The economics of selling sports cards online continues to evolve. Sourcing cards for good price is important, and finding an outlet to sell them is equally as important. Whether you are shipping direct to customers from an eBay or Facebook Group Sale, or Sending cards into a consigner like COMC, postage costs are a big component of your expense load and we should be doing our best to ship in the most efficient and effective manner.
In this post, I will aim to help you:
Find the best packaging format for the quantity of cards you are trying to ship
Pay the Lowest Price for postage on that shipment
Save as much time as possible throughout the process.
What Fits Where?
There are lots of options to choose from when sending cards via the USPS. I’m going to lay out a few of the ones that I seem to use most frequently.
People continue to debate the appropriateness of shipping via PWE, but I continue to hold the position that there is a time and place for PWE shipping and it is the single greatest tool to allow you to make a profit selling low end cards. You can typically safely send up to 10 inexpensive cards via PWE. I won’t go into the specifics here since I already covered them in The Definitive Guide to PWE Shipping.
First Class Package via Bubble Mailer
Just because you go beyond ten cards doesn’t mean you need to jump up to a priority package. You can usually get roughly 100 cards give or take in a first class package before it crosses the 16 oz limit. I use team bags sandwiched in cardboard or snap cases, and then I put them in the Size 000 and Size 00 padded bubble mailers most often. You can find them real cheap on eBay.
Padded Flat Rate Envelope
Next up is the Padded Flat Rate envelope. These envelopes are not typically found in your local post office, but they can be ordered for free from the USPS website. The postage cost is very close to the small flat rate box, but they hold quite a bit more. You can easily fit two 330 count boxes in a Padded Flat Rate envelope.
Medium Flat Rate Box (11x9)
The more cube shaped Medium Flat Rate box can be used to ship four 400 count boxes. You will need some packing material to fit around the boxes to keep them secure during shipment. It will also hold approximately 2,000 stacked cards. With a reasonable amount of bubble wrap and cardboard spacers, this can be an effective way to ship bulk commons, and base.
Medium Flat Rate Box (14x12)
The longer, thinner Medium Flat Rate box will hold three 660 count boxes almost perfectly. You will just need a bit of packing material at the ends to keep the boxes snug. This is a great option for mailing all those junk era Fleer and Donruss sets!
Large Flat Rate Box (12x12)
I have found this box size to be the most awkward avenue to ship cards. It will hold one 550 count and four 400 count boxes, or somewhere around 2,600 stacked cards. I’ve found the stacked cards need to be placed in team bags to help them fit more snuggly which can add a bit of cost to the process. I rarely ship cards with this size box.
Large Flat Rate Game Box (24x12)
This is another option where the sizing gods have ruled in our favor. Five 550 count boxes will fit in one of these longer Large Flat Rate Game Boxes with only a bit of room to spare for extra packing material. Similar to the Padded Flat Rates, these are not always readily accessible from local post offices, but they can be ordered for free from the USPS website. This option provides the most cost effective option to securely ship cards in bulk.
Get a Postage Discount
I’m always amazed when I get a package from something I bought online and I see the postage reflecting the full retail price. There are very few reasons that sellers or traders should not be taking advantage of the discounts you receive from printing the labels directly from eBay or PayPal.
The eBay option shows up once you sell an item, and you can access the shipping screens on PayPal by going to www.paypal.com/shipnow. You get a discount on every shipping option except for stamps. So using these sites to print your postage saves you money on any first class or priority package when compared to walking up to the post office window. You can even print the label on regular printer paper if you don’t have a label printer!
When it comes to packaging, you can get bubble mailers real cheap on eBay, and priority boxes and padded flat rates are free from USPS. Don’t spend more than you need to on packaging!
When I first started selling, I used to hand write the addresses on all my PWE shipments, and I spent time cutting and taping the labels I printed on plain printer paper. Eventually I upgraded to a Dymo Label Printer that prints both standard address labels and package labels.
This saves me a ton of time, and it really isn’t all that expensive. The printer was around $100 and the refill labels are pretty cheap as well if you buy in bulk. The ease of printing and sticking makes this one of the best investments I made, especially as my volume of orders increased.
Printing labels at home also saves you time since most people can fit their first class packages and padded flat rate envelopes in their mailbox, and the post office will even come pick up your bigger flat rate boxes if you schedule a pickup from the USPS website!
So there you have it. The WaxPackHero Definitive Guide to Shipping Sports Cards via USPS. Hopefully these tips save you time and money!
What did I miss? What other tips do you have? Let me know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading.