Beginners at anything are generally timid until they’ve done something a couple of dozen times. That makes them a pro. How to ship on Etsy for beginners involves shipping companies, who pays for shipping, and the right shipping labels.

We’re going to answer your question “how does shipping work on Etsy?” We’ll break down for you how do Etsy shipping labels work, Etsy shipping options, and also Etsy shipping labels cost.

Who Pays For Shipping On Etsy?

The first aspect to master of how to ship on Etsy for beginners is who pays for shipping. It might seem like the Etsy shop owner is offering free shipping. The snag to that is there are several facets built into shipping on Etsy, so the cost of shipping is added to the price of the item being shipped.

Lots of shop owners simply publish their shipping charges instead of building it into the price of an item for sale. Either way, the buyer ends up paying for shipping on Etsy.

offer free shipping - how to ship on Etsy for beginners

How Much Should A Seller Charge For Shipping On Etsy?

We mentioned above the many facets built into shipping on Etsy. To know the answer to the question of how much do Etsy shipping labels cost, you’ll need to know what these facets cost before you can come up with a figure:

1. The charge for a shipping label depends on the origin and destination of a package, its weight, mail class, weight and measurements of the package, and insurance and signatures.


2. Etsy’s “House Rules” provide explanations for shipping charges, such as adding fees for the labels from USPS, FedEx, Royal Mail, Global Postal Shipping, Canada Post, Australia Post, and Yakit Shipping Partner, Shipsurance, Canada Post parcel insurance, Royal Mail parcel compensation, and Australia Post parcel insurance.

These fees will appear as a separate portion of your payment account, according to the “House Rules.” It will include the carrier and shipping label number. You’ll see shipping labels and shipping insurance fees explained in U. S. Dollars unless otherwise provided.


3. When figuring up how to ship on Etsy for beginners, you’ll need to know that when buying other-than-American shipping labels such as Canadian, how much do Etsy shipping labels cost includes the cost of the shipping label, taxes, and package insurance. These will appear on your statement as Canadian and U. S. Dollars, but the final label charges will appear on your payment statement in Canadian dollars or CAD.


4. Royal Mail packages will have their package compensation and taxes built into their shipping labels. When you buy them, they’ll appear on your statement as British Pounds or GBP.


5. Buying Australia Post shipping labels will include their taxes and parcel insurance. It will appear on your payment statement in Australian Dollars or AUD.
Then there are sellers who handle how to ship on Etsy for beginners by charging simple shipping charges for a simple purchase. In these cases, it’s recommended to charge a small percentage of the total transaction.

For example, you wouldn’t charge $5 shipping on a $15 item. You would charge it on a $30 item. Remember that millions of shoppers abandon their carts when they see outrageous shipping charges. Charge accordingly.

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Is International Shipping A Good Idea?

Well, that’s up to you, the Etsy shop owner. International shipping can be simple or difficult, depending on the destination as well as the Etsy shipping options. You’ll be dealing with customs forms, tariff numbers, and automated export system/internal transaction numbers. Here’s what all this means.

Customs Information

The first thing you should know is that Etsy shipping labels form both your label as well as your customs document:

1. You will enter the package weight and a description of the contents of the package for customs. Etsy will use this information to pre-fill the customs document with the information you entered
2. You have to be short and sweet (50 characters or less) with the customs description of the items in the package. Five items may be described on the customs document which includes the description, weight, quantity, and value
3. A tariff number is a method of standardizing and classifying items being shipped into the European Union or EU. It’s your responsibility to furnish the proper code, not Etsy’s. You might want to have a professional tax person handy to help with this.

Tariff numbers are six, eight, or ten-digit codes. All EU countries accept six-digit codes, but a few only take eight or ten codes. You must use the right code for the products you’re shipping. Before going to the tax professional, check here:

4. Etsy automatically enters the declared value of the package. The order total and possible discounts form the basis for this. Shipping and Taxes are not included in the declared value, just the product’s price and quantity.
5. An Automated Export System/Internal Transaction Number is furnished for all packages valued at or over $2,500 shipping from the U. S. The Census Bureau requires this export license number and possibly more documentation. The AES/ITN is what it’s called on the customs document.

An AES Exemption applies to Etsy packages with a value beneath $2,500. It automatically prints on the customs form. Etsy packages valued at or over $2,500 have a blank space on the customs form. It’s up to you to apply the proper AES/ITN number for the package.

Now it’s time to print off your customs forms. The first is applied to the box which is normally how do Etsy shipping labels work. The second form is what usually comes in a clear plastic baggie taped to the box. The mail carriers will have a page explaining their needs, so visit FedEx, Canada Post, USPS, Royal Mail, and Australia Post.

Need Faster Workflow? Create Shipping Profiles

Workflow is the speed and ease of fulfilling orders and shipping them out on time. The snag to that is filling in every inch of the shipping label for every order, domestic or foreign. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a one-size-fits-all shipping label?

get shipping labels - how much do Etsy shipping labels cost

There is. You’ll input the things that don’t change such as country of origin, origin zip code, shipping carrier, and mail class, among others. The only things you’ll have to input will be the specifics of the order like customer name and address and the like.

Orders and Shipping workflow - how to ship on Etsy for beginners

Pull up Settings and then “Shipping Settings”. Choose “Create Profile”. There’s also a shipping upgrade wherein you can choose insurance for shipping, express and/or priority shipping among others.

click on shipping settings on the etsy dashboard - how do Etsy shipping labels work
click on create profile then save profile - how to ship on Etsy for beginners - how much do etsy shipping labels cost

The Importance Of Setting Reasonable Expectations Of Shipping Times

Customers want their product, and they want it yesterday. Since this isn’t going to happen, they expect to receive their package within a week. That’s reasonable. What they don’t know is what goes on inside that week.

