8. Thrifting and Selling on eBay (part 2)


This is my second installment of ‘Thrifting and Selling on eBay’.  If you haven’t read the first, you can check that out here.  Today I am going to talk about shipping.

During my retail arbitrage and merchant fulfillment exercise, I did make a couple mistakes in pricing.  These mistakes led to money loss which is something we really want to avoid.

My mistake: I had purchased an item for $10 and sold it for $19.47. Profit right?  Well, Amazon only provided $5.49 and actual shipping was $15.85. After all was said and done, I had lost about $6 on this sale. 

There was value in this loss.  I learned something.  What I learned was I needed to get a better grasp on shipping costs and recoup that somewhere else.  Here I will go over what I have learned and have put into practice in thrifting and selling on eBay side hustle.  This information will also prove valuable when selecting items to sell on eBay.  This should all be taken into consideration before completing your listing.


Shipping cost comparison

11-1/4" x 8-3/4" x 6" (The size of a medium flat rate USPS box)
Weight and DimensionsUSPS Flat RateUSPS PriorityFedExUPS Ground
1-2 lbs$13.45$12.40$25.58$16.60
2.1 - 3 lbs$13.45$16.65$32.16$16.60

As you can see, in this instance, USPS is more consistently cheaper if you can fit your items in a flat rate box.

General guidelines

  1. 13 oz or less, it will be cheaper to mail First Class
  2. 2 pounds or less, check your dimensions and weight on the USPS shipping calculator.  Generally will be cheaper to pack yourself and ship Priority
  3. Between 2 and 7 pounds, use the flat rate boxes for the best rates
  4. More than 7 pounds, pack in your own packaging and gather dimensions and weight.   Use this information on the USPS, FedEx and USPS shipping calculators

Shipping supplies

In this installment of my ‘Thrifting and Selling on eBay’ series, I also wanted to include what I found out about packing materials.

  1. Pick up your priority mailers FREE from the post office or order them online (also FREE)
    1. Padded envelope – 9-1/2″ x 12-1/2″
    2. Small flat rate box – 5-3/8″ x 8-5/8″ x 1-5/8″
    3. Medium flat rate box (1) – 11-1/4″ x 8-3/4″ x 6″
    4. Medium flat rate box (2) – 12″ x 3-1/2″ x 14″
    5. Large flat rate box – 12-1/4″ x 12-1/4″ x 6″
    6. For other FREE shipping supplies, visit USPS here 
  2. Other places to pick up free boxes (if not using flat rate shipping)
    1. Grocery stores
    2. Office supply stores
    3. Paint stores
    4. Copy centers (copy paper boxes)
    5. Neighbors with home based party businesses

I hope this helps you when you get ready to ship.  You may also want to consider this when out thrifting to sell on eBay.  Knowing how much shipping will cost and what your packaging options are, will play a role in pricing.  Especially if you want to offer free shipping to entice buyers to purchase from you.  You will want to have enough margin in pricing to cover shipping and put a little profit in your pocket.  I have put some links to all the carriers rate calculators below.  I also included the eBay shipping calculator link as well.  This does a pretty good job calculating all carrier rates for USPS, FedEx and UPS.  I did find some slight discrepancies with the UPS rates but it was minimal

Wal-Mart.com USA, LLC


Helpful Links

eBay shipping calculator – http://www.ebay.com/shp/Calculator

Order free shipping boxes from USPS – https://store.usps.com/store/browse/subcategory.jsp?categoryId=free-shipping-supplies&categoryNavIds=shipping-supplies%3Afree-shipping-supplies

USPS rate calculator – https://postcalc.usps.com/Default.aspx?m=0&dpb=0

FedEx rate calculator – https://www.fedex.com/ratefinder/home

UPS rate calculator – https://wwwapps.ups.com/calTimeCost?loc=en_US&WT.svl=PNRO_L1


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