Let me get one thing straight, I love receiving orders – it means people like my work and when my customers are happy –I’m ecstatic! But posting orders is not my most favorite job. It can be time consuming, takes up space and you need to be organized – all of which are not my best points – so – to make things easier, I have sorted a few tools and resources that I would like to share with my fellow time and space poor, crafters (being disorganised is optional). Most of my orders are paper goods and they are generally small ‘letters’ which is lucky because the number 1 rule for keeping postage costs down is trying to keep things under 2cm high.
If you have organised your postage costs to be consistent and accurate, it will result in better sales and buyer satisfaction!
Advice #1 – keep package height under 2 cm
This will dramatically reduce postage costs. – use small boxes, more effective space saving protection and packing. Use your FREE letter gauge from your post office.
For bulky posting within Australia, use prepaid satchels – wrap item carefully, pop in a protective box etc. and pop the box in the satchel. A big money saver compared with just trying to post an oddly shaped box, it also means it is easy to quote an upfront shipping cost. Satchel weights are 500g or 3kg so aim for one of these. Also 3kg bags are wider so if the item is bulky but light, the 3kg may still be your bes option. (Bulky advice here from Kate Stevens of ceramic snippets- Ed.)
Advice #2 Get yourself a free letter gauge from you post office
This will ensure you keep things to a minimum because when your letters are over the sizes on the letter gauge, costs rise.
Advice #3 – make love or friends with your post office assistant.
This may require you finding a good looking one or possibly just one that knows what they are doing and is helpful! They can give you free advice and ‘stuff’ such as the letter gauge and FREE address labels – yep a WHOLE Book!
Advice #4 – get yourself a postage container
Fill it with
- stamps. When posting over seas, you need special international stamps. They come in denominations that are the most common, for example, I have in my bag $6.95, $2.60, and $1.75 stamps. If you are finding you are constantly needing a random postage cost, your postie can ‘order’ in stamp denominations that will add up to your regular total. Having stamps on hand
means you don’t necessarily need to go into the post office.
- Air mail stickers – (I got sick of wetting and sticking so I got an air mail self inking stamp made)
- Customs declaration form – needs to be filled out if you are posting something other than documents or paper or anything bulky. Speak to your postie to confirm if your product requires
one. If you have to use this, you have to post your item over the counter at the post office.
- Your return address labels – pre printed onto sticky labels or a nice self inking stamp. Its
more professional. It has also been suggested that if you hand write the address on the reverse of the envelope, the computer things that scan for the address may mistakenly scan your return address and lead to longer processing times
- A ‘do not bend’ ink stamp – I had mine made at Vista print
Advice #5 – Get familiar with Australia Posts 'calculate postage’- page
Its awesome. Very user friendly and will answer most questions. Use this in conjunction with you letter gauge and scales.
Advice #6 – Photograph your post
Do this at the post office once they have put their processing stamp on it. If you are not using a tracking code (and perhaps even if you are) It may help with disputes with your customer.
Advice #7 Get familiar with UPS Zip code look up site.
Did you know that it may speed up letter delivery to the US if you include the second/last part of the zip code? Its not often included on peoples address so you have to look it up using the above website. For example I may be given the address: 3284 Eagle Ridge Sierra Vista, AZ 85650 United States, but when I enter the details into the UPS Zip finder, it gives me the number as 85650-6635.
Advice #8 – Wrap with sensible love.
I love to wrap. When I first started, I would tie with string, paper bags, doilies etc, etc. But my products were all under $5 and I was wasting a lot of time and $$ on the wrapping of a single greeting card. Yes sure if the order is a big one then I lavish care and attention, but time and resources = $$. Be aware of your costs, recycle old bubble wrap and envelopes. Use quirky things like vintage book pages, dressmaking patterns etc as packing.
Advice #9 – Join forums and discussions.
Don’t be afraid to ask! People LOVE giving advice. Join your ETSY team, crafters group, anyone with like minded craftyness and ask. Seek and you shall find…
I do. Its very helpful!
Good luck! Davina - Fluid Ink Letterpress