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Old 01-11-2018, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
20,678 posts, read 15,019,734 times
Reputation: 23314

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I used to use eBay fairly often, about ten to fifteen years ago. I was familiar with the fact that both it and Paypal charge fees, and has been my place to sell as a last resort because of that. I've had a lot of stuff I needed to get rid of lately and put it on eBay, and have taken losses doing so.

My biggest problem is that I'm just wildly unfamiliar with what shipping is these days. I traditionally shipped UPS Ground. It was nominally more expensive than FedEx or USPS, but the tracking was better at the time and I had better experiences. I used an online UPS Ground estimator. I had a pretty good feel for shipping costs ten years ago but I guess I'm way out of touch.

I sold an Apple Watch with a broken face for $71. I put it in an iPhone case, and packed that into a box not much bigger than the iPhone case. I figured it would be $12-$15. It was going from east TN to Nashville, about 250 miles. $31 (!!!) via UPS ground. FedEx was $27. Unbelievable.

I sold roughly $400 in merchandise - a digital camera for about $270, the Apple Watch for $71, and a computer case for the rest. I factored about $40 shipping for the case - only got $20 out of it, so $60 total. Got a roughly $40 for shipping on the estimator. This is a huge case - 24" H x 8" W x 18" deep, solid steel, 33 lbs. Shipping this thing to Michigan is going to be about $75 (which is a hell of a lot more reasonable than the watch being $31, but still way over what I estimated), no shipping place in town has a box/packing big enough for it, so a custom box would need to be made. It's going to cost me about $100 to get the thing out the door. I went into the seller tab and canceled the order, and refunded the money. I'm not going to take a $50+ loss just to get rid of something. I tried to sell it locally, but no interest. At this point, I'll either use the case or give it away.

The eBay fees are 10%. Paypal takes another 2.9% + 0.30 per transaction.

~$125 was in my PP account this morning. Keep in mind I have not been paid for the camera.
-$40 for eBay transaction fees on gross sales.
-$31 shipping for the watch.

I'm down to like $54. That will cover about half the costs to ship the case if I hadn't canceled the order and refunded the money. I really don't care about the negative feedback at this point. My last transaction was in 2014 and the last one prior to that was in 2009.

The auctions ended Monday evening and I've yet to be paid for the camera. That ought to at least get me right side up if I get at least something for it.

How do people make any money off casual eBay selling? Fees are high. Everything seems to go for bargain basement prices. Shipping is astronomical. Either I was incompetent with my measurements or the calculators I used were way off. I'm unlikely to sell again on eBay after this mess, especially with bulky items.

Any tips here?
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Cape Cod
9,624 posts, read 6,989,602 times
Reputation: 17640
I don't have any tips but will agree with you.
My favorite hobby is large scale trains and I have bought and sold many trains on Ebay over the years and the fees are getting ridiculous. Shipping fees are also going up while Ebay is always suggesting to offer free shipping to attract more buyers? I used to have a flat fee of $15 to ship and depending on where it was going I could either make a few extra bucks or throw in a few but now the shipping costs more and the same package going over the Rockies is $20 plus.

I now click the tab that charges the shipping to the buyer depending on their location.

I think you can save a bit by using USPS and not UPS. I once sold a large item on Ebay that was to be shipped cross country so I took the item to the local UPS store and the shipping was $90 ! I took it to USPS and it was $35. Ok it took longer to get there but that was alright.


Ebay has become a place for Buyers and the casual Seller is being pinched out. Ebay is not what it used to be, some call it Evilbay for their fees but it is still the best place to reach a whole lot of buyers.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
20,678 posts, read 15,019,734 times
Reputation: 23314
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cape Cod Todd View Post
I don't have any tips but will agree with you.
My favorite hobby is large scale trains and I have bought and sold many trains on Ebay over the years and the fees are getting ridiculous. Shipping fees are also going up while Ebay is always suggesting to offer free shipping to attract more buyers? I used to have a flat fee of $15 to ship and depending on where it was going I could either make a few extra bucks or throw in a few but now the shipping costs more and the same package going over the Rockies is $20 plus.

I now click the tab that charges the shipping to the buyer depending on their location.

I think you can save a bit by using USPS and not UPS. I once sold a large item on Ebay that was to be shipped cross country so I took the item to the local UPS store and the shipping was $90 ! I took it to USPS and it was $35. Ok it took longer to get there but that was alright.

Ebay has become a place for Buyers and the casual Seller is being pinched out. Ebay is not what it used to be, some call it Evilbay for their fees but it is still the best place to reach a whole lot of buyers.
I was never happy with the fees, which is why it was the stop of last resort. I had some of this stuff on local yard sale type groups on Facebook, but got low-balled (best price I got for the camera was $100 - it sold for $271 on eBay - even after all shipping fees, I'll still clear a lot more on eBay) or there is no local interest at all. I don't remember eBay being anywhere near this bad.

I also have a bunch of books I need to get rid of. Much of it is paperback stuff from thrift stores. Very little of it has any value. Some of the books I had were going a buck or two w/free shipping. I can't ship it for that. I guess the books will either go to a local used book exchange (if they even want them) or I may just haul them to recycling.

I have lots of older electronics and such that may be worth $10-$20 a piece, they have some value, but probably not enough to warrant shipping. I hate for all that to end up in electronic waste disposals, but I doubt I have a choice now.
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Old 01-11-2018, 08:55 AM
 
Location: 5,400 feet
2,128 posts, read 2,234,994 times
Reputation: 2761
The cheapest general shipping is probably USPS Priority Mail, especially if what you are selling will fit into one of their flat rate boxes. If something fits in the box, weight is not a consideration. The watch you sold could have shipped in the small flat rate box for $7, plus $1-2 for extra insurance and another $2-3 for delivery receipt (maybe another $2-3 for signature). The camera may even fit in a small flat rate box.
https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail.htm

Shipping heavy or larger items is problematic. USPS, UPS, FedEx all use a combination of weight and box size to price. I don't know of any cheap way of doing it. Whenever, I have to ship something like that, I compare all the carriers before shipping.

