May 20, 2023

How to Ship Items on eBay

Liza Summer via Pexels

So, you've finally sold your cherished item on eBay. Now comes the most daunting part: figuring out how to ship items on eBay to their new owners. Whether you're a seasoned seller or a first-timer, navigating the world of shipping can sometimes feel like sailing uncharted waters.

What shipping method should you choose? How do you package your item securely? Can you maneuver the labyrinth of shipping regulations and costs?

This guide will explore essential techniques and insider tips to ship items on eBay.

How to Prep Your Items for Shipping on eBay

The goal of preparing an item for shipping is to ensure that it stays in excellent condition during shipping and gets to the buyer undamaged. Follow these tips to prepare your items:

  • Clean the item. Nobody wants to receive a dusty or grimy package, right? Wipe away the dirt from the item, polish it up, and make it look its best.
  • Gather packaging materials. Some key materials include bubble wrap, packing peanuts, sturdy boxes, packaging tubes for drawings and posters, packaging tissue paper, and airbags. You can actually buy these materials on eBay.
  • Choose the right combination for your item. eBay recommends choosing standard-size boxes or asking for guidance from your local post office. Wrap delicate items with bubble wrap or foam padding, then use packing peanuts to fill gaps and prevent movement during transit.
  • Seal the package securely. Use high-quality packaging tape to seal all box openings, then reinforce corners and seams to provide extra protection. Make sure there are no loose ends or openings that could compromise the package's integrity.
  • Label the package correctly. Clearly write or print the package's shipping and return addresses. If you're using eBay's shipping labels, follow the instructions to print and attach them securely.
  • Remove previous labels. If you’re reusing a box, ensure it doesn’t have signs of previous use, such as tape marks, or old addresses still on the box.

How Much Does Shipping Cost?

Shipping costs can vary depending on various factors, such as package weight, dimensions, destination, shipping method, and any additional services you may require. Here's a very rough guide to shipping costs using USPS and UPS:


With the USPS, shipping will depend on the service you choose and the items you’re sending. The shipping costs for different services are as follows:

  • Priority Mail Express starts at $28.75
  • Priority Mail starts  at $9.35
  • First-Class Mail starts at $0.63
  • Media Mail: starts at $3.65 (available at the post office)
  • USPS Retail Ground starts at $8.95

UPS Shipping Costs

UPS shipping costs are usually higher than with USPS. While UPS has various complicated pricing options, the flat rate shipping rates are the easiest to understand. If you choose flat rate shipping boxes, the cost depends on the size of your package and your preferred shipping speed.

Here’s an overview:

  •  Extra small package starts at $10.20
  • Small packages starts at $13.35
  • Medium packages starts at $16.05
  • Large packages starts at $21.05
  •  Extra large packages starts at $26.05

You can choose from the various delivery speeds, including UPS Ground, UPS 3 Day Select, UPS 2nd Day Air, and UPS Next Day Saver.

Different Shipping Options

When shipping your eBay order, you can use any service you like. However, eBay has three major integrated carriers: USPS, UPS, and FedEx. Each of these carriers offers different shipping options, as follows:

USPS Shipping Options

The USPS is convenient because you can always find a post office near you. We mentioned the shipping options available under the USPS when discussing costs, but here is an overview of what each service offers:

  • Priority Mail Express: this shipping service guarantees next-day delivery to most addresses within the U.S. with a money-back guarantee.
  • Priority Mail: with this option, your package will get delivered within one to three business days, depending on how far the package is going.
  • First-Class Mail: this is an affordable option if you’re shipping standard-sized, single-piece envelopes or small packages and large envelopes of up to 13 oz. Your mail will be delivered within one to five business days, and small packages within two to five days.
  • Media Mail: this inexpensive option is the best for sending educational materials and media, like books. You’ll have them delivered within two to eight days.
  • USPS Retail Ground: you can use this option for shipping oversized packages that do not require urgent delivery. Shipping takes two to five business days.

