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How can I cost effectively ship large framed prints to buyers?

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Thread started 19 Nov 2010 (Friday) 12:20   
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camdencooper
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I'd like to sell my framed/matted prints on eBay this holiday season but I can't figure out how to ship the prints to buyers without it costing a fortune in shipping fees. Most of my photos are either 16x20" or 11x14" and when I've shipped these in the past it usually has cost between $35.00 and $60.00 using standard shipping methods through UPS. I've checked with FedEx and USPS and their prices have been more or less the same.

What I can't understand is how other sellers are able to charge so much less for shipping and still make a profit; I've looked through other eBay auctions for similarly sized framed prints and the majority of them charge a flat rate of only $9.99 or around that price. If I could fit my prints into the flat rate boxes offered by UPS/FedEx then I could lower the shipping cost dramatically, but none of them are the right dimensions to hold my prints. Instead, in order to ship them I'll have to look through my attic for a spare box big enough to put the framed print in and then an even larger box to put that box inside (with layers of bubble wrap between) so that the glass doesn't break during the shipment and the *minimum* cost of sending the package usually ends up being about 40 or 50 dollars (more if the buyer is further away geographically).

I can't expect people to purchase my prints if I'm charging $30 - 60 more in shipping than other sellers and I can't add the shipping cost into my purchase price and offer "free shipping" either since that would raise my item's prices up significantly higher than those of other sellers as well. So what's the secret here? How can I sell and ship my framed photos at a reasonable price and still make a profit?

Post #1, Nov 19, 2010 12:20:32




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cdifoto
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Have you considered selling them without frames? You could then roll them. I thnk those folks who are charging $10 to ship their framed prints either build the loss into their sale price or simply aren't actually shipping any...ie they haven't sold any so they have no idea how much of a loss they'd be taking.

Post #2, Nov 19, 2010 13:53:51


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RDKirk
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Shipping prints that size be cheaper, but be sure that your overboxing isn't inching past the point that the total size (length+width+girth, or however they're doing it) trips the cost substantially higher. Those sellers either use acrylic (eliminating double boxing and saving both weight and packaging) or the package the glass separately from the frame (which eliminates the need for double-boxing).

Post #3, Nov 19, 2010 15:59:05 as a reply to cdifoto's post 2 hours earlier.




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GJim
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Imagekind.com shows the following US shipping costs for a 18x24 matted/framed print:

~~~
Prints and Framed Artwork
FedEx is our preferred carrier for prints. Choose a shipping method from the following:

Ground Domestic
3-5 Business Days
$13.99
2nd Day Domestic
$17.99
Next Day Domestic
$39.99
~~~

Of course, that means that you have to sell the prints through their web-site, and you may/may-not be satisfied with their matting/framing.

Post #4, Nov 19, 2010 18:51:27


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Since you used a descriptive title, the forum has done a mini-search for you. Look at the links at the very bottom left hand corner of this page.

Post #5, Nov 21, 2010 10:13:36


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mikekelley
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Can you drop ship? I know MPIX and others will drop ship for considerably less than what I could get away with.

Post #6, Nov 21, 2010 13:50:30


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camdencooper wrote in post #11312934external link
I'd like to sell my framed/matted prints on eBay this holiday season but I can't figure out how to ship the prints to buyers without it costing a fortune in shipping fees.

In answer to your original question, you can't - at least in my experience. That's why I stopped offering framed/matted prints on the website.

When the quantity of pieces is high enough, I personally deliver F/M'ed pieces anywhere in my state*, but for the distant single-print purchaser, I no longer offer it. Shipping costs are high, and dangers horrendous if you frame with glass. And when you add the cost of shipping a F/M print to your price, it makes it appear too high. Not to mention the time spend packing, etc. is a PITA.

Many of those shipping at lower prices have negotiated contract deals. Adorama is a good example. When I get a 24x36 printed by them, they ship to me (tube) for $4.95. When I take that exact same tube, re-address it and ship to the customer, I can get it no lower than about $12 (UPS) or $15 (USPS), and even higher depending upon the zone.

What I now do is ship prints in tubes as suggested, but in addition, I include a hints/tips sheet on matting and framing that helps the purchaser get it done at a good price.

(* - It's excellent PR, too ;) )

Post #7, Nov 22, 2010 06:51:01


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