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Thread: Tips for Selling Ukes

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiltingplant View Post
    A quick comment on shipping since it seems no one has mentioned it yet:

    Long story short: Weight won't matter when it comes to calculating your shipping cost - what matters is the size. It will probably be in your best interest to send with the case most of the time and ensure you have at least 1.5" of bubble wrap or other packing material between the outer surface of the case and the inside of the box.

    Details: USPS, UPS, and FedEx all use what's called "dimensional weight" when calculating the price for most of their parcels. The details vary by carrier and can be quite complex; for example, twokatmew mentioned that USPS has a surcharge for packages >12" on any one side. This isn't quite true, as it actually is a weight-based price for packages under 1 cubic foot and a dimension-based price for packages larger than a cubic foot. Generally, though, a ukulele (even with case) will not be heavy enough to be charged by actual weight and will instead be charged by dimensional weight.

    To calculate dimensional weight of a particular box, multiply length*width*height, and divide that number by 139. You will get the dimensional weight in pounds of your package. This number is compared to the actual weight, and the higher of the two is what you get charged. For example, a tenor ukulele with case in a box might weigh about 12-14 lbs. If the dimensions are 36" long, 9" deep, and 16" wide, we get (36󭘱6)139=37.3 lbs! Even without the case, the box would need to be about the same size to protect the instrument and you would get charged for 37.3 lbs worth of shipping instead of the actual weight of 4-8 lbs.

    The equation flips, of course, if you are shipping rocks
    Aha! <light bulb goes on> I've shipped full-tower desktop computers in the past, and they're heavy enough to follow the flipped equation. Last time I shipped one of those, Fedex was the best value. USPS asks if any side of the shipping box is longer than 12", but they don't tell us how they use this measurement in calculating postage, so your explanation really helps! Thanks also for the info on how much padding is needed between case and shipping box.

    Now I just need a day with good light, so I can take my pics and get on to moving these needlessly languishing ukes along. Thanks so much!
    Margaret, classical guitarist gone uke crazy

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Yes, the cases add weight, but they also add protection, and buyers like them. You have to figure $10 - $20 for shipping, which is not really a big deal with a uke selling for over $100. I like buying from dealers or individuals with the shipping included, and I've recently started selling with shipping included. A big advantage of buying from an individual is the lack of sales tax. I just bought a Firefly from Pennylane Emporium. It was $308, no shipping charge and no tax. If I had bought directly from Magic Flea, I would have paid either shopping or sales tax, plus the $325 list price. We have three Fireflys in our group.

    I thought of a good tip for selling just yesterday. If I can remember it, I'll come back.
    Thanks Jerry! Whenever I've sold camera gear, I always quote a price that's all inclusive and negotiate (if need be) from there. Not that I recall seeing it on UU's marketplace, but I tend to pass by listings that expect the buyer to do all the calculating. I figure that's my job as a seller. I hope your good selling tip comes back to you. You've piqued my interest!
    Margaret, classical guitarist gone uke crazy

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysis View Post
    Remember to slack the strings before shipping..
    Yes! That's what I was trying to remember. Tuned strings add a lot of tension, and with the jolts of shipping, it's better to reduce that tension.

    Click 'N Ship, a USPS service, is great for printing Priority Mail labels. You can even buy peel and stick labels for Priority Mail. USPS also has a site that lets you calculate postage using zip codes. Very handy. USPS also supplies boxes of various sizes for free, but just for Priority Mail. I noticed that their boxes now have "Priority" printed inside them. I guess people were getting the free boxes, turning them inside out and using them for non-Priority. : )

    If you sell on eBay, you can print a label from the eBay site and save some $$.
    Last edited by Jerryc41; 06-09-2018 at 02:24 AM.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Yes! That's what I was trying to remember. Tuned strings add a lot of tension, and with the jolts of shipping, it's better to reduce that tension.
    Great! How much should I tune them down? For a C-tuned uke, is Bb enough?
    Margaret, classical guitarist gone uke crazy

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by twokatmew View Post
    Great! How much should I tune them down? For a C-tuned uke, is Bb enough?
    Loose, but not so loose that they fall off the bridge. The goal is to relieve the tension. I recently bought from a seller in HI, and he said he'd de-tune it and pack it.

    You could also put new strings on it, tune it, and ship it. Within a few hours, the strings would stretch. : ) Just kidding about that. The strings would still be tight.
    Last edited by Jerryc41; 06-09-2018 at 02:28 AM.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerryc41 View Post
    Loose, but not so loose that they fall off the bridge. The goal is to relieve the tension. I recently bought from a seller in HI, and he said he'd de-tune it and pack it.

    You could also put new strings on it, tune it, and ship it. Within a few hours, the strings would stretch. : ) Just kidding about that. The strings would still be tight.
    OK, thanks. It hadn't occurred to me to de-tune till you mentioned it. I'd hate to sell and ship a uke only to have the buyer open the case and find it damaged.
    Margaret, classical guitarist gone uke crazy

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by wiltingplant View Post
    A quick comment on shipping since it seems no one has mentioned it yet:

    Long story short: Weight won't matter when it comes to calculating your shipping cost - what matters is the size. It will probably be in your best interest to send with the case most of the time and ensure you have at least 1.5" of bubble wrap or other packing material between the outer surface of the case and the inside of the box.

    Details: USPS, UPS, and FedEx all use what's called "dimensional weight" when calculating the price for most of their parcels. The details vary by carrier and can be quite complex; for example, twokatmew mentioned that USPS has a surcharge for packages >12" on any one side. This isn't quite true, as it actually is a weight-based price for packages under 1 cubic foot and a dimension-based price for packages larger than a cubic foot. Generally, though, a ukulele (even with case) will not be heavy enough to be charged by actual weight and will instead be charged by dimensional weight.

    To calculate dimensional weight of a particular box, multiply length*width*height, and divide that number by 139. You will get the dimensional weight in pounds of your package. This number is compared to the actual weight, and the higher of the two is what you get charged. For example, a tenor ukulele with case in a box might weigh about 12-14 lbs. If the dimensions are 36" long, 9" deep, and 16" wide, we get (36󭘱6)139=37.3 lbs! Even without the case, the box would need to be about the same size to protect the instrument and you would get charged for 37.3 lbs worth of shipping instead of the actual weight of 4-8 lbs.

    The equation flips, of course, if you are shipping rocks
    Yep. I shipped a tenor uke in a gig in a gig bag, wrapped with bubble wrap, inside a box, and that box inside another box, insulated with hard foam, all around..I was shocked that USPS wanted $53 for shipping ground from NJ to FL for something that weight about 2 lbs if even.

    No choice though since I had already waited in line for an hour at the Post Office, and promised it would ship that day. Thankfully the buyer understood and he actually had no issues with covering the additional cost beyond what we discussed.

    Other folks might not have been as generous, and in that case, I would have had to eat the $25 difference as per the calculated cost as per the weight of the item.

    I am surprised that many online vendors (Elderly, Gryphon, Uke Republic, Mainland, Guitar Center, etc) can ship a uke in a hard case for ~$15.

    Do "business accounts" with the shipping carriers offer huge discounts?
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by twokatmew View Post
    OK, thanks. It hadn't occurred to me to de-tune till you mentioned it. I'd hate to sell and ship a uke only to have the buyer open the case and find it damaged.
    IIRC the common wisdom is to slack the strings completely enough that they are not exerting tension on the neck such that it is being pulled forward, and in my experience that is usually to the point at which when you strum the strings they sound like rubber bands on a shoebox, i.e. no musