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Flat shipping fees or actual postage cost?

How do you figure flat shipping fees... by number of zine ordered? by cost?

What do you to do make up for your supplies (envelopes, tape, etc) if you charge actual postage?

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I used to have people add up the actual postage costs and add it on, but so many people forgot that I changed it so the paypal cart adds on a certain amount for it automatically depending on the value of items ordered. Seems to be working quite well so far. I liked how transparent the system was before but it seems a bit quicker and easier for people now, and it's still the same adding up business if they order through the mail :)
I want to use flat rate because it's so much easier for both reader and orderer but I'm still working out the kinks in my "system." Right now my pricing is like this:

1 oz = .25 US/.75 International
2 oz = .50 US/.75 International
3 oz = .75 US/1.00 International

Just because that's approximately what it costs to send and doing it by quarters is easier. I will probably want to make adjustments somewhere down the line. But right now I'm figuring on this and also, if someone orders a whole lot of zines, sending them flat-rate Priority as a perk. Though right now everything in the catalog would barely fill a Priority envelope, haha.
We charge actual postage costs per order.

We ask people to submit their zine orders, then we calculate postage by weighing the zines inside an envelope on electronic scales, and once we have a weight we check that on our postage chart we picked up from the post office.

As a lot of zine orders seem to cost 66p to post out, we buy those stamps in advance so we can post things straight out, but if postage comes to an amount we can't make up from our stash of stamps, we just buy them at the post office.

For posting supplies, a lot of tape and envelopes etc has been acquired from stationary cupboards at our office jobs, or by re-using jiffy bags/envelopes that have only been through the post once.
although we've never actually sent anything in the post yet (!) we are planning to work out the actual postage costs for each order and then charge for that. i think that there is room for variation i.e. with sizes and weights of zines, and i personally hate to get a parcel where you are sure you were over charged for postage.
i think flat rates can work perfectly as long as they are fair and there is room for variation.

I charge by weight of the zine.  Paypal has an awesome feature that allows you to really customize your shipping costs, and since I send mine through USPS it's relatively inexpensive overall.  Say you order one of my zines that weighs only .03 ounces, which is something like 0.00187 pounds, and something like 1/8 inch thick.  USPS charges .44 cents for weight under 3.5 ounces and under 1/4 inches thick.  It only costs me only .44 cents (USD) to send that order.  Now say I add 4 more to that order.  This is still only .15 ounces, however this would be more than 1/4 inch thick, Soooooo I charge .88 cents for shipping.  Because my zines are almost always larger than 1/4 inch thick, my lowest shipping price is .88 cents for shipping within the US.

 

Hope this helps :D any questions ask me (:

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