There are two basic ways to increase your profits as a seller of sports cards and memorabilia: sell more, or spend less.
One area where you may be able to cut back on expenses is to save on shipping. You may have one shipping method you *always* use. However, there are a wide variety of prices, and factors for calculating those prices. Outlined below are several tips on how to save when shipping packages.
1. Is there a fee to set up an account?
2. Is there a minimum shipping requirement for account holders?
3. Is there a fee for pickups?
4. What discounts are available?
5. What other perks are available?
7. Do they charge extra for rural or residential deliveries?
Like many aspects of running a small business, you can invest some of your time to save money. For example, the US Postal Service offers parcel post, priority mail, and express mail, as well as first class mail and media mail. Knowing the difference can result in huge savings. One warning: DON’T try to save money by using the cheaper Media Mail for items that don’t qualify. The Postal Service often checks Media Mail and you could incur serious penalties.
Up until just recently, most sellers had found that packages weighing less than 3 pounds were most economically sent by USPS, while larger packages may be best with UPS. Although now with the new Priority Mail shipping offers from the USPS, “if it fits it ships” with a weight up to 70 pounds, this has become a favorite and also a cost saver for many sellers and businesses. There are 4 different sizes of boxes to choose from and prices begin at $4.95 for the smallest of the 4 boxes at the post office, or you can go to http://www.usps.com for further online discounts. The USPS includes free shipping boxes and delivery pickup with their Priority Mail service.
Another area to look at to save shipping costs is the cost of packing materials. The US Postal Service, FedEx and UPS all offer packing boxes or envelopes. You can recycle packing peanuts and bubble wrap from shipments you receive. Some people also recycle newspapers and shredded paper from their offices; however, some of these may have acid-based inks that could damage sports cards or other paper memorabilia, so exercise caution with these. Zip lock bags can be purchased in many sizes and used to contain small items within the packages.
Analyze the steps you take in preparing items for shipping and look for ways to save both time and money. Are there some items you could buy in bulk at substantial savings?
If you live some distance from the post office or shipping office, you may want to save time and fuel by scheduling all outgoing shipments for one day of the week. Just make sure your customer isn’t expecting overnight delivery! All major carriers will pick up packages, but may charge extra for that service. You can schedule a free USPS Priority pick-up for the next day online as long as your package has a prepaid label.
Investing in an accurate shipping scale will help you accurately calculate shipping rates ahead of time to determine which carrier is best. With Stamps.com you can print postage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The system takes much of the pain away by offering special deals including a free scale that you can use to weigh your packages and print shipping labels with postage already printed.
Another way to save money with your shipping is called Adship. You prepare and ship your packages as usual, but select an advertisement that you ship along with the package. For each ad you receive a credit that you can ultimately redeem for cash.
Selling online is a great way to earn extra cash. By actively taking steps to minimize shipping expenses, you’ll have more of that cash to keep!