Shipping Costs

A lot of people have asked me time and time again why it costs what it does for me to ship things to them. So here are my reasons:

  1. Postage. The first and most important reason is postage. Every time I go to the Post Office I am given a different price on how much it will cost to ship something to you. I take it in stride and have them check it a couple of times. I can only guess that some days are heavy air day and others are not. It is the only way in which I can account for the changes in price. In addition to the item's weight alone you also have to keep in mind the weight of the box, wrapping put around the item, tape used, shipping labels, invoices, and any other miscellaneous thing you might think of that I haven't put in this sentence. All of these items separately do not add up to much weight at all but together they do. Further, if I use shreded paper that stuff shifts around sometimes and you get (I guess) more weight applied in some instances and less in others. If not - go back to the heavy air explanation.
  2. Boxes. I buy brand new boxes each and every time I am going to ship something. If I am putting a lot of things onto eBay to sell, then I try to buy all of them at one time. If not - then just one. I used to use boxes out of dumpsters but now I've gone high class and you get a new box unless you specifically tell me otherwise. I do not guarantee anything if it is not shipped in a new box. Had a couple of bad experiences doing so - won't do it again. Do not bother to ask me to guarantee anything not shipped in a new box. I won't. The boxes are fairly cheap. That is cheap as in price and not cheap as in quality. Most of them are about a dollar to buy and I get peace of mind knowing that the item will arrive in your hands in the same quality it was when it left my hands.
    1. I used to send things in bubble envelopes, old boxes, et al. Then the Post Office began destroying things and several items were returned. This made me quite unhappy and it made several other people unhappy. So now the rule is - new box. I have as of yet to have one of these boxes crushed or otherwise destroyed. And if one of them ever is destroyed I can easily show that the box was brand new and that it was not my fault but that of the Post Office. It makes me sleep better at night knowing that I have done my best to get the item from me to you.
  3. Bubble Wrap/Shredded Paper. I always wrap whatever I am shipping in bubble wrap or shredded paper. It cost me a whole $5.00 for a roll of bubble wrap and this equates out to about $1.00 per package. Sometimes more, sometimes less. In very small packages I might use $0.25 worth of bubble wrap. Again, unless the item is wrapped properly - I do not guarantee its safe arrival. It is included in the shipping charges. Bubble wrap also allows your package to sustain about one extra pound of pressure before the box will begin deforming (ie: before it is crushed).
    1. I had one person recently who wanted me to mail him an item in a bubble envelope. As above, I stated to him that I do not guarantee that the item will arrive safely and there is no money back guarantee if I ship something in a bubble envelope. He was unhappy about it. So was I. It was shipped in the envelope but I have no idea if it ever arrived safely to him. So if you are reading this guy - I hope it made it to you ok.
  4. Tape. You have to use it to wrap the boxes. It costs about $2.00 a roll and I go through a roll about every fifteen or so items which I send. $2.00 / 15 = $0.13333333 or about $0.13 cents.
  5. Shipping Label. A box of the 3"x4" shipping labels costs $8.00. There are twenty (20) sheets in the box with six labels on each sheet. $8.00 / (20 * 6) = $8.00 / 120 = $0.06666666 or $0.07 each. My handwriting is terrible. REALLY terrible. I can barely sign my own name anymore because I am a computer programmer and I type everything. Do that for almost thirty years and your handwriting would go downhill too. I'm about as far down the hill as you can go and still call it handwriting. So I type all of my labels. $0.07 is not a lot to ask for something which will increase your chances of getting the item by about 1000%. If you think otherwise you need to think again.
    1. Ink. Did you know that the ink I use in my printer costs me money to buy it? Well, it does. It costs $50.00 for a color ink cartridge and $37.00 for a black cartridge one. Both have to be in the printer so you are paying for me using both of them. To print out a 3"x4" mailing label costs $0.0575 or about $0.06 cents.
    2. Tape. Well, you may think of it as part of why #4 (Tape) is used up the way it is. I cover the shipping label with tape because in that way I am assured that the label does not run or streak if the box gets wet. Like when those dogs go around looking for drugs in boxes. All that urine has to go somewhere and not just on the box they've found. ;-) Truthfully though, if the box gets wet, the tape does help protect the label.
