Wow! When I printed my first eBay-PayPal shipping-postage label (like the one pictured above, replete with postage, names, addresses, insurance, Delivery and Signature Confirmation bar codes, tracking numbers -- the whole works), I couldn't believe how easy, convenient and cost-saving it was.
ADVANTAGES AND EASE OF USING THE EBAY-PAYPAL SHIPPING-POSTAGE LABEL SET-UP --- BRIEF INTRODUCTION
Right NOW (no software or registration required; you are set to go!) you can:
(a) look up any of your eBay sales in My eBay, or PayPal receipts in PayPal, and click the "print shipping label" link next to the transaction to start the process. (As shown below, you can even print postage-shipping labels for transactions unrelated to eBay and PayPal),
(b) type in a few particulars (like the weight of the parcel) and select the mailing services you want. (Incredibly the set-up automatically writes out your name & return address, the recipient's name & address, and calculates the postage for alternative classes of mail choices),
(c) click "pay and continue" and watch your ordinary printer print the label while your PayPal account is charged for the postage, often at less than a Post Office clerk would charge,
(d) cut out the label and attach it to your envelope or package, and
(e) drop the parcel off into any Post Office mail box!
Don't be afraid to try this. Remember, you can print the labels on your current, ordinary, plain paper (8-1/2" x 11") printer. If you mess up the printing of a label (smear it, for example), you can reprint it many times (but of course, you can use it just once on a parcel). If worse comes to worse (say your printer does not work or jams up; or you decide not to ship anything), you can cancel the PayPal postage payment. So jump in. It's a heady experience. Details below.
YOU ARE ALREADY SET TO GO AND PROBABLY DON'T REALIZE IT:
P.S., if you find any of this helpful, please vote "YES" at the bottom of page. Thanks. Suggestions and emails appreciated. I specialize in collecting gambling chips and other small gambling-related items.
THE TERRIFIC THINGS ABOUT PRINTING POSTAGE-SHIPPING LABELS ARE:
¶ no registration is required -- not with the post office, and no special sign-up with eBay and PayPal.
¶ you just need your current ordinary accounts with eBay (you needn't be a Power Seller or any of that) and PayPal (you needn't have a Business or Premier PayPal account).
¶ you can use a Mac or PC system computer. I use a Mac.
¶ you can use from a wide choice of browsers. I use Firefox.
¶ there is nothing to download or "launch." It is already there now for you to use. You just log-in into eBay and PayPal, and then you just do it. It is as easy as bidding on an auction, for example.
¶ there is no special equipment to buy. You'll need just these two items, which you probably already own: an inexpensive weight scale and printer. You can use your ancient 8-1/2" by 11" plain paper printer to print the shipping-postage labels; you don't have to buy a special label printer (though it might be wise for high volume sellers). If you do use 8-1/2" x 11" paper, you will have to cut out the shipping-postage label and then glue or tape it to the envelope/package. (Don't worry about your printer malfunctioning or labels getting ruined. As I said, you can reprint labels at no extra fee. And you can even cancel the label and the PayPal charge if you decide not to use the label!)
¶ there are no minimum usage requirements -- make as many labels as you want, even once a year or every other year!
¶ there are no special fees to eBay-Paypal or the post office. The whole thing costs no more than at the post office -- there is no sign-up fee, no special equipment to buy, no monthly charge, no minimum, no usage fee, etc.PAY LESS FOR POSTAGE:
¶ you pay only for the postage you print, and at post office rates or less! -- paid directly to the Post Office from your PayPal account.
¶ you receive discounts on all Priority, Express and First Class mail! Delivery Confirmation, costs $0.70 to $0.80 at the P.O., but only $0.19 on-line for parcels and packages, and is free with on-line priority mail.
IT'S EASY, FAST, ADVANTAGEOUS AND CONVENIENT -- AND NO MORE WAITING IN POST OFFICE LINES:
¶ you can include, printed on the labels, insurance (up to $500), Delivery and Signature Confirmation and the majority of things people wait on lines for at the post office. You can select from these types of mail: first class parcel mail (but not first class letter or first class flat mail), 3 types of express mail, 9 types of priority mail (regular and flat rate), media mail and parcel post.
¶ your name and return address, and the recipient's name and address are automatically and accurately in place on the label (because you can initiate the the printing of the label from a completed eBay sale or PayPal payment) -- so no more copying of names and addresses by hand. You can edit the names and addresses if need be.
