TrainBoard Special Run - Thread #2 - Shipping

Discussion in 'N Scale' started by FriscoCharlie, Apr 14, 2012.


Having read these comments, my feeling about shipping charges are:

Poll closed Apr 29, 2012.
  1. I understand the costs would be around $9 to ship and I would pay that

    47 vote(s)
  2. That's too much money to ship a product to me and I will not pay that

    30 vote(s)
  3. I am one of the fruitcakers and this gives me something to click on

    4 vote(s)
  1. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    As part of our announced special run project, I would like to poll the membership about shipping. One of the complaints that is common in the threads about eBay is the price that people charge for shipping.

    I know something about this because my wife has owned an online business for over ten years and we lose a lot of money on shipping. We don't add to our retail price to make up for it. We do write our shipping loss off our taxes each year and that's really all we can do. On her online store we charge a flat-rate $6 for each order. We ship a lot of orders in the medium flat-rate box, which now costs over $11. So, we take a $5 plus loss on most orders. We still make a profit or we would not be in business but a lot of the profit is shaved off on shipping. People are less likely to order if the shipping is high. We haven't raised our prices for several years but the shipping costs have risen quite a few times. Luckily, most orders that go to the New England states can be shipped in non-flat-rate boxes for $7 to $8 and we only lose $1 or $2 on those, which is not a big deal. But, we get quite a few California orders and when you are shipping from Maine, it has to be flat-rate.

    So, when our special run is announced, and we take pre-orders, we need to know if the shipping costs will be prohibitive to anyone.

    The picture attached is a small flat-rate box. It costs $5.35 to ship.


    A friend is a postmaster and indicates that with delivery confirmation and insurance, that the price would be around $9. Delivery confirmation would prove to us that the item was delivered. Insurance would compensate us if the item is lost.

    Obviously, if we lost items or people claimed they were not delivered when they were, we would have a problem. 99 out of 100 people are not likely to do this, but even a few people could cause us to lose some money on this and the money is intended to support TrainBoard. We will likely receive orders from some non-TrainBoard members. However, we do trust our members.

    Having said all of this, does anyone feel that $9 (give or take 25 cents) is too much to ship the item if you order it? Please answer the poll question to indicate your opinion.

    International shipping would be computed for each order and would be whatever it cost to ship to your country. International shipping would be more at the risk of the purchaser. We would package the order carefully and fill out the customs forms as necessary. You would have to pay whatever it cost to ship it.

    Bear in mind that having said all of this, our desire is not to profit at all from shipping. I know that some of you have said that you believe that eBay sellers mark up shipping to add to their profits. That is not intended here at all.

    Thanks for reading and responding.

  2. mhampton

    mhampton TrainBoard Member

    Not to be picky, but your "give or take 25 cents" looks to be off a little. According to the USPS web site, Flat Rate Priority Mail in the small box ($5.35) with Delivery Confirmation ($0.75) and Insurance ($1.85) would cost $7.95.
  3. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    That is interesting. My friend (the postmaster) said delivery confirmation was over $2 (which if wrong is good news). She had the $1.85 insurance cost right. It we could get the cost down under $8 that would be even better. Thanks for providing that information. Can you give me a link to that on the USPS web site?

  4. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Follow up: The USPS web site says "from .75" but I can't tell what it would be for this box. The page is here.

    Do we have any postal employees here that can clarify this for us?

  5. mhampton

    mhampton TrainBoard Member

    I sent a Priority Mail package from Indianapolis to Altoona, PA and confirmation was 75 cents. I also figured the costs for sending a package from Indianapolis to Los Angeles and that's where I got the numbers I gave you.
  6. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Well, that's good then. That would lower the price. :)

  7. David K. Smith

    David K. Smith TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I'd be in for a custom car, but I honestly don't understand why it has to be shipped via Priority Mail. You can ship the same package from one coast to the other via First Class for less than $2.00; delivery confirmation is free, insurance is a buck eighty-five, grand total is about $3.66. Even if you had to buy a new shipping box, that's what, another buck? So, explain the logic of Priority Mail to me.
  8. Traindork

    Traindork TrainBoard Member

    Would more than one car cost the same amount to ship?
    However many cars you can cram into the box?

    $9 seems a little steep, but I understand your wanting delivery confirmation.
    I will very gladly support Trainboard. I've enjoyed this board for years.
  9. Calzephyr

    Calzephyr TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    There are different types of delivery confirmation. The most expensive requires the recipient to sign... the cheapest one is just a few computer clicks away... but doesn't guarantee it was delivered to the right person.

