Last Friday, I was able to sell several items on Ebay.com. But even if I still have to wait 21 days for my PayPal funds to clear, I am obliged to ship them immediately because providing a working tracking information MIGHT help to increase the chances of getting my funds quicker. I haven’t been inside the post office in about two years and I can no longer remember the fees I have paid. So before going to Makati Central Post Office, I reminded myself to make a lot of mental notes for future forays into their premises. LOL
Words cannot capture how hot the weather was. Summer is definitely in full swing but it did not deter us from walking all the way to the post office in the intersection of Ayala Avenue and Buendia Avenue. I had everything inside my bag: shipping labels, a packaging tape, a pair of scissors, and the items wrapped in their respective bubble wraps. It took me a while to realize that I have forgotten one important item: a fan. The post office was not air-conditioned and it was definite that I will be sweating a lot. LOL
Upon entering, we immediately purchased corrugated boxed from the e-Post Shop, where they sell different nox sizes. As I only need boxes enough for a single garment, I opted for the number 4, which was sold at Php 20 each. I had no idea what time the post office closes, whether it was 5PM or 6PM but we arrived around 4:30 and we immediately rushed weighing and prepping the boxes. The items must be fitted snugly inside the box before sealing with packaging tapes, so we still had to adjust the size by cutting the four corners. (The lady manning the shop was very kind and gracious, as she helped us in preparing the packages).
Now, the tricky part was the shipping fee. I charged my buyers (who are all from USA and Western Europe) a flat rate of US$ 20 or Php 780 fee. I originally intended to send these via International Express Mail Service (IEMS), but I was not too keen with the prices seen on PhilPost’s website. Shipping a 500-gram item to the United States would have cost me Php 1,409! That was twice the shipping fee I have charged the buyer. LOL But wait, France was more expensive at thrice the fee at Php 1,980!
I scrapped the IEMS and opted for the Registered Mail because it still fell under the average of two weeks shipping period I have promised the buyers. However, I just found out that the rate for items weighing 251 grams to 500 grams weigh was Php 885, meaning I had to add money from my own pocket because I had undercharged the buyers (take note that it was for the shipping alone, not also the handling which includes shipping materials, etc). Now, once the total weight (i.e. the item + bubble wrap + felt cloth container + packaging tape + corrugated box) reaches 501 gram (yes, even a single gram excess in their digital La Poste weighing scales), the cost of shipping automatically doubles from Php 885 to Php 1,770. In two out of four items, I had to remove either the freebie sweets I have included or something as light as the felt cloth container because I reached 508 grams. Removing the latter brought me back Php 885 mark, once the scale showed 498 grams.
I was made to fill up a form, one for each package containing important information about the sender, buyer and the item. I also then paid a total of Php 3,540 for the four items and was thinking of my held up PayPal funds while getting the money from my wallet. =/ She then attached the forms and some weird looking long stamps on top of each package and then stamped them with the date.
After this, I was sent to the next counter, where the lady inspected and began attaching the stickers with tracking code to each items. She also issued a registry receipt, containing the same tracking information.
I have learned a lot from everything that happened to me in the post office earlier. From glaring realities (e.g. my net profit for one of the items was just around Php 20! It was not even a dollar!) to realizations preparations on shipping internationally. I will definitely continue to sell on Ebay.com, but armed with these newly-acquired information, I hope it will help me strategize better for future sales.