How I Sell on eBay Part 3 :: Packing Materials and Shipping Costs

I showed you the hub of my business.

I showed you what I list to sell: things that I am familiar withlike, and enjoy using myself.
Items, that if they DON'T sell, I figure I simply had enjoyed the thrill of the hunt.

Grab a cup of tea or a pillow, or better yet,
go take a nap and then come back and read it, this post is long.
Here it is:


  • CRAIGSLIST: Many folks that have moved into our area are looking to pass on their boxes and packing materials to others, either for free, or to recoup what they have spent. Some recent ads:

A FREE local Listing:
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them in a new window).

Not FREE, but CHEAP local Listing:

  • WAL-MART: I go after about 10:30 P.M. when the stocking employees start their nightly unpacking of products. Hundreds of boxes in all shapes and sizes to be had, for free!

  • FRIENDS: I ask my friends, and my husband's friends to save supplies for me that they may receive from being shipped something. Friends that work in offices are great to have, they often bring me the boxes, bubblewrap and peanuts that their employer is going to put in the dumpster. 

  • EBAY ITSELF: If I am low on supplies and NEED them, I buy them from eBay. This is a last resort, but definitely cheaper than STAPLES or OFFICE MAX or OFFICE DEPOT. AVOID Office Supply stores like the plague. Buying your supplies at these places is a huge waste and is cutting into your profit.
Some eBay Deals:



Packing Peanuts

  • DOLLAR TREE: It's where I get my packing tape and smaller bubble envelopes.


Packing and handling are part of the service I offer to my customers.


Most of the QUESTIONS I have received are shipping-related,
here are a few:

Susan asks: I have NO IDEA how to do postage and handling. Would I pack the item and THEN weigh it and take it to the post office? And how would the buyer pay my own asking price PLUS postage and handling? Yikes. This is SOOOOO confusing to me.

Sonya asks: I find the whole shipping process confusing. So hard to know how to price. I've picked up some flat rate boxes but it seems so expensive. I need to get the scales. Any tips on that? You mentioned Priority tape & Fedex. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much! 

Tammy asks: I sell on Ebay too. Great little source of income. I'm close to 500 right now. My question is how do you determine your shipping? I've only sold children's clothes so it's an easy calculation for me. After the auction, I use scales to calculate my shipping with USPS online. Love to do postage, labels, everything right from home.


1. Within the eBay listing itself, as you are making your auction,
there is a Shipping Calculator.

But, before you get to this portion in your listing form, 
you must know a few things about the item(s) being shipped:

A. What the box will weigh when it gets shipped.
This means, get the appropriate box, pack it as it will be shipped, then weigh it.
You WILL need a scale, 
click here to see what Amazon offers (an up to 75-pound scale is what I have), 
or you can take all your item-filled boxes to the Post Office,
weight them there, and put a sticky note on each box with its weight.
(This is a lot of work, but I did it before getting a scale).

B. The type of package you are shipping. Is it a:

Large Envelope
Package (or thick envelope)
Large Package

Click here to practice on the eBay site.
You may enter some bogus info just to see how it works.
You will have the option to add insurance, signature confirmation or tracking, 
while making the listing.

As each registered eBay user (who has entered their own home or office address/zip)
looks at your auction, eBay's Shipping Calculator automatically tells them 
what their shipping cost will be for your item(s).

For example, I signed into my account, and selected this tablecloth to view.
eBay automatically 
(based on the zip code I entered when registering and the shipping info the seller put in)
gave me a cost of $7.05 for shipping.
At auction's close, eBay will automatically combine the auction price 
and the shipping price for one final total.
Then eBay will also email your buyer an invoice.

Here is also some information about Shipping Best Practices on eBay.
You can also print the postage on your own printer, and have Mr. Postman 
take your boxes from your front door! Click here to read about that.

2. You may also ship your item in a U.S. Postal Service Priority Flat Rate envelope or box.
That is, if the item you are shipping will fit in the smallish packaging.
These boxes can be ordered online, or picked up at your local Post Office.

Click here to read about that, and/or order supplies.

Everyone, no matter where they live, will pay the same amount 
to have their winnings sent to them.

When listing your item, you can select any service/shipping cost.
Here, I have selected the USPS Flat Rate Medium box, 
and entered the cost: $10.70.