    I was thinking the same thing about the 'lofty price' of Priority Mail. The First Class mail is MUCH cheaper... specially for such a light item... and the delivery time for First Class is often the SAME 2-3 days that Priority Mail takes. I'd say that unless the item is going to the United State outback... Priority Mail should be an OPTION to First Class mail. So... say $4.50 for First Class and $8.00 for Priority Mail.
    NOW... there may be more weighing and checking postal rates for different areas of the country... so it would be a more difficult ordeal for Trainboard staff to do the First Class versus the Priority Mail.
  10. mu26aeh

    mu26aeh TrainBoard Member

    If you use the online services of USPS, delivery confirmation is free. At least it was the last time I used it. Just my two cents
  11. MVW

    MVW TrainBoard Member

    Go with First Class. The only real advantage offered by Priority Mail is the handy-dandy box, and it ain't worth the price they charge for the service. And you don't need signature confirmation -- I order from several online retailers, and none of them use that.

    Go with the cheapest shipping rate, and add $1 per order for shipping and handling. No one who has ever prepared a bunch of packages for shipment is going to begrudge you the extra buck.

    Good luck!

  12. FriscoCharlie

    FriscoCharlie Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I will look at shipping boxes to check the cost. One thing that comes to mind is that the cost would be different for each package. The items would be shipped from Maine. It would not cost much to ship to New Hampshire, more to ship to California. Will people be comfortable paying a flat rate so we don't have to deal with all kinds of numbers and computing different shiping rates? The Priority Mail free boxes, free tape, and all of that is handy for doing a large mailing.

  13. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Can I pick it up n Maine and save the shipping cost entirely ? I live in the Cul De Sac part of Maine so it should only cost me about 50 bucks to drive to civilization.

  14. dstjohn

    dstjohn TrainBoard Member

    I guess I am different, I think the priority mail is fine, I'll pay the extra to make it a little easier on the shipper. If you go with First Class, then you need to round up boxes, and supplies from an Office Depot, so that will add to the cost, plus you have to pay different postage for each one. I vote for priority mail, go pick up a ton of the free boxes, pack them up and drop them off!
  15. TrainBoard Member Advertiser

    If you use USPS Click-n-ship delivery confirmation is free. Also click-n-ship is discounted from counter placed postage. Shipping should be an option for the customer to choose. First Class cannot be done by click-n-ship (no discount) and you must provide your own packaging which adds cost.
  16. Chaya

    Chaya TrainBoard Member TrainBoard Supporter

    I agree with...uh...whoever wrote that last post from Wig-Wag. :)

    I'd like to be able to choose my own shipping and also whether to pay for insurance or not. The USPS tends to scatter packages all over my neighborhood--and only a few neighbors bother to redirect them--but I still have only ever lost one expensive package. I'd still prefer to opt out of insurance and confirmation and all that.
  17. Mike C

    Mike C TrainBoard Member

    Why buy a box???? Bubble wrap it and send in a manilla envelope......Mike
  18. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Quite correct. We might be able to scrounge some materials, but for any quantity, packing materials will need to be bought and that cost considered= $$$.

    Office depot or whatever source, will also require someone on Staff to find time from their day and run the errand= $$$ gas out of our pocket.

    I doubt we'd opt away from the confirmation aspect. Especially if somehow making an uninsured shipment. Confirmation at most is only seventy five cents, (at the USPS window method), for Priority Mail. It goes up on other types of postage.

    Any option which might require us to go to USPS to make shipment= $$$ for us in gas money, again out of pocket.

    Nothing is inexpensive these days and sadly it is only going steadily upward.
  19. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Administrator Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Too easy for that type of envelope to be ripped open in any rough handling situation. A box is far better protection.
  20. kmcsjr

    kmcsjr TrainBoard Member

    Someone above mentioned that packages can be shipped cheaper than priority, BUT... read on This is first class from an NJ zip to a CA zip, with $30 ins and signature. $5.50,+Apr+19&mt=7

    Same thing, if done online or at post office in small flat rate box,+Apr+18&mt=14

    Given these prices, I'd use the priority flat rate box. Otherwise TB folks will have to buy small boxes (raising price) and spend a little more time (that could be used making the cars).

    Please keep the shipping simple and fair (as you have indicated) and I'm in.

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