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bluepennylady
(veteran)
05/10/07 08:02 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: tictictic_OnEbay]  

Sue,

Now I know you are going to find this extremely difficult to believe---

but it would appear the eBay techs may have supplied incorrect information concerning how the calculator differentiates between letter and a First Class parcel. The techs told me a seller MUST include the package dimensions. Otherwise the calculator thinks it is a letter. And in fact the shipping calculators are experiencing an intermittent bug with the dimensions.

SOOO, I got this brain storm to test their theory in their environment. I used Sell Your Item 3 form. And guess what, there is absolutely no way to add the package dimensions for First Class. In fact, you really need to use their Shipping Wizard to get to the First Class parcel.

AND furthermore, using the AW2000 package size field value of "Package (large envelope)" , causes the Auction lot to be listed correctly as a First Class Parcel displaying the appropriate shipping charge. I listed a couple of items using just the package size field value "Package (large envelope)" early this morning and omitted the package size, First Class Parcel rate is what appears.

I swear, sometimes, those folks don't know which side is up. I am ever so ever glad Thom knows what he is doing. Can you imagine having to deal with eBay tech support on daily issues and trying to run your Auction business?? Yes I can imagine. I tried it,,,once,,, for a couple of weeks. Was not the least bit impressed!!

Judy/blue



Ned
(journeyman)
05/10/07 08:05 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: tictictic_OnEbay]  

Sue,

Even though you ship a wide range of things, my guess is that you could choose a few Sue-standard box sizes that would cover say 75-90% of what you do. Unlike large-volume shippers, getting the absolute optimal packaging doesn't matter as much to us as our sanity and a desire for a limited box inventory.

While we're all anxious about the rate and service changes, it's just because it's new and unknown. Figure it out once, and life should get back to normal.

I recently sold a batch of stuff of all shapes and sizes. Most fit in one of my 8" cubes. Some items were in the center and 3" away from the edges of the box. So what? I chose the 8" cube so I wouldn't have to trim 4x6 labels, or wrap them around. There are three other Ned-standard stock sizes of box and two sizes of padded envelope right now, ones that I buy in bundles or cases.

It seems to me that shippers who "recycle" shipping boxes may want to rethink that policy. When you have both odd-size goods and an assortment of odd-sized boxes, you complicate your packing decision. Time is money.

If you're going to use new boxes, then you really should buy'em by the bundle--and I don't mean a 3-pack at Staples. If you don't have a packaging company nearby, U-Line, Associated Bag, and a bunch of others would be happy to help. Boxes are radically cheaper in 25 unit bundles. Padded envelopes too.

I have a "local" (only 40 miles away) box company. I buy some of my boxes there, and all of my bubble wrap, since shipping on a 2-foot wide, 4-foot diameter roll is a killer.

Don't forget that the US Post Office offers free Priority Mail boxes, in a variety of sizes, online to eBayers. There's one additional size of flat-rate box, and 3 or 4 other sizes. Give them up to two weeks to get your order to you--they don't have a very efficient distribution system.

If you're selling on Half.com, it is imperative that you buy packaging in bulk. You cannot buy packaging at retail without your total shipping cost going above Half.com's shipping allowance. One fairly cheap source for padded envelopes is the Linton Company out of Georgia.

Even when selling onesies, I think it's important to have in advance some idea of how you're going to ship it, which is to say, weighing and measuring is part of the pre-listing activity for me. You're going to have to do this anyway, the only question is when in the process. If you're like Judy, with a significant number of multi-item shipments, this might be wasted time, but not if you think you'll probably ship items individually.

You might want to look at "Vari" boxes, the ones that can be folded to different heights (for instance, a 12x15 that can be folded to 12, 9, or 6 inches high). You can make your own vari boxes with a $15-20 carton sizing tool that lets you adjust just about any carton.

There are two downsides to keeping a real packaging inventory on hand: you're tying up capital and you need space. Kinda makes me envious of Judy, who can apparently just put "another warehouse" on her husband's to do list.

