Top loaders and bubble mailers are great, but buying your own postage scale might be the best investment you'll make as an online seller...and they're not expensive.
Next to a scanner and digital camera, having a digital scale is probably the most important item you will need in order to be successful as an online seller.
If you've ever shipped a package you know that the correct weight helps determine how much it costs to send. If you estimate the weight when listing a postage fee in your item description, chances are you're either going to pay too much for postage or your package will be returned for not having enough.
With the price of US Postal Service shipping having just gone up this week, you need to be smart about your rates. If you're an eBay seller you already have enough fees to consider without having to worry about postage too.
Sometimes sellers will offer a flat rate shipping fee. This is okay to do once in a while depending on what you're selling, but most of the time you need to charge close to actual shipping (a small handling fee is okay) so that your buyers will want to buy from you. Overcharging for the shipment of sports cards and memorabilia is one of the most common complaints of buyers. They know if you're overcharging and will click away from your auction and go on to the next if you get that reputation. It's also against eBay rules to charge excessive shipping.
Postage scales for home use can help solve the problem. There are many types of scales available but the best for weighing the most accurately is a digital scale. The next thing you need to decide is how much weight capacity you need for the digital scale you get. This will depend on what you are selling. If you're selling larger pieces of sports memorabilia, then you will need a heavy duty scale, but if you are selling mostly lighter weight items such as baseball cards, individual wax boxes and paper items, you'll most likely be fine with a scale that has a 5 lb. capacity.
You may be asking, why do I need a scale when I can just take my packages to the post office and have them weighed for me? The problem with that is:
- You need to know the weight of your package before you list the item on eBay. Unless you package it up and take it to the post office before you list it you will not know the accurate weight. And even then you do not know who's buying your item which means you do not know where it's being shipped. If your package is over a certain weight this does matter depending on the shipping zone. You need to know what you're going to charge for shipping before you list the item and your bidders need to know what they will have to pay. If you do not list your shipping charges you will lose bids.
- You just made an extra trip to the post office. Can you imagine having to stand in line behind 10 people just to get the weight of your package and then after it sells you will have to go back down there and stand in line again to pay to have it shipped? You don't have time for that.
- You have no reason not to get one. Did you know you can get one for no charge--and a significant postage credit? With Stamps.com you can print postage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and the company almost always has a free postage offer as well as a free scale.
If you have your own scale you can actually start printing your own postage at home. All you need is a printer & paper. All you need to do to ship your package from home and never have to go to the post office is #1 Weigh it - make sure you remember to include the whole package which means the item you're selling, the box you're shipping it in and the packing material. #2 Print the postage right from your computer and tape it to your package. #3 Schedule a free pick-up from USPS directly from your doorstep. Your postal carrier will pick up your package for you. All you need to do is go online and schedule a pick-up at least a day in advance.