Sunday, May 20, 2007

New Postage Rates (& Rules) = Headache

The United States Postal Service raised their rates this past Monday. I was aware of that and planned to adjust my shipping and handling charges on my website to reflect that. What I was not aware of, was that they also revamped and redefined the various classes of mail, domestic and international.

I first discovered this when I went to mail a single print to the United Kingdom by Global Priority Mail. I've done this numerous times and it's typically about $10-$12. Friday I was told that it was going to be $20! That is a ridiculous increase. No longer is postage determined by weight and distance alone, they have added 'shape' as a factor as well. Global Priority is gone, replaced by First Class International and Priority International. As typical the clerk was not very helpful. I even asked "how much would it be for regular airmail?" She seemed confused by the question and just kept saying that they rates went up Monday. So as a former Postal Service employee myself I went home and read about all the confusing changes online.

I have spent much of the last several days (instead of working on my latest drawing) devising a new rate chart for my shipping and handling fees, trying to keep costs as low, as uniform and as simplified for my customers as possible. I don't like gouging people on shipping like some folks (most noticeably on eBay) tend to do. I had to keep in mind the various products and combinations that can be ordered and which packaging would fit best and which class of mail the package would qualify for.

I think I have come up with a good formula. In some (not many) cases, s&h will be cheaper and I can also offer insurance on certain International orders. I am looking forward to implementing the changes at my online gallery/shop and seeing if any adjustment need to be made.

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