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eBay from the Philippines

2011 December 17

eBay596 eBay from the Philippines

As I continue down my slow, but steady, path of Spring Cleaning, I’ve found myself selling on eBay to a much larger extent then I ever have previously. I’ve learned a few things along the way. One of the most significant is the fact that if I offer international shipping I will have a better chance of selling an item, and probably at a much better price.

I had always been leary of offering overseas shipping due to the extra costs involved, and potential problems that could arise from a shipment that was lost or damaged. The options for shipping carriers aren’t that great, either.

To my surprise, I’ve actually been having fairly positive results with my efforts so far. As I mentioned, a few items went for much more than I expected, and those went to places like Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. I even sent a couple of small table lamps that were made of blown glass, and therefor somewhat fragile. Everything has arrived in perfect condition.

So how have I done it? So far I’ve only used USPS Priority Mail for all packages. A majority of the items were small enough to fit in the Priority Small Flat Rate Box, which is pretty reasonably priced and very reliable (so far). It is also pretty quick, at least for international delivery.

The items that were too big for the Priority Small Flat Rate Box were still sent USPS Priority, but in my own packaging. The size and weight determined the cost. If you know that up front, the delivery cost can be calculated by eBay depending upon the destination. Your customer will know before they buy the cost of their shipping.

One downfall of the international selling is that PayPal charges you an extra percent for customers outside of the United States, even Canada. That extra percent is for your total amount of your sale, including shipping. Since you are now also charged a final fee from eBay on the shipping, the extra cost of shipping international can really eat into your profits. I’ve countered that by adding a handling fee, especially on the more expensive and/or heavier items.

This all got me to thinking about how I could make this work from the Philippines. There are a number of items that I could see listing that I’m sure would have interest around the world. That’s not a problem at all. What to do about shipping from the Philippines, though?

I’ve had mixed results in having things sent to me from the Philippines. FedEX has been reliable but VERY expensive. No, to make this work I’d need to use PhilPost or find another carrier that was reliable and inexpensive. PhilPost offers a number of different international options, and truthfully I haven’t had a chance to try them all. Not all would work for every item or every country:

Letter Post
Letters, cards, and other printed matters for delivery in any part of the world.

International Express Mail Service (IEMS)
The fastest means of sending documents, goods and other time-sensitive items abroad. Currently, the Philippines has agreements with 50 countries for the reciprocal exchange of EMS items.

Air Parcel Post
The most convenient and economical means of sending merchandise and other bulky items to foreign countries worldwide. Air parcels are transported to the country of destination by air.

Surface Parcel Post
The cheapest means of sending parcels to foreign countries with which the Philippines has bilateral agreements. Otherwise, parcels may be sent only through intermediary of the United States of America. Surface parcels are transported to the country of destination by interocean vessels.

Insured Parcel Post
Parcels with a maximum insured value of P5,000.00 may be accepted for delivery in selected foreign countries. At present this service is available only in Switzerland and USA.

Registered Mail
Letter post items destined for foreign countries may be accepted as domestic registered mail subject to the same conditions as those of domestic mail.

International Reply Coupon
International reply coupons are sold to postal customers for use in prepaying reply postage from other countries, present rate is P 115.00 per coupon.

I know some there have had problems with PhilPost, but I’ve really only heard about incoming packages issues, not the other way around. That’s not to say they don’t exist, and that’s what I need to look into further.

I currently have a small package on it’s way to me. I’m not sure what service was chosen, but I intend to research it further after it arrives. That’ll give me a good idea of time and cost, at least for one service option. I may test a few others, too, and see if if I can’t find a reliable/affordable solution within PhilPost. That would probably be the best fit for what I’d like to do. If not, I’ll continue to look.

Oh, there might be a couple of other things to work out — like PayPal, for instance, but eBay from the Philippines just might be in my future.

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  4. Free Messaging to the Philippines from the US
  5. Chess in the Philippines

11 Responses leave one →
  1. December 17, 2011

    I operated an eBay sales business from the Philippines for 5 years or so. It was wildly successful. Never had a problem with shipping. It got so big that I had 4 or 5 employees to take care of shipping, packing and such. I was actually an eBay Powerseller doing this from the Philippines. As I recall, I was a Silver level Powerseller, but don’t remember for sure.

    The point it, it can certainly be done. I know that because I did it! ;-)

    I have written extensively about this in my book about making a living in the Philippines.

    Good luck, Randy.

    • December 17, 2011

      Thanks, Bob.

      I remember you had mentioned selling on eBay, I guess I never realized you did it from there and shipped international. Maybe I should read your book ;-) What’s the link to that again (free plug intended and here’s the difference people – I’m asking Bob to provide the link)?

      What was the method or methods of shipping that you used? Were there countries that you couldn’t or wouldn’t ship to?

      • December 20, 2011

        Hi Randy, you can find the book at the link below. You’re lucky, because I just dropped the price by $10 after doing well with it for several years now. I came out with a new book called “99 Ways to Make a Living on the Internet” which is why I dropped the price on the 49 Ways book.

        • December 21, 2011

          Thanks, Bob.

          Good luck with the new book.

        • December 22, 2011

          Hi Bob – read as much as I could about the book. What I’m looking for is some detail about the eBay business from the Philippines.

          Things like shipping methods, items sold (what was successful or not), PayPal (US vs PH account), where you got your packing materials & supplies, things to watch out for, etc. Does your book provide this kind of detail? If so, I’d be glad to buy it.

          I don’t doubt the value of the book, just whether it provides what I’m looking for.

          • December 24, 2011

            Hi Randy – My book gives a great bit of detail about doing eBay from the Philippines. It covers some of the specifics you are asking for, but not all. The greatest focus of the eBay section focuses more on methods to produce large amounts of income from eBay. Shipping is covered, but from a somewhat different angle than you talk talking about. I tend to focus on how to keep your shipping charges low while still making nice money. I can say this, for people who buy my books, I am happy to have detailed discussions with them giving more detail on specific areas that they are interested in.

            Take care, and Merry Christmas.

          • December 27, 2011

            Thanks for the updated information, Bob. Sorry about the late reply. Seems my Christmas plans took me away from direct internet access, other than my phone.

            I’ll grab a copy and when I’m ready to discuss, I’ll get in touch. What is your preferred method? Phone, Skype?

          • December 29, 2011

            Hi Randy – My preference would be e-mail, so that I can spend the time necessary answering questions at a time that is convenient for me.

          • January 1, 2012

            Great. Sent off my questions.

            Looking forward to the answers.

            Happy New Year to you, Feyma and family.

  2. December 17, 2011

    I’m glad Bob beat me here, because I was going to point you in that direction, Randy. Your article points up several points I have been observing for years.

    The majority of US businesses totally ignore the remainder of the world (which is HUGE in comparison to the US) because they won’t learn to fill out a laughingly simple Customs Declaration tag and mail stuff to other countries.

    The overwhelming majority of Philippine-based businesses totally ignore the rest of the world (and even most of the Philippines) because they won’t take the steps to mail or messenger products either inside the Philippines or internationally.

    Huge opportunities are out there waiting for someone to take advantage …

  3. December 17, 2011

    Thanks, Dave.

    USPS and eBay have made the custom form a breeze now. When I go to print a shipping label from my computer, it is all filled out and all I have to do is sign it. It’s all part of the paid shipping label. At least for the the flat rate small box and letter. The larger packages print out several.

    Even though it’s been relatively easy, I’m still surprised there aren’t more options in the US for international shipping. Online commerce is really huge and only going to get bigger. I see lots of sellers from Hong Kong, China and UK sending stuff this way for not that much in shipping charges.

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