Probably no other area of product expense creates as many questions for the ebay buyer as do shipping and handling costs. What exactly do these mean? Are prices too high? Simply arbitrary figures by the seller? Or even too low? Why and when is combined shipping used.
Consider the following elements:
1) The cost involved in shipping and handling is more than just the postage.
a) Bubble-padded envelopes, the preferred method to ship smaller items, start at $.99 and can quickly exceed several dollars.
b) For larger items, I prefer boxes purchased at the post office. These strike me as the sturdiest, and the flaps are perfectly aligned for good, secure taping. I do not, nor do most experienced ebayers, used recycled boxes unless they are exception strong and pristine.
c) Every item, regardless of the external packaging, should be wrapped in a highly protective layer. Almost always bubble wrap is preferred. Newspaper or peanuts are used only to fill awkward spaces within the box.
d) Add to this good, clear, and strong tape of the type sold at the post office for $3.59 a roll.
2) Now, not factored in here is the expense of fuel to round up such supplies. Some dealers have mail drop off and pickup along with purchase items; but those are only the mega dealers.
3) The actual cost of postage. Mailing a well-packaged proof set of coins, for example, costs $1.83 in postage; $2.30 for minimal insurance. Priority mail (anything over 13 ounces, starts at a little over $4.00. Obviously, if a dealer is going to offer combined shipping, it will be of lighter items.
I hope you can see from this brief guide that's there is a lot more to S&H than some random dollar amount. In my experience, most ebay dealers run a tight ethical ship and have absolutely no interest in trying to make money on S&H. It just doesn't work. In an effort to keep my own S&H as low as possible, it's not unusual to lose a couple of bucks. That's the cost of doing business.