packing and shipping are very costly--so make sure you know what it is going to cost before you bid or commit to buy!!! Almost anything is $10 to MUCH more!!! It seems like they are increasing every month. If you remember when you could send a package across the country for a buck or two, you are in the wrong era. The root of the issue is that oil prices have risen from $5 a barrel to $100. This directly impacts the cost of transportation as well as the cost of materials used for protectively packing goods so that they stand a reasonable chance of arriving intact. Also, we have never in our lifetime seen the cost of labor decrease. To date there have been 2 specific events that have had step-function impact on cost. One was the 9/11 terrorist attach--the result of which was all sorts of new rules and regulations regarding shipping as well as import/export. For example, every USPS package we send now requires we pay someone to go stand in line at the post-office and individually mail it. The other event was May of 2007 when the post office radically overhauled its services and charges (much higher for the domestic& international things we ship after eliminating the previously available lower cost services.)
We don't profit from packing and shipping, in fact, in our efforts to get our customers the best deal we can, on average, we loose money. Listed prices are based on the customer picking items up from our warehouse, without any cost for packing and shipping (and no pickup or loading charge--some sellers are charging $25 to $50 just for you to come to their warehouse to pickup the item you bought on ebay). Because we have no way to build the cost of packing and shipping into the listed price of our items, the fact that these costs are generally large relative to the listed price, and that these costs vary so radically depending on the part of the world they are destined to, we have to pass-through these costs on a case-by-case basis.
The high degree of variability over time and destination, along with the fact that virtually every item is unique, dictates that packing and shipping have to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Although we have made numerous attempts, we have never yet been able to make ebay's shipping cost calculators work right.
It costs money for foam cardboard, tape (the, hopefully, sticky-on-one-side-stuff), wood, screws, strapping, clips and cushioning material, plus a lot of labor (we have had to spend days just protectively packaging and securing some of the more complex items) to double pack things to meet the shipping requirements USPS, so that your goods will, hopefully, arrive in undamaged condition. We currently ship mostly by FedEx Ground (for domestic USA shipments with shipping weight under 150 pounds and less than about 130 length + girth) which seems to be less damaging to things but we still try very hard to pack things in a manner that has a high probability of avoiding damage in shipping. Even in the case where USPS provides priority mail boxes, we still have to pay for expensive bubble-wrap, labor and someone standing in line at the post office.
Buyers who come and pick things up from us directly don't generate these costs. Since we don't know in advance if a buyer is going to come pick it up or have it shipped, and since nearly every item is different, we have no way to build the cost of packing into the price on ebay. Furthermore, on the bigger items, some people elect motor freight with no packing because they are only after the parts while others want lots of packing to try to make sure there is no damage in transit (Motor freight carriers only insure used items at 10 cents per pound.) Furthermore, some buyers have asked to have things like jackhammers sent UPS without packing (FedEx charges an extra $ special handling fee and there may still be some packing charge if the item has sharp edges/corners that must be covered to protect FedEx staff from injury).
(Additional insurance may be available on request and payment but is not quoted in our standard issue pricing. Ask in advance if insurance is an issue for you--you will not get it if you don't ask and pay for it.)
Our packing charges vary considerably, depending on the item and how much material/time it takes to get it packed. (These charges actually average much less than what the combination of materials and time cost us. We are not trying to make a profit on these but we also don't want these costs to put us out of business.) An item that is heavy and delicate (like optics) will take more packing than something that is light, small and indestructible. Packing charges for most small things run between $3 and $10. Bigger generally means more cost. Items on the larger end of what can go FedEx ground can easily cost $30 to $50 for protective packing. Really big and delicate items like large format plotters can cost $100 and up to pack. Things that need to go by truck carrier ( Less Than truck Load) usually cost $50 for a skid, strapping and wrapping with cardboard then stretch-wrap (typically required packing by LTL carriers for used goods like we ship). Sometimes, it makes sense to go via moving van via blanket wrap service but this usually costs more. (LTL regulations don't allow things with wheels to be shipped on their wheels because they could roll around and damage other goods). Oversized (more than 48 by 40 inches) items require a custom skid and generally cost $100 for the skid, strap and wrap service. The best protection for items is crating but this typically cost $100 to $300 per crate--depending on size and complexity. Items that are already in shippable packing, may not, at our election, be charged a packing fee (often things that are in packing, still need additional over-packing for adequate shipping protection). A buyer can also request packing and shipping by a third party such as Mailboxes Etc. and we will be happy to only charge the buyer the actual cost of getting it to that third party and whatever their actual charges are but beware that this may cost you 3X or more what we would charge to pack it. Buyers should always be aware that packing for any given item could exceed the listing price, particularly if it is something big/delicate or has a low minimum bid. We are doing our best to keep this charge as low as possible. However, if you have a concern about what it is likely to be, make sure you give us your shipping details and ask us to make an estimate prior to committing to purchase.