Ned




bluepennylady
(veteran)
05/10/07 08:14 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: Ned]  

Ned,

When we enter in Inventory Items, the item is weighed. The unpacked weight is recorded in "Notes" If the item is already in a box, the original box size is recorded there as well.

If we are working with quantities, the first time the item is actually packaged for shipping, the packaged weight as well as the final box size is added to the "Notes" as well. After a while, we can look at any item and have a pretty good idea of what it will weigh packaged as well as how big of a box it will take.

And uhhh, we did just get another warehouse facility Need that like we need another hole in the head.

Something else to consider for acquiring boxes, keep an eye out for business that are Going out of business, Especially manufacturers. They almost always have boxes and piles of them. In all honesty, that is where we get most of our regular plain boxes. They are dog cheap that way as they have to be moved from the facility when they are liquidating. And boxes become a problem at that point. Dale just bought an entire semi load not too long ago. We sell off the ones we do not necessarily want or need. The rest go up on the top pallet racks or into a storage trailer. Keep in mind, we use boxes all the time for packing up inventory when we are moving stores.

Although you all may not want that many boxes, you can pick up the stacks like Ned is talking about in smaller lots.

And I am with you Ned, We are going to have to re-do some of the manner we have been shipping in just to stay away from the Parcel Dimensional weight issue. I suspect we will increase our UPS shipping.

Judy/blue



AquilaStamps
(enthusiast)
05/10/07 08:48 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: Ned]  

Ned:
You described what I was going to talk about and did it a LOT better than I could. One other source of inexpensive flat boxes are the U-Store-It places. They have several standard sizes and will sell them in various sized bundles. Even though I have Garry-standard shipping supplies I don't buy them in limited numbers either. I have all my envelopes preprinted with return address and "advertising" on them and so they are all neatly boxed on the shelf in the closet. I spend the extra buck or two and purchase all of those envelopes in 28# Kraft. It turns out they are a lot sturdier and also they are distinctive so when they arrive my repeat customer recognizes my stuff right away. In my case there are really only three sizes of envelopes. Then there are boxes that are sometimes used. I purchased a bundle of 50 standard boxes and use a case knive to cut them down if I have to resize them slightly. What I have going for me is that I don't have a great deal of odd size material to ship. But you are right on the nail with not fooling with recycling boxes. The recycled boxes that I do use are liquor boxes as they are much heavier and I can use them for perfectaly packing stamp albums. However, recycling boxes can be more time consuming and now with the new postal regulations extra work just listing an item.

One suggestion for half.com - purchase a roll of corrugated paper. It is almost as thick as a cardboard box but not quite. It comes in a roll. Just cut off a length of the stuff wrap the book in it. Securely tape the cut edge staple shut the two ends slap on a label and you're ready to go. The book is well packed and it is safe. If you don't have a heavy duty stapler just staple and then tape shut the ends. It makes for a very nice looking package and is so easy to ship a book. My neighbor who worked at Walden Books gave me that tip and it was well worth it.

Garry



bluepennylady
(veteran)
05/10/07 09:06 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: AquilaStamps]  

Garry,

OHHHH< I like the corrugated paper idea!! I will go tell my shipping lady about that. I think I have some of that on the sales floor. If do, it goes to shipping!!

Judy/blue



Ned
(journeyman)
05/10/07 09:19 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: AquilaStamps]  

Garry,

In reply to:

U-Store-It places. They have several standard sizes and will sell them in various sized bundles.


Right Garry. U-Store-It and U-Haul Moving Centers are good places to go if you need only one or a few larger boxes. Cheaper than Office Depot. But not as cheap as by the bunde from a box company.

In reply to:

I have all my envelopes preprinted with return address and "advertising" on them and so they are all neatly boxed on the shelf in the closet. I spend the extra buck or two and purchase all of those envelopes in 28# Kraft. It turns out they are a lot sturdier and also they are distinctive so when they arrive my repeat customer recognizes my stuff right away.


