. Without Totally Losing Your Mind.

thedpartmentstore

As an eBay seller, I love USPS’s new Regional Flat Rate boxes and rates!

As a one-time English major (as well as a one-time Communications major), I kind of hate them.

First—what’s with the name? Regional what? Flat who? Could it be any more confusing?

Second—what’s with the USPS website? It’s not really answering any question a normal human being might have and appears to have been written by either A) someone who understands the concept so well that he has no idea what could possibly confuse anyone else and/or B) a pair of hamsters with mad typing skills.

%img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqN,!lsE2FLOWwqjBNhrtGMWsg%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E_35.JPG" /%

That’s okay, though—I think I may have figured the whole mess out. Follow along with me as I explain every little detail in the manner of a Kindergarten teacher, or skip the parts that seem obvious to you, and we’ll all be saving money in no time.

And if you have anything to add or correct, please do contact me, and let me know! I'll be happy to make revisions and add clarification. I'm still learning too.

Note: All of these numbers assume "Commercial Base" pricing, which is what any of us pay when shipping online.

Why are they called "Regional"? Can I only use them in certain regions? Are they only helpful if I'm shipping short (or long) distances? I’m so confused. Are you SURE this program wasn’t devised by hamsters? I hear some of them are pretty smart.

As far as I can tell, they're called "Regional" because the rate you pay for them varies based on how far you are sending them (to what zone or "region"). This is as opposed to regular Flat Rate supplies, which cost the same to ship anywhere in the US.

You can use the Regional boxes anywhere within the US, and they will save you money if you use them appropriately, no matter how close or far they are going.

Now, forget all about the name "Regional." It will just confuse you.

So. Are they flat rates? Or what ?

Yes, they are flat rates, in the sense that they will always cost $X for packages sent to the same zone, no matter what the weight. "$X" will vary based on the zone, but it will not change whether what is in the box weighs 1 oz or 10 lbs.

In other words, they are flat rates-- in that the rates are independent of weight (up to a limit)-- but they are regional in that they vary based

on region.

(You can check out the usps.com "Commercial Base Prices" page and scroll down to the bottom to be better able to compare apples to apples.)

Let’s flesh this out with an example.

Say I live in New York City (that’d be the one that’s in New York State).

Everything I ship in an "A" box to California will cost me $9.37, no matter how much it weighs (up to a maximum of 15 lbs).

Everything I ship in a "B" box to California will cost me $14.62, no matter what it weighs (up to a maximum of 20 lbs).

If I ship to New Jersey, within my own “Zone,” it will always be $4.97 for "A" and $5.81 for "B." And so on.

So, when should I be using them?

Glad you asked!

The "A" boxes ship at the same rate as a regular 2-lb package.

The "B" boxes ship at the same rate as a regular 4-lb package.

Thus, you should be using an "A" box for items over 2 lbs that fit into an "A" box.

You should be using a "B" box for items over 4 lbs that fit into an "B" box.

(*Up to 15-20 lbs.)

I've taken the weight-based Priority chart, put it next to the Regional Flat Rate chart and highlighted the corresponding rates.

Voila:

