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One thing that puts people off selling on eBay is the packing and posting of parcels. However, I don’t think it has to. If you streamline your process and find the method that works best for you, you don’t need to spend hours in long post office queues with disgruntled customers tutting behind you.
There are many postage methods available so you will likely be able to find one to suit your circumstances. My personal method of choice saves me masses of time and hassle and even though some people have pointing out the risks in my method, I am comfortable with it and happy to continue as I am.
It’s all about what’s best for you – I can’t tell you that, but I can share my opinions on the different postage options which will hopefully allow you to make an informed decision and start selling on eBay without worrying about the chore of posting.
For ease I will refer to postage of a small parcel, there are other options available for larger items but I don’t send many items which fall outside of the small parcel dimensions and weight requirements.
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I send the majority of my parcels by Royal Mail 2nd Class. I charge £3 postage (unless it is a very light or heavy item in which case, I adjust accordingly) and I print my own labels directly from eBay (a4 paper, cut and cellotaped onto the mailing bag).
I then pop them in the post box (if they fit), or drop them off at the Royal Mail delivery office. If I am out or catch the Delivery Office on their lunch, I will drop them at the post office as a last resort (I’m really not a fan of queuing in the post office).
This method works the best for me. And in the 2 years of selling on eBay and adopting this method I have never had a parcel go missing. However, they are some things I should probably point out so that you can decide if this is the best course of action for you.
1. I don’t charge extra to cover the packaging costs or the fee on postage. In my personal opinion, high postage costs puts buyers off so I like to keep it fairly low.
2. I don’t have a myHermes drop-off close by – myHermes are cheaper (unless you’re paying for collection) but I have to go out of my way to post using them. The only time I use myHermes is if I’m sending anything bigger than a small parcel, because then they are considerably cheaper than Royal Mail. For small parcels, the saving is negligible compared to the time and effort it would take to use myHermes (and, if items fit the large letter requirements, Royal Mail is considerably cheaper).
3. I am happy to send items in the post box – it is literally on the corner of my street so takes me no time at all to go and post them. This does however mean that I do not have proof of posting – so if something does go missing I am not able to make a claim via Royal Mail for the item. I can only claim for the postage cost. However, as I’ve already said, I haven’t experienced any issues thus far. My rule of thumb is that if an item sells for more than £20, I’ll send it Signed For and therefore have to drop off at the Post Office – but this means I’m covered for losses. If anything under £20 went missing, I would take the hit – and I am okay with that. Decide what you are comfortable doing for yourself. This works for me personally.
4. I do have Proof of Delivery though – when you print directly from eBay, they automatically upload a tracking number, which confirms when an item has been delivered. If a buyer has ever queried an item’s whereabouts, I have sent them a screenshot of the delivery confirmation and heard no more about it.
5. Royal Mail postage charges are immediately debited from your Paypal. This means that if for whatever reason you don’t use a label, you’ll have to go to the ‘Void Labels’ page to claim a refund.
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1. You can print and attach labels directly from ebay by clicking the Shutl tab when on the Print Postage page. You can then either choose to have myhermes collect the parcel from you (for an additional 50p per parcel, increasing your £2.79 cost to £3.29. Or you drop them off at a myHermes shop (find your nearest here).
However, if you are sending via myhermes you can earn 5% cashback with Topcashback and Quidco, so it might be worth visiting the cashback site and clicking directly to the courier’s site rather than printing through Shutl. I recently posted 18 parcels in one week. If I had sent them via myHermes it would have cost £50.22 which would have earned me £2.50 cashback – it might not seem a lot, but it could add up. If I earned that every week it would be over £130 a year – and it is free money!
Another thing to note, is that Shutl postage charges are not debited immediately and instead you are invoiced monthly. This does mean you will not be charged if you don’t use a label, however be mindful that you haven’t paid for postage yet when withdrawing money from your PayPal.
2. If you don’t have access to a printer at home, you can still go into the Print Postage screen and the Shutl tab, and order your postage as if you did, but then clicking the print in store for FREE button. This generates a code, which you take to the myhermes print in store location and you can print your label there.
1. You can print your postage directly from ebay and drop off at a postbox, royal mail delivery office or post office in the same manner that I do. However this will not get you proof of posting.
2. If you would feel more comfortable obtaining proof of postage for every parcel, you are given the option to print the proof of postage when you also print your label. You would need to take this to the post office (or delivery office) and get them to stamp it when you hand over your parcel, and then retain for your records in case you need to make a claim.
3. If you don’t have a printer, you can do it the old fashioned way and write the address on yourself and take to the post office. However, you do not get proof of delivery and post office prices are higher than online prices, so if you do it this way, it’s probably worth paying extra and sending signed for for peace of mind.
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I have covered the main postage options, though I am aware that other courier services exist including Parcel2Go which are cheaper – I have never used them though, so wouldn’t like to comment either way.
Hopefully you’ve found this post useful. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and happy selling!
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about making extra money, saving money, getting my life organised and being a new mum. Join me!