search  current discussion  categories  business - shipping 

shipping costs

updated thu 31 jul 97


Marni Turkel on fri 18 jul 97

For wholesale customers, I charge them the actual amount (including
insurance) that I pay to UPS. I ship COD or net 30 and try to avoid prepaid
because that involves boxing and weighing the order and then waiting around
for a check. After a while, you get a sense of the approximate percentage
of the order total that UPS will be, but I still use that only as a rough
approximation if they ask how much shipping is. They pay what I pay. It
varies with the distance, the weight of your work and in some cases with
the bulkiness of the items. If you are doing your first wholesale show, you
have enough things to worry about, don't try to approximate shipping
charges. Most customers you will deal with have ordered pottery before and
have an idea of what that will be. The cost to me of packaging the order
(boxes, styrofoam, labor) is figured into the wholesale price of the items
(as long as they meet my minimum order) since I found that most retailers
resent an add-on packaging or handling fee.

Marni Turkel
Stony Point Ceramic Design
Santa Rosa, California

>I am getting ready to do my first wholesale show this fall and I need some
>advice. How do express shipping cost to your customers? I plan to use
>mostly UPS, and I would like to charge as close to "at cost" as possible.
>But the customer needs to know beforehand approximately how much shippping
>will be. Do you charge a flat fee like LL Bean or try to relate it to the
>dollar total of the order? Do you attempt to figure out the weight of the
>shipment at the time of ordering and then use a weight/zone chart to
>figure out the actual cost? I would appreciate any suggestions.
>Patsy Catsos
>Cape Elizabeth, ME

Ken Russell on mon 21 jul 97

Patsy, I've only been doing the wholesale thing for coming up on three
years so my experience is limited. I make a statement in my brochure price
list that shipping costs are NOT included and that they are added. ALL my
customers, old and new at the wholesale shows know this and none want to
know what the costs are at the show. Sometimes a Mom and Pop gift store
asks how much it costs for shipping but there's no pat answer because it
all depends on the weight and size of the box of pots plus the distance
their store is from you. I wouldn't worry about knowing shipping costs for
a particular customer at the wholesale show. Your customers will
understand and they'll also usually not beef about paying for shipping.
It's sort of an "industry" norm from what I've experienced. Make sure in
your brochure that you mention that shipping costs are added to the order
cost and are not included in the price of your pots.

UPS has nice software for shipping, making it a no brainer as far as
labelling, etc. They even provide free of charge peel off labels that zip
through your printer and stick to your boxes.

Hope this helps.

Ken Russell
The Arlington Pottery