I use to sell a lot of things on ebay, but not so much any more. I never had a big problem with fees because you'd pay a whole more to sell something at a local auction or get less at a flea market. I had a problem with a small number of dishonest buyers who complained to paypal about the item or its receipt. Despite thousand of positive feedbacks, paypal charged my account and I never got the item back. For everyone who complained about receipt, I had a delivery receipt.

Today, for unwanted books, CDs and DVDs, I just donate them to our local library. Anything else we have that we no longer need, we find a suitable place to donate the items.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:34 AM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
28,183 posts, read 50,077,810 times
Reputation: 28260
Most people with a real business, EBay or not, will have a business account with UPS or other provider and get discounted shipping based on their volume. I did a lot of online selling at one time and had a daily pickup at my business. For the casual seller with inexpensive items to sell it's hard to make much profit, so you need a huge volume.


https://www.ups.com/mrd/promodiscoun...sDag&gclsrc=ds
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,523 posts, read 6,171,606 times
Reputation: 3904
It's been a while, but I found USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate worked the best... That way, if nothing else, you had a really good ballpark idea of how much it was going to cost you.
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Old 01-11-2018, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
20,678 posts, read 15,019,734 times
Reputation: 23314
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hemlock140 View Post
Most people with a real business, EBay or not, will have a business account with UPS or other provider and get discounted shipping based on their volume. I did a lot of online selling at one time and had a daily pickup at my business. For the casual seller with inexpensive items to sell it's hard to make much profit, so you need a huge volume.


https://www.ups.com/mrd/promodiscoun...sDag&gclsrc=ds
That's what I'm thinking. You'd have to be moving a lot of product for small stuff to be able to scale up enough to make it cost effective.

I did get paid for the camera so I'm at least not upside down now. I hated to be a jackass and cancel the guy's case order, but it's a computer case and not that valuable. I'm probably going to do a USPS Priority Flat Rate box for the camera. I'm just not going to take a loss on something like that.

I used to have tons of packaging supplies - boxes, peanuts, tape, the works, but all that was thrown out years ago.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:02 AM
 
17,911 posts, read 11,403,781 times
Reputation: 11539
Quote:
Originally Posted by jiminnm View Post
The cheapest general shipping is probably USPS Priority Mail, especially if what you are selling will fit into one of their flat rate boxes. If something fits in the box, weight is not a consideration. The watch you sold could have shipped in the small flat rate box for $7, plus $1-2 for extra insurance and another $2-3 for delivery receipt (maybe another $2-3 for signature). The camera may even fit in a small flat rate box.
https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail.htm

Shipping heavy or larger items is problematic. USPS, UPS, FedEx all use a combination of weight and box size to price. I don't know of any cheap way of doing it. Whenever, I have to ship something like that, I compare all the carriers before shipping.

I use to sell a lot of things on ebay, but not so much any more. I never had a big problem with fees because you'd pay a whole more to sell something at a local auction or get less at a flea market. I had a problem with a small number of dishonest buyers who complained to paypal about the item or its receipt. Despite thousand of positive feedbacks, paypal charged my account and I never got the item back. For everyone who complained about receipt, I had a delivery receipt.

Today, for unwanted books, CDs and DVDs, I just donate them to our local library. Anything else we have that we no longer need, we find a suitable place to donate the items.

USPS still uses and "old" formula for dimensional pricing, and often works out to be cheaper than FedEx or UPS. https://www.usps.com/dimensionalweight/


Thing to keep in mind about USPS is that unless you go to the post office and or otherwise arrange to pay for parcel post (slowest ground service), everything will go by Priority Mail. Depending upon where you are shipping from and where it is going that can involve the package going by air. Once that happens obviously price goes up.


Priced a package going from NYC to CA via both USPS and UPS. It actually came out cheaper using UPS even with their various fees (such as residential delivery), than using the postal service. Can only attribute this to fact unless one pays for next day or second day air, all UPS packages travel by ground. But Priority Mail from NYC to CA surely is going by plane.
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Old 01-12-2018, 12:06 AM
 
17,911 posts, read 11,403,781 times
Reputation: 11539
Rarely bother with eBay any longer. It has become a "market place" mainly for large volume sellers/stores and more importantly they will take the buyer's side in all disputes. I've seen too many fingers burned where even with proof of delivery eBay refunded all monies to buyer after they filed a claim for non receipt of merchandise.


When I do sell it is only when eBay sends me an offer discounting fees or whatever and just leave the money in my PayPal account to pay for something might want in future.


To OP you are much better off trying CL, Etsy, or some of the other online places that have popped up recently to challenge eBay.
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Old 01-12-2018, 07:38 AM
 
3,177 posts, read 2,283,543 times
Reputation: 5396
Where did you find those high fees from UPS - $31 for a one pound package? Seems like the most it should be for UPS ground would be about $15. You can ship directly from ups.com or usps.com - is that what you're doing?

Almost all of our small items go Priority mail padded flat rate envelope for $6.50 - we get that price by shipping from the link on PayPal. Order the padded envelopes for free from usps.com. We also use the medium flat rate boxes when shipping cross country, usually comes out to $12.50 or so.

If we ship from the usps site, it's more expensive.

We ship UPS as well, but we do have an account and daily pick up. Prices are slightly lower on ground shipments, but we get the largest discounts on international and air packages.

Another tip, get the PayPal debit card and you get 1% back on all purchases. You can look at it like it's offsetting your 2.9% fees.
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