You have to pull the product, package it, and make out the shipping labels. They don’t know the answer to how do Etsy shipping labels work, nor the time and care that goes into them. All this may take you two to three days. That leaves five to six days for the shipping agent to get the package to the customer.

It’s crucial to your business that you have some level of transparency in your Etsy business. The customer needs to be able to count on that one-week shipping estimate.

Do You Really Need Shipping Labels Made By Etsy?

No. Shipping labels are just postage, like a stamp. You buy them from Etsy, slap them on the boxes, and off they go. You’ll notice that any package you receive has a label on it with a USPS bar code and paid postage. Without this information, the shipping label just has your address on it.

Perhaps a very large part of how to ship on Etsy for beginners is knowing the importance of each shipping step. Of course, there are such basics as how much do Etsy shipping labels cost, but you also need to know that only the UK, India, and Australia don’t pay for theirs. They’re also limited to accepting Etsy Payments or PayPal.

Using Thermal Printers To Print Your Shipping Labels For Etsy

Lots of people who work in offices wish for a sledgehammer when the printer goes crazy. Replacing ink and toner in such printers is a pain. They perhaps aren’t aware of a little trick known to Etsy shop owners on how to ship on Etsy for beginners. It’s a thermal printer.

Used by the food preparation and delivery industry, the medical industry, and many others, thermal printers don’t use ink cartridges or toner. They use tiny heating elements that trigger pigments in the special chemically treated paper.

Note to self: use a higher-quality printer. It almost eliminates distortions in addresses, bar codes, and other vital information.

How to ship on Etsy for beginners will be a snap with this top-of-the-line printer that offers the most features.

More than just shipping labels

Brother QL-1100 Wide Format Professional Thermal Label Printer

Wireless and WiFi-enabled, this printer will print from your laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet. It prints four-inch width shipping labels as well as three-foot banners. The interface automatically senses when to cut off the printed label. It prints up to 69 labels per minute. Just drop in a roll of labels and hit print. This printer works with Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Check on Amazon ➞
What comes in the box
  • Brother QL-1100 Label Printer
  • P-touch Editor Software, and Driver 
  • Power Cable
  • USB Cable
  • DK-1247 Die-cut Large Shipping Labels (41 labels) DK-2205 Continuous Length Paper Tape – 2.4″ x 16.4′
Adds a professional touch to home-based businesses

Logia Thermal 300 DPI Label Printer

This printer prints on five and a half inches of labels in 0.127 seconds. This model has a caddy in which to stack or place your rolls of labels, so you can be doing other things while your Etsy labels print out in batches of up to hundreds. The printer works with Mac and Windows and the devices that use them. The drivers and templates are located online.
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What comes in the box
  • The printer
  • power cable
  • adapter
  • USB cable
  • caddy
  • 100 labels, and user guide
Diverse and high-speed printing capabilities

ROLLO Label Printer

This printer works with any and all labels, so they don’t have a dedicated ROLLO label you’re forced to buy. It works with Mac and Windows. The wireless model costs a little more, but it works with iPhone, Mac, Windows, Android, Linux, and Chromebook. It, too, uses a tray for your labels, and works on the smallest of labels up to 4” x 6.” Like other printers, https://www.rollo.com/product/rollo-printer/ it works with all the major shipping companies as well as Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, and other shopping companies. It prints labels in 0.15 seconds.
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What comes in the box
  • ROLLO Label Printer.
  • Power cord
  • USB cable
  • A Tray
  • A starter pack of labels (the other printers offer this, so maybe ROLLO does, too.)
Ready to use out of the box

LabelRange 300DPI Thermal Label Printer

This printer prints five inches per second. It works with all the major shippers as well as all the major shopping companies. This particular printer offers you the drivers, manuals, software, and video. It also offers 100 sheets of 4 x 6 labels. The printer is compatible with Mac and Windows. It is not wireless, nor does it offer WiFi.
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What comes in the box
  • LabelRange 300DPI Thermal Label Printer
  • 100 sheets of labels
  • A disc with the drivers
  • Manual
  • Video, software
  • Power cable
  • USB cable

Handling Return And Lost Packages

It can be frustrating for an Etsy shop owner to hear that a package has to be returned or it’s been lost. Unfortunately, that’s part of how to ship on Etsy for beginners. It’s a normal part of the business to ask the customer to pay for sending the product back to you. However, if the product arrived broken or it doesn’t fit the customer, then you should pay for the return of the product.

Lost items happen. No one knows why or how, but that, too, is part of how to ship on Etsy for beginners. In these cases (actually, in all cases,) it’s a good idea to include tracking, so the customer can keep an eye on their product.

If a lost item occurs, the shop owner should offer to replace it at no charge to the customer, or refund their money. Ask first, and then comply with the customer’s wishes.

Final Thoughts

How to ship on Etsy for beginners is a simple matter of reading the “house rules” Etsy supplies for all their shops. It gives the beginner the details of charging for shipping, how much to charge, who pays for it, the details of international shipping, dealing with customs, and much more.

It will only take you two or three shipments to get the hang of shipping times, returns, lost items, as well as choosing a thermal printer, and getting used to operating it. In short, just jump in and do it, and you’ll be a pro in no time!

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