Determining the shipping costs for your online listings can seem like a complicated process, but many resources available through Pirate Ship help make things much more smooth-sailing!

In this scenario, we'll use an example shipment to illustrate how to determine what to charge your customers!

First, you should start by finding the best USPS shipping service that works for your package. Our handy Rates Calculator is a quick and easy tool that helps you see a full list of service options and rates for packages of all types and sizes, including international shipments!

The Rates Calculator does require a ZIP code to get a quote (or just the country name, if shipping internationally). If you don't know where you're shipping to yet, you can enter any ZIP code, just to see what kind of service options are available.

In the example below, we're shipping a 6x5x5" box weighing 12 ounces, so we randomly chose ZIP codes for Los Angeles and New York:

Screenshot of Pirate Ship's Rates Calculator, showing a 6 by 5 by 5 inch box weighing 12 ounces getting sent from the zipcode 90001 to the zipcode 10001.

Next, we'll click on the See shipping rates button to see all of our eligible services:

A screenshot of the rates for the shipment referenced in the previous screenshot. This package can be shipped as a Zone 8 shipment via First Class Package for $4.46, via Parcel Select Ground for $8.12, via Priority Mail Cubic for $8.42, and via Priority Mail Express for $38.05.

It looks like First Class Package is the cheapest way to send this shipment...but that's the cost to ship it all the way across the country! Of course, your business will be shipping off packages here, there, and everywhere in between 😉

Now that you've narrowed down the service you'd like to ship with, you can head over to Pirate Ship's master document of all USPS shipping rates. When you find the shipping service you'd like to use, click on the View Rates linked next to the service's name.

In our example, when we navigate to First Class Package, we'll find this chart:

A screenshot of the First Class Package rates for the different weight tiers and shipping zones. Since this shipment is 12 ounces, it would be in the pricing tier for shipments weighing between 9 ounces to 12 ounces. The rates for this tier are $3.93 for zones 1 and 2, $3.97 for zone 3, $4.00 for zone 4, $4.08 for zone 5, $4.18 for zone 6, $4.32 for zone 7, $4.46 for zone 8, and $4.46 for zone 9. The national average for this pricing tier is $4.14.

Since our package weighs 12 oz, that would put us in the 9 to 12 oz tier and our shipping costs would fall in that range, depending on how far away the package is going. You'll find the USPS Zones clarified at the top of the table.

When determining what to charge for shipping, we recommend going off of the National Averages column! This will give you a reasonable rate to charge your customers, and these costs will even out the more you ship all over the country.

After that, if you'd like to figure out the rates for different packages, simply follow the same steps above for each type of package you plan to ship.

Note: Sometimes Parcel Select Ground will be cheaper than other services like First Class Package and Priority Mail. Even if it is slightly cheaper, we never really suggest using this service unless you’re sending flammable or hazardous materials that can’t be shipped on a plane. Parcel Select Ground takes much longer than other USPS® services, with delivery within 1 to 3 weeks.

What if I ship with UPS®?

UPS doesn't publish a master rates spreadsheet the same way USPS does, so there isn't any documentation you can rely on to set your own shipping prices with UPS 🙈

That said, we suggest relying on our easy Rates Calculator! You can try plugging in a few different destinations for your packages, so you can see what kind of prices UPS returns for you. You should be able to come up with a ballpark figure from there...but if you'd still like an additional hook, we're always here to help 😎

Hitting rough waters? Be sure to chat with us if you have any more questions!

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