I am trying to come up with a standard range of shipping prices and I
am writing to find out how much you charge customers for shipping and
how you came up with the shipping prices. I would like to ship to
customers all over the world and am trying to figure out how much to
charge, in general for shipping. For instance, do you charge by
weight or as a percentage of the price of the product? Thanks in
advance for your responses. I want to make sure that my profits are
not eaten up by the costs of shipping and packaging.
I am trying to come up with a standard range of shipping prices and I
On my website I charge a flat rate of $7.00 for Priority Mail. If the
person requests UPS, they are charged actual charges, though some
behind the scenes magic.
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay
Now that online shipping is common, (everyone can see your cost) we
just pass along the cost from the shipper such as FedEx. Often we are
high value so we have a DVX contract with FedEx for high value. For
ground we just charge as FedEx or the USPO does. Since FedEx provides
boxes that saves one expense that would otherwise be "handling"
For domestic mail I ship via USPS Priority Mail and add insurance if
needed. In many years I haven’t yet had a package lost or damages
(knocking on wood here - don’t need that trend to turn sour). I
charge by the actual weight of the package and print my own shipping
labels on their website (saves money on the delivery confirmation).
For overseas, I generally ship Global Priority Mail, although I have
the occasional customer who specifically requests parcel post or a
different shipping method. Overseas shipments are not guaranteed or
insured, and the customer has to understand and agree to that.
Otherwise I will ship overseas with UPS and it will cost
BBR - Sandi Graves, Beadin’ Up A Storm
Stormcloud Trading Co
"Beads, Leather and Metalworking Supplies"
St Paul, Minnesota (USA)
On my main website, I currently charge the following flat rates: $5
for US Priority Mail, $15 for Express Mail and International
shipments. These are mostly retail sales of silver items in the $20
to $500 range. I try to cover the costs on most shipments, but some
of the higher priced items cost me more to ship because of
insurance, but then they have much more profit built into them
Determining shipping charges will depend on several factors to get
the “right” solution for your business. One is what type of sales
you do. I am as suming mostly website sales here. Wholesale buyers
are more used to paying based on a percentage of price formula, but
it is very rare in the retail business. Also if you are selling
higher priced pieces, insurance becomes a much larger expense.
Then there is the question of using shipping as a marketing tool.
Some people use “free shipping” as a way to attract more sales. I
have done this on my main website in the past, especially during
holiday seasons (but not this Christmas btw) and have some sites set
up this way permanently. If you go this route, you need to set your
prices so that you can recover the shipping costs. This works better
if you have a product that is not price sensitive. If you have a lot
of competition selling basically the same thing, you will find that
there is a bigger trend to cut the base price to the bone and charge
a premium price for shipping. You can really see this at work on
ebay where people sell items for $1 or $5 and then charge $5 to $8
to ship them First Class mail which costs under $2.
The one thing that concerned me in you post was where you were
wanting to ship to customers all over the world. This is a very
dangerous subject and needs some thought. First, we (people on
Orchid) sell probably the second most easily resold merchandise after
consumer electronics. This means that scammers from around the world
are constantly testing our fraud detection measures. Many parts of
the world are just about impossible to sell o and expect to get paid
and be able to keep the money. 99.9999% of Nigerian orders (we get at
least one a month) are fraud. The same is true for most of Asia and
Eastern Europe. We only sell to a few countries in mostly Northern
and Western Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and occasionally
I will make an exception for Japan If I feel like things are good.
The other problem with shipping internationally is that each country
has specific rules about selling jewelry there. In much of Europe,
there are strict rules on marking jewelry and I am probably going to
cut back on my sales there them more I read up on them. It is looking
like I would need to get a hallmark in every country I wish to sell
in. That is bad, but some places like England appear to require you
to send each piece in for testing of the metal purity. This is just
about impractical and I can’t see how UK based jewelers can do this
for all there pieces since it sounds like it would add weeks to
getting pieces out to sell after you made them. I had to stop selling
to one of my best collectors in Switzerland because I would have had
to get a Swiss hallmark to stamp any pieces I sent to her. This
looked like it would run in the $500 range from the paperwork the
Swiss sent me when I checked on it. She was a good customer ordering
a $150 to $300 piece about three times a year, but the last piece I
sent to her had been detained by customs and since it didn’t have the
appropriate stamp they marked the pieces themselves and charged her
the equivalent of $70 for doing so. This was bad since the shipment
also contained a set of “good customer” gifts that she had to have
stamped as well. So you will want to check in on what the rules are
where you are wanting to sell. I am beginning to think that it is no
worth the hassles.
Shining Moon Creations
It is standard practice to pass the shipping charges, whatever they
may be, on to the customer. Some want quick, some want insurance,
some want signature only, etc.
I have heard mention of high value FedEx shipping and some type of
contract on the list a couple times. Now that I am starting to ship
large retail & wholesale orders I think it might be time to look at
signing up for this, so I have a couple questions.
What exactly is this and what are the benefits of this high value
"contract" with FedEx? How can I apply for this type of shipping?
Any help or clarification would be appreciated!
I offer free insured ground shipping within the US for all purchases
(even wholesale). Express shipping is $25.00 (fully insured) but free
on all purchases over $1000, if the express shipping costs go over my
base $25 amount (which they often do) then I just absorb the cost
myself. This is as a thank you to customers…they remember, and
appreciate the “small things” like free shipping and usually mention
the customer service to friends which in turn brings me more business
(Im not sure if this is technically customer service though, more
like customer perks).
