Author Topic: Posting kits overseas  (Read 9853 times)

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Offline alexig

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Posting kits overseas
« on: April 29, 2012, 05:56:18 am »
Hi all,

I'm wondering on your opinion on how you would send kits internationally (from Australia).

If you purchased a $15 kit which was the size of a matchbox, do you think it's suitable to send it:
- In an envelope via airmail with no tracking, $3
- or in a small box via seamail with no tracking, $7
- or in a small box via seamail with tracking, $11
- or in a small box via airmail with tracking, $16

I'm thinking the $3 option however payments would be through paypal and if the buyer reverses the payment I wouldn't have proof of delivery. Maybe increase the price of the kit by a few dollars to cover this?

What do you think would be the best option and has anyone had experiences with this?

Thanks,
Alex.
 

Offline sonicj

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2012, 06:10:10 am »
i have a feeling you'll sell a lot more kits with $3 shipping.

i used to own a record store and we shipped vinyl all over the world. i never used delivery confirmation for small orders overseas and had zero problems. most people are just happy to get their unique item from abroad, not out to screw you over on a few $$... ymmv of course.
-sj
 

Offline amspire

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2012, 06:32:46 am »
I would offer both the $3 and registered airmail option - or even just the $3 option, and make sure you markup is big enough to cover the loss of the occasional reversed payment. If it is a $15 kit, I hope the real costs to you is less then $5. You have to compensate yourself for the fact that instead of buying 20 resistors of a value, you went and bought a reel of 3000 of them. 

I think if you offer the unregistered postage, you will basically have to be prepared to accept whatever the customer claims, even if you know it sounds impossible. If a customer says parts are missing, then parts are missing, even if you have photographically recorded an image of the set of parts just before they go in the envelope or box. If nothing else, for that sort of money, it is just not worth your time  spending hours with emails, etc over something that has cost you $6.

I would forget seamail myself. You really do not want to be trying to sort out 3 month old sales. If you decide to stop selling the kits, you want to be totally finished after a month - you do not want to have to wait 3 months with spare kits on hand in case you need to resend one, and wait another 3 months.

Richard.
 

Offline johnboxall

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2012, 07:19:50 am »
Forget seamail. Use airmail with tracking, and also offer the option of international courier.
If possible, reduce the perceived cost of postage by increasing the price of the kit.
For larger shipments, don't forget about the stupid $9 surcharge for sending something over 500g to the USA. See https://contactus.auspost.com.au/app/answers/detail/a_id/233/kw/US%20surcharge

What is this kit you are selling? :)

Offline dcel

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2012, 08:33:10 am »
I just spent $13AUD on shipping for my uCurrent. That is cheap for overseas airmail I think.

JMHO

Chris
 

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2012, 10:59:50 am »
If you purchased a $15 kit which was the size of a matchbox, do you think it's suitable to send it:
- In an envelope via airmail with no tracking, $3

You can't legally send an envelope with anything but documents in it.
A matchboxed size item must be sent by parcel post, and the absolute minimum is $7.95 for up to 250g to New Zealand.

Quote
- or in a small box via seamail with no tracking, $7
- or in a small box via seamail with tracking, $11
- or in a small box via airmail with tracking, $16

Forget sea mail, it's a joke. Make sure any shopping cart you use totally exclused the sea mail option, otherwise everyone will use it because it cheaper. And then complain when it takes their package 3 months to get there.

Quote
I'm thinking the $3 option however payments would be through paypal and if the buyer reverses the payment I wouldn't have proof of delivery. Maybe increase the price of the kit by a few dollars to cover this?

The usual method is to just assume that you might lose a small percentage of packages, or get someone who claims they didn't receive when they did etc, ad you write those off and simply send another one.
I have lost precisely ONE package in 25 years of sending 10's of thousands of items via Australia Post, all without tracking.

Send stuff overseas is already a PITA, so adding tracking and registered mail etc just makes it all the worse.
I've now got my international package packing and sending down to a fine art, and trust me, it saves a huge amount of time when you streamline the process and offer as few postage options as possible.
In fact I offer just one, unregistered, untracked airmail. So I don't have to dick around with who paid for what option etc.

Australia post do now offer an tracking on international parcel post for an additional fee, but I won't be offering that until I get hooked into the clickandsend.com.au system, and have a shopping cart that supports it.

All this maybe doesn't matter much if you send a few dozens kits, but when you get into the hundreds or thousands, you'll be begging to do anyting possible to streamline it.

Dave.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2012, 11:06:29 am by EEVblog »
 

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2012, 11:05:44 am »
I just spent $13AUD on shipping for my uCurrent. That is cheap for overseas airmail I think.

