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eBay Hacks by David A. Karp

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Cheap, Fast Shipping Without Waiting in Line

Generate prepaid shipping labels online to save money and time.

“Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and long lines at the post office.”

You know the drill. Take your package down to the post office. Stand in line. Stand in line some more. Then, watch while your package is weighed, listen to your shipping options, and pick whichever one is cheapest. Go home, and do it all again next week. But the worst part is that it’s completely unnecessary.

Most major couriers — and nearly all couriers in the United States — offer online shipping services. Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Go to your courier’s web site and sign up for an account; at this time, you’ll enter your mailing address and, optionally, payment information. You’ll need to do this only once. See the next section for courier-specific tips.

    Tip

    Before you’re ready to ship, you can get a shipping cost quote from any courier web site. Do this before sending a total to the high bidder (see [Hack #66]), and you’ll never underestimate shipping costs again.

  2. Enter your recipient’s address into a form, as well as the weight and dimensions of the package. (To avoid typos, make sure to use copy-and-paste rather than typing your customer’s address by hand.) The return address is filled in automatically. Figure 6-3 shows the FedEx Ship Manager; note that the return address, which isn’t shown, is filled in automatically.

    Figure 6-3. The FedEx Ship Manager lets you print out a prepaid shipping ...

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