Have you ever wondered why shipping costs so much, or why some businesses ask you to spend a certain amount before receiving free shipping? Maybe you're a small business owner and you've been losing money and you weren't sure why? Let me tell you, I have BEEN there. Actually, when I first started this business I wasn't charging at all for shipping because I thought it would bring in more customers and I thought it was a nice thing to do. Boy, was I wrong! Once I calculated how much I was actually spending on shipping, I realized that I was losing hundreds of dollars a month just on shipping alone. It doesnt seem that much at first, I thought "hey, it's just a box, a bag and a stamp..how much could that be!?" It ended up being A LOT.
So let's start the breakdown of what I pay for my shipping items and perhaps it will help you see why 1. shipping is so costly or 2. where your money is going within your business.
Let's start with the boxes. I LOVE these little boxes. It is a Canadian business called The Slotbox, and these adorable recycled cardboard boxes fit perfectly into the mail slot. They are a great way to stand out and are easy to personalize and they don't cost an arm and a leg. Although they are low on cost, the shipping cost is where your money really goes. Cardboard ins't light to ship, so you do pay almost double because of shipping.
So 9 small boxes are $6.30 which works out to $0.70 a box. What a great price, right!? Well tack on taxes and shipping and you're looking at $1.05 a box. That's a lot of mullah! Not only that, you can't ship your box off with nothing inside it to cradle the product, so you have to have something soft in there to cushion it. I use cotton batting in two different layers; one at the top, one at the bottom. A roll of the cotton batting costs around $27 and I can cut around 225 pieces out of that giant roll, adding an additional $.12 to every order.
If a neckace is ordered I like to use organic cotton drawstring bags. I purposely don't put our logo on them so that they can be reused over and over again. These bags are handsewn and come out to around $1 (just over) a bag. Sometimes an order has earrings and a necklaces and I will use both a box and a bag making it already $2.17 for just the packaging...so far....
Inside every order it's important to include care instructions so that the customer knows how to perfectly care for their items. Not only do they receive a care guide, but the jewelry piece will also come on a card with the logo or a nice design on it. Those 2 pieces alone cost $.52 each, plus I include a thank you card which is an additional $.52 with every order. Just that alone is an extra $1.56 with every order.
Bags for shipping are always a big one! You want to open your mail box and be excited to open your mail. I don't know about you, but the moment I see an orange envelope I immediately think it's a bill of some kind and my excitement drops. That's the whole reason I spend a little extra on bags. Not only that, I absolutely LOVE that the bags I use are fully compostable. How cool is it that these babies can be thrown into your compost, garden or houseplants and they will break right down? Again, they are so low on cost but the shipping is where you spend the money because they get to be a little heavy. Each bag, because of shipping, works out to be $0.57 each.
Postage in itself can be so crazy expensive, expecially if you aren't sending letter mail. Luckily those slot boxes make it so that I can send all our packages as letter mail. In the photo I have broken down the costs for what it costs me, in Canada, to ship.
There are so many other small things that aren't included in the packaging. Your time, drive time, the time you stand in line, the stress of making sure it's all perfect and you didn't spill your 5th coffee of the day on it and all the love and energy you put into it. Your time has a price tag and that's something you should never sell yourself short on!
So holy smokes... there are a LOT of little things that add up to make up shipping costs. Personally, in Canada without tracking, I charge $3 and with that $3 I am losing money. I'm aware of it, but I am happy with the $3 mark.
These prices only reflect jewelry, jewelry that weighs barely anything. Imagine the costs for something heavier, like clothing. Hopefully this helped to open your eyes a little more on all the 'behind the scenes' of the costs that really go into shipping. I know it can be hard to think about, mostly because we open our packages and throw it all away, but a lot of thought and love go into package and shipping your perfect little package. It's a moment that's being created. A perfect moment for when you open your long awaited present in the mail and that first impression of when you open it. We want it to be an experience, but we also don't want to lose money creating that experience.