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The January 2016 USPS Rate Change: What You Need to Know

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Verified Blogger
Verified Blogger
As you’ve probably heard by now, the USPS will raise its prices on January 17, 2016. In this blog post, we’ll break down the changes, explain what eBay is doing to help sellers, and offer some tips to help your business adjust.

Here’s the takeaway: Some services are being changed slightly and most prices are going up. Across the board, USPS shipping costs are going up an average of 9.5%

Let’s dive in. First, what’s changing? This chart compares this year’s average retail rate for USPS services versus the increased rates going into effect shortly—for both eBay Top Rated sellers (eTRS) and non-eTRS sellers.

*These are averages only, actual prices may vary. **Compared to USPS retail pricing

The good news:

  • eBay is working to keep your costs down. We’ve negotiated rates with the USPS on behalf of our sellers to save you up to 25% over retail or “counter” rates on domestic shipping. Collectively, eBay sellers send A LOT of packages with USPS, and thanks to all that volume, eBay has negotiated rates for its sellers that are better than many sellers can get on their own. Plus, the USPS.com website will offer only offer full retail pricing effective January 17, making eBay labels even more attractive (more on that in a bit).

  • The weight range for First Class Package Service is increasing from 13 oz. to 16 oz.  This is good news because you’re likely to save money for packages in the 13-16 oz. range. Prior to this change, sellers with packages in that range would use Standard Post, Parcel Select or Priority Mail, which cost more than First Class. Additionally, First Class Package has a single price point from 1-8oz.
  • Your volume and selling status can help you save. If you are a high volume seller (you ship more than 300 packages per month) or you’re an eBay Top Rated seller, you’ll get extra savings.
  • No changes to dimensional weight or surcharges. USPS is not implementing any new dimensional weight charges with this price increase and continues to only consider dimensional weight pricing for packages greater than a cubic foot. Additionally, all USPS products continue to have NO residential surcharges or fuel surcharges, something that sets them apart from competitors.
We understand a rate increase can be hard on your business. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help you adjust:

  1. First, understand your shipping costs and make adjustments as needed. You’ll want to make sure your shipping costs are covered, no matter how you offer shipping to your buyers.
  • If you use calculated shipping, be sure all your listings have accurate package weights and measurements. When the changes take effect Jan 17, your listings will automatically reflect the new shipping costs.
  • If you use Flat Rate Shipping, review your listings to see if the Flat Rate can cover the price increases. You may have to raise your Flat Rate charges to maintain the same profit level.
  • If you use Free Shipping, do the same exercise and determine if your prices can absorb the extra costs, or if you should you adjust prices.
  1. Use eBay labels for a great deal. Remember when we mentioned that eBay negotiated rates with USPS to bring sellers a great deal? The only way to get that deal is to use eBay labels. eBay labels can save you up to 25% over retail or “counter” rates on domestic shipping--and that means more profit for you. And there are some bonus benefits besides savings: your tracking is automatically uploaded, so you can easily attain your 90% tracking uploaded requirement for Top Rated status.
  1. Use the bulk editor to adjust shipping costs.

  • If you sell many similar items, and want to make the same edits to all items, choose to “edit listings in bulk” and apply the shipping cost changes in one fell swoop.
  • If you sell lots of different items with lots of variety in shipping costs, choose “edit listings individually” and make the changes to each item. Or, this may be simpler: knowing that the average USPS shipping cost is increasing by 9.5%, simply add 9.5% to each shipping cost across the board, using the bulk editor.
  1. Use First Class Package Service if you can. If you frequently ship items that fall between 13 and 16 oz., you can now use First Class (aka First Class Package Service or FCPS). This service will save you money over higher priced options like Priority Mail. Best of all, tracking is included.
  1. Add weights and measurement. As you list, be sure to add the most accurate weights and measurements of the package you will use to ship the item. This will help ensure that all the right shipping costs are understood upfront, helping you price your item and shipping appropriately. If you want to determine shipping costs prior to listing, use the eBay Shipping Calculator. It can help you determine the right class of shipping for your item, or help you decide if you should offer Free Shipping.
  1. Use free supplies and schedule package pickups from USPS. If you frequently use Priority Mail, be sure to order free boxes from USPS. Sure beats scrounging around for a used box or--heaven forbid—paying retail prices on cardboard boxes. Then, save yourself a trip to the post office by scheduling a package pickup.
  1. Ship Lighter. Whenever possible, try to ship your item as lightly as possible, while sufficiently protecting it during transit. For example, lightweight, non-breakable items like clothing and bedding can be shipped in lightweight poly mailers.  We encourage you to examine your shipping practices to identify any instances where items can be shipped with less weight.
  1. USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate can help mitigate pricing differences when shipping across country. This option has one price, no matter the domestic destination, and can help you save versus regional pricing.
Still want more information or have questions? Join us for an upcoming Facebook chat with eBay Shipping Team.  We’ve set up two sessions, so please sign up for the one that works best for you.

Facebook chat with eBay Shipping Team, January 14, 2016 at 9am PT

Facebook chat with eBay Shipping Team, February 4, 2016 at 9am PT

If you’ve been through a USPS rate change before, share tips in the comments below on how your business adjusted. 


Update 1/14/16: We’ve heard from sellers that you’d like to see specific rates, not averages. You can download this spreadsheet from USPS to review specific rates for different postal services. Be sure to review the tabs named below to locate a specific service and price. Please note that these rates are only available via eBay labels. Sellers who have eBay Top Rated status, or complete more than 300+ transactions per month will get additional savings on of those shown in the spreadsheet.

  • FCPS Commercial
  • PM Comm Base
  • PME Comm Base
  • Parcel Select Ground
  • FCPIS Comm Base
  • PMI Canada Comm Base, PMI Comm Base
  • PMEI Comm Base

Hello, could you fix the link to the "spreadsheet from USPS"? The link does not work. Thank you!


USPS rates increase each year, that link is from the 2016 rate change. Here is a link to the USPS website where you can view, print and download the new 2017 Notice 123 Rate Changes. It covers Domestic and International rates for retail and commercial shippers; flat rate, First Class etc.http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/Notice123.htm#_c011  These rates do not reflect eBay seller discounts.


I hope you find this useful.


I just went to the post office and was told that one candle from Yankee candle would cost me over $20 to ship so how am I supposed to make money on them?  I see all these sellers even offer free shipping on their candles?