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Subject: How should I ship my package? A Guide to using the Post Office rss

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Mark Lim
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I'm new to trading but I ship packages for a living. What inspired me to do this was when I traded for a game and the person paid ($4.90) to ship Parcel Post which takes 7 Days when they could have shipped First Class ($3.26) which only would have taken 3 days.



It just drives me nuts to know they paid more for my game to come 4 days late!

The real trick to shipping is knowing how to print shipping labels from Paypal or USPS.com.

Why?

- You get a discount for printing online
- You get free Delivery Confirmation (Normally $0.70-0.80)
- You can fudge the numbers by a couple ounces

The difference between 1 Pound and 1.00001 Pound is almost $4. If you print your label online and tell them your package is 1 Pound and it's actually 1.1 they won't care. The weight difference isn't going to crash the plane or make the mail truck swerve uncontrollably causing it to burst into flames.



When is Priority more reasonable than Parcel Post?

- Close Distance
- Less than 6 Pounds

The price difference between Priority (1-3 Days) and Parcel Post (3-10 Days) is much less when the shipping distance is closer. It's usually about $0.50 - $3.00 and might sometimes actually be cheaper because you get a free $0.80 delivery confirmation when you print Priority Online + free pick up.

Parcel Post takes on average 2-5 days longer to ship, no free delivery confirmation, and no free pick up.

I won't even get into the gas you save for not driving to the post office and the value of having your package come in 4 days sooner reducing the risk of it getting lost or damaged.

Anyway, here's a chart I made complete with average weight for popular games and shipping costs for Near (California to Nevada) and Far. (California to Maine)

--------------------------------------
Shipping Weight
--------------------------------------
Bohnanza - 14.4 Ounces - (6 x 3 x 1)
Pandemic - 2.4 Pounds - (12 x 8.8 x 1.8)
Agricola - 4.5 Pounds - (14 x 10 x 3)
Arkham Horror - 5.4 Pounds - (11.8 x 11.8 x 3)
Descent - 9 Pounds - (23.2 x 11.8 x 4.2)
--------------------------------------

--------------------------------------
Near - California to Nevada (350 Miles)
Far - California to Maine (2,600 Miles)
--------------------------------------

--------------------------------------
13 oz (Max) Letter Envelope
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $4.90 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $5.70 (3 Days)
First Class - $2.92 (2 Days)

- Far
Priority - $5.83 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $5.70 (7 Days)
First Class - $3.26 (3 Days)

--------------------------------------
1 Pound (Max)
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $4.90 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $5.70 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $5.83 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $5.70 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
1.01 - 2 Pounds
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $5.08 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $5.95 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $9.37 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $8.89 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
2.01 - 3 Pounds
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $5.96 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $7.00 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $12.14 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $10.72 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
3.01 - 4 Pounds
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $6.88 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $7.85 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $14.62 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $12.37 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
4.01 - 5 Pounds
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $7.98 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $8.90 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $16.93 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $13.14 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
8.01 - 9 Pounds
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $11.38 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $11.49 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $27.20 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $16.70 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
9.01 - 10 Pounds
--------------------------------------
- Near
Priority - $12.24 (2 Days)
Parcel Post - $11.83 (3 Days)

- Far
Priority - $29.57 (3 Days)
Parcel Post - $17.57 (7 Days)

--------------------------------------
Priority Flat Rare Boxes: Near (2 Days) Far (3 Days) (No Weight Limit)
--------------------------------------
- Small - $5.20 - (8.62 x 5.37 x 1.62)
- Medium - $10.95 - (13.62 x 11.87 x 3.37) or (11 x 8.5 x 5.5)
- Large - $14.95 (12 x 12 x 5.5)
--------------------------------------

If your game weighs more than 5lbs, has a far shipping distance, and fits in a the dimensions of the box, it's best you use Priority Flat Rate.

Hope this will help get games out faster and cheaper!

