You just opened your Etsy shop and got your first order (congrats!).   Now you are wondering how to ship this order.  This post will give you some good tips, resources and answers to some frequently asked questions about shipping.

Etsy has their own shipping system, so you can print out your labels at home. Use this! It will save you time and money. Did you know you pay less when you purchase your postage over the internet?

How do I know what my packages weigh?

Get a shipping scale for your home office.  You will need to know how much your item weighs to determine the postage.  If you have items that you ship repeatedly, make a master list of their weights.  This will make it faster when you go to make your labels.

Etsy Shipping Tips Scale

How do I print my labels?

I HIGHLY recommend getting the DYMO LabelWriter 4XL.  This label writer uses thermal print technology, so you will NEVER need to buy ink or toner!    You will also want to purchase extra labels. These are compatible with the 4XL and are a fraction of the name brand price.

Etsy Shipping Tips Dymo 4XL laser printe

If you are just opening your shop and aren’t ready to make an investment in a label printer, then I recommend getting a laser printer.  The cost of using an inkjet printer is really going to add up.  A laser printer is a good addition to your office for printing invoices and packing sheets.

Do I need to include an invoice?

No.  The customer has access to their receipt online.  I leave the receipt out of my shipments for a couple of reasons.  I feel it is just another piece of paper for me to print and my customer to throw away.  I also don’t want the price to be on the sheet in case it is going to someone directly as a gift.

How much should I charge for shipping?

This is such a tough question.  We are all pretty spoiled nowadays with free shipping and often free returns.  How many times have you been ready to push the purchase button only to see that the shipping charges are $10 and you back out of the purchase?  This is exactly what your customer is likely to do too.  Remember that hey are just like you.

Try to calculate your pricing for your item to absorb some (or all) of your shipping charges.  This will allow you to offer free shipping or a lower shipping rate.  There are many studies how this will get you more sales and happier customers.

How do I ship a package internationally?

Shipping packages internationally is much easier than you think.  Using Etsy’s built in shipping system, you are going to make your label.  All of my international shipments go via USPS International First Class Mail.

If your customer wants a guaranteed delivery timeframe, you will have to upgrade to International Priority Service and will cost more.  For these requests, I go to the the postal service site and use their calculate a price tool to find the price difference.  You can then create a custom listing or send an invoice directly to your customer for this upgrade.

 How do I know if a package has to ship via USPS Priority Service?

Anything over 13 oz. will need to ship Priority Service.

Do I have to take my items to the post office?

Nope (you can do your happy dance now).  Create an account on USPS.com and then schedule a pickup.  You can even schedule days in advance and for multiple days.

There is a field that will ask for number of packages.  I usually put 1 and 1lb.  I’ve asked several carriers and they said it doesn’t effect the service.  They are just trying to find out if they need to send a separate truck.  If you need your own truck…I say do another happy dance.

Looking for specific on-line resources for printing your business cards, ordering shipping bag and boxes?  Check out this post.

Please let me know if you have a question or if you have a great tip that wasn’t included.  I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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10 Comments

  1. Pingback: Etsy Love: shipping tips for etsy sellers

  2. I have a DYMO as well and a scale to help me with my shipping pricing. What I find helps me is a trip to the post office with my package (at least the first one), before making the listing on Etsy and figuring out the shipping cost with package and all. I like your tips.
    I do have a more design question, where did you purchase your desk? My Mother’s Day gift (it’s kinda late, but it’s ok) is going to be a desk. Can you share where you got this desk? I am currently working in my laptop in my dinning room, but the loft is upstairs where I normally make my craft. I need them as close to each other as possible. Thank you.

  3. Hi there!
    I am thinking of starting my own Etsy shop and found your article extremely helpful! One question: where do you buy the boxes themselves in the most cost effective manner?

  4. These are great tips! I have owned my Etsy shop for about 6 years, but it was always just a side hobby when I had some free time, so my numbers of sales aren’t necessarily anything to write home about. I recently quit my day job to become a stay-at-home/work-at-home mom so I can give much more focus to my 15 month old, my Etsy shop, and my new blog! I have been trying to figure out the best shipping tips since I usually go to the post office and “wing it” with every item. I will definitely be using these tips! (I am also curious if you have any suggestions for the best places to buy shipping materials!)
    Thanks!!
    http://www.littlegreenpear.com

  5. Hi! I’m a fairly new shop owner. Right now, I have only digital printables in my shop (educational & bilingual printables) but I would like to add physical products soon. Your blog post has been so helpful! Thank you!

  6. I thought it was good that you mentioned to not include an invoice. If my dad were a business owner I think he would find great value in custom shipping and knowing not to include an invoice. I’ll be sure to talk to him about these tips.

  7. Pingback: Product Packaging Resources

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