UPS Shipping Options

UPS offers a range of shipping options to cater to various needs. The different options include the following:

  • UPS Ground: the delivery is within one to five business days, based on the distance to the destination.
  • UPS Next Day Air Early: for time-sensitive shipments, UPS Next Day Air Early ensures delivery as early as 8:00 a.m. on the next business day.
  •  UPS Next Day Air: if you need to send a package urgently, UPS Next Day Air provides guaranteed delivery on the next business day. Your package will be delivered by 10.30 am.
  •  UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.: UPS 2nd Day Air ensures delivery within two business days, and delivery is as early as 8 am.
  •  UPS 3 Day Select: this service guarantees delivery within three business days.
  •  UPS SurePost: this economical shipping option guarantees delivery within two to six business days.

FedEx Shipping Options

FedEx gives you the following shipping options:

  • FedEx SameDay: your package will be delivered in just a few hours.
  • FedEx First Overnight: delivery will be early in the morning the next business day between 8 am to 2 pm in extended areas.
  • FedEx Priority Overnight: the delivery is the next day by 10.30 am or 5 pm in some rural areas.
  • FedEx Standard Overnight: FedEx will deliver your package the next business day by 4.30 pm or 8 pm in rural residences.
  • FedEx 2Day: delivery is on the second business day by 4.30 pm.
  • FedEx Express Saver: you will get third business day delivery by 4.30 pm.
  • FedEx Home Delivery: you will get day-definite delivery to residential addresses within one to five business days, or three to seven days if you’re shipping to Hawaii or Alaska. 
  • FedEx Ground: this service offers day-definite delivery to the destination with business addresses in the U.S. in 1–5 business days.

Insuring a Package

All the major carriers integrated with eBay offer you the option to purchase shipping insurance for your packages. Here is an overview of each carrier’s shipping insurance:

USPS Shipping Insurance

USPS insurance provides coverage in case your package gets lost or stolen, or if it has missing content. It doesn’t cover illegal packages, perishable items, live animals, or losses such as missed business opportunities caused by delayed delivery.

With USPS, you can purchase up to $5,000 in indemnity. When you choose Priority Mail services, you will get automatic coverage of up to $100.

In the event of mishaps, either you or the package recipient can file a USPS claim as long as you have the original mailing receipt. You must provide proof of insurance and file the claim within the stipulated filing period, which varies depending on the shipping service option you used.

You must also include proof of damage and the tracking number on the mailing receipt. You should also follow the packaging tips discussed earlier– damage may not be covered if your packaging was ineffective or inappropriate for your item.

UPS Insurance

UPS offers automatic shipping liability coverage for the loss or damage of packages worth up to $100. If the declared value of your item exceeds $100, you can buy additional coverage directly from UPS, allowing you to increase the coverage value up to $999.

UPS's liability coverage doesn’t cover losses or damages resulting from inadequate packaging, natural disasters, or acts of war. Certain items, like jewelry and artwork, have limited coverage and might require additional insurance.

In the event of a lost or damaged package, you should file a claim with UPS within the specified timeframe, typically within 60 days from the shipment date. Your claim should include documentation of the package's value and evidence of the loss or damage incurred.

FedEx Shipping Insurance

FedEx shipping labels provide liability coverage of up to $100. If the declared value of your item exceeds $100, you can buy additional coverage to increase the coverage value up to $2,000.

When filing an insurance claim, you must present evidence of the item's value, evidence of the damage incurred, and proof of shipment. It is crucial to adhere to the designated time frame for claim submission, which is typically within 60 days from the date of shipment.

Tracking Options

Once you ship an item to the buyer, you should upload tracking details to help you and the buyer follow the package’s journey. The easiest option to ensure effective tracking is to use an eBay-issued label. In this case, the tracking number that the integrated carrier provides will be uploaded automatically to the platform, saving you the effort of manually entering information.

You can use Seller Hub or My eBay to add tracking details for your buyer to see. If you upload a tracking number, the item will automatically be marked as shipped.

Leave the eBay Shipping Hassle to Sella

Navigating the intricate world of shipping as an eBay seller can be a daunting task. From selecting the right packaging to dealing with shipping carriers, it's clear that shipping can quickly become a complex and time-consuming process.

However, there's a simpler alternative that frees you from the hassle and intricacies of shipping: Sella. With Sella, you can hand over every step of the selling process, including shipping, to experienced professionals. So, if you're looking to simplify your selling experience and offload the complexities of shipping, get started with Sella today!