¶ the computerized set-up automatically calculates the cost of the postage for each service requested -- so no more searching through rate charts and reading about postage standards. No more searching postal zones and double checking zip codes. It's self-guiding. All you do is type in or select a few particulars (type of mail, weight, insurance, etc.), and presto, the costs and details are laid out for you on your computer screen. While you are at it, you can compare the costs of different classes of mail (priority mail v. parcel post, etc.) for the very piece you are working on. If you are satisfied with what you see and select, you click "pay and continue." Then the shipping-postage label and a detailed receipt are generated and your PayPal account is charged. And the recipient automatically receives an emailed shipping notice!
¶ you can never lose your shipping receipt or the insurance-delivery number. A paper receipt is automatically generated with the label, but if you lose the receipt, all you have to do to get a duplicate is to click the transaction details on the line of the PayPal receipt or the post office charge. (If you pay for insurance in person at the post office [even with a credit card], and subsequently lose the paper receipt, you are out of luck in case of a claim -- there is no way to get a copy of the transaction or the insurance number.)
¶ if there is a concern about delivery, it is easy to go to the PayPal transaction and click the "check shipment" link (for online Delivery Confirmation) to see if the parcel arrived.
¶ the set-up results in easy record keeping for income tax purposes. The postage charges are permanently in your PayPal records. No more having to collect and save petty cash slips (post office receipts).
¶ if you wish, you can choose not to display the cost of postage on the shipping label (it is in the bar codes for the post office to read). Hidden this way, the buyer has less reason to complain about actual shipping charges.
¶ BEST OF ALL, perhaps, you can drop your packages off into any outside Post Office mail box -- any package that will fit, any weight. There is no 13-ounce post-911 security limit because it is considered metered mail (it can be traced to you). No more standing in lines at the post office, or did I say that already?
It is incredibly easy to print your own shipping-postage label. What I describe in this section of the Guide is generating a label for (1) an item sold in an eBay auction and paid with or without PayPal, and (2) an item sold in or outside of eBay and paid with PayPal. (You can also use the set-up for non-eBay-non-PayPal transactions -- discussed below in this Guide, in the section "MAKING POSTAGE-SHIPPING LABELS FOR NON-EBAY-NON-PAYPAL TRANSACTIONS".)
HOW TO PRINT AN EBAY-PAYPAL SHIPPING-POSTAGE LABEL
The first thing I would advise you to do is to log into PayPal (for a PayPal tool generates the label, and your PayPal account is charged for the postage.) Then there are at least two different ways to go:
¶ One way is to go to your My Ebay page, look for the particular auction under "Sold," and click the "print shipping label" link there.
¶ A second way is to go to your PayPal account (either Overview or History page) and click the "print shipping label" button, which appears on the line of the entry for the particular payment received.
Whichever way you start, you will be put on a page to select your postal choices (like type of postal service and weight of mail piece). On that page you will see all this great stuff for the label already in place: your name and address for the return address, the buyer's name and address, and loads of options to choose from: type of item (parcels, priority mail, etc.), weight, amount of insurance or not, delivery or signature confirmation, etc., etc. Yours and the buyer's name and address can be edited. While on this page, you can compare the costs of different mailing options.
You click "continue," and end up on this page: "U.S. Postal Service - Confirm and Purchase Your Shipping Label." Make sure that your pop-up window blocker is disabled (idea: permanently disable it for the PayPal site). You look over the page, edit what you want, click "pay and continue." Your PayPal account is charged, and you print out the postage-shipping label and at the same time a receipt for your records. Cut out the label if you used standard 8-1/2" x 11" paper to print the label.
Some tips about placing the label on the parcel/package: the label (the one at the top of this page is shown in reduced size) is about 4 x 7 inches (less, if you print it at 90%).
¶ You may simply cut out the rectangular label along the heavy lines. When cutting, you can leave off the small top part that mentions/advertises the U.S.P.S and eBay, and the small bottom part that advertises PayPal.
¶ Labels are supposed to be placed so the address reads parallel to the longest side of the mail piece, and you are also told not to bend the label around two sides of the parcel. The way the label is designed, it is often impractical to do either. I have violated both rules and never had a problem. I am satisfied as long as the recipient's address and the bar codes are visible on one side. It's very convenient to place the label over virtually the entire face of a 5 x 8 inch bubble wrap envelope, leaving the address parallel to the short side. When using a standard #10 business envelope (9.5" x 4.5"), I put the label on the right side of the envelope with the addresses read parallel to the longest side, so I have to fold the top 1.5 inches over onto the back of the envelope. Never had a problem with postal delivery.
¶ If you tape the label to the parcel, the PO suggests you do not clear tape over the bar code because reflections from the clear tape might make it harder for the PO's computer to read the bar codes. (Some postal carriers actually favor taping over the bar codes so the clear tape will deflect any snow, rain, dirt, etc. that would interfere with their computer's scanning ability! Idea: put the tape over half the bar code.)
¶ Also, no problem if you mail the piece one or a few days after the date on the label.