Note that we use recycled packing materials whenever possible. While this generally does not decrease the overall cost (it takes more time/labor to get recycled materials, handle them and use them) we feel it is the correct thing to do from an environmental perspective.
INTERNATIONAL shipment packing adds some additional issues. The big one is that any wood product must be heat treated and marked so as to prevent transport of any insects or disease. This costs more and generally precludes the use of recycled wood packing. If we are loading an ocean container for you, you will have to pay for the cost of chains, binders, straps, etc. that may be required to secure the load in the container (you do get to keep these items when your container arrives--one can never have too many chains and straps).
The buyer (winning bidder) is always responsible for all the costs of getting the item from our location to his/hers. This includes the cost of protective packing, shipping, and in some cases--loading/rigging--and in the case of international shipments, export & documentation fees. Ideally, we wish all buyers would arrange with someone else (relative, friend, professional service) to pick up, pack and ship items since we don't like to do it, we loose money doing it, and it is often a point of contention with customers. However, since getting a third party to do it is too costly and cumbersome for most people, we provide packing and shipping as an added-cost-service to our remote (those who can't come pick it up) customers .
As we primarily sell used/surplus items, sometimes at near give-away blowout prices, shipping costs are frequently very significant compared to the item's selling price. On the larger items, it is really easy for any mistake in calculating shipping cost to result in our having to pay out more than we get for the item. While our objective is to make a modest living while providing our customers with interesting items, if the above happens very often, we will not be able to stay in business. This is why our listings note that the customer may be required to pay additional shipping costs if additional cost are incurred that were not originally expected. This can happen if the delivery location is not a true commercial business location, the delivery area is to congested when the truck arrives, a liftgate is needed, a redelivery is needed, etc.
Since virtually every one of our items is different and we have no way of knowing in advance if the buyer will be picking the item up from our location or where in the world the buyer will want it shipped, we have no way of knowing in advance what the shipping cost will be nor can we build it into the ebay price (with a few limited exceptions for delivery of small items in the USA 48 states). Please note that the listed weights and dimensions are almost always before packaging. Packaging invariable adds at least some to the size and weight listed--in some cases, it adds a lot..
We have to know where it is going and how before we can figure out the cost! Since some of our items have ridiculously low minimum bids and the price may have no relationship to the size or the weight of the item, the shipping cost can be much more than the bid price. In one case, it cost the winning bidder $110 to get a big $10 item all the way to Eastern Canada (but he felt is was such a bargain (More than $1000 value to him for the item) that the dispaportionately high shipping cost was well worth it).
We are not able to do any form of COD (Collect on Delivery) shipping.
All shipping calculations are based on zip codes! Virtually all shipping charges are based on your location relative to ours in the Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA area, zip code 87102 through 87124, plus the weight, size, fragility and speed of shipping. Please be sure to include your zip code with all communication regarding shipping.
Express, International and Truck shipping delivery requires a delivery contact phone number. Our preferred carrier for packages of several pounds to 150 pounds and less than 130" length plus girth is FedEx Ground and they will often call you if they are experiencing delivery problems so please include a delivery contact phone number with your shipping address. We simply can't schedule shipping on truck items until we have a delivery contact phone number. We use the shipping information that comes with payment on the shipping tag so be sure that it is complete and correct, even if you have sent us other shipping information in advance.
There are 4 basic ways we ship:
1) Very small items up of only a few ounces will typically ship 1st class mail. There is modest handling/packing fee in addition to the mail cost. Please note that items shipped this way are not traceable and are not insured. Delivery time is typically 5 to 10 days.
