Did you know that you don’t have to go to the post office to ship your handmade products? Yes, you are too busy for that! Instead, you can ship from home by printing shipping labels online. If you are selling through an online marketplace, you can usually print postage from your order screen. If you did not sell your item through a marketplace or service, you can visit the United States Postal Service at usps.com and print a shipping label through their website. Alternatively, if you have a Paypal account you can ship any package – even if the customer didn’t pay through Paypal using the link below. Be sure to bookmark the link, as it is not published by Paypal.
Supplies Needed to Ship Items:
- Digital postal scale – See inexpensive shipping scales on Amazon.com. I use a scale with an external weight display, because reading it is easier with large or bulky packages. (This is the exact scale I have.)
- Boxes/Envelopes to ship items – Used boxes are fine, as long as they are in good condition. If you feel your customers may be turned off by a recycled box, create a sticker that says, “This box has been recycled. Please consider reusing it.” If you’d like to borrow my sticker design, head to this post for a free download. If you are shipping non-breakable items, consider Tyvek envelopes (poly mailers). Tyvek envelopes don’t add weight to your item, hold up well, and are available cheap on Amazon.com.
- Measuring tape or ruler – Some classes of mail need to be measured to ship online.
- Packing materials – Bubble wrap, tape, tissue paper, etc – Always pack fragile items well. Sadly, if the USPS can find a way to damage something, they probably will.
- Self adhesive labels or paper to print the labels – You’ll need to print the shipping label and stick it to the box or envelope. If you tape the label to the box or envelope, be careful not to tape over the barcodes. Buy peel and stick labels online, you’ll need the half page ones. If you plan to do a lot of shipping, invest in a label printer.
- Business cards/advertising materials – Always remember to add a business card or two to each package you send out.
Quick Shipping Tips:
Want free boxes? If you choose to ship your items through the USPS Priority Mail service, the USPS will provide free boxes. You can pick them up at your local post office or order online. Remember, these boxes can only be used to ship USPS Priority Mail.
Don’t want to buy a shipping scale? If you do not want to purchase a shipping scale, consider using USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes. USPS Flat Rate boxes are available for free in several sizes. Each size has a predetermined price, so as long as your item fits inside the box, it’ll ship for a flat rate price and include insurance and tracking.
Will you be mailing mostly small items? If you are mostly mailing small items, I recommend investing in a scale and shipping through the USPS First Class Mail. First Class Mail is good for items 16 ounces and under (which normally means shipping is under $4) and includes free tracking.
Don’t want to haul your packages to the post office? If you have at least one USPS Priority Mail Package that you are mailing, you can schedule a free next day pickup until 2am online by visiting USPS Package Pickup or through their app. On the day of your package pickup, leave the items inside your mailbox or at your front door and your mail carrier will pick them up. If you are only shipping First Class Mail packages, you can put them in your mailbox for pickup or drop them in any community mailbox without scheduling a pickup.
If you’d prefer not to ship items, you can also coordinate local pickups or deliveries. Read on to learn more.
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