Hope this helps!
I have heard mention of high value FedEx shipping
I use the FedEx high val shipping. I’m pretty happy with it. If you
have a lot of shipping to do, a third party insurer might be better,
but I can’t refer you to any as I’m not using one of them. I get to
participate in the FedEx system as a benifit to being a member the
Manufacturing Jewelers and Suppliers of America. I don’t know if you
can get their program another way but maybe it is available
otherwise. Call FedEx and try to get through to a representative.
Call 1-800-GOFEDEX, then say “representative” when prompted.
David L. Huffman
Thanks for all of your responses. I would like to offer free
shipping, if possible, but how do you know how to price your products
to offset the costs of shipping?
For those of you who pass the cost of shipping directly on to your
customer, how are you able to compute the cost of shipping for the
amount that they are buying? I will probably sell over the web, so I
will not be there to weigh out what they are selling and then compute
the cost via their preferred carrier.
The shopping cart that I am thinking of using only allows you to
calculate shipping with a flat amount or with a percentage of the
total amount of the purchase. I am not sure which one I should
The shopping cart that I am thinking of using only allows you to calculate shipping with a flat amount or with a percentage of the total amount of the purchase. I am not sure which one I should choose.
I would suggest that you will look into ClickCartPro 6,
(http://www.kryptronic.com) their shopping cart is one of the best
out there, and offers various ways to calculate shipping including
real time usps and ups
* The program supports shipping choices on the product level - meaning one product could be downloaded whereas another could be shipped realtime where a third may be custom based. * Support for realtime rates is available for: UPS OnLine[R] Tools, FedEx DirectConnect, USPS Web Tools and Intershipper. * Support for embedded tracking on orders is available for: UPS OnLine[R] Tools, FedEx DirectConnect and USPS. * Default product-based shipping methods allow you to specify a per-item charge at the product level. * Custom shipping methods allow you to use custom shipping scripts to specify custom calculations of charges at the product level. * Manage your connection status with UPS OnLine[R] Tools, FedEx DirectConnect, USPS Web Tools and Intershipper realtime using the web-based management interface. * Support for additional per-shipment handling charges. * For realtime methods: The ability to ship items in single boxes, group with other items or to ship in separate boxes. * Full drop-shipper support including the ability to specify different shipment origins for realtime shipped items. * Drop-shipper support includes sending order confirmations for items ordered to shippers.
I have heard mention of high value FedEx shipping and some type of contract on the list a couple times. Now that I am starting to ship large retail & wholesale orders I think it might be time to look at signing up for this, so I have a couple questions. What exactly is this and what are the benefits of this high value "contract" with FedEx? How can I apply for this type of shipping?
It is called a Declared Value Exemption. FedEx limits the declared
value on “high value” shipments like jewelry and artworks to $500 on
Express shipments and $100 on Ground shipments. It doesn’t matter if
you have paid extra for a higher declared value, they will not pay
more than those limits. You can apply for a Declared Value Exemption
which will let you declare a value of up to $50,000 and at a lower
rate than normal. It is only available for Overnight and Second Day
Shining Moon Creations
The DVX program with Federal Express is a special high value package
program that you have to sign a contract with Fed Ex to have. You can
insure packages up to $50,000 with certain limitations. They charge
(I believe) between.30 and.50 per hundred in insurance. This program
is not publicly talked about by them, nor do even most of the Fed Ex
operators know about it. They do this purposely so that people won’t
know who is using the high value program on a regular basis (this is
for your protection). What you have to do is call Fed Ex and tell
them you need to talk to your Fed Ex representative. All areas of the
country have their own rep. Once you get the rep you have to tell
them you want to sign up for the program. Then they will have you
talk to someone else usually and sign a contract with all the terms
Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140
This is a little off topic, but I thought it might be helpful to
those in the US. When I talked with my insurance agent last year
about coverage re mailing packages, she passed on something the
Jewelers Mutual rep shared with her: 94% of all their losses due to
mailings were with UPS and FedEx (don’t know the breakdown). Only 4%
were with Express Mail and 2% from Registered Mail. (Unfortunately
for me, I was part of that 94% when 6 of my intricate wax carvings
were lost on their way back to me from the casting company a few
years back during the Christmas season. Arghhhh.)
Refined Designs Original Fine Jewelry
FedEx DVX program:
What Daniel says is true - it is a safe and secure way to ship. Many
policies for jewelers also offer some sort of shipping protection,
so juts make sure you are not paying for insurance twice. Another
great way to get to the DVX program is to join the MJSA - they offer
some fairly steep shipping discounts to members who have FedEx DVX.
There is no such thing as free shipping - you just said it yourself,
I would like to offer free shipping, if possible, but how do you know how to price your products to offset the costs of shipping?
Maybe there is another shopping cart that would allow users to input
their zip code, and give a more accurate quote? Or perhaps look into
flat rate shipping prices on Priority US Mail?
We used to offer customers their choice of shipping, and it was
indeed difficult to track with all of the shipping choices out
there. I am much happier now offering only FedEx, or for people
without FedEx acceptable addresses, US Mail (generally registered).
We charge flat rates - depending on location (East or West of the
Mississippi), and cost of goods shipped. It’s pretty easy to get a
handle on shipping costs - just do a bit of research. But, it is a
time consuming part of the day, getting everything ready to go out,
so why give it away? I have always felt that things with no value
have exactly that. I think in this day and age, most online
consumers expect to pay shipping charges.
Chris Ploof Studio