It is.
Actual cost is a bit cheaper, but I include packaging material etc in that cost.
But as John from tronixstuff said, there might be some advantage including or absorbing that into the cost of the product.
But it can work both ways. Some people only think of how much the kit costs, others are enticed by free or low cost postage. It's a toss-up.
I sometime offer free postage for stuff to Australian buyers, as it's so easy to pop something in a pre-paid satchel.

Personally, I would not bother to send a $15 kit overseas, it's just not worth my time to line up at the post office and do the customs form.

Dave.
 

Offline alexig

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2012, 10:32:44 am »
Thanks guys, I'll skip the seamail option!

What is this kit you are selling? :)

It's a little project I've been working on: A Standalone Temperature/Voltage Logger - http://www.insidegadgets.com/projects/standalone-temperaturevoltage-logger/

A matchboxed size item must be sent by parcel post, and the absolute minimum is $7.95 for up to 250g to New Zealand.

Sorry, the kit would be matchbox sized once assembled, other than that the largest part is a USB header about 1cm in height so potentially the parts could be spread out in the envelope (if it's allowed that is).

You can't legally send an envelope with anything but documents in it.

Hmm, there is PDF on the Australia Post website (http://auspost.com.au/media/documents/international-post-easy-guide-feb12.pdf) which shows custom forms needed for letters, etc. Interestingly there is a option that says "Letters without Extra Cover containing items valued at no more than $500" which indicates that you can send "items" in the letter. They define a letter as "Letters are defined as weighing no more than 500g, with dimensions up to 360 x 260 x 20mm."

I'll contact Australia Post about the legalities of all this. You could argue if it was illegal to send anything but documents in an envelope then banks sending debit/credit cards would also be illegal.

Personally, I would not bother to send a $15 kit overseas, it's just not worth my time to line up at the post office and do the customs form.

How large are the custom forms? Is it like an A4 page or is it those little forms like this - http://www.royalmail.com/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/cn22.pdf
 

Offline Jon Chandler

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2012, 11:00:33 am »
For sending my bare circuit boards from the US, I use US Postal Service First Class mail.  It's about $3 for a business size envelop and 3  2" x 3.5" circuit boards to most parts of the world.  None have gone astray yet.

I fill out the US Customs Form PS-2976 on-line, fold it in half and tape it to the envelop as a shipping label (address part on the front of the envelop, customs form on the back).  Just don't tape over the area where they need to stamp it, etc.

If I shipped Priority Mail, I could do everything on-line and drop it in a mail box but the cost is a lot higher.  The tradeoff is waiting in line at the post office.

 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2012, 12:06:59 pm »
I make parts for RC helicopters that I send all over the world.  I use first class mail "package" (rigid package, over 3/4 inch thick, less than 13oz.) Costs $4.65 to Australia.  I have lost 2 out of aproximately 1000 international shipments. I also tell people they have no insurance if they pick this option. (even though they pay with paypal).  Only had one customer file a paypal claim out of multiple thousands of US shipments.

Offline sonicj

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2012, 09:43:55 pm »
I make parts for RC helicopters that I send all over the world.  I use first class mail "package" (rigid package, over 3/4 inch thick, less than 13oz.) Costs $4.65 to Australia.  I have lost 2 out of aproximately 1000 international shipments. I also tell people they have no insurance if they pick this option. (even though they pay with paypal).  Only had one customer file a paypal claim out of multiple thousands of US shipments.
chinese weights?  :D
-sj
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2012, 10:30:39 pm »
Yes, I am HEIM JOINT

Offline sonicj

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2012, 05:33:59 am »
Yes, I am HEIM JOINT
haha... i read most of your thread at HF and watched your videos before modding the tail on one of my 450s.  ;D
-sj
 

Offline robrenz

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 11:20:01 am »
Nice job!  I like the motor drive on the  tail.

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2012, 01:01:54 pm »
Sorry, the kit would be matchbox sized once assembled, other than that the largest part is a USB header about 1cm in height so potentially the parts could be spread out in the envelope (if it's allowed that is).

Hmm, there is PDF on the Australia Post website (http://auspost.com.au/media/documents/international-post-easy-guide-feb12.pdf) which shows custom forms needed for letters, etc. Interestingly there is a option that says "Letters without Extra Cover containing items valued at no more than $500" which indicates that you can send "items" in the letter. They define a letter as "Letters are defined as weighing no more than 500g, with dimensions up to 360 x 260 x 20mm."

I'll contact Australia Post about the legalities of all this. You could argue if it was illegal to send anything but documents in an envelope then banks sending debit/credit cards would also be illegal.

I've been told on numerous occasions that's it's not allowed. Whether or not that's technically correct, I don't know.
That document does seem to imply it's ok, but you still need the PITA customs form, and line up at the post office, all for a $15 item. Personally I would not bother.

