You may have noticed that some of your shipping prices have gone up in the past few days. It’s a bit frustrating, but USPS has increased their rates as of January 17, 2016. Even though there is a more expensive shipping rate, there have been some worthwhile upgrades to some of their services. It isn’t all bad!
I had first heard about the rate increase in October 2015 and quickly forget it near instantaneously. If you want to read about it directly from the source, check it out here. It’s about as dry as any government document could be expected.
There were some rumblings about the rate increase (and the typical angry “government” curses), but it didn’t end up being much more expensive for me.
Like most things in life, I think the anticipation of the event brings more gusto than the actual event itself.
Rate increases aren’t good, especially if you do free shipping. But, they aren’t the end of the world as long as you’ve been smart on the buying end.
To start out with, the regular mail (letters, postcards, and “flats”) were not impacted.
Things that were impacted: Priority and 1st Class – two of the services that I use most.
Before we look at the increases, remember that as an eBay seller, you already get a discount. By purchasing labels through eBay’s system, you get the Commercial Base pricing which is heavily discounted from buying the postage in the store. This applies to all eBay sellers.
On top of that, if you’re a top rated seller or sell a large quantity (300+ items per month), you have additional discounts called Commercial Plus pricing. This is the best benefit of being a top rated seller.
My point here is that although some of the shipping options have increased by a large percentage, the true price increase won’t be seen unless you’re paying for postage at the post office, and you really shouldn’t be. Purchasing a quality label printer and printing at home can be paid back very quickly just considering the savings (and that’s before deducting the printer on your taxes!). We’re talking about $0.50 in most cases. Not ideal but not breaking the bank either.
If you’re doing calculated shipping, then there’s no issue for you. eBay automatically updates the pricing through their calculator.
Let’s look at the actual rate increases.
- Priority Mail – Average increase of 9.8%.
- First Class – Average increase of 12.8%
- First Class Weight – up from 12.99 to 15.99
- USPS website’s “Click n’ Ship” won’t let you get Commercial Base pricing. Most of the time, eBay has the best options for shipping. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a backup though if the website is being glitchy. You can still use PayPal’s ShipNow service, but it limits the types of flat rate options you.
That last one is a big one for me. As a (mostly) clothing seller, the extra 3 ounces is huge. There are a lot of shirts that come in right under the 16oz mark, and now I’m able to ship that out for under $4! This definitely helps assuage the sting of the rate increases.
In the end, you can do a few things if you want to keep the situation within your own control.
- You can adjust your prices up by small amounts
- You can switch to calculated shipping
- You can ignore it (for now).
I’m going to ignore it for now. I don’t like to focus on $1 here or there if I don’t have to since I’m making $20+ profit on most of my items.
Have you noticed the rate increase? Did you make any changes?
Image Credit: Tony Webster