~Mark Lim
http://www.PoisonApple.com

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George J. Wendt
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Thank you for doing this. It is incredibly helpful.
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Stephen Stewart
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PoisonApple wrote:
The weight difference isn't going to crash the plane or make the mail truck swerve uncontrollably causing it to burst into flames.





LMAO when I saw this....
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Mark Lim
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Oh, I also forgot to add that you get free boxes when you ship Priority. You'd have to use your own or buy one if you shipped Parcel.

Just another thought
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Even better: you can order free Priority Mail boxes from the USPS.

Free boxes brought to your door, free pickup from your door when you're ready. Carrier Pickup makes it totally worth the $20 I invested in a postal scale a few years back.
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Mark Lim
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rossum wrote:
Even better: you can order free Priority Mail boxes from the USPS.

Free boxes brought to your door, free pickup from your door when you're ready. Carrier Pickup makes it totally worth the $20 I invested in a postal scale a few years back.


I used to bring my scale with me in the car till I realized that if I got pulled over I might have to explain to a cop what I'm weighing.
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Jeff Michaud
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speaking of shipping usps... should also take a moment to talk about how to actually pack a flat rate medium usps shipping box...

I just received a game today in one... luckily it arrived undamaged but if it had been dropped it likely would have been damaged as it was packed by putting the game into the box 1st, pushing it in all the way, then filling the rest "one the other end" with packing peanuts. So there was no protection other than the shipping box (and usps flat rate boxes are relatively thin cardboard) on the other end.

There is also always a risk too as the usps flat rate medium box for lots of games leaves no room to put any protection (not even the thinner bubble wrap) around it.
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Marc Kob
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PoisonApple wrote:


- You can fudge the numbers by a couple ounces

The difference between 1 Pound and 1.00001 Pound is almost $4. If you print your label online and tell them your package is 1 Pound and it's actually 1.1 they won't care.


A lot of good advice here. But I wouldn't recommend doing the above. You really should use the actual weight on the label. If the package does get its weight checked, either the receiver gets stuck with the correct postage due, or worse yet, it gets returned to you for additional postage causing a big delay. Sure lots of packages don't get checked if they are close, but why roll the dice. Few things are more annoying than getting a package postage due, when you've already paid the seller shipping.
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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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Never use USPS except to ship items in a small flat rate box. Otherwise you're throwing money away.

Set up a FedEx account (just have to have a credit card, but it's free) and you're up and running with an 8% discount. It's cheaper to use FedEx BEFORE the discount, but with it I save a minimum of $3 per package. And for the big stuff it saves me over $10-15.

Seriously, I check online before I ship and it sometimes would cost me $25 bucks to ship via USPS Priority, and with FedEx I barely ever spend more than $10.

If you get the recipient to give you a business address you'll save a buck or two more. Rural areas are a bit more expensive to ship to, but still cheaper than USPS.

PLUS, you get up to $100 insurance for nothing, and get real-time tracking with FedEx and get to list your phone number on the shipment (and tied to your account). So if they have a problem with delivery they'll call you. This has happened twice, and it meant that the package arrived one day later than usual, but it wasn't shipped back to me.

USPS is overpriced and having to pay for "delivery confirmation" is B.S. I once had two packages "delivered" to my front door while I sat watching for it. But it never arrived, though the postal worker checked the two separate numbers in as having been delivered. I filed a formal complaint with USPS but they took the word of the postal worker when the Postmaster General investigated.

I use USPS only for stamped mail and small flat rate stuff. That's cheaper than FedEx, but not by much.
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JeffyJeff wrote:
speaking of shipping usps... should also take a moment to talk about how to actually pack a flat rate medium usps shipping box...

I just received a game today in one... luckily it arrived undamaged but if it had been dropped it likely would have been damaged as it was packed by putting the game into the box 1st, pushing it in all the way, then filling the rest "one the other end" with packing peanuts. So there was no protection other than the shipping box (and usps flat rate boxes are relatively thin cardboard) on the other end.