It is usually wise to have Delivery Confirmation (DC) on your mail that has merchandise in it. For one thing, having it is one of the requirements of PayPal for the seller to qualify for the invaluable Seller Protection Policy. Second, it costs only $0.19, or is free on priority mail, when you are using on-line postage labels (like the eBay-PayPal set-up we are discussing here). Third, when mailing inexpensive items it is usually a good compromise between (a) paying $1.80 minimum for postal insurance and (b) having no insurance at all.
A TIP ABOUT DELIVERY CONFIRMATION ON LIGHT MAIL
Now, DC is available for all mail weighing over 13 ounces. It is free with Express Mail and electronic (on-line) Priority Mail, both of which are expensive . But what about first class mail? Here are the three types of first class mail we can use to send merchandise:
¶ letters -- must be not more than 3.5 ounces, and can't be over 1/4 inch thick.
¶ flats (large envelopes) -- no more than 13 ounces, and over 1/4" to not over 3/4" thick.
¶ parcels -- no more than 13 ounces, and over 3/4" thick.
Now we get to the purpose of this section of the Guide. The Post Office does not allow DC on "letters" and "flats." But it does allow DC on "parcels" so long as they are over 3/4" thick. If your envelope package is 3/4" or less, you can fatten it up by inserting some extra cardboard, folded bubble-wrap or Styrofoam peanuts into the envelope to build it up over 3/4" thick. If it isn't over 3/4," the Post Office can upgrade (and increasingly does) the mail piece to Priority Mail and postage-due the recipient! (As a side note: DC is automatically included in all the mailing labels produced by the eBay-PayPal set-up -- you are forced to take it, which isn't such a bad thing -- remember, just $0.19 or free.)
Additional tip: for items sold for over $250, you must have/pay for Signature Confirmation on your package to qualify for the Seller Protection Policy. Note: If you buy Signature Confirmation, Delivery Confirmation comes along for free.
ISSUES IN POST OFFICE SCANNING AND INSURANCEWhen delivered, the postal carrier also often neglects to scan the piece, in which case you would lose your PayPal Seller Protection Policy benefit in case of a buyer-claimed non-delivery. (I've heard that some unscrupulous buyers, who have received the package, will use the label number to track the package on-line to see if the carrier neglected to scan it, and if so, the buyer will put in a fraudulent non-delivery claim!) Even if the parcel was scanned on the pickup side, if it is not scanned on the delivery side (and "lost"), the sender is not eligible for the Seller Protection Policy since delivery can not be confirmed on-line -- that is all PayPal cares about! More about scanning is found in the "ADVANCED, USEFUL OPTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE PAYPAL MULTI-ORDER SET-UP" section below. .... ... ... It is important to note, though, that the Post Office would honor your on-line bought insurance even if the parcel was never scanned.
Additional scanning tip: some PayPal users have suggested that you could circle the scanning bar code on the label with a bright green florescent felt marker, so as to draw it to the attention of post office handlers so they will more likely not overlook scanning the piece.
Insurance tips for the seller: (1) Insurance protects the seller, not the buyer. (2) For relatively inexpensive items, the seller can profit in the long run by self-insuring (i.e, not buying insurance). I have not had an insurance claim in 10 years of frequent shipping. (3) When you intend to self-insure, to avoid any buyer arguments over fees, state in your auctions something like "$4.50 shipping and handling" instead of "$4.50 postage and insurance." (4) Buy insurance for relatively valuable items, and include the cost of insurance in the shipping, insurance and handling charges that the buyer has to pay. (5) Insurance is worthless if a scam-artist won't cooperate with an insurance claim. (6) Making insurance "optional" in your auction may help overall in the long run. The buyer does not need it as he is protected by automatic PayPal insurance and his credit card company, but some clueless buyers might pay for it anyway, to your benefit.
Finally, I'll mention the one slight negative with the eBay-PayPal postage-shipping label printing system (but rather unimportant as we shall see) -- the set-up can not print postage labels for first class "letters" and first class "flats." However, this inability to print postage for letters and flats is no real problem for several reasons: not many packages weigh 3.5 ounces or less and are 1/4" inch thick or less ("letters" standard); if the "flats" are uneven or rigid, they will be bounced up to the first class "parcels" category regardless of thickness; neither letters nor flats can use Delivery Confirmation; and the postage rate for first class "parcels" is not that much more than for "letters" or "flats." And of course, if you want letter or flat rate postage on your mail, you can always apply old-fashioned postage stamps.
EBAY-PAYPAL SET-UP CAN'T MAKE POSTAL LABELS FOR FIRST CLASS "LETTERS" AND "FLATS," BUT CAN FOR FIRST CLASS "PARCELS"
There are at least two ways to make labels for non-eBay-non-PayPal transactions. Either way, make sure your pop-up window blocker is disabled. (A good idea is to permanently disable it for the PayPal site.)