    3. Electricity. The printer requires electricity to run as does the computer which tells the printer what to do. The cost is minimal and anyone who has ever printed out labels should be able to understand this cost. Our electricity bill last month was $256.00. $256.00/30 = $8.53 per day. $8.53 / 24 hours = $0.3554167 or $0.36 cents. $0.36 / 60 minutes per hour = $0.006. It usually takes about 5 minutes to set up and then print out the label. So each label costs $0.03.
  6. Invoices. Paypal and eBay both allow me to print out and include an invoice so there will be no confusion on what you have won and/or received. I use it. Paper is cheap. $3.00 for 800 sheets or about $0.00375 which equates out to $0.01 per page.
    1. Ink. Just as with the shipping label, the printer uses ink when it prints out the Invoice. This is where the other $0.0575 (or $0.06) cents goes to.
    2. Electricity. Just like for the Shipping Label, to print an invoice costs money electricity-wise. Again, it should not cost more than $0.03 cents.
    3. ISP costs. Yes! It costs to talk to the Internet. It costs me $12.00 a month to do so. $12.00 / 30 days = $0.40 per day. $0.40 / (24 * 60) = $0.0002778 or about $0.0003 so the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes me to dial up the internet, get to PayPal, create the invoice, and then print it costs $0.006 or $0.01 cent.
  7. Gas. I live in Texas where everything is bigger. That includes the number of miles I have to go in order to mail something off at the Post Office. I live approximately three miles from the Post Office and Seven miles away from the nearest company which sells cardboard boxes (Anchor Box). This means that it is three miles to the Post Office and three miles back or six miles total. The round trip to Anchor Box is fourteen. To many people across the country this might seem absurd, ludicrous, or out of the ordinary. In Texas - it is the norm. Let me give you an example. My mom lives almost halfway between Houston and San Antonio. I consider that "across town". If I lived in Florida it would be the same distance as if you started at Tampa, Florida and drove across the state to the eastern seaboard. I drive that about once a month and used to drive that once a week. Gas prices here are somewhat better than in other states but not by much. This month I managed to find and buy gas for almost $1.30. I drive a truck (so make whatever jokes you want about that) and my truck gets about 20 miles to the gallon of gas. It is also over ten years old and has almost 200,000 miles on it. So it is doing ok for having so many miles on it. In any event, just to go to the Post Office and find out how much it is going to cost me to mail something also costs me 6/20 = 0.3 or basically 30% of a gallon of gas. So $1.30 * 30% = $0.39 cents. In order for me to go to Anchor Box and back it costs 14/20 = 0.7 or basically 70% of a gallon of gas or $1.30 * 70% = $0.91 cents. When I am auctioning small items I usually buy several boxes at Anchor Box so I do not have to go back to the store again each time I am auctioning something. Still, the six miles to the Post Office and back has to be added in as well as whatever percentage of the items I am auctioning (like if I am auctioning ten items then the trip to Anchor Box will be divided by ten).
    1. Truck. The above does not account for the wear and tear on my truck. I have to have oil changes, new tires, and other work done on the truck in order to keep it up and running. Otherwise I can not get the boxes to the Post Office and you won't ever get what you bought in the auction. I account for everything by just adding in $0.10. The norm here for delivery people is $0.13 per mile but that would make it an unpalatable 6 + 14 = 20, 20 * $0.13 = $2.60. Even if I just added in for going to the Post Office it would still be $0.78. So I just have to absorb the cost and go with $0.10. Besides, I try to take everything which has to be shipped at one time to the Post Office so I only make one trip. So if there are ten items it would become either $0.26 or $0.08 cents. This is why I sometimes round up on things which cost less than a full dollar amount. It is simply to try to recoup a little of the cost of driving my truck everywhere.
  8. Time. My time is worth something. When I was employed I got $35.00 an hour. It takes about forty-five minutes to go to the Post Office, fill out the forms, stand in line, mail off the package, and drive back to the house. It takes fifteen to thirty minutes to boot the computer, scan in the confirmation ticket, log in to the Internet, and then e-mail the scanned image to you. It takes about an hour to go to Anchor box with the item, have them measure it, find the appropriate box, and then for me to come back home. It usually takes about an hour to log onto the Internet, create the invoice, print it, wrap the item up properly in bubble wrap, ensure it is packed properly (bubble wrap or shredded paper), create the shipping label, apply it, tape up the box, and set it to one side. However, no one is going to pay me for the almost two and a half hours I spend working on trying to get everything together so I can send it to them. That would be $35.00 * 2.5 = $87.50! So instead I ask for a dollar ($1.00) for my time and effort in doing all of this. I don't think it is too much to ask. Some people think otherwise.