There is also always a risk too as the usps flat rate medium box for lots of games leaves no room to put any protection (not even the thinner bubble wrap) around it.


Those USPS flat rate boxes are horrible. They're thin and easily damaged. I have had six games smooshed or punctured when shipped via those boxes. And a former postal worker, the son of a Postmaster, said to me to NEVER ship with those. They're "tossed around like frisbees" by postal workers.

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I need to ship a game to the UK. What's my best option?
 
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Mark Lim
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diehard4life wrote:
Never use USPS except to ship items in a small flat rate box. Otherwise you're throwing money away. It's cheaper to use FedEx BEFORE the discount, but with it I save a minimum of $3 per package. And for the big stuff it saves me over $10-15.


You are right when it comes to heavy packages. I also use FedEx and UPS for my large wholesale business orders but for single games with an average of 5lbs, USPS is actually cheaper and arrives faster by 2 whole days.


Heavy packages you definitely need to use UPS or FedEx but for single games, I think USPS has a lot better shipping rates and quicker.

At around 6lbs it's about $1 cheaper to use FedEx but your game takes 5 days to get there while for $1 your Post Office game gets there 2 days quicker.

Worth the buck in my opinion.
 
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If someone pays by PayPal, you can print First Class parcel, Parcel Post, Medial Mail, or Priority labels. Priority delivery confirmation is free and the postage is discounted; the others have a $.19 delivery confirmation fee (still cheaper than the post office).
 
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Mark Lim
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agorski wrote:
I need to ship a game to the UK. What's my best option?


When it comes to International shipping nothing will beat the Post Office.

Express Mail is a little more expensive but you can track it. Priority International is cheaper but no tracking.

It's real expensive either way but way cheaper than UPS or FedEx.

If someone knows a better way please tell me. I ship packages all over the world through the Post Office about 3 times a week.
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PoisonApple wrote:

Parcel Post takes on average 2-5 days longer to ship, offers no online printing, no free delivery confirmation, and no free pick up.



Just recently I have been able to print a parcel post label when I sell something through Amazon or using Paypal. I don't know if you can do it directly from the post office, though.
 
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Mark Lim
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snoweel wrote:
PoisonApple wrote:

Parcel Post takes on average 2-5 days longer to ship, offers no online printing, no free delivery confirmation, and no free pick up.



Just recently I have been able to print a parcel post label when I sell something through Amazon or using Paypal. I don't know if you can do it directly from the post office, though.


Oh you're right. You can use Paypal or Amazon to pay Parcel Post. You can't on USPS.com though.

Thanks! I'll edit it
 
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JeffyJeff wrote:
speaking of shipping usps... should also take a moment to talk about how to actually pack a flat rate medium usps shipping box...

I just received a game today in one... luckily it arrived undamaged but if it had been dropped it likely would have been damaged as it was packed by putting the game into the box 1st, pushing it in all the way, then filling the rest "one the other end" with packing peanuts. So there was no protection other than the shipping box (and usps flat rate boxes are relatively thin cardboard) on the other end.

There is also always a risk too as the usps flat rate medium box for lots of games leaves no room to put any protection (not even the thinner bubble wrap) around it.


Was that one mine? blush

It is risky, which is why I cringe putting it in but I also always get insurance. If a game comes damaged I'm more than willing to replace it.

 
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Sicaria Occaeco
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Oh and I didn't pack the game in first. I put a layer of peanuts on the bottom and slid the game in. There wasn't enough room at the top for a layer of peanuts.
 
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Sicaria wrote:
Was that one mine? blush

It is risky, which is why I cringe putting it in but I also always get insurance. If a game comes damaged I'm more than willing to replace it.

shhh, I tried to be very vague as I say no harm no foul, especially for something I'm sure I've done on occasion before Christian hooked me on fedex.

speaking of insurance though... I've heard usps insurance is relatively worthless if you actually try to make a claim. fedex you do get $100 of insurance automatically but have heard same problem, good luck making a claim unless maybe you are an etailer doing lots of business with fedex (or ups)

Sicaria wrote:
Oh and I didn't pack the game in first. I put a layer of peanuts on the bottom and slid the game in. There wasn't enough room at the top for a layer of peanuts.

