Monday, October 19, 2009

Make-it Mondays: International Shipping Tips

From: Buenahelena!

At our most recent Rochester NY Etsy Street Team meeting the problem of international shipping costs was brought up. Between the Etsy newsletters, forums and personal research here are the tips I have uncovered. Many team members were unsure of how to weigh and price items, so I have included info below. Please feel free to add more tips in the comments!!!

Beginner's Guide:

The Storque, Etsy's Handmade Blog, offers a great article on shipping for beginners, called Shipping How-to: the Final Frontier.

Here is a rough breakdown for non-Canada international shipments:

4oz: $4
5oz: $5
6oz: $6
7oz: $6
8oz: $7
9-12oz: $9
1 lb: $10

After a pound, if you can fit the item in a flat rate envelope you're much better off. Flat rate boxes are very expensive internationally, so if you can't fit it in the envelope, continue to use First Class until you hit 4 lbs, then you are required to ship Priority class.

Rough Canada Breakdown:

4oz: $2
5oz: $2
6oz: $2.50
7oz: $2.50
8oz: $3
9-12oz: $4
1 lb: $5

To Flat Rate or Not to Flat Rate:

For Canada, flat rate becomes economical when you hit around 2 lbs, but First Class to Canada is SLOW. Customers, overall, seem to appreciate Priority shipping, and when a buyer wants something and you are a unique seller they will bite the bullet for your rare talents.

Check out the United States Postal Service Flat Rate prices

A Question of Customs:

Customs are tricky for Etsy sellers to keep track of, but on the plus side they really shouldn't be the sellers problem. If you decide to accept sales dealing with customs, mark your items as “other” on the customs form and include the price of the goods sold, minus shipping cost. Make sure you have CLEARLY indicated in your Shop Policies that the buyer is responsible for any Customs fees. These will be charged to the buyer depending on the value of the contents. Canada starts at approximately $20 and the US is around $200 to some places!


Invest in a small shipping scale to calculate accurate shipping estimates. JustIceJewelry, suggests using this tool to help you print your own shipping labels through Paypal. If you are off slighty the price will not be printed for the buyer to see as on USPS labels. Lastly, because I encourage reuse, keep old envelopes from your purchases and spruce them up with stickers and stamps to resend. Many sellers appreciate some care for the planet and it will save you and them on shipping costs.


  1. Excellent tips! Thanks so much for doing this research!

  2. Fo sho! Every time I read an awesome article I copy-paste little tidbits in a Word document. I was thinking of making a little RNEST tip packet for members.

  3. This is on my shop policies...

    I ship by Priority Mail in the US. Typically this costs around $5 for most stamps, takes 2-3 days for delivery.

    I ship to Canada or Mexico Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope, which is $11, as long as items are under 4 lbs (most are). Buyer is responsible for any tariffs or duties.

    I ship to Europe, or anywhere else, by Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelope which is $13 as long as items are under 4 lbs (most are). Buyer is responsible for any tariffs or duties.

    If these shipping rates are out of your budget range, and you are not concerned with delivery time, please contact me and I can ship First Class, or First Class International.

    Flat rate envelopes for International orders cannot be tracked, so if you want tracking on your package, please contact me so we can arrange the shipping for your item and tracking at your expense."

  4. This is very helpful info! Thanks for posting it. I will probably refer back to this in the future!

  5. i was just doing some research on shipping rates - thanks!!