MAKING POSTAGE-SHIPPING LABELS FOR NON-EBAY-NON-PAYPAL TRANSACTIONS
The best way in my opinion is to log into PayPal and then go to this PayPal page (copy/paste it into your browser), which you should bookmark (make a favorite):
A second way is to log into PayPal and then hit the "PayPal MultiOrder Shipping" link on the left side of your "My Account Overview" page. Then you can "create new orders" from the small blue window that automatically opens or from the drop down "file" menu on the page. Click the "Create" button. Click "Expand All." Fill in the information. Click "save and close." Click the "Orders to Ship" tab. Highlight the row for the particular shipment by clicking on that row. Review what's there and the "details" to the right. Click "print," which is next to the printer icon. This opens up the "Print Preview" tab page. Select (highlight) the row of your particular shipment data, and click "pay and print," which is next to the printer icon. (Most of this is easily self-guiding on the MultiOrder page. If you are still uncertain about anything, you can select "Tutorial" from the drop down" Help" menu on that same MultiOrder Shipping page.) For more about the many useful features of the MultiOrder set-up, read the next section below, which shows how the MultiOrder set-up can also be used for eBay sales and PayPal receipt transactions.
Although it is beyond the scope of this Guide, I'd be negligent if I didn't mention that you can use the tutorial mentioned in the previous paragraph to do many advanced things using the PayPal MultiOrder set-up, things particularly helpful to high volume sellers. Doing them in bulk saves time. The following are just some of what can be done: importing paid orders from PayPal, importing non-PayPal paid orders from eBay, importing other files (all of which can be edited), creating packing slips, scheduling pickups, putting in presets (defaults you prefer), voiding and reprinting labels, viewing your history of shipments (good for easy tracking of packages), and creating SCAN sheets.
ADVANCED, USEFUL OPTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE PAYPAL MULTI-ORDER SET-UP
Scan sheets. When you print out your labels, you can choose to get a SCAN sheet which is a coded list of all the labels/parcels produced then. You give the sheet to the post office along with the packages. Supposedly the P.O. people don't have the time to scan each package separately, but will in effect do that by easily scanning your SCAN sheet. Ask at your local post office if and how they will do that. Note, though, that this pickup scan has absolutely no legal significance when it comes to a claim. I wouldn't bother with pickup scans. Many sellers feel it gives their buyer more security and confidence if they can at least view where and when an item was shipped, should there be any delay. But it is my feeling that in those rare cases where there is a delay and the buyer emails me about the shipment, I can simply email him back the tracking number and other shipping files via an easy copy/paste.
The best way to learn about using all the tools in the MultiOrder set-up is to go to the drop-down "help" menu on the MultiOrder page. This menu leads you to their tutorials, FAQ's, tool tips, and USPS rules.
Below I show some of the difference's between PayPal and Click N Ship. The first item is the tie-breaker for me in deciding in favor of the PayPal set-up:
EBAY-PAYPAL'S SET-UP IS GENERALLY BETTER THAN THE POST OFFICE'S CLICK N SHIP SET-UP
¶ As noted above, with PayPal you can choose between 5 ways of sending mail: first class parcels, express, priority (including all kinds of flat rates), media and parcel post. Click N Ship allows just two (expensive) types: priority (all kinds) and express.
¶ Both set-ups allow you to produce labels and custom forms for Express and Priority Mail International mail (only), so you might prefer using postage stamps to buy the cheaper foreign first class mail, and pop it into a P.O. box if it is 13 ounces or less.
¶ Both setups have minimal computer requirements. You can use most browsers and PDF readers. I use Firefox with both. With Click N Ship and PayPal you can try printing a test label.
¶ Click N Ship gives you a permanent address book. PayPal doesn't, but you don't need it for eBay and PayPal transactions because the set-up automatically supplies the names and addresses of the transactions when you print postage labels for those transactions. And those addresses are presumably up to date, at least more so than the older Post Office's address book.
¶ One other advantage of Click N Ship is that you can charge the postage to any one of a number of credit cards, including the PayPal credit card, which give back a cash dividend (1 to 3% rebate) from the postage purchases. PayPal won't give a rebate for postage charges made through its own PayPal postage-shipping label set-up.
¶ Both PayPal and Click N Ship provide a shipping history for easy tracking.
¶ While I favor the PayPal set-up overall, there is no reason why you can't register for and use Click N Ship for the situations where it is advantageous.
P.S., if you find any of this helpful, please vote "YES" below. Thanks. Suggestions for improvement are appreciated. I specialize in collecting gambling chips and other small gambling-related items. Emails welcome.