Ah, yes you are right... I open usps flat rate boxes from the bottom in such a way that the box is easily reusable so to me it was the bottom that had no peanuts, but it was indeed the top

In any case I've actually had good luck unlike Christian with usps on the receiving side at least, at least with boxed items (have had plenty of envelopes with missing contents or such). Box arrived in perfect like new condition. I think maybe because I'm friendly with my mail carrier

ps: I tried to get the game to the table tonight but didn't get to it... did read rules though... boy is that a lot, no wonder the player aid is 2 full pages!
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PoisonApple wrote:
diehard4life wrote:
Never use USPS except to ship items in a small flat rate box. Otherwise you're throwing money away. It's cheaper to use FedEx BEFORE the discount, but with it I save a minimum of $3 per package. And for the big stuff it saves me over $10-15.


You are right when it comes to heavy packages. I also use FedEx and UPS for my large wholesale business orders but for single games with an average of 5lbs, USPS is actually cheaper and arrives faster by 2 whole days.


Heavy packages you definitely need to use UPS or FedEx but for single games, I think USPS has a lot better shipping rates and quicker.

At around 6lbs it's about $1 cheaper to use FedEx but your game takes 5 days to get there while for $1 your Post Office game gets there 2 days quicker.

Worth the buck in my opinion.


That's simply not true. The online calculator in this case is misleading because we don't know what sort of address to which you're shipping, what size the city is, etc. because that matters as to whether it is FedEx Ground or FedEx Home Delivery. Plus, it ignores both the 8% discount which one receives from having a FedEx account and the inclusion of insurance and delivery confirmation(tracking) with FedEx.

If you factor those things in you'll see savings closer to 7-10.

I've shipped 12 pound packages cross the country via FedEx routinely for under $12.

I'VE NEVER PAID anywhere close to $17 to ship something via FedEx. The top I pay is usually under $13. I always save money versus the flat rate box rates, except for the small flat rate box. Believe me. I've done more than a single vague online comparison.
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VETRHUS of Rogaland
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PoisonApple wrote:
agorski wrote:
I need to ship a game to the UK. What's my best option?


When it comes to International shipping nothing will beat the Post Office.

It's real expensive either way but way cheaper than UPS or FedEx.

If someone knows a better way please tell me. I ship packages all over the world through the Post Office about 3 times a week.


FedEx now has Ground service to Canada. But other than that, it is cheaper to use USPS Global shipping.
 
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PoisonApple wrote:
snoweel wrote:
PoisonApple wrote:

Parcel Post takes on average 2-5 days longer to ship, offers no online printing, no free delivery confirmation, and no free pick up.



Just recently I have been able to print a parcel post label when I sell something through Amazon or using Paypal. I don't know if you can do it directly from the post office, though.


Oh you're right. You can use Paypal to pay Parcel Post


or First Class Parcel, or Media Mail, as I mentioned above.
 
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diehard4life wrote:
FedEx now has Ground service to Canada. But other than that, it is cheaper to use USPS Global shipping.

note that as far as I know no one should use anything but usps to ship from usa to canada as fedex (and ups) tack on a bunch of fees far exceeding the postage itself

WARNING!!! NEVER USE UPS TO SHIP TO CANADA
Best way to ship to Canada from the US?
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indigopotter wrote:
or First Class Parcel, or Media Mail, as I mentioned above.

just to make clear though in regards to shipping games... don't use media mail..

Using USPS media mail to ship games?
 
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JeffyJeff wrote:
indigopotter wrote:
or First Class Parcel, or Media Mail, as I mentioned above.

just to make clear though in regards to shipping games... don't use media mail..

Using USPS media mail to ship games?


Someone might be sending RPG books.
 
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