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Thought I'd just toss this out, since it's been on my mind since I shipped out some art this morning.

How fair is fair when it comes to what you charge for shipping? Is there some point where adding a little extra beyond the exact costs of the mailer, and shipment is unfair to the customer?

I ask this because I charge a flat fee of $6 for most shipping. $2.50 for the waterproof mailers I use + $2.70 or so for the actual mailing cost = $5.20

Only today I noticed a mailer went to Canada for only $1.70. So I ended up with about $1.50 over charge. I shrugged it off and considered it fee for the long walk I take to get to the post office each time I mail stuff.

As both buyers and dealers, what are your views on a little 'extra' on shipping?
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Comments

( 64 comments — Leave a comment )
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thaily
May. 4th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
If it's a buck or so more I don't mind, it's not always easy to estimate exactly how much shipping will cost.
You may need new envelopes, your normal ones may be out of stick and you'll need more expensive ones. You may need to get cardboard for backing or a new roll of tape or something, a tiny margin for such events isn't an issue as far as I'm concerned.
I think all but the most whiny nitpicky will agree, a dollar more or less for a $50+ commission doesn't really matter.
xianjaguar
May. 4th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC)
A 'little' extra is reasonable. Most artists have to pay for: The mailer to mail the art in. The gas to get to the post office. Your time at the post office. The gas to get back home. (Ok, in your case it was a walk, but for me, I live 20 miles away from the nearest post office!)

Also, Artist's Beware INDEED: The post office is raising its rates substantially on May 14th. Regular domestic letter stamps are only going up 2 cents, but Priority Mail shipping is going up by a LOT. (55 cents or more.)
And they're changing the entire structure for shipping packages too.
http://pe.usps.com/RateCase2007/DMM300_HTML/dmm300_landing.htm

Also, the link right to the priority mail section:
http://pe.usps.com/RateCase2007/DMM300_HTML/123.htm

Needless to say, everyone who ships a lot isn't too thrilled about this. :/
skulldog
May. 4th, 2007 06:51 pm (UTC)
Totally not looking forward to that change, urg..
I use to upgrade mailed commission work to priority at the cost of first class. Now I won't be able to without really losing a fair bit of money each time.

That that the pile of 2cent stamps I'm dealing.
(no subject) - featherlady_jt - May. 4th, 2007 07:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lastres0rt - May. 4th, 2007 07:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - eric_hinkle - May. 5th, 2007 05:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rojadrik - May. 4th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - foxhack - May. 4th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Well do you still stick with flat rate - arshes - May. 4th, 2007 09:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Well do you still stick with flat rate - arshes - May. 4th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Well do you still stick with flat rate - arshes - May. 4th, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - neongryphon - May. 4th, 2007 10:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xianjaguar - May. 4th, 2007 11:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - cesarin - May. 7th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
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skulldog
May. 4th, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
Did the shipping to Canada drop in price or something? I mean, I've done a lot of shipping there and I swear it's always been about $2.20 for a standard mailer.

Yeah, I've had a few times where I overcharged quite a few dollars for boxed items, and in that case I did refund the money to the buyer.
(no subject) - sunhawk - May. 4th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
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thaily
May. 4th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC)
I still have one of your bubblewrap/etc. envelopes from way back, I can testify :3
martes
May. 4th, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
I usually round up to the nearest dollar, but that's it. I hate sellers who sell stuff really cheap and try to make their cost back by gouging for postage. A lot of sellers do that on EBay.
tizzrah
May. 4th, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
I've noticed that too, it's really irritating. You'll see a $2 DVD going for $8 shipping. Um, what?
(no subject) - growing_rose - May. 5th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - crssafox - May. 5th, 2007 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - growing_rose - May. 5th, 2007 01:11 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - graffiti_roth - May. 6th, 2007 11:08 am (UTC) - Expand
dinogrrl
May. 4th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
I usually don't worry too much, unless it's hugely overcharged in comparison with the overall price. My sister has a sort of 'eBay business' going, and while she does try to calculate exact postage using the USPS website, she usually adds about $.40 extra or more as a 'handling fee' (she also does this to round out the shipping charge, because half or whole dollars are easier to deal with than some odd change). Nobody's complained in the...two or three years she's done this.
theblackdragon
May. 4th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
as a buyer, so long as it sounds reasonable in relation to what i'm buying, it's cool with me. i'd pay $12-14 for shipping from hong kong for a package of makeup (insurance included), but i'd probably raise an eyebrow if the same price was charged to ship an art card or a conbadge or something from the next state over, lol.

also, flat fees don't bother me. if everyone else is paying the same amount too, and it sounds like a reasonable charge for shipping, then whatev', y'know?
rojadrik
May. 4th, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC)
I can agree with many comments about the quality of packaging. If it is packed well, I have no problem about paying a few dollars more. If I just get it in a plain manilla envelope and I paid $7 for it, I'll be pretty pissed.
skulldog
May. 4th, 2007 09:00 pm (UTC)
I agree...I've had a few items, all ebayed, that I ended up paying over $8 for shipping. I sort of expect it to come fast and well boxed at that price, but instead I got bubble mailer, three weeks later.

rakshepsaar
May. 4th, 2007 07:45 pm (UTC)
All I know is that I'm going to be making myself a chart of how much it generally costs from where I am to other countries, and people in those countries will be charged a flat rate + $.50 (because I go to such lengths to secure the art). I made the mistake of just charging $2 flat shipping on a $20 commission, and one going to Australia cost $7 to ship it! I had no clue it cost so much. XD

The artists I've commissioned have all included shipping in the prices (usually just scaled up $5, and I don't mind that because the pieces have generally been very securely packaged. I'd only mind it if it wasn't mailed well.
birdrock
May. 4th, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC)
I live more or less in the middle of the US, so I charge a flat fee for the entire United States and figure it into the advertised cost of the item (be it a print, eBay item, etc.). The flat fee is usually a little more than it costs to ship, but usually not more than a dollar. That way, when I say on my website that a certain print costs $15, it really is $15. For international shipping I use carrier-provided shipping calculators which are found on their websites and charge actual shipping.

