everything is all integrated. Just have a laserjet printer to print out the label, and then tape the label around the edges to your box. If you're using Priority Mail, you can grab boxes in advance from your post office so you're not packing your shit in the post office or parking lot.

I don't know if UPS offers reduced rates through eBay/PayPal off the top of my head.

2. I think you can buy regular boxes in bulk from like Home Depot or Walmart. Also, save boxes you get stuff in and reuse them.

3. Bubble wraps for consoles you could probably buy in bulk somewhere. Just do your own price comparisons with Amazon vs. places like Staples and what have you. Also, save the packing material you get from stuff you buy.

Unless you're sending multiple games in an order, there are padded envelopes that are the perfect size to ship one video game (assuming the game is a standard DVD-like one, or DS or Vita or whatever).

4. UPS is going to be more expensive than USPS no matter what but it's probably a better bet for the safety of consoles. Make sure someone has to sign for the consoles and they don't just leave it on the porch. Just send games via USPS. First Class Mail is good for up to 13 oz. which should be fine for most video games. You can list the cheapest/slowest shipping speed but you could also do the math and allow people to upgrade to a faster shipping speed for an additional fee.

As for other unsolicited advice, you better be writing down and photographing all of your consoles and serial numbers because eventually you're going to get an unscrupulous buyer who either swaps out your working console for their broken one and you eat the costs of their fraud, or they'll swap out the hard drive or disc drive or something like that and claim you sent them a broken one. I honestly don't know why you want to sell consoles online - it's a giant mess and headache unless its your full time job and you have money to offset the scammers.

You also need to calculate your shipping costs in advance. Buy an appropriate scale or weigh things at the post office APC if you can spare the extra trips. I suggest using this site to calculate what your net profit is truly going to be when all is said and done: http://www.newlifeau...s.com/calc.html


#5 Kilraven

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:41 AM

4. UPS is going to be more expensive than USPS no matter what but it's probably a better bet for the safety of consoles.


Not at all. I've found UPS and Fed Ex can be between $5 and $10 cheaper (faster too) than Parcel Post - unless you can get it in a Flat Rate or Regional Rate A box - once I'm over the 10lb mark and going to the West Coast. It all depends on your location, how much it weighs, and where it's headed. Shipping to Cali? Fed Ex/UPS is cheaper for me on heavier or larger items. Shipping to NY? Priority normally has them and Parcel Post beat.

As for bubble wrap and packing peanuts, I've gotten some good deals on eBay auctions. Just keep an eye on some of the bigger supply stores, they'll mix auction in with their fixed price listings. I've also had luck hitting up local pack n ship stores. Some actually sell big bags/rolls for less than I've seen on Amazon minus the shipping costs.

#6 ThatOneGuyWho

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:11 AM

Alright, I think I got some good tips.

I only sold consoles to start out b/c I got some good deals. I'm going to be selling games mainly but consoles will be the bulk of my sales.

I'll ship games via USPS since I can easily charge for a shipping label and pay little for the box. I'm still not sure about this though. So if a buyer pays for shipping and I already have the box for the game, do I still have to pay for anything. I plan on just printing the label and clear taping it on the boxes.
For consoles though, I'll ship via UPS. I'll already have the boxes for it and labels so it shouldn't be too much. But again, not sure.

Going to go to Staples or HomeDepot and get some bulk boxes and bubble wrap. I should be able to get bubble mailers for media mail as well right?

kodave: That was before shipping. After shipping them it was just a $220 profit which sucks. I should have done more research before just going inside the UPS store with the console boxes and saying ship it the cheapest. Next time I'll be more informed.

I just started with consoles to get my feet off the ground. Going to sell games but I want more than a $10 profit (before eBay fees) to start. Now I'm going to sell games and see how it goes.

Thanks for the advice guys! I'm sure I'll make a few more mistakes but I'm hoping to learn quickly!

#7 Kay_Faraday

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 02:19 AM

I'll ship games via USPS since I can easily charge for a shipping label and pay little for the box. I'm still not sure about this though. So if a buyer pays for shipping and I already have the box for the game, do I still have to pay for anything. I plan on just printing the label and clear taping it on the boxes.


That's all you have to do. Pay and print the labels and then affix them to the envelope/box and then drop it off in the mailbox(if the package fits)

If you overestimate the weight, you wont be refunded the difference in shipping.

If you underestimate the weight, USPS will hold your package until you pay for the difference in shipping. Ex: the item weights 3lbs but you entered 2lbs on the label

#8 burritoman

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 04:06 AM

I'll ship games via USPS since I can easily charge for a shipping label and pay little for the box. I'm still not sure about this though. So if a buyer pays for shipping and I already have the box for the game, do I still have to pay for anything. I plan on just printing the label and clear taping it on the boxes.

Going to go to Staples or HomeDepot and get some bulk boxes and bubble wrap. I should be able to get bubble mailers for media mail as well right?

Buy bubble mailers at Dollar Tree, they are $1 for 2. At Walmart, Target, Staples and everywhere else, they run about 75 cents each.