2) Small, light items up to a couple pounds generally ship cheapest by USPS Priority Mail. You can go to www.usps.com and click on the rate calculator to get an idea of mailing cost (our zip code is 87102). USPS express mail is the preferred choice for packages going outside the lower 48 states as they are traceable. (Please keep in mind that there will also be protective packing charges in addition to the postage fee, as discussed on another page. This can be significant for fragile items.) . If you want shipping to a Post Office Box, it has to go by mail. Tracking and insurance are not part of standard PM or PP and are not included unless expressly requested and paid for. For items needing urgent delivery, we can ship USPS Express Mail or FedEx Overnight but there is a hefty rush charge that will be applied as this is not part of our normal routine (meaning it takes us away from our normal productivity). Due to Homeland Security rules, we have to pay someone to stand in line at the post-office and individually mail each package. Thus, we only do this about once a week.
3) Intermediate size packages to 150 pounds & 130 inches (length plus girth) most often ship best by FedEx Ground. You can go to www.fedex.com to estimate FedEx charges using "one time pickup" and "your packaging" choices. If the item is big or heavy, please check weight and size limitations (keep in mind that protective packing can add considerable size and weight). Also note that a light but large item will be charged based on size rather than weight. (Please keep in mind that there will also be protective packing charges as discussed on another page.) Also note that there are additional charges imposed for delivery to residential addresses. There may be additional charges for odd shaped, long or non-packed items. There are also fuel surcharge and pickup charges added. (Business address must be legitimate business in a commercial area with a real business name--Home business in a residential area does not cut it.) We can only ship using your account number for express delivery services, not UPS or FedEx ground. (Note that we do not use UPS as we have had far too much trouble with their services--particularly with regards to damaged goods.) We can't ship by these means to a P.O. Box. There must be a physical address.
4) Bulkier items such as those with shipping weight over 150 pounds or bigger than 130 inches (length plus girth) must ship by truck freight motor carrier. Often this called an LTL (Less than Truck Load) carrier. In some cases, for really large/heavy items, a flatbed 18 wheeler semi trailer is needed. We use www.freightquote.com as our LTL trucking broker (they typically provide us with half a dozen or more discounted quotes for different trucking companies with each query). Most of the time, we have gotten discounted rates through them that are better than those most people can get through a carrier directly. However, trucking rates change daily, due to fuel cost surcharges that seem to be a function of daily fluctuations in the price of oil. For the really big/heavy stuff, we use a backhaul broker. We can ship oversize loads that require double-drop trailers or oversize permits but this gets increasingly expensive the bigger the item is. We can't ship by these means to a P.O. Box. There must be a physical address & contact phone number.
The least expensive truck shipping is between businesses with a loading dock or fork lift (so be sure to let us know if you have a commercial business location name and address with a loading dock or if we can ship your big items to such an address). If a liftgate delivery truck is needed, and/or if the address is residential, there is additional cost (typically about $200) that can usually be mitigated if you go to the truck terminal to pick the item up. Normal truck delivery is to a loading dock, (or with liftgate truck) parking lot, driveway or similar outside location. If you ask for the item to be moved to a location inside a structure, there will be an additional "inside delivery" charge. The cost of terminal pickup by consignee is normally the same as delivery to a commercial business with a truck-high dock or forklift--we just have to know what we are shipping to in advance so we can address the shipment properly--any error will likely result in additional post shipping charges. Again, we can't schedule shipping until we have the full shipping information including delivery contact phone number.
We can generally load items up to at least 8000 pounds on our end without a loading charge. For items in excess of this, there may be additional cost associated with hiring a rigger to load the item. You will obviously need a corresponding means of unloading on your end.
Business address must include a legitimate business name and be located in a commercial area, not a residential area. Delivery to a residential area usually costs an extra $120. Delivery to a location without a loading dock usually adds another $100. If the trucking company needs to call before delivery, that typically adds $25.
NOTE! If you require documentation beyond that generated automatically by the ebay transaction, there will be a documentation charge, according to how much trouble we have to go to to provide it to you.
We assume buyers are in the US and can have someone come pick their item up at our warehouse--this is how we list our items. If you are a buyer outside the US who wants to purchase one of our items (including Canadians), you will have to pay additional charges (unless you can provide us with a USA address to ship the item to--and then you will have to pay export document fees if you need any paperwork not included with an ebay transaction). It is much more difficult for us to ship items outside the USA (particularly after 9/11), requiring additional work, research, risk and documentation. You will have to pay a fee for all additional costs associated with getting the item shipped outside the US. At the very minimum, there will be a $15 USD documentation fee for filling out a commercial invoice and copies or for filling out a USPS export document. Items that go by UPS or FedEx have a $20 minimum documentation fee. Items over $2500 require even more costly documentation and generally an export broker/freight forwarder. Lesser value items that are of a size/weight not readily handled by USPS, FedEx or freightquote.com will typically be done through an export broker with their associated fees.