In my opinion the seller should always say what the total cost will be before the buyer agrees to buy anything. That way, if the buyer feels something is unfair, he or she can back out of the deal. I've found that it's really not worth haggling over what amounts to be a $1-$2 difference. They can buy somebody else's prints and be somebody else's problem!

I don't mind when eBay sellers charge a couple extra dollars if the shipping is prompt and the packaging is of good quality. If someone sends a tattered box and pads it up with a few limp packing peanuts, but still overcharges for shipping, that's when I get annoyed and leave neutral feedback.
beetlecat
May. 4th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
I charge exact shipping (calculated online using the recipient's state or postal code) and then round it up to the nearest $5 mark. So if it's calculated as $23.91, I charge a flat $25.00.

This covers my materials costs as well as helping if the shipping costs end up being more than calculated. And (as my pries are all whole numbers) it makes it easier to add and keep track of.
skanrashke
May. 4th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
I think about 1 dollar per every 10 is an appropriate estimate, taking in account for variances.
I charge 50 bucks for shipping inside of the US(For 2-3 packages weighing anywhere from 15 to 50 pounds each). With such a wide variation of postage(Anywhere from 17 to in excess of 100, but rarely), I just charge a flat 50. Anything over 5 dollars in overcharge I refund.
Although once I did have someone complain because I shipped a package and charged them 75, but it came out to 72.80 >,> I ain't psychic. Having to refund 2.20 was irritating.
thaily
May. 4th, 2007 10:17 pm (UTC)
I would have been tempted to ship them the 2.20 in pennies.
Without postage so they have to pick up the tab.
starcharmer
May. 4th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
I mail my stuff just in manilla envelopes because...I've never had any complaints from doing it that way. If it's an extremely important "PLEASE DO NOT BEND OR I'LL SLIT YOUR THROAT" kind of package, and it's going to someone's P.O Box, I look for a cut of cardboard to put in there.

I charge...$1 for shipping in the US for things like single pictures and conbadges/artcards. If someone has an unusually heavy package, I raise the price a little.
If anyone ever asked for a better shipping package than an envelope, then I would oblige and raise the price accordingly, but so far...no one really has.
International shipping is $5 from me [$3 to Canada] and...conbadges are $3, too, just because that's my way to secretly charge for lamination. P:

On the side of the buyer...I don't really mind paying shipping. Usually, it's only like, $3-5, and I hardly buy anything anyway. When it's art commissions I'm buying, I really don't mind paying the extra because...furries charge WAY CHEAP for their artworks anyway.

On a side note, I'm thinking about charging $3 as a supply fee on my commissions. You know, to purchase new markers, pencils, inking pens [the pens I buy are NOT CHEAP D:] and paper...do you think that would be ethical or would people start gouging my eyes out?
It's actually in effect right now, and I mention it on my commission info page, but I always forget to charge it, so no one really knows about it.
skulldog
May. 4th, 2007 08:57 pm (UTC)
Actually it sounds like your undercharging yourself to begin with. If you feel you need to add in a fee for supplies, you need to set the actual commissions prices higher, factor in both time and supplies per hour.
(no subject) - starcharmer - May. 4th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - skulldog - May. 4th, 2007 09:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - May. 4th, 2007 09:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - May. 4th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - starcharmer - May. 4th, 2007 10:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
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(no subject) - starcharmer - May. 4th, 2007 09:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - May. 4th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rileycostello - May. 4th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - May. 5th, 2007 08:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rileycostello - May. 5th, 2007 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - thaily - May. 6th, 2007 08:19 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - growing_rose - May. 5th, 2007 12:44 am (UTC) - Expand
katzenflammen
May. 4th, 2007 09:09 pm (UTC)
I guess i'm just too nice because i dont even charge for shipping.

but then again i rarely get commisions so its not like i'm really losing any money *shrug*
foxhack
May. 4th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
That's just criminal. Your art seems better than most ones I see around.
(no subject) - katzenflammen - May. 5th, 2007 11:47 am (UTC) - Expand
gothwings
May. 4th, 2007 09:12 pm (UTC)
I charge a flat rate but then that's because all items I send are the same size and weight so I *know* what things cost. My biggest problem is that I post from the UK to the USA so my prices can seem a bit steep thanks to the exchange rate.

If I'm not sure, I go to the local PO and check before posting items but often, if the order is above $50.00 USD I don't charge any postage anyway.

My prices are currently $4.00 USD for standard sized artwork but that's going to have to go up as lately postage prices have risen by about 8 pence (16 cents) Which is a nuisance.

Essentially, charge fair, but don't charge extra postage to earn more money like so many unethical eBay sellers do. :)
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