We just got a call from one of our regular customers. He’d broken the last mug he had special ordered last summer and wished for John to make and ship another one to him.
Glad to do it. Orders from regular customers keep us alive in the slow months. In the winter we welcome every phone call giving us any kind of special, complicated or wacky order.
Well, our new bbf RK needs his mug replaced and he lives in North Carolina. So John asked me to get on the USPS website and calculate the actual shipping charge so we could give RK a total.
It’s a large, tall mug for $48.00. Because we aren’t legally required by Wisconsin to collect sales tax on interstate sales, all we add to that is the shipping charge.
Here it gets tricky. Because it is expensive.
It’s not the size alone. It’s the weight, too. And we add insurance. And tracking. The one time we didn’t add tracking we needed it. So we follow the principal that we will shovel the sidewalk before the snow falls; or as my Dad is fond of saying, CYA.
And we do.
And so we put on our shipping and handling hats, and went back into our records for the average shipping weight of a mug that size. Then I went to my shipping office (the USPS website) and punched in the zip codes, the weight and the special costs (insurance and tracking). That came to $13.55. I added $5 for John’s time and rounded up to $19.00. Shocking to me, and I bet to you, too.
Consider this. We don’t buy any shipping materials. All of our supplies are recycled. All of them except the tape. Imagine if you had to pay for brand new boxes and bubble wrap. We buy our packing tape in cases so we pay very little. We use our own paper to print out the shipping label or a 3×5 card. We don’t pass that on. There is our time in getting all that stuff from various places. All to keep your costs down. Our time is valuable, your money is valuable. We work hard to help keep all those costs down and make ordering and shipping our work affordable.
But do you know that? Or do you secretly suspect we are making a profit from shipping?
So John called RK and spoke to his wife, BK. She was shocked at the total. And if you compare our costs to a large corporation, then of course it will seem to be too much.
Consider this. They can contract with the USPS for discounted shipping. They can cut those costs to 50% or more of our costs. Small businesses can’t compete with those big guys, and you, our valued customer, have to make a decision to spend your assets wisely.
We certainly do.
And, then, you want what you want and what you paid for. So John double boxes all the pottery. Three inches of packing material between the two boxes. This mug will be boxed and then suspended in the peanuts (sometimes referred to as ghost poo) in another box. Boxes get over-sized and add to the cost. BUT you get what you paid for. And that, valued customer, is the most important aspect to this packing and shipping activity.
Keeping you happy keeps us happy.