Many of us that have a home business have found out the hard way that guessing on shipping can cost you a lot of money.
Never guess! Here are some of the basics I learned the hard way
1. Get a good scale to weigh your items
2. Buy poly bags to ship anything lighter weight. Poly bags will save you a ton of money over boxes. You can get them on Ebay cheap.
3. Always ship first class mail when possible. Anything 13 ounces or under can ship first class. Use Paypal shipping and get the tracking number for just .19 cents. You can also ship first class international using this same method. Never ship without a tracking number. Not worth it! I have a lot of items that only weigh 2 ounces. You have to check package/thick envelop to ship first class so put a peanut or a bit of bubble wrap in the envelope to make it puffy. Otherwise the post office may start charging you priority rate.
4. Pre weigh everything you sell in its packaging to be sure you are charging the correct shipping cost. Always throw in whatever your packaging costs such as .25 cents for the envelope, ink etc. But do keep your rates reasonable! Customers are savvy and know when they are getting gouged on shipping.
5. If you have to use a box check out USPS Regional Rate priority boxes. The boxes are free but you have to order them online. You cannot get them at your local post office. I use the regional rate A box a lot.
Currently I am trying stamps.com to make my shipping faster but I have to say I am not having a lot of luck with it. While I love the free scale they sent, the software is driving me crazy. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I will update on this when I have used it longer. For sure if I could get it to work consistently it would be worth the monthly fee. If not I will try something else.
Do offer international shipping to increase your sales. It does make a big difference! If you always weigh your items and print your postage online, it is not at all hard to do as it will print your customs form for you.