A lot of people don't seem to worry about a business-like appearance for their package, but I think it's important. I know one eBayer in town who goes dumpster-diving in the recycling bin for boxes, and then spends 5 minutes and a quarter's worth of tape making each of them (barely) usable. Usable they may be, but they still look really cheesy. Worse was the packaging of something I bought on eBay: A Priority Mail box carefully covered in wrong-side-out Christmas wrap so the seller could steal the free box and send it Parcel Post. Bad, bad!

In reply to:

One suggestion for half.com - purchase a roll of corrugated paper... It makes for a very nice looking package and is so easy to ship a book.


Good idea, but I'd run it past the Post Office first. There are also "book folder" boxes that are squarer and may be more to the PO's taste.

Ned




AquilaStamps
(enthusiast)
05/10/07 07:25 PM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: bluepennylady]  

Judy:
The corrugated paper make a very nice package. It's easy to make and as a result it is also strong and pretty damage proof. The customers love it - it looks so professional. The best part is that it is inexpensive. And if you have any left over it's great for school science projects. .

Once wrapped you end up with a flat portion on either edge of the book (Where you staple/tape) and then a "lump" all nice and smooth and even where the book is. Making the book securely wrapped and not adding a great deal to weight.

check out this URL for a step by step guide

http://www.aquilastamps.com/bookwrapping.html

Garry



AquilaStamps
(enthusiast)
05/10/07 08:28 PM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: Ned]  

Ned:
Thanks for the comments and added suggestions. The only reason I mentioned the U-Store it is that at least here they will sell in either single boxes or bundles of 25 or 50 or 100. Next step up I think is a pallet with 500. I thought their pricing was competitive. I used to do business (in another life) with a box converter who made boxes (skids of 1000) and shipped them flat to the purchaser. However, their price was even more than the U-Store it. The reason, I think, that the UJ-store it is fairly inexpensive is that they are selling in hopes you will be using the boxes to fill with stuff you are planning on storing in their units.

As far as the corrugated wrapping of books - it is approved with the Postal service. I did check way back when I was starting to use that method and there was no problem. Commercial book sellers ship that way so I was sure even before asking that there would not be a problem. But as you suggest it still is prudent to check with your local Post Office. You can quote them the DMM if you need to. If you want let me know and I'll get the DMM citing on that type of package.

I have always thought that it is best to make sure packaging is neat clean and attractive. That's why the 6 3/4, #10, and Monarch envelopes are carefully designed and then printed by a local printer. Even the stuffers I use in those envelopes are new clean chipboard cut to size by the same printer. The cards and glassine envelopes I use to enclose the stamps are also printed.

The only envelopes I use that aren't printed are of course the Padded Ones. I changed that by using the 8 1/2 x 11 two part pealable label. I buy those in bulk also. Once I get them I have a design that stays clear of the FCM lable and tracking infor that comes from USPS Shipping Assistant 3.0. I run all of the labels through the label printer and that puts on the "advertising" and then they are printed with name and address and tracking barcode as needed. Makes for a fairly attractive package and is more than just an impersonal label/package.

I receive occasional comments on the shipping materials and how happy the customer is that everything arrived safely, unbent and without any harm to the contents. The look of the package is very important. It lets the customer see that you are trying to be efficient and business like. The cost to do this is really minimal and comes out in the wash in the postage charge.

I've put up a "tutorial" of sorts that may help explain the wrapping with the rolled paper also called B-Flute. Go to:

http://www.aquilastamps.com/bookwrapping.html

Again, thanks for the feedback. Also hope some of this helps.

Garry



Ned
(journeyman)
05/20/07 10:30 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: AquilaStamps]  

Garry--

Many thanks for an excellent book wrapping tutorial.

Ned




AquilaStamps
(enthusiast)
05/20/07 11:53 AM
Re: Postage rate increases new [re: Ned]  

Ned:

You're more than welcome. It's a great way to wrap any kind of book regardlesss of size or shape. The book is well protected and the system is foolproof, fast, and inexpensive.

Garry




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