3. I use FedEx for mailing items over 10 pounds.
I have found it to be cheaper, and I/the buyer can track the packages.

If you don't know already, see if there is a FedEx near you.

I hope I was thorough, but if I wasn't, I'll revise this post as I receive your input.

I know this post will leave you asking more questions. Ask them!

The next post, Part 4, will cover these topics:

(For those of you that don't already have them:)
Setting Up a PayPal Seller Account
Setting Up an eBay Seller Account

Other posts include:
How Many Pictures DO I Need to Take?
What About the Seller/Auction Fees?
How to Maintain a Good Seller Rating
What to do After the Auction Closes


  1. Leslie what an informative post. I have always wondered how this works. Thank you for the info.

    Thank you for following along on my blog. I'm thrilled to do the same! Congrats on your weight loss and maintaining it too! I'm still holding steady at about a 45-48 pound loss. I'm happy with that but it still puts me about 10 pounds away from my final goal. Sigh. Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get there. Our Marine Corps Ball is next week so I'm really pushing my exercising up a notch this week. I'll see if it makes any difference. I'm hoping it does quickly. My dress is a tiny bit tight. Oops.

    Come by anytime! ~Melissa :)

  2. I will say that shipping has been the hardest part for me, selling on Etsy. I do flat rate shipping almost all of the time and the post office ladies fuss at me every time it turns out that I could ship cheaper in a regular box. I explain to them that I charge the flat rate and so I don't mind paying it, but they tell me if I can save some money, I should. That feels dishonest to me. I don't want to charge so much for shipping and then ship for a lot less. I personally look at the shipping cost when I receive an item and compare it to what I paid. I'll admit that it leaves a bad taste in my mouth when I feel I was overcharged for shipping. On the other hand, it's hard to list a shipping price when you don't know where it'll be going. Just so confusing.

  3. Thank you for the shipping tutorial! I've got 10 items listed on ebay right now and I basically just estimated based on it going priority (Thanksgiving items) or otherwise. If it is not a priority, I then decided on first class, etc. Probably not the best way to do it but since I'm just learning we'll see what happens.

  4. Thanks for all the info! I really appreciate it!

  5. More great ebay info Leslie.

    After the USPS started offering the front door pick up for FREE I will NEVER go back to the post office or fedex/ups. It is the best thing ever to happen to ebay sellers in my opinion. Saves so much time, gas, and sanity (try taking a 2 year old to the post office and waiting in line forever, no thank you!):)

  6. Thank you! I just finished shipping 28 items last week. I undercharged $12 (total) on shipping charges - aarrggh. I am going to try the weighing thing - with the built-in ebay shipping method. I also go to Wal-mart and ask for boxes as they unpack. No fun, but love the "free" part.

  7. Thanks Leslie. Lots of great information. I wasn't sure what you meant about UPS. I have always brought my boxes to them already taped up. Can't wait for the next in the series!

  8. Thanks Leslie for directly answering my question! So you use the shipping calculator. Makes sense. I have found with children clothing, bidders will bid faster if they can see the shipping cost at a glance. There are so many listings, they'll move on rather than taking time to type in zip, etc. One thing I've learned is first class mail is sometimes cheaper than priority and vice verse depending on the weight. I love priority b/c the envelopes are tear resistant and FREE at USPS. Anything over a pound has to be mailed priority.
    Thanks for sharing all these great tips.

  9. Great information, Leslie! I hadn't even gotten so far in my thinking to be thinking about bubble wrap and peanuts...

    I do have boxes from my husband's business, but if ebay selling is at all successful, I would hope to need more!

  10. You do a wonderful job of explaining everything in details that we can understand. Thank you, it is a gift!

    From and earlier post: Can you suggest any great brand of white towels??

  11. Ive really enjoyed your ebay posts- thanks for all the great info!

  12. I am really appreciating your ebay posts. This is one of those things that we need to get going. DH and I have talked about it for awhile now. I think the main thing holding me back is not knowing the ins and outs of it. I have heard there are better days than others to start your auctions and end them. Not knowing if I should do an auction or a set price etc.
    I don't see a link for your 4th post on here, so going to hunt for the rest of them.

  13. I want to a good comment about house sell. I want to sell my house fast.
    sell my house

  14. I like the all above frames that looking so nice to see.Thanks for the all post.

  15. Every person feel so happy when they made a new house or buy a new house for their own life.New house feelings is so much fine for everyone.


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