Monday, July 5, 2010

Etsy For Newbies

I am pleased to announce that because of so many requests I am now offering international shipping on all my items. I never did before because most of my items are heavy and they cost alot to ship, but it turns out if somebody really wants something they will pay whatever shipping they have to to get it. :) is a international shipping lesson brought to us by Dingo.

International shipping seems to scare a lot of people, but it usually isn't any more difficult than domestic shipping. Here's a quick way to get set up for international shipping on Etsy that will make sure you charge the right amount and cover most of the countries in the world.

Service and Rates:

For packages, there are now two levels of service for international shipping that you need to know - First Class International and Priority International. Both go by airmail. The primary difference is that Priority should take a few days less to deliver, and that insurance is available only on Priority International packages. If it is important for you to insure your package, you will want to use Priority International. If your package weighs over 4 pounds, First Class International is not available

There are 5 shipping zones in the US Postal Service rate system, but since some have essentially identical rates, the international shipping zones can be broken down into just three - Canada, Mexico and Everywhere Else.

Armed with this information, you're ready to set up your international shipping:


1. Make up a sample package with your item and weigh it. If you don't have a scale, take it the Post Office and ask them to weigh it for you. You'll need the weight to properly calculate the shipping.

2. Find your Canada shipping cost by going to this site:

a. Select "Package" and enter the weight in pounds and ounces, then hit continue.

b. You will see a table of service levels with the postage rates. Find the rate for First Class International. This will be your base shipping rate.

3. Repeat step 2 to find your Mexico rate from this site:

4. For the Everywhere Else rate, use the United Kingdom as an example. Go to the following web site and repeat the steps above:

5. Now you have your three international rates (You can get an estimate for domestic rates by following the same steps with the domestic calculator at ) Add to each of them the cost of your packaging. This will be the shipping charge you enter for your item on Etsy.

6. When listing an item, use these four destinations: United States, Canada, Mexico, and Everywhere Else.


Repeat steps 1-6, but find the Priority Mail International rate and use Australia for your "Everywhere Else" example, from this site:

To add insurance:

Choose the Priority Mail International rate in the box at the left and click the "Add Extra Services" button at the bottom. Some insurance is included in the shipping cost, and the next page will tell you the amount. If you want to add more, check the box next to "Insurance" and enter the amount, then the "add" button. It will calculate the cost of the extra insurance. Add this to the shipping cost and the packaging cost for your total shipping charge.


There are two customs forms you may have to fill out, depending on the weight and value of your item. For items under $400, you may have to use the little green form. It is self-explanatory. You write a brief description of the contents, the weight of the package, the value, and the addresses of the shipper and receiver. If you have an item over $400, or over a certain weight, there is a slightly longer form to fill out with essentially the same information. These forms are available at the post office, and the clerk will tell you which one you need when you mail the package.

Non-Machinable Packages:

You may find that the rate you are charged is a little higher than you expected. If so, ask the clerk why. It may be that your packaging is too large or too small or the wrong shape to go through their automatic sorting machines. There is a surcharge for this. In general, make sure your packages are at least 3.5 by 5 inches, and not perfectly square. If you can't change the packaging, be sure to add the extra charge to your rates.

More packaging tips: First Class rates change per ounce up to 8 ounces, then go in 4-ounce increments.

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