How To Price Postage On Etsy With Manual and Calculated Shipping

When you’re setting your prices on Etsy, it’s important to cover your shipping costs without charging too much.

Shipping prices that are too high can make customers skip your shop, but if they’re too low you could lose out on profits.

To price postage on Etsy you’ll need to choose to set your own rates, or to let Etsy calculate the shipping for you, if that’s an option. You’ll also need to decide whether to charge the customer the lower rate that Etsy charges us for commercial labels, or whether to charge the regular post office retail rates. Depending on what country you’re in, you’ll have different options.

Image saying how to set up shipping profiles on etsy

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Which type of shipping profile is best?

You can use either manually-set shipping, or calculated shipping, depending on what’s available in your country.

Both have good and bad points, but in general calculated shipping is the most accurate and easiest option to set up.

With calculated shipping, you tell Etsy the basics about where the package is shipping from, and you enter the size and weight information for each listing. Etsy will figure out the actual cost to ship to the customer based on their location and the package details, so you won’t have to figure anything out.

It’s a pretty accurate system in general, and the times that it’s given me prices that are way off are usually the times that I’ve entered the package information incorrectly.

You might need to do some creative package size estimates to keep the system from thinking that your boxes are bigger than they are, but it’s not hard to set up.

And once it’s set up, Etsy will do the calculating.

How to set up Etsy flat-rate shipping

For the manually-set options, you’ll need to figure out the cost of your average package postage, or look to see how much it costs to send a package cross-country. That would be the most expensive option, so you’ll probably have to use that and the cheapest option to decide how much to charge.

You can also charge a flat fee regardless of the package size and weight, and using the manual setting is the way to do that.

You’ll need to figure this out by looking at the post office’s estimated postage cost charts to get an idea of how much it actually costs to ship things, because everyone will have different costs based on your location and what you sell.

The manual settings are a lot more work than using calculated shipping, so if that’s an option you might want to go ahead and use it unless you want to do a flat shipping fee for every order.

How to set up a calculated shipping profile.

Shipping settings page
Shipping settings page.

To set up a calculated shipping profile on Etsy:

  1. Go to your shop dashboard. (You can also create a profile when listing an item, then saving the shipping settings as a profile.)
  2. Choose “settings” on the menu at the left.
  3. Choose “shipping settings.”
  4. On the first page, click on “Create profile” on the right.
  5. Select “Calculate for me” to create a calculated profile, which means that Etsy will calculate the cost of the shipping label based on the weight and size of the package.
  6. Enter the information in the postal code and processing time fields.
  7. Enter the information about where you’ll ship by clicking the triangle at the right to open the country menu.
  8. Click the triangle on each main section to uncheck individual countries within that continent if you don’t want to ship to specific locations.
  9. Select the postage options that you’ll offer.
  10. Select free shipping if you want to offer free shipping to your country or internationally.
  11. Add a handling fee if you want to charge an extra fee. This will be added once for each item in the order, so be careful not to overcharge.
  12. Name your profile and save it so that you can use it when you make a listing.
  13. When you set up a listing you’ll need to add the weight and size of the package so that Etsy can calculate the cost.
Selecting the countries that you'll ship to
Selecting the countries that you’ll ship to.
select the shipping options
Select the shipping options.

Like I said above, you can create a shipping profile from the shipping settings page, or from the listing page itself as you list something.

You’ll have the option to save a setting that you create as you’re listing the item, and that will save it to use again for similar things.

How to set up an Etsy shipping profile with prices that you set manually.

To set up a shipping profile with a set price:

  1. Go to your shop dashboard. (You can also create a profile when listing an item, then saving the shipping settings as a profile.)
  2. Choose “settings” on the menu at the left.
  3. Choose “shipping settings.”
  4. On the first page, click on “Create profile” on the right.
  5. Select “I’ll enter fixed prices manually.”
  6. Enter the information in the postal code and processing time fields.
  7. In the following section, select a shipping service.
  8. Choose free shipping or a fixed price.
  9. For the fixed price option, enter the price that you’ll charge to ship the first item in the order, then a price for every additional item.
  10. Keep adding locations and shipping costs, or click the trash can icon to remove a location if you don’t want to ship to a specific location.
  11. For the shipping upgrade section, choose an upgrade and the additional amount it would cost. This will be added to the original amount of shipping, so make sure that they add up to the correct amount.
  12. Name the profile and save it to use it again.
choosing the shipping service and cost to ship in the manual shipping settings.
Choosing the shipping service and the cost to ship.

How to choose your shipping rates for calculated shipping.

Shipping rates and upgrades settings
Shipping rates and upgrades settings

Etsy negotiates a discounted rate for the shipping labels that they sell to us, so we save money if we buy our labels from them (or another commercial shipping service like GoShippo or Pirateship.)

When Etsy calculates the cost of shipping, it will use whatever rate you set in your shipping settings in the Rates And Upgrades section. You can choose either Etsy commercial rates or post office retail counter rates. The retail rate is what the customer would pay when they buy the label at the post office, and the commercial rate is the discounted amount that we pay Etsy when we buy a shipping label.

When you go to your shipping settings and click on the “Rates and Upgrades” section, you’ll be able to choose between the two amounts. This will determine how much the CUSTOMER is charged when they pay for shipping.

If you buy your shipping labels to mail your orders, you’ll always pay the commercial rate. When you have Etsy Shipping Label rates selected in the shipping rates section, the customer will also pay that amount when they pay for the shipping on their order.

This basically means that if Etsy calculates the shipping to cost a certain amount, they’ll charge the customer that much, then you’ll also pay that much when you buy the label to ship the order.

The problem with this is that if the customer pays the same amount that you do, it looks like a basic in-and-out income/expense.

But remember that we pay a 6.5% fee to Etsy on the amount that the customer pays us, so if we charge the customer the Etsy commercial rate, we’re still losing money in the form of that fee.

The better way to set it up is to choose the post office retail rates, which are the non-discounted rate that you’d pay at the post office.

Click to see the video about Etsy calculated shipping mistakes!

The customer will be charged that retail rate, which is a little higher than what Etsy charges us to buy the shipping labels.

Then when you buy the label, it won’t cost as much as what the customer paid, and the difference will cover some of the fees and cost to ship the package.

Using calculated shipping and retail rates will usually mean that Etsy charges the customer the correct amount, but that you don’t lose money on the cost of shipping the items.

Selecting the shipping upgrades button in this section will let Etsy give the customer the option of choosing a faster shipping method at checkout.

If they do choose an upgrade, Etsy will calculate the cost of the upgraded method based on the package size and weight.

Depending on where you’re located, calculated shipping might not be an option. If that’s the case you’ll need to figure out shipping costs after checking to see what the rates are to ship different package sizes to different locations.

This can be a difficult process because it can be hard to estimate exactly, and when the post office raises rates over time you’ll have to adjust things, too.

You might want to offer free shipping and just add an average shipping cost to the price of your items. But if you do that make sure to adjust your prices when the post office raised their rates, or it will eat into your profits over time!

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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