The USPS changes made mid 2007 seem to have eliminated cheaper classes of mail so that generally leaves us only international priority or express mail. (We do not ship anything via international USPS surface mail--it takes far too long and it often never reaches the destination address.) We will only ship international via a method that provides traceability.
A full name, day-time phone number and physical address, not P.O. Box, is required for all shipments outside the US via any means other than USPS. Deliver/Customs contact phone number is required no matter what the shipping method.
International payment can only be made via Paypal, USD Postal Money Order or Bank wire transfer.
Buyers must remember that really heavy and/or large items can have a shipping cost much higher than the winning bid amount.
If you have any questions, be sure to ask us before you commit to purchase!
International orders typically take longer to ship due to the added complexity and delivery times are often much longer due to the transit time.
We do not cover any import duties, taxes, broker fees, customs charges, etc. that may be due when an item arrives in your country. You typically have to pay these fees directly or through a broker to get your item out of customs after it arrives.
We would like to ship everything within a business day of getting clear payment but this is not always possible. We have a limiting packing/shipping capacity. If we receive a couple weeks worth of payments all at once, we will not be able to pack and ship them all instantly. Things that are harder to pack or deal with are subject to being delayed. Examples that cause delay include items without valid phone numbers, large, heavy-for-size or unusual-shaped, hard to pack items, international shipments, truck shipments (particularly those that require special skids, crating or packing), etc. If there is particular urgency for getting an item, make sure you expressly communicate the need and we will try to accommodate you. There may be additional charges if you want something done unusually fast.
Truck shipping rates are a complex subject. Trucking companies have a base rate that almost no one pays (unless they don't know better). They offer discounts to attract business from their competitors. Most anyone can usually get a 40-45% discount if they ask. Companies that do a moderate volume of business like us often get a discount of 50-70%. Companies that ship a lot of tonnage of the same thing may get a discount of more than 70%.
The base rate for truck shipping is calculated from the miles of transport, the total shipping weight, and the class of goods being shipped (how bulky it is). It is this base rate that the discounts are applied to. The classes range from about 50 to at least 250. These are supposed to be based on the weight-density of the shipping unit. Something that is very heavy for its size might be class 60 while something light and fluffy might be class 150 or higher. Class 50 would be something like solid bars of scrap metal. The most common class we ship is 85. cabinetry is typically class 125 to 250.
There is something called an NMFC number (generated by an "independent" company that charges big bucks for the information--which makes it hard for the little guy to get his/her hands on) that the trucking companies use to decide what the class an item should be. Theoretically, there is an NMFC number for everything. However, we almost never find a clear-cut match between what we are shipping and an existing NMFC number. NMFC-number-based classes seldom seem to match the actual weight-density-based class for items we ship. The point of this is that trucking companies have a nasty habit of reclassifying shipments after the fact and back-charging higher rates. If we end up with significant additional shipping charges for this reason or reasons below such as your giving us a ship-to as a commercial address with loading dock that really was not--you will be charged with these additional costs.
Trucking companies seem to be in the same class of morals as used car salesmen and lawyers. They are continually coming up with ways to hit you up with extra charges. In addition to the reclassification scam noted above, they will hit you up for $15 to $30 to tell you that they are going to delivery your item. Also noted above are the extra charges for liftgate delivery, residential delivery and inside delivery but there are also additional charges for construction-site, rural, college/university and trade-show delivery. Fuel cost surcharges are another common item. Another scam pulled by some trucking firms (or at least some of their drivers) is to demand a fee from the recipient on delivery, even though the item was sent "prepaid freight". This seems to happen most often when the company making the final delivery is different than the one that did the initial pickup. The bottom line is---don't pay the extra's unless you have exhausted all means of fighting them. For the bogus COD, hold the driver and get on the phone to "clear up" the problem right then and there. Once you pay, it is impossible get any money back.
We prefer that the customer arrange and "pre_pay" for shipping directly (you still have to pay us for packing unless this is done by a third party). This is because customers are frequently shocked at how costly shipping is and often think we are over-charging. Direct payment can be done by making arrangements with a shipper of the customer's choice directly and having the filled out BOL e-mailed or fax'd to us. (We don't do Freight Collect as it costs more and there are too many problems with the consignee location not paying). (We can direct freightquote.com to set up an account for you based on your shipping/billing information but you will need to provide them with means for payment in advance).