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Subject: Question about auctions and shipping rss

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Matt D
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Just a general question, as someone who is looking at running an auction within the next week or so. What is the best method people have found for shipping games at the lowest cost / most convenience?

It seems like none of the post office "you fit it ships" boxes are sized properly for most board games, by an annoying few inches, and the boxes I would get from u-haul or UPS all seem way too big. I figure there has to be a cheaper way to do this, and I want to save as much money for my future buyers as possible.

Also, how does one typically handle shipping costs and payment for the game? Do you calculate a guestimate for the shipping costs and have them pay that with the game, or pay for the game and then ship it, and have them pay again for the shipping costs?

I suppose it would have helped if I had bought something from an online auction, but I've been in the downsizing process instead of the expanding process...

Thanks for any advice.


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Andrew Rice
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Have you tried the USPS "Board Game Size" Large Flat Rate box?

It's approx 12"x24"
 
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Matt Shinners
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Most games I've sold fit in the medium flat rate box. For ones that don't, I find a box that will fit them and use PayPal's postage calculator to figure on a cost.
 
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Lacombe
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Save any boxes from other online purchases and store them in your attic.

Pull them out and find one that fits. Ship by weight, parcel post or priority as you prefer.

A small relatively accurate postal / electronic scale is a must. Just throw games in a randomm box to weigh for estimates.

As long as you get within a half or pound or so, the postage rate won't change if you're off by an ounce. Don't forget to throw a bit of paper / peanuts in when weighing.
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brian
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Flat rate is usually a rip off for games. Especially the "boardgame large flat rate" which is really designed for Monopoly/Risk style boxes.

Medium flat rate (there are 2 sizes) usually works for most games but are again a bit expensive.

You can also try a local grocery store or toy/game shop. Our grocery store allows the public to pick up package boxes that they are going to toss/recycle anyway. Sometimes you have to ask but frequently they are sitting in a certain area of the store.

These can be a little big but a Toys 'R Us or game store might have boxes that games are usually shipped in and so a lot smaller.
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Erik Leppo
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Open a FedEx account so you can ship FedEx Ground. Rates are pretty good.

For boxes, as stated above, save any and all game sized boxes and packing material. I know it doesn't help you right now but for the future.

Pack the items and weigh then use a cheap scale to figure shipping costs. Guestimate in your listing. Then get final cost before having buyers pay. If using USPS ship parcel post. I've found it is much cheaper and typically takes only a day or so longer (more for the farther the package goes). ALWAYS add delivery confirmation or other tracking.
 
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brian
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PaleHorseRider wrote:
If using USPS ship parcel post. I've found it is much cheaper and typically takes only a day or so longer (more for the farther the package goes). ALWAYS add delivery confirmation or other tracking.


Parcel post is an excellent option though sometimes the cost difference is negligible. Usually it doesn't take much longer but be careful where you ship to. I had things coming from Alaska that took almost 3 weeks and Idaho which took over a week.
 
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Go to usps.com and order some free regional rate boxes. They come in a variety of sizes, and have useful weight ranges (like "up to 15 lbs"). If someone is nearby, it can save a lot of money. I shipped something the other day - if it had been in a brown or regular priority box, it would have been $16, if it was flat rate, $10.85, and in a regional rate, only about $7! The box it's in really does make a difference.

I have a postal scale, so I weigh and measure an order and compare prices on usps.com to find out the best deal for shipping. That way, I can give the buyers their shipping options, they pay, and I ship. When I print the order online, I get a discount on priority, and free delivery confirmation.
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Barry
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I prefer USPS Click N Ship. With Click N Ship, you can print the shipping label at home as long as you know the weight and box size. I weigh packages with a $20 digital bathroom scale. If you're off a couple ounces, no big deal. My postman told me as much. This makes Int'l shipping an easy option, too. Custom forms can be filled out online and are part of the shipping label. It's one extra page to fill out during the order process.

Price is even discounted when buying labels online and del. conf. is free.

This only works for Priority and Express Mail. For Parcel Post you have to go to the PO.

For boxes, you can order them for free from USPS. Here is a link with a couple dozen different sized boxes that are all free. Free to order and delivered for free. Takes about a week to get them.

https://store.usps.com/store/browse/subcategory.jsp?category...

Another thing you can do is schedule a pickup from your home, also for free. The last couple auctions I had, I never went to the PO.

Flat rate is usually only cheaper if you're shipping across the country. If shipping to your own or a neighboring state, regular Priority is about half that of flat rate.
 
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Just to add to what Barry said, if someone pays you with PayPal, you can print the label from within PayPal and do media mail (RPG books), parcel post, or first class, as well as Priority. Delivery confirmation for rates other than Priority is $.19 online.
 
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Chris Koenig
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indigopotter wrote:
Just to add to what Barry said, if someone pays you with PayPal, you can print the label from within PayPal and do media mail (RPG books), parcel post, or first class, as well as Priority. Delivery confirmation for rates other than Priority is $.19 online.


And the best thing is that you have an electronic record of all your tracking info.
 
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Matt D
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Thank you all for the advice. It looks like USPS.com is the way to go. For some reason, it didn't occur to me that you could do all the label printing at home without actual labels to print.

Last question: Do you find the USPS is reliable enough that you would use it for more expensive games, or would you defer to UPS for those? I've got a copy of Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit that I am going to be putting up, and would want to make sure that nothing happened to that en route, so I'm tempted to only ship that one via UPS. Delivery confirmation is nice, but signature required seems to make sense as well. Or do I just defer to the buyer, since they are ultimately the ones paying for it?

Thanks again for all the advice.
 
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You can add insurance for a nominal fee, which I've done for expensive games. You can also request signature confirmation for an additional fee. You can upgrade services, it's just that delivery confirmation is free.
 
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