How to ship your Handmade signs and save money too!
If you're a sign maker like me, it's likely you started out selling locally, delivering items, meeting in public places, or even having customers pick up signs in your home. But when you finally get that much awaited order from a stranger on the internet you suddenly freeze. "Sure! I'll ship that!" Then your head starts spinning full of questions, how do I weigh it? How do I print a label? How do I make sure it doesn't break? What are the rules?!!
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I'm going to break it down easily for you!!! If you're selling online, be prepared for those orders to come in sooner than later. It's best to be over prepared and under whelmed when the orders start pouring in.
Here are my top 5 things you MUST have when shipping your handmade signs. Links to purchase provided for your convienence
1. Postal Scale
2. Label printer
3. Bubble Wrap
4. Brown Paper
5. Heavy Duty Tape
First thing you NEED, is a postal scale. You not only save money (15%) when shipping from home, but also time and gas from driving to the post office!
Here is a great postal scale on amazon. It weighs up to 55 lbs, it has a hold function (important!) and has great reviews.
The next thing you will need is a regular printer OR a label printer. I love the Dymo 4XL label writer. I went 5 years in my business without a label printer and holy cow, I wish I would have gotten it sooner!!! It spits out labels in seconds (literally 3 seconds average) and it's just peel and stick!! With your computer, you're stuck buying ink refills and paper refills all the time.
Now here is how I actually wrap my signs.
All I do is roll out some bubble wrap Then I simply wrap a few times in the bubble wrap one way.
I then wrap the other direction. This ensures all sides are well protected.
Then I just move over and wrap it in the brown paper twice.
Tape it up on all the ends. Then I lay it on my postal scale. The HOLD function is great because most signs are large and will cover the read out. So you set it on the scale, wait a few seconds, then you can remove the package and it will keep the read out available to you.
I Then grab my measurements for L x W x H as you'll need this info to get your pricing.
Then I go over to my shipping program.
I typically use www.paypal.com/shipnow
If you sent an invoice from Paypal or etsy, their info should already be in the activity section of your Paypal dashboard. Then you just enter the information and it gives you a price. When wrapping in brown paper, I select Package/thick envelope. I typically ship everything priority mail 1-3 days. It comes with $50 insurance and tracking. Then I go HERE and schedule a pickup for my mail delivery next day. It's totally free! No trips to the post office here!!
Some additional tips!
Keep in mind the farther distance your package travels the more it will cost. I can ship a sign in my state for $7 but if it's going to California it's going to cost close to $12. After doing this for six years I'm pretty good at estimating shipping you can always go HERE to calculate a price before you quote your clients. There is not much worse than UNDER estimating shipping charges.
P.s. If you under- estimate don't try to charge your client more. You just eat that charge, it's a sucky lesson but I believe it's tacky to ask a client for more money once you have given them a price.
I hope this encourages you and takes some of the scare factor out of shipping for your small business.