  9. Company. I have my own company and that company is called Simulacron I. It is a made up word I came up with but have since found out that it is the title to a book, at least one other person's company's name, and is also a word in the French language. So much for being unique! Anyway, these are the prices my company charges and that is why I charge what I do when I do. I do not ask you to like them but if you are high bidder on one of my auctions you will be having to pay them. Unlike most companies who just say pay it or else - I am at least letting you know why you have to pay the amount you do. I hope you understand because if you do not there isn't a lot I can do about it. I am not going to allow myself to suffer because you do not want to pay the shipping costs I'm incurring to get the item to you. Would you allow yourself to lose money on the costs above? I doubt it. After all, how long could you survive if you were shouldering all of the costs to ship an item to someone? Especially if the item only cost $5.00 and it was costing you $5.00 just to mail the item? What did you make? Not even $0.00! You will have made something like -$5.00 (remember I am not charging for all of my time nor really for all of the wear and tear on the vehicle). The following is the above costs itemized for you so you can see why it costs what it does to ship something.
    1. Postage = Unknown. Each item is unique.
    2. Boxes = Usually about a $1.00. Large items usually about $3.00.
    3. Bubble Wrap/Shredded Paper = About a $1.00
    4. Tape = $0.13
    5. Shipping Label = $0.07
      1. Ink = $0.06
      2. Tape = $0.00 (See #4)
      3. Electricity = $0.03
    6. Invoices = $0.01
      1. Ink = $0.06
      2. Electricity = $0.03
      3. ISP = $0.01
    7. Gas = ($0.39 + $0.91) = $1.30 / (Number of Items)
      1. Truck = $0.10
    8. Time = $1.00
    9. Totals
      1. Known quatities = $3.50 (#2, #3, #4, #5, #5.1, #5.2, #5.3, #6, #6.1, #6.2, #6.3, #7.1, #8)
      2. Unknown quantites = #1, #7
        1. #1 ranges from $1.00 up to $25.00 so far.
        2. #7 ranges from $1.30 to $0.13 depending upon how many items there are.
      3. Minimum (#9.1 + #9.2) = $3.50 + $1.00 + $0.13 = $4.63 (basically $5.00)
      4. Maximum so far (#9.1 + #9.2) = $3.50 + $25.00 + $1.30 = $29.80 (basically $30.00)

So this is why it costs what it does in order for me to send something to you. If you have a problem with this then please do NOT bid on my auctions. I would much rather not have you bid than for you to bid and then complain to me about the cost associated with sending something to you. Further, if you insist on me driving back to Anchor Box to get some other container to send the auctioned item to you in rather than the box I've already gotten, then it is going to cost you an additional $0.91 each and every time I have to drive the fourteen miles back and forth between the house and Anchor Box. That means that in one trip you will have almost paid me twice just for the box you could have used in the first place. And NO! I will not remove, refund, or undo the cost back to what it was if you then decide to use the box after all. I do not have the time and especially do not have the money to run all over the place to get one kind of a container, then another, and then a third. I am unemployed, like a lot of people, and I just do not have the money to do that. Besides, why should I be penalized for something you demanded that I do? Think about it.

I also want to point out that if you are from a country which is outside of the forty-eight states which comprise the continental United States of America; that you need to speak up and let me know this after the auction is over. It is clearly stated that my rates are for only those people who are inside of the continental United States and no other area. If you are from anywhere outside of the continental United States, then your first words to me should be "I am from X" in your e-mail so I know, up front, that you do not live where the normal rules and regulations for the US Post Office are in effect. Failure to tell me you live outside of the continental United States (the lower 48 states) is cause for me to terminate the contract between us, leave negative feedback, and exclude you from future auctions I might have. I do not like spending weeks talking with you not knowing that you reside in another country (or even Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, etc...), have you complain to me about the costs involved in sending you the package, only to have you finally say you actually live outside of the continental United States of America. If nothing else, simply because the postage will be different and that means another trip to the Post Office which I could have done when I took other items to the Post Office before. So it is another $0.39 just to find out the new postage rate. Not to mention that I might have to get forms, fill those out, and pay for whatever those forms require. So not saying you are from another country isn't a really good way to keep me or you happy. Instead, be up front and honest about it. It will save us both a lot of grief and harsh feelings.