When shipping through eBay, the buyer pays you and you buy the postage. So don't clean out your Paypal account before you ship anything because it goes through you to purchase postage. You also have to check weight, and 7 ounces is about the heaviest complete in case PS2 game I own, most are in the 4-5 ounce range. It's pretty easy after you try it. Click print shipping, enter a weight and service you are using then it charges your Paypal account and the printer shoots out a label. Tape it to your package.

Also, you gotta post a link to your auctions so we can check them out for you and try to give hints that way too.

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#9 ThatOneGuyWho

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 04:34 AM

Thanks! I actually just sold all my items. I only sold some 3DS's and PS3 Controllers. Lucky I even got in on the deals too.

Alright, going to DollarTree sometime this week and buying about $10 worth of bubble wrap and bubble mailers to start off. Happy all I have to do is print the label and tape it to the package. I'll still go inside the store and make sure everything is set. Don't want to waste gas going back to USPS.

1. As I'll only be selling games and consoles (barely though), should I just mail all the games as Media Mail and consoles as Priority Mail depending on size? I dont care when it gets there, I just need it to arrive cheaply and the right way.
2. Let's say I get in on a deal for BioShock Infinite for $30? I want to make at least a $10 profit overall. Is it best to make it a Buy It Now for $53 to offset the cost the label? Or just do it as an auction hoping to get enough profit to counter the extra Buy It Now fee? I guess it depends on how popular the game is but worth asking just in case.
3. When weighing to ship, should I weigh just the item or weigh it after I put it in a bubble mailer or box?

Here is a PS3 controller I sold.
I got it for $20. Sold for $35. They paid $3.77 for the label (First Class Package (2 - 5 Days) - Package/Thick Envelope). I paid $5 to ship it via USPS. It was shipped in a large (second largest I think) bubble mailer that I got when I went to ship it. The eBay fee was $3.15.

I know I sound very inexperienced. Bare with me guys, the tips are very much appreciated!

#10 DNukem170

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:10 AM

Probably won't matter much if you only do games, but I have had trouble fitting standard cases with a slipcover in any envelope except for Target's. You get a pack of 6 for about $3.50.

#11 GBAstar

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 05:22 AM

Ship your games by first class. Unless they are more then 9 ounces (First Class is capped at 13oz) it is not only cheaper then going by Media Mail (games aren't even technically allowed to go Media Mail per USPS T&C) it will be much faster.

First Class is rated at 2-5 business days (most packages should arrive in 2-3 days)

Media Mail is rated at 5-10 business days


I have always used www.mailersusa.com to get my bubble mailers. I like the poly mailers (the padded ones; NOT the bags) because they are a bit lighter and tape tends to stick to the material better then kraft envelopes. Also they are a little bit more flexible so you can bend the extra material over so that the envelope becomes form fitting (this is improtant because it keeps the item from slidding around the enveloping which happens if the envelope is too big or loose.

I used to buy the #1 size at 100 units for $18.99 shipped but they recently raised the rates to $21.99 shipped after 3 years of keeping them static. That is still just .22 per envelope and they mail them out UPS ground for free.

They are a division of PAC Worldwide which is what a lot of large companies use for their business needs (Best Buy for example). Mailers USA is the small business / consumer / wholesale part of their business.

#12 ThatOneGuyWho

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:17 AM

For first class through USPS for any normal PS3 or 360 game (and I assume a Kraft Bubble Mailer #0 can fit 3DS, PSP, Vita game cases), I would just use Priority Mail (2 - 3 days) - Flat Rate Envelope (9-1/2 x 12-1/2 inches) for the shipping label which would be $5+ per label.

Just print that label, put it on the mailer and go and mail it and everything should be good.

$5+ for a every label seems to be a bit much but I guess it's all good. Assuming I regularly buy games for $30, sell for $45, and factor in the fees (label, eBay and PayPal fees), I should make roughly $7 each game which good. Maybe I should charge for the label though...

#13 GBAstar

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 06:45 AM

Why would you ship it priority mail? Ship it First Class for ~ $2 a label. Most of the time first class will be delivered in the same time frame as Priority (2-3 days).

In fact up until the end of last year first class was rated at 2-3 days but the Post Office realized that they were losing money because people weren't buying Priority postage for light objects so they downgraded it to technically be 2-5 days but it should still arrive within 3.

#14 ThatOneGuyWho

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:06 AM

Why would you ship it priority mail? Ship it First Class for ~ $2 a label. Most of the time first class will be delivered in the same time frame as Priority (2-3 days).

In fact up until the end of last year first class was rated at 2-3 days but the Post Office realized that they were losing money because people weren't buying Priority postage for light objects so they downgraded it to technically be 2-5 days but it should still arrive within 3.


Oh wow, not thinking. Ok, the option for first class isn't on eBay's site (well not that I saw when looking at the options). Just went to PayPal's site and saw that it is. Entered some basic information and its $2.

