EBay Shipping Tips: The Beginners Guide

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I’ve realized that shipping is one of the things that keep people from selling on eBay. They think that it’s difficult or that they’ll lose money. I can’t even lies, I understand where they are coming from. I’ve lost money shipping. It was due to my guessing and not understanding how shipping on eBay works. I want to share some eBay shipping tips in today’s post.

eBay Shipping Tips: The Beginner’s Guide

How I Used To Do It

When I first started with eBay, I used to guess shipping costs. I’d look at other listings and use their shipping prices. That worked for some of the items but not all. I didn’t factor in the weight or where the item went back then. I also did not realize that the price difference could be huge if you send an item to California instead of South Carolina. If you’re reading this, I don’t want you to be in that situation. These eBay shipping tips should help you out.

Flat Rate Shipping

If you’re a beginner, the best thing you can do is start with flat rate shipping boxes. Flat rate shipping means you can ship your item anywhere in the country for one flat price. USPS has different shapes and sizes of flat rate boxes. Below is an image that shows the box/envelope size and how much the shipping would cost.

This is the easiest way for beginners to ship. You already know your prices. As long as your item is 70 pounds or less, you can ship it. Flat rate boxes are also considered priority shipping. That means that your item should get to its destination within 1-3 business days. You can get flat rate boxes from the post office or order them on USPS.com. They are free! You can order as many of them as you want to. Flat rate pricing is the way to go if you are starting out.

Calculated Shipping

Flat rate boxes are the easiest way to ship an item, but it’s not always the cheapest. This is why you should learn to do calculated shipping. I procrastinated when it came to learning how to calculate shipping. I thought it was going to be difficult, but it wasn’t.

Guessing the weight doesn’t work when it comes to calculated shipping. You have to get a scale. I purchased my scale earlier this year. After I had it for a few weeks, I wondered why I had waited so long to buy it. It has helped my eBay business out so much. Here is a picture of the scale that I have.

It does the job perfectly. Once you have a scale, you can weigh every item you plan to flip. I use the postage calculator on USPS.com. The image below shows the postage difference using calculated priority and flat rate shipping. Using priority shipping, it would cost $10.90 to ship a 1.5-pound mug from Atlanta to Houston. If you used a large flat rate box, it would be $21.10. It would cost $15.05 if you used a medium flat rate box. The margins are pretty big.

There are different types of calculated shipping. You’ll use some more than others. Let’s take a look at the different shipping methods.

Media Mail

Media Mail is one of the cheapest shipping options. That’s the good news. The bad news is that only certain items qualify for it. The following items qualify for Media Mail: books, CDs, videotapes, cassettes, records, print music, and sound recordings. In most cases, shipping those items costs less than $10. Do not use flat rate or priority boxes for those items.

Priority Mail

USPS Priority shipping is based on weight and dimension. The delivery time is between 1-3 days. Flat rate shipping is considered priority mail. Most of the items that I send out are done with priority shipping.

Retail Ground

It is the cheapest option (economy shipping) for shipping certain-sized packages. It can take up to 9 days for the package to be delivered. For bigger items, I give the seller the option to choose retail ground or priority shipping.

First Class Mail

This is another cost-effective shipping option. Letters and postcards are sent via USPS first-class mail. Any item under 13oz can be first class mail. If you sell clothes, this will be the rate you should use to ship in most cases.

USPS has other options, such as priority mail express, expedited shipping, international shipping, and more. Check the USPS website for more info on those options.

Other Options

For me, USPS typically has the best prices. There are other shipping carriers out there, though. Two of them are FedEx and UPS.  You can visit their websites for more info about their prices, including FedEx ground and UPS ground.

I have a couple of more eBay shipping tips for you.

If you have an idea of what you’re going to send the item in, weigh it first, then add the weight to the right section when you are listing it.

If you don’t weigh the item in the box you’re going to ship it in, you can add a couple of ounces to the weight, so you don’t have to pay part of the shipping price out of pocket.

Print your shipping from eBay or Pirateship. Pirateship is a site where you can purchase discount shipping. It’s cheaper than going to the post office and waiting in line. It’s something that I wish I had done earlier. I probably could have saved a couple of hundred dollars per year if I had done this earlier.

Don’t forget to recycle. I’m sure you’ve probably purchased a lot of things this year. If that’s you, save the boxes and the bubble wrap. I recycle a lot of things. You should do the same.

Need help with eBay? Check out my webinar, eBay for Starters

I want to share with you some of the supplies you should have for your eBay business.


I started using these this year for the clothes that I ship out. It was one of the smartest things that I’ve done. Check out this brand that I use here.


You can get boxes free from USPS. They have different box sizes to choose from. You can also purchase them from Walmart or Amazon.


You need a pair of scissors to cut labels, tape, and boxes. Sometimes, you’ll have to make your own box.

Bubble Wrap

If you ship bobbleheads or mugs, you must have some bubble wrap on deck. It is way better than using a newspaper. I use this kind below.

Shipping Tape

This is another item that everyone should have. Here is the kind that I use.


I realized it was time for me to get serious about the business earlier this year, so I purchased a printer. I bought an HP similar to this one. A lot of eBay sellers get therm label printers. They look like this. I may eventually get one, but for right now, a regular printer works just fine for me.

If you have an eBay store, you will receive a $25 coupon every quarter. You can use it to purchase eBay supplies. They have many items, including tape, boxes, and more.

If you like selling on eBay, check out my shirt. You can purchase it on Teespring.

I hope this post about eBay shipping tips has helped you out. I wish I had had something like this when I first started. If you have any questions feel free to ask me in the comments.

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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.