How to Mail Stuff
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While it’s not *that* often you are mailing items to your customers, from time to time you’ll need to do it. Whether it is a prize or an item that is out of stock, but you have in your local inventory or if you run a flash sale… sometimes it requires shipping items you have on-hand. Here’s a giant truth-bomb for you — Mailing stuff may be my least favorite task! Ugh! It is so time consuming, I often just suck it up and pay the shipping fee to order it from home office so I don’t have to deal with it. Ha! Over the last few years, I’ve learned a few ways to make shipping a teeny bit less painful on me. Here are some shipping methods and systems that might help save you some time and heartache!
My most favorite shipping tool is Paypal. I can print my shipping from home and leave my package by the front door for my post office worker. No need to lug boxes to the post office with two kids following me! To ship from home, you will need a scale to weigh your packages. This comes in handy (in life in general) and is less than $20! Worth it!
Here are my recommendations on shipping methods:
- Mailing smaller items like prizes and thank you notes: Use 5×7 envelopes or manila/bubble envelopes, and put 2-4 stamps on it. Send it first class mail (just like a regular letter that you’re mailing out). First-Class Mail is for envelopes weighing 3.5oz – 13oz, arrives in 1-3 business days and starts at $0.49 (one postage stamp!).
- Mailing larger packages of books only: Ship Media Mail (2-8 days). Media mail is only permitted for books, recordings, computer media, or educational material. You may not even add a catalog in when shipping media mail. It’s usually slower than first-class mail, but it’s MUCH less expensive. Rates start from $2.61. Use your own packaging and use Paypal Multiorder Shipping to send media mail.
- Mailing larger packages of books + other items OR if you need it delivered faster than media mail: Ship Priority Mail (1-3 days). You can use free flat rate boxes that you can pick up at your post office or even request to be delivered to your home from USPS. Another option is using free regional rate boxes for packages traveling short distances. Alternatively, you can use your own packaging if you’re just shipping 1 or 2 smaller items. If you’re shipping larger or heavier items, a flat rate box, envelope or regional box is going to be more cost effective. Pricing starts at $6.45. Paypal Multiorder Shipping is my preferred method to send priority. It’s often slightly cheaper than USPS Click & Ship.
To package up your items, reuse boxes, especially the packaging paper or bubble wrap you receive in your shipments. You can also order free shipping supplies such as flat rate boxes, envelopes or regional boxes from USPS.com and have them delivered right to your door! For fun, colorful bubble mailers for small prizes or books, check the Dollar Store or Amazon to order in bulk. I like these purple mailer, chevron patterned mailers and plain bubble mailers from Amazon.
Other Random Tidbits
- If you’re frequently shipping stuff, it helps to build a good rapport with your postal workers!
- Paypal usually offers lower rates and is often cheaper than USPS Click-N-Ship. Weird, right?!
- Paypal lets you ship media mail online, but USPS does not. Also, weird, right?! Ha!
- Priority Mail Express guarantees *overnight* delivery to most locations. From $22.95 and up.
- Shipping can add up. Don’t hesitate to charge your customers for shipping. They would pay for it through your website anyway!
- FedEx and UPS are not cost-effective for those of us running a small business. You will want to make friends with your UPS Guy since they deliver your packages to you! And, sign up for UPS MyChoice so you can see when you have UPS packages coming your way – it’s free!