Everything You Need to Know About How to Properly Ship Your eBay Items
For you entrepreneurs who are unfamiliar with how to ship packages and freight truck shipments, and are just getting started with your home-based business flipping items om eBay, then this article is for you.
I believe you will find this article gives you value and will help make your home-based business a success. It will give you the tips, knowledge, and the confidence to ship your items damage free and to avoid upcharges by carriers. More on that later.
The information below comes from experience in a nine-year career in the shipping industry. I have used UPS and FedEx ground service, every LTL freight carrier out there, and also Hot Shot services.
UPS/FedEx Ground Service
OK, anything that can be hand-carried (50 LBS or less) can be shipped via UPS or FedEx ground. If you struggle to move or to carry an item, then it’s probably too heavy to be shipped on UPS or FedEX ground.
Note: The maximum allowable weight for a UPS ground package is 150 LBS. But that doesn’t mean something that heavy has to be shipped via UPS ground. Again, if you struggle to move or carry an item, then it is best to ship the item on a pallet via an LTL (less than truckload) freight truck.
UPS charges to ship a package based primarily on 3 things:
1. Box dimensions.
2. Weight of the box.
3. Destination zip code.
So, a good rule of thumb is round UP to the nearest inch when measuring the box and add a pound to the total weight. Why? Because UPS is going to weigh and measure the box again and if the dimensions and the weight are miscalculated, you could be charged additional fees.
Also, the box you are using is manufactured to a certain size. Once you place your item in the box, stuff it with packing paper or bubble wrap, the box will expand a little and change the dimensions slightly. That’s why you round up to the nearest inch. Otherwise, an upcharge for dimensional weight comes out of YOUR pocket.
If you are shipping fragile items, pack the box carefully so that it doesn’t rattle around inside the box. Give it the old shake test. Does your item move around inside the box? No? Good.
Also, be sure to mark the box FRAGILE either by writing the word “fragile” on the box or sticking a fragile label on the package.
Unless there has been a change recently, UPS ground automatically insure packages up to $100. Anything over that amount and you have to list a “declared value” amount for insurance purposes.
Example: Say you are shipping an item that is valued at $1000. But opt NOT to insure the item. The item ships and is damaged in transit to you customer. When you go to file a damage claim, UPS is only going to pay up to $100 because there was no declared value listed. As a result, you incur a loss.
Insurance will also increase your shipping cost for your item, so be aware. Check with ups.com to get updated information regarding insurance for your items.
Shipping Palletized Items on Truck Freight
This is where people get intimidated-trying to ship large, big-ticket items. Have no fear, its not as hard as you think.
Large, big-ticket items should be shipped on wooden pallet. The pallet most commonly used measures 48X40X4. Some are bigger, some are smaller, and some you may have to construct yourself depending on the dimensions of your item.
The main thing to remember:
· Your item should NOT overhang over the edges of the pallet. This will prevent your item from being damaged in transit.
· The item should be secured tightly to the pallet, either with metal banding or nylon strapping.
Getting a Freight Truck Quote
Once you have palletized your large, big-ticket item and calculated the weight and dimensions of the shipment, its time to get a freight quote. Every LTL (less than truckload) freight carrier has a website where you can go to obtain a freight quote to determine your freight charges. It is simple to fill out and self-explanatory. The information you will need to fill out is as follows:
· Origin City Zip Code
· Destination Zip Code
· Declared value
· How many pallets are you shipping?
· Pickup date and time
Based on the above information you entered, you will be given a freight charge of how much it will cost to ship your big-ticket item.
Bill of Lading (BOL)
Once you have gotten your freight quote and you have factored that into the price of your item, it’s time to fill out the LTL carrier Bill of Lading (BOL). You can print a standard BOL from any carrier’s website. This form is also simple and self-explanatory to fill out. You will fill out the BOL with the following information:
· Shipper’s Name/Address/Zip Code
· Shipper’s Telephone Number
· # of pallets
· Ship Date
· Sign/Date the BOL at the bottom
· Print 2 copies (one for you, one for the truck driver). Driver will sign your copy.
· Make sure you get a PRO number label to affix to the BOL. This is how you can track your shipment.
· If you are shipping to a residence and you need the truck to have a lift gate, check that off on the quote because these are accessory charges and they will affect the final freight cost.
Some things to consider:
1. Are you shipping to a residence? If so, notate that on the BOL and write on the form “Need a Lift Gate.” Also, when you call the carrier for a pickup, tell them you need a truck with a lift gate (if they are picking up from your residence).
2. Ask your customer do they have the capability to unload your shipment from the truck? If not, this is where the lift gate comes in handy.
3. Do you as the shipper have the capability to LOAD the pallet onto the truck? If not, again this is where the lift gate on the truck and a pallet jack come in handy.
4. Not all LTL carriers ship to all parts of the United States. FedEx Freight does, but Southeastern Freight Lines does not. So, make sure the LTL carrier you choose does indeed ship to the region of the country where you are shipping your item. You can verify this by visiting the carrier’s website.
Where to Find Pallets
Drive around town and look beyond every store or shopping center, or any place that uses pallets. More often than not, if you stop and ask the owner or manager for pallets, they will gladly give them to you. Most places give them away for free. Also, you can look under the “Free Section” on Craigslist and you will find pallets listed for free.
When searching for pallets, don’t overlook the oversize pallets (8’-12’ long) or pallets made of sturdy construction. This will make it easier to ship your large, big-ticket items.
Here is a list of basic shipping supplies:
· Assorted-size boxes
· 2-inch shipping tape
· Packing material (paper, bubble wrap)
· Fragile Labels
· Package scale/pallet scale
· Box Cutter
Some people re-use Amazon boxes. You can find all the supplies listed above on the internet. One such vendor is U-Line. No, this is NOT a paid endorsement. They are a vendor I have done business with during my career and with whom I am familiar with their products. Uline specializes in shipping supplies and carry almost every item imaginable as it relates to shipping packages and freight.
So, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this article and came away with some knowledge and tips to help take the shipping aspect of your business to the next level, and to relieve any doubts and anxiety you may have had when it comes to shipping your items.
Thanks for reading.