Iím about to go back into selling records on the net, both through listserves and eBay. Iíve many desirable records to sell and have been trying to find a better way to do so more efficiently.
The stopper has been the enormous time and trouble the shipping process consumes. As Frederick, MD continues to grow, so do the waits at the post offices. Itís now a solid hour or more out of the business day to make the round trip and go through the lines. Given the unpredictability of my travel schedule and the push on the part of many buyers to get their purchase quickly, the stress involved was no longer worth it.
The POís post-9/11security considerations now require that all packages over 1 lb bear the post office postmark. Thus each packed 12" 78 would have to go through the line.
Iíve looked at the USPSís "Click and Ship." It allows me to print labels and postage but only for priority mail and delivery confirmation. This service also permits packages using this service to be put in mailboxes. The larger size mailbox has an 18" mouth and should be deep enough to take a well-packed 12" record but may not accommodate 16" discs- the throat may not be deep enough.
Stamps.com adds media mail but charges more for postage. Since I never ship without delivery confirmation, Iím waiting for an answer to my email to them to see if it allows me to add the sticker to media mail.
It may well turn out that media mail is about as expensive as priority, since the latter gives a free box but one has to be built into shipping costs for the former service.
Iíve learned NEVER to send anything insured. The cost in time of the paperwork and waiting time for a claim is well over an hour. This is a service I simply will not offer under any conditions.
Even if itís possible to ship overseas using these services, Iíve found recently that the ins and outs of proper completion of customs forms are an ever-confusing maze. Some of these changes are a consequence of 9/11. For now, Iíll be limiting shipping to the US. Interested buyers from overseas will have to arrange forwarding from a US address.
What experience has the list members had with UPS on line? Which do you prefer?
Iíd welcome enlightened comments, the experience of other dealers, etc.