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Figuring Out Your Secondary Shipping

Figunecklace Out Your Secondary Shipping


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Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2009-12
(This post is copyrighted–you do not have permission to repost this content elsewhere but you are welcome to link to it if you’d like to share the information.)

One of the trickiest things for new sellers–now made super easy:

1. Weigh one item in packaging, get the shipping cost.

For example, 2 oz for a necklace in a bubble mailer from the US to Canada
$3.15
2. Add another of the same item and the packaging it needs to the box or envelope and re-weigh it, get the shipping weight & rate for the two items together.

2 necklaces in the same package weigh 3.7 oz–always round up, so use 4 oz.

2 oz for the first necklace
+1.7 oz for a second necklace
3.7 oz total = 4 oz for shipping rates
$3.45
3. Subtract shipping cost in step 1 from the shipping cost in step 2 and you’ve got your secondary postage cost (not accounting for handling or cost of packaging materials). 3.45
-3.15
0.30
4. Your secondary shipping cost:
The 30-cents for postage plus a jewelry box, bubble wrap or whatever you use to protect your item, unless you include those in your business overhead.
$0.30
Please read below for steps 5 through 9

It’s not a perfect science, but it should get you started understanding how to arrive at your secondary shipping rates.

The tricky part comes in when shipping multiple items will bump the postage to another class. With First Class international going up to 4 lbs, setting rates there is pretty easy for most US sellers.

US Domestic First Class is trickier since it only goes up to 13 oz before you must use Parcel Post or Priority & those rates change based on zip code, so if you want to be sure you have enough to cover the cost you need to start by basing the rate on the furthest shipping zone from your location & how many items it takes to push your items to the next postage level.

Here’s how to take the knowledge you gain using the method above to be sure you’re charging enough:

5. Starting with a small sun catcher that weighs 6 oz with its box (4 oz item + 2 oz box), shipped within the US using the discounted online rates we get with Paypal labels costs $2.15.

$2.15
6. Add more items one at a time until you’ve added enough to bump you into Priority or Parcel Post (over 13 oz).

6 oz for the first sun catcher
4 oz sun catcher (another in the same box)
4 oz sun catcher (another in the same box)
——————
14 oz for three sun catchers, so I will use the one-pound rate for NY to CA and make sure I’m covered for shipping 3 sun catchers to the farthest zone (once you are over 13 oz, the next lowest shipping weight rate is for 1 lb).

$6.20
7. How to apply that to your listing to make sure you are covered:

Take the total for shipping 3 pieces ($6.20) and subtract the postage you need to cover the first sun catcher ($2.15) from it.

$6.20
-$2.15
$4.05
8. The $4.05 you are left with needs to be spread across the number of secondary items it takes to bump the postage, in this example across 2 items, so a shipping cost bump of $2.03 for each extra suncatcher.
$4.05
÷ 2 =
$2.025
9. Primary postage cost =
Secondary postage cost =

This assumes you won’t need a bigger box & the rate doesn’t account for bubble wrap or other packing materials, but you can adjust the technique to your specific items and apply it similarly.

I’ll repeat that process below in with a different item & weight just so the examples are clear. :)

$2.15
$2.03

Same technique with different postage just to give another example:

5a Starting with a necklace weighs 4 oz with its box & mailer, shipped within the US using the discounted online rates we get with Paypal labels costs $1.81. $1.81
6a Add more items one at a time until you’ve added enough to bump you into Priority or Parcel Post (over 13 oz).

4 oz for the first necklace
2 oz necklace (another in the same box, 2)
2 oz necklace (another in the same box, 3)
2 oz necklace (another in the same box, 4)
2 oz necklace (another in the same box, 5)
2 oz necklace (another in the same box, 6)
——————
14 oz for six necklaces, so I will use the one-pound rate for NY to CA and make sure I’m covered for shipping 6 necklaces to the farthest zone.
$6.20
7a How to apply that to your listing to make sure you are covered:

Take the total for shipping 6 pieces ($6.20) and subtract the postage you need to cover the first necklace ($1.81) from it.

$6.20
-$1.81
$4.39
8a The $4.39 you are left with needs to be spread across the number of secondary items it takes to bump the postage, in this example across 5 items, so a postage cost bump of $0.88 for each extra necklace.
$4.39
÷ 5 =
$0.878
9a Primary postage cost =
Secondary postage cost =

(Again, that’s just postage and does not include other factors like the rigid jewelry gift box to protect it or time & other materials for shipping.)

$1.81
$0.88



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5 Comments | Add your own

  • . Anne | April 1, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this wonderful formula! Please forgive me I am so new to the shipping process. The only question I have is…. in step 2 “When you say add the weight of the SAME item” do you mean the item has to be a duplicate item of the one in step 1? If so, do you know of another formula for different weighted items? Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.

  • . GoTo | April 3, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Anne–the trick to Etsy shipping is that the secondary rate is if that specific item is added to another package, so you get the extra cost for that item. When you list a different item with a different weight, you get the extra cost for that one, apply it the same. See this post for a more thorough explanation of how the secondary shipping works:

    How Etsy’s “Secondary Shipping” works
    http://www.gotogreatpanes.com/blog/2009/11/04/how-etsys-secondary-shipping-works

  • . Brenda | May 17, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for this. I’ve been trying to figure out what to charge for secondary shipping. This is a huge help.

  • . Susan Davies | January 22, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Hi, I’m trying to work out how to calculate secondary shipping costs for multiple different items. The exmaples above deal with the same item. If however if I sell prints, mugs and cards in my shop how would I calculate if someone bought 1 print + 1 mug and someone else bought 2 prints, 1 mug and 3 cards? The prints would be posted in a tube and the others would end up having to go in a box together. How would this work do you think with regards pricing these multiple items? Any advice would be great!

  • . GoTo | February 27, 2015 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi Susan,

    With items so different it is harder to price the shipping–many sellers just put the same rate in for the secondary shipping cost so that full shipping is charged on all items even when more than one item is purchased at a time, and they offer a discount by refund when items can be safely shipped together. They just mention in their listings and policies that combined shipping discounts will be given when items can be shipped together, and they work out the details after the sale (and/or offer to quote a combined shipping price before a transaction for anyone who wants it).

    Otherwise, you could just put the secondary shipping a little high on the lighter items and possibly take a small hit if someone orders items that cannot be shipped together.

    Hope that helps!
    Kathy

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