Recently I read about another U.S. Postal Service increase through an Etsy post titled Shipping Rates Update for Sellers. Shipping rates went up today, in fact, so if you have not updated your shipping prices in your online shop, you will want to do so as soon as possible. Most domestic rates have increased at least 3 to 5 percent, but First Class Mail International, especially for smaller packages, has in many cases doubled.  Don’t allow yourself to be caught short!

In any event, because I had a busy week I delayed until the last moment before adjusting my own shipping prices. Thankfully, you can establish a Shipping Profile on Etsy for each type of item you sell, which makes adjustment of shipping prices fairly easy and painless. I gathered the different sizes of bubble envelopes I use for mailing, along with the items I sell, and weighed them on my digital kitchen scale. Then, I visited the online U.S. Postal Service site, and jotted down postal rates for each item, both domestically and internationally. A three-ounce item, for example, yields the following retail pricing results:

  • United States, $2.07
  • Canada, $7.35
  • Mexico, $8.85
  • Austria, $9.45 (I use a country in Price Group 5 to determine my “Everywhere Else” pricing on Etsy)

Etsy offers its sellers commercial shipping rates, which are lower. The same three-ounce package, using commercial rates, is priced as follows:

  • United States, $1.69
  • Canada, $6.91
  • Mexico, $8.32
  • Austria, $8.88

To make things easier on myself, I typically round up to the nearest 25-cent increment. So, a commercial shipping price of $1.69 is $1.75 in my Etsy shop.

Once I had my results, I debated entering them in an Excel spreadsheet versus writing them on index cards. Although I love to use technology, in the end I decided that simplicity was going to work best for me—in this case, an old, unused recipe box filled with blank index cards. On the front side of each index card, I listed a type of item I make (such as a crocheted flower brooch), its weight when packaged, and shipping prices to the above four locations.

The index card shown above shows a U.S. price of $2.25, which is in error. Using my “rounding up to the next 25 cents” pricing method, it should be $2.00

It’s true that my index cards take up more physical space than they would in a digital file, but sometimes paper just works better. On the back of each 4-inch by 6-inch card, I plan to list the material costs associated with producing that item and its final selling price. This information will come in handy when taxes are due, and it’s great to have it all in one place. Simplicity works!

© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

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11 thoughts on “Sometimes paper works better”

  1. Splendid Little Stars

    good idea! Sometimes it is easier to have a handwritten account.
    I use paypal to ship. My costs (in US) are not nearly as high. For example a 3 oz package is now $1.69 to ship, up just 5 cents.

    1. It sounds like PayPal is also offering commercial pricing. The 3 oz commercial price is $1.69. When I round up to the nearest quarter, that gives me a price $1.75.

  2. Great job, Judy!
    Too bad about the increase for international shipping. I buy a lot from USA!!
    Hope the increase reflects better service…
    have a great day!

  3. Paige @ Little Nostalgia

    I get a significant amount of international orders, so I was really bummed to hear about these increases. I might write them down somewhere, too, just so I can keep track.

  4. Sometimes I really enjoy writing stuff down on paper, so I totally understand! You have a really cool looking card box, too.

  5. Thanks for the reminder about the postage hike! I DO need to adjust my shipping prices. I have a surprising number of sales to Canada and Australia. Ouch!

    I like your recipe card system. It would allow for a more detailed breakdown of the costs of goods sold — I’ve ended up just putting total cost in a simple spreadsheet.

    Sometimes paper is better. I still like turning pages in books and magazines, even though I appreciate the digital options.

  6. I’m definitely not liking those huge increases for shipping internationally! You have a great system with the index cards. I love technology, but I’m like you when it comes to organizing information…I like to write it down 🙂

  7. Wow, I’m in awe of your shipping rates system! I’m with Edi on writing these kind of things down. It really stinks that international shipping has gotten so high. I already felt like my international rates were high…

  8. How fun to organize this way. I sometimes prefer low tech too:) That’s just how my brain works! If I can’t see it, I don’t usually remember it’s there!! I just did mine this morning and man was it a bummer! I hate to have to charge so much, and it really does make some of the smaller items not even worth selling internationally, but what can we do??

  9. I changed all my shipping cost this weekend. You’re very organized! I don’t sell a lot and usually just weigh an item on my postal scales to find the postage needed. I only have two different prices listed – foreign and domestic. Maybe I should separate Mexico and Canada out too… {:-D

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