Let's say you are making say a very generous $10 clear on each one, after components, and packaging materials (not much in your case I guess).
And lets say you consolidate orders and ship say 5 at once, and ignore kitting/packing time and just look at the postage. That's at least 1 minute per CN22 form to fill out (I have stamps to make this faster), say an average 10 minutes wait in line at the post office, and at least another 10 minutes at the counter to process the 5 forms if you have an efficient teller who knows exactly what to do (not all do!), realistically it'll take 15. They have to record your ID, and process each one separately if going to different countries, slightly quicker if all the same country. They have to stick on the customs form if you haven't done it. They have to stick on the airmail sticker if you haven't done it (it's the old LICK kind!). And then you have travel to and from the post office, say another 10 minutes. That's 35 minutes minimum to ship 5 units, and I'm probably being generous. You make $50 clear on the 5 units for 35 minutes work, just on postage part... Let's say you work cheap minimum wage at $30/hour, that's $17.50 of your $50 profit gone right there. And when you include actually kitting time etc, if you charge your time at minimum wage, you are probably making nothing!
It's a mugs game. I hope you are doing it for the love of it!

That's why I won't ship anything say sub $50 overseas.

Quote
How large are the custom forms? Is it like an A4 page or is it those little forms like this - http://www.royalmail.com/sites/default/files/docs/pdf/cn22.pdf

They look precisely like this:
http://twitpic.com/80g954

Dave.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 01:32:58 pm by EEVblog »
 

Offline metalphreak

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2012, 10:51:05 pm »
The clickandsend printout is half of an A4 sheet of paper, and puts the customs form and addresses all on the one thing. International mail is based on weight not size (for packages anyway) so you can just use a large enough bubble envelope.

Get the post office to fill out the bottom half (marked as sender's copy) and keep the payment receipt. That is all you need for proof of postage for Paypal. They only require adequate proof that it has been posted: a tracking number provides this but nowhere does it state the packages must actually be tracked.

Offline alexig

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2012, 03:00:55 pm »
And when you include actually kitting time etc, if you charge your time at minimum wage, you are probably making nothing!
It's a mugs game. I hope you are doing it for the love of it!

That's why I won't ship anything say sub $50 overseas.

Yep, definitely doing it for the love of it plus it's the first kit that I'll be selling so it's all new to me. Hmm I should probably send you one for the mail bag :D
 

Offline Chet T16

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 05:40:20 pm »

Yep, definitely doing it for the love of it plus it's the first kit that I'll be selling so it's all new to me. Hmm I should probably send you one for the mail bag :D

That's what i did, I've sent one of my little board kits to Dave for no reason whatsoever. I forgot to tell the wife to send it recorded so hopefully it turns up :/
Chet
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Offline alexig

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #18 on: May 04, 2012, 11:12:18 am »
Just for anyone wondering, below is what Australia Post said about posting items in letters overseas. I simplified my question by saying I would be posting a keychain (instead of a saying I'm posting a kit).

Quote
If this key chain fits into a letter size envelope, you can send it as an airmail letter rate item. Please note that you will need to affix a customs declaration form on the envelope. If you visit our website www.auspost.com.au and click " Send a parcel" you will be able to fill out and print a letter category customs declaration form.

I would like to mention that there are better ways of sending a key chain. Example: Padded bag, satchel, etc. I mention this because an envelope could easily rip during transit if it contains a key chain. However, using a padded bag, etc. will attract a parcel rate.
 

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #19 on: May 04, 2012, 01:37:24 pm »
Quote
However, using a padded bag, etc. will attract a parcel rate.
[/quote]

But what if the padded bag is within the size restriction of a "letter"?

Dave.
 

Offline metalphreak

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #20 on: May 04, 2012, 04:50:56 pm »

But what if the padded bag is within the size restriction of a "letter"?

Dave.

I've been told that the same rules apply as a domestic Letter/Parcel but even with domestic postage I've had a few post offices refuse to send padded envelopes as letters despite being within the limits. Easy way around that is to just stick stamps on them and chuck them in a red posting box ($1.20 in stamps vs $4.55 parcel rates...). Obviously you can't do this for international stuff.

A regular letter is <5mm thick. A "large letter" is 5 to 20mm thick. Anything over that and it's categorized as a parcel.

Offline alexig

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2012, 09:33:33 am »
Just thought I'd post an update, I sent a padded bag to Germany as a letter with the CN22 form without any issues :)
 

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Re: Posting kits overseas
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2012, 11:40:39 am »
Just thought I'd post an update, I sent a padded bag to Germany as a letter with the CN22 form without any issues :)

I so wish you didn't have to use that stupid form!
Ok, you can do it online now through clickandsend, but it's the same hassle really.
I'm now experimenting with selling my uCurrent through a overseas supplier for all international orders, we'll see how that goes.

Dave.
 


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