Ok, think I got what I wanted. Just to be sure though... I'm going to buy some bulk bubble mailers (#0) and ship my games in those. Might invest in some small boxes to put games in (if over $20 in value) just in case. Printing from paypal.com/shipnow service via USPS which would only cost $2 per game for first class mail under 13oz. Go to a USPS store to ship and make sure everything checks out. Since I already have the box and printing label (with right weigh / info) I don't have to pay any extra cost. For consoles I'll do the same, just have to figure out which is the best method depending on portable or console.

Thanks a lot guys! I was seriously confused out of my mind when shipping those consoles. I paid $40+ via UPS to ship 4 3DS's and knew I wasn't being a great CAGer like I am when buying games. I'm sure I'll need more tips / help but for now, I think I got the basics down. Again, thanks!

Edited by Yigytugd, 27 March 2013 - 07:30 AM.


#15 GBAstar

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 07:52 AM

Oh wow, not thinking. Ok, the option for first class isn't on eBay's site (well not that I saw when looking at the options). Just went to PayPal's site and saw that it is. Entered some basic information and its $2.

Ok, think I got what I wanted. Just to be sure though... I'm going to buy some bulk bubble mailers (#0) and ship my games in those. Might invest in some small boxes to put games in (if over $20 in value) just in case. Printing from paypal.com/shipnow service via USPS which would only cost $2 per game for first class mail under 13oz. Go to a USPS store to ship and make sure everything checks out. Since I already have the box and printing label (with right weigh / info) I don't have to pay any extra cost. For consoles I'll do the same, just have to figure out which is the best method depending on portable or console.

Thanks a lot guys! I was seriously confused out of my mind when shipping those consoles. I paid $40+ via UPS to ship 4 3DS's and knew I wasn't being a great CAGer like I am when buying games. I'm sure I'll need more tips / help but for now, I think I got the basics down. Again, thanks!



You can ship first class through eBay.

First class is rated per ounce starting at 3oz and increases about $.18 per ounce until you reach the ceiling at 13 ounces.

I would go to the usps website and order about 10 each (assuming you have space to store them) of Priority: small flat rate box, flat rate envelope, flat rate legal envelope, padded flat rate envelope tyvek envelope, medium flat rate box (both sizes [i.e. rectangle + square] large flat rate box (both sizes) regional rate A box (both sizes) and regional rate B box (both sizes) as well as

Express: Flat rate envelope, legal flat rate envelope, padded flat rate envelope, tyvek envelope, flat rate box.

You can also order stickers (priority and express) to put on your envelopes or boxes if you use those services and decide to use your own boxes/envelopes instead of the USPS ones.

Once you decide what you'll be selling you'll quickly learn which envelope/box and service meets your needs and then you can order more of those. You'll also learn what fits inside of what. Get creative as it will help you save money.

For example you can fit either size 3DS in a Regional Rate Box A and if it is in a zone close to you (regional rate box are priced depending on which zone you ship to) it should cost less then $6 and it will get their in 2-3 days. If it is in the furthest zone it would cost ~ $10.xx

Rule of thumb is if it is 3lb or more and it can fit in a regional A box then use it.

But again play around with the different options standard rate vs flat rate vs regional rate vs small/medium/large flat rate and figure it out on your own and you'll start to get a pretty good idea.

No what fits in what (i.e. a standard Xbox without kinect) fits nicely in a 12x12x10 box which you can buy at walmart for about $.70 each.

A standard xbox 360(new/sealed) weighs roughly 11lbs shipped while a xbox + kinect bundle weighs 14lbs while a PS3 Super Slim bundle weighs 9.

If you start to memorize this stuff you'll soon learn what is profitable/feasible to ship.

I'll never forget when I first started reselling items to help offset the cost of my collecting "disease" I had preordered a handful of the Mortal Kombat Tournament Editions which were in high demand right before release.

They were MSRP at $149.99 and I was selling them for well over $225 thinking I was going to make a good profit. I guessed the shipping weight to be about 8lb figuring they would weigh about 5lb and I could profit a little of the shipping.

Turns out shipping weight was in excess of 15lbs (might have been closer to 20lbs) and I had a few buyers in Australia. I ended up eating about $50 or so on some of those shipments. But I learned and haven't repeated that mistake since.

You'll get the hang of it.

I WOULD 100% recommend printing your labels directly through eBay (assuming it is an eBay sale). PayPal doesn't have half the shipping options that eBay does (regional rate, padded envelope, etc.).

#16 davo1224

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Posted 27 March 2013 - 01:30 PM

My suggestion would be stay away from eBay. I sold a laptop on there because no one was buying it locally and it was a nightmare. I listed it and had an endless stream of questions, retracted bids, re-bids, requests to sell it outside of eBay, etc. all within a week. I sold it for $290 shipped and made $225 net (78%). I got the money after two and a half weeks despite having tracking info.

Conversely, I sold a newer laptop on Amazon for $900 shipped. I listed it, forgot about it until I got the "Sold" e-mail, and I made $800 net (89%). Got my money in my bank account in two days.