I just got estimates for shipping a tenor ukulele off the websites for the big three shippers. I'm wondering if there is a less expensive way. I've used shipbikes.com in the past, but they no longer provide the discount (UPS, I think it was) service.
I've used PirateShip(dot)com a half-dozen times. Rates offered are for USPS and UPS. Sign up as a customer (no credit cards required to 'enroll). It's very very easy to use their processes to get rates by entering the parcel's Length, Width, Height, a weight, and zip codes (from and to).
When I'm selling a uke where the "shipping is included" I can build the cost of shipping in by creating a range of shipping possibilities. For example. HMS uke boxes are generally 26x13x6 when including a hard case and usually under 10 pounds. So I have created my own estimates for 3-4 zip codes on the west coast, east coast, and southern US, selecting big cities. That gets me close enough.
Using Pirate Ship I've noticed the labels "round up" to 8 pounds or 10 pounds with nearly no effect on the price. ( I.e. I weigh a package to be 7 pounds, 4 oz. and the price is the same for an 8 pound parcel). FWIW, that's NOT what happens at UPS or USPS! They get to the ounce.
Anyhow, when I've compared Pirate with those carriers calculators, the Ship comes in at a range of 40%-60% lower. I've never had a package rejected or uncharged by either carrier (I drop them off in person and have them verify the weight and get a receipt.)
Finally, I used the PayPal once and was quite satisfied, but that was before they started issuing 1099 forms for sales over $600. Now I just use them for invoicing.