%img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqYOKjQE1y+9EDs0BNhsO3R+wQ%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E_35.JPG" /%%img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqQOKigE12ZK,mdLBNhsPHjb!g%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E_35.JPG" /%%img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqQOKigE12ZK,mdLBNhsP(3Kzg%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E_35.JPG" /%%img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqUOKjUE1m-uEGZ5BNhsPqh+VQ%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EAs%20you%20can%20see%20(er,%20sorta--%20this%20is%20as%20big%20as%20eBay%20Guides%20will%20let%20me%20make%20these%20graphics),%20the%20prices%20are%20as%20detailed%20above.%20"A"%20at%20a%202-lb%20rate,%20"B"%20at%20a%204-lb%20rate.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E(There%20are%20exceptions%20to%20this%20rule,%20however,%20which%20I%20will%20detail%20in%20the%20next%20answer.)%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Ch2%3E%3Cstrong%3EOkay,%20but%20how%20big%20are%20these%20boxes,%20really?%3C/strong%3E%3C/h2%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E%25img%20src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqF,!hsE1QLggVUHBNhrwfWbM!%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EBoth%20%E2%80%9CA%E2%80%9D%20Boxes%20are%20about%20332%20cubic%20inches%20in%20volume.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EThe%20"B"%20boxes%20are%20obviously%20larger%20(706-707%20cubic%20inches):%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EB1:%2012%20x%2010.25%20x%205%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E16%20x%2014.5%20x%203%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3Eand%20among%20the%20largest%20Priority%20Mail%20boxes%20you%20can%20get.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EIn%20fact,%20the%20%E2%80%9CB%E2%80%9D%20boxes%20are%20larger%20than%20any%20USPS-provided%20Priority%20Box%20except%20for%20our%20friend%20the%20O-BOX7%20(12%20x%2012%20x%208)%20and%20the%20Large%20Flat%20Rate%20Box.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E%3Cem%3EHere%E2%80%99s%20where%20our%20exceptions%20come%20in!%3C/em%3E%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E(This%20is%20a%20little%20on%20the%20advanced%20end%20of%20the%20spectrum,%20so%20feel%20free%20to%20skip%20if%20you%20don%E2%80%99t%20want%20to%20get%20bogged%20down.)%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EWhile%20the%20Regional%20Boxes%20will%20generally%20save%20you%20money%20over%20the%20regular%20Priority%20rate,%20they%20are%20sometimes%20more%20expensive%20than%20the%20regular%20(non-%E2%80%9CRegional%E2%80%9D)%20Flat%20Rate%20Boxes.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EThe%20simplest%20way%20to%20explain%20these%20exceptions%20is%20this:%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E%3Cem%3ELarge%20Flat%20Rate%20Exception:%3C/em%3E%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EThe%20Large%20Flat%20Rate%20Box%20is%2042%20cents%20cheaper%20than%20the%20Regional%20%E2%80%9CB%E2%80%9D%20Box%20to%20%E2%80%9CZone%E2%80%9D%208%20(the%20farthest%20%E2%80%9CZone%E2%80%9D%20from%20you).%20This%20is%20the%20one%20case%20in%20which%20it%20is%20cheaper%20to%20use%20the%20Large%20Flat%20Rate%20Box%20rather%20than%20the%20Regional%20%E2%80%9CB%E2%80%9D%20Box%20for%20items%20over%204%20lbs%E2%80%94plus,%20the%20Large%20Flat%20Rate%20Box%20is%20actually%20a%20bit%20bigger%20than%20the%20%E2%80%9CB%E2%80%9D%20Boxes.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E%3Cem%3EMedium%20Flat%20Rate%20Exception:%3C/em%3E%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EThe%20Medium%20Flat%20Rate%20Box%20is%20substantially%20cheaper%20than%20the%20Regional%20%E2%80%9CB%E2%80%9D%20Box%20to%20%E2%80%9CZones%E2%80%9D%205-8.%20(In%20the%20case%20of%20a%20New%20Yorker,%20this%20would%20be%20to%20Chicago%20or%20farther.)%20To%20save%20money%20over%20regular%20Priority%20rates,%20the%20catch%20is,%20of%20course,%20that%20the%20item%20must%20ship%20at%20a%204%20lb%20rate%20or%20higher%20(3%20lbs%20or%20higher%20to%20Zone%208)%20AND%20fit%20into%20a%20Medium%20Flat%20Rate%20Box%20(which%20is%20unusual%20unless%20your%20items%20are%20fairly%20dense).%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EIf%20this%20is%20confusing,%20just%20check%20out%20the%20%3Cstrong%3Echeat%20sheet%3C/strong%3E%20at%20the%20bottom%20of%20the%20guide.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Ch2%3E%3Cstrong%3EHow%20do%20I%20get%20these%20magical%20boxes?%20And%20can%20I%20pay%20these%20rates%20at%20the%20counter?%20How%20do%20I%20ship%20them?%3C/strong%3E%3C/h2%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EGeez,%20enough%20with%20the%20questions,%20already!%20What%20am%20I,%20the%20Answer%20Lady?%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EOh,%20right.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EYou%20order%20the%20boxes%20via%20usps.com%20(for%20free!)%20much%20as%20you%20would%20any%20other%20Priority%20Mail%20box.%20Unlike%20most%20Priority%20Mail%20supplies,%20however,%20I%20do%20not%20believe%20that%20the%20Regional%20Rate%20boxes%20are%20available%20at%20your%20local%20post%20office.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EAnd%20no,%20you%20can%E2%80%99t%20pay%20for%20postage%20at%20the%20counter.%20The%20prices%20and%20postage%20for%20Regional%20boxes%20are%20only%20available%20when%20you%20purchase%20postage%20online.%20That's%20why%20they're%20cutting%20us%20this%20break--%20so%20we'll%20be%20more%20likely%20to%20use%20online%20postage.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3ERight%20now,%20you%20can%20ship%20these%20Regional%20Rate%20Boxes%20in%20one%20of%20several%20ways:%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E%3Cstrong%3E1)%20eBay%20Shipping%3C/strong%3E%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E2)%20USPS%E2%80%99s%20Click'n'Ship%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E3)%20Endicia%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EAs%20of%20this%20writing%20(March%2020,%202011)%20Stamps.com%20and%20PayPal%20Shipping%20are%20expected%20to%20follow%20suit%20soon.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Ch2%3E%3Cstrong%3ESo,%20what's%20the%20catch?%3C/strong%3E%3C/h2%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EBesides%20the%20fact%20that%20you'll%20have%20to%20order%20the%20boxes%20and%20print%20postage%20online%20(which%20is%20probably%20a%20plus%20for%20most%20of%20us),%20the%20only%20catch%20I'm%20aware%20of%20is%20that%20the%20weight%20limits%20on%20these%20boxes%20are%20lower%20than%20the%20weight%20limits%20for%20traditional%20Flat%20Rate%20Boxes.%2015%20lbs%20for%20"A"%20and%2020%20lbs%20for%20"B,"%20as%20opposed%20to%2070%20lbs%20for%20traditional%20Flat%20Rate%20Boxes.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3EUnless%20you%20are%20shipping%20gold%20bars,%20there's%20no%20practical%20difference.%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E%25img%20src="http://i.ebayimg.com/00/$(KGrHqJ,!jgE1usu6gErBNhruIp6IQ%3C/p%3E%0D%0A%3Cp%3E_35.JPG" /%

How do I offer this rate to my customers?

If you use calculated shipping, just enter 2 lbs if you are planning on shipping in an "A" box, 4 lbs if you are shipping in a "B" box. This may be problematic, however, if you also ship internationally using calculated shipping. In that case, you may prefer to use regular calculated shipping and refund your customers.

Hopefully eBay will be adding the Regional Flat Rate shipping option to listings soon, so that it can all be streamlined.

If you charge a single flat rate (not to be confused with a FRE/FRB) for shipping-- or if use Free Shipping-- obviously this is a non-issue, just more money in your pocket where you are able to save it.

I hope this was helpful! I thank you, and so do the hamsters.

Bonus! Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Priority Mail Boxes:

Use the Small Flat Rate Box if possible, as it is less expensive to ship than any other box. Otherwise…

Items shipping at or below the 2-lb rate.

Source: www.ebay.com

Category: Forex

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