Overview\n\nShipping is a critical but under-discussed component of running a small business. If not done well, it can rob you of serious bandwidth that is much better invested in product development. In this section I'll cover my favorite tools and processes for creating a seamless shipping system. \n\n\n\n\n\nCatch me over on @etsysuccess sharing some organization + shipping tips 🖇📦 (so that we can all go a little less cray this busy season 🍁🎄).\nA post shared by DeBrosse™ (@debrosse_nyc) on Oct 4, 2016 at 6:00pm PDT\n\n\n\n\n\nSome links are affiliate, meaning I'll make a small commission if you make a purchase, but this is at no cost to you.\n \nShipping Must-Haves\n\nScale\nAn at-home scale is your best friend. Between a scale and printer, you will no longer have to stand in line at the post office. \nNormal At-Home Printer\nA basic at-home printer will always get the job done. Simply upgrade your paper to shipping label sticker paper to make your life a little easier, and your packaging more professional.\n\nDymo Printer\nThe Dymo printer comes with a bit of a price tag, but is a great investment in your business. It prints high quality and professional labels...without using ink. It's quick and easy to use, and makes shipping a breeze.\n(Dymo highly encourages you to use their own labels, but I opt for off-brand labels at a fraction of the price and haven't had any troubles.)\nShipping Bags\nHigh quality Uline shipping bags will go a long way towards getting your products to their destination in one piece. So long as you can, opt for bags over boxes to save on weight, storage, and expenses.\nAmazon alternates: 9 x 12" \/ 10 x 13" \/ 12 x 15.5"\nBonus note: When possible, opt for perforated bags. It makes me anxious when customers have to take a pair of scissors to a package, so if you can provide them with a perforated tear strip, you can minimize the chances that they cut right into their new knits.\nRecommended sizes:\n\n\n\nHeadbands\n9 x 12"\n\n\nHats\n10 x 13"\n\n\nChunky Scarves\n12 x 15.5"\n\n\nMultiple pieces\n14 x 17"\n\n\n\n \n\n\n\nEtsy Shipping Tools\n\nI highly recommend taking advantage of Etsy seller shipping tools. Etsy has negotiated discounted rates on your behalf, taken a lot of the guess work out, and provided a great deal of automation that will make your shipping life much easier.\n\n\n\n\n\nRead:\n\n\nHow to Set Up a Shipping station for Your Etsy Shop\n\n\n\n\n \n\nCalculated shipping\n\nBefore calculated shipping was introduced, you were required to pick a flat rate shipping price up front. For example, I would list a scarf with a $5 shipping cost, which ultimately meant that I was overcharging New Yorkers, and losing money when sending to California. What a drag!\nCalculated shipping now allows you to simply input the size and weight of your product, and it will calculate the exact shipping cost of the zip code your customer enters. Boom. No one is over or underpaying.\nThere are sometimes exceptions to calculated shipping, and it will be up to you to recognize those. For me, I have a DIY kit that is drop shipped by a partner in Canada, and she has a fixed rate for US and Canadian customers. For those products, I set up a profile that does not automatically calculate.\nShipping Profiles\nThere are a number of different ways to apply and take advantage of shipping profiles. In short, they allow you to set a group of products to an indentical set of shipping instructions (processing time, cost, etc.), allowing you to bulk edit and achieve consistency across like products.\nI set mine up based on turnaround time of product. I try to operate primarily on profiles labeled In Stock (1-3 business days) and Made to Order (3-5 business days), with the addition of shipping profiles to account for products with specific delays.\nI'll periodically go through and double check that everything is on the right shipping profile, as inventory naturally changes with time. Note that if an item is on an In Stock shipping profile but then sells out, I need to remember to manually switch it over to Made to Order.\nNote: Handling fee is applied to international packages only.\n\n\n\n\n\nRead:\n\nHow to Price Your Shipping Competitively\n\n\n\n\n\nWeights\nDespite the sheer tedium, it's worth taking a moment during the off-season to familiarize yourself with the general patterns and relationships between weight and shipping cost. The best way to learn is to open up a new or existing order, start the package weight at 1 ounce and increase by 1 ounce, noting how the numbers change. After 2 pounds, increase the weight by 1 pound at a time.\nHere's a quick overview of what you'll find:\nUSPS First Class\n16 ounces is the maximum weight of a first class package. Anything that weighs more than 16oz will automatically have to ship Priority.\n\n\n0-4 ounces: $2.66 (all the same price)\n5-16 ounces: Increases about .20 per ounce\n\n\n\n\n\nUSPS Priority Mail\nPriority mail is required for any package more than 16 ounces.\n\n\n1 pound 1 ounce up to 2 pounds is all the exact same price.\nIt's not a bad idea to keep this window in mind when designing your products. If a product weighs 1-3 ounces over 1 pound, I sometimes go back and alter the product until it is under 1 pound. This can cut the shipping cost in half for your customer. (Never underestimate the power of a tall shipping cost to dissuade a customer from purchasing).\n\n\n\n\n \n\nInternational\n\nThere's no need to be intimidated by international shipping. Canada and the UK are major buyers and represent a considerable portion of my sales. Etsy and Shopify shipping labels include everything needed for customs, and require no additional work on the seller's behalf. Your customer will sometimes be taxed on the import, so be sure to note that in your policies.\nEtsy has since removed customer location analytics, but here is a quick proof point in my previous data.\nVisits\n\nOrders\n \n\nTroubleshooting\nEtsy and Shopify will both flag an address if it has an error in it. Always confirm the address with your buyer prior to shipping. This will alleviate a potential headache down the road.\nEven with your best efforts, packages will disappear, and it won't be your fault or your customer's. Someone does have to step up to fix the problem, and I'm voting that it should be you. We'll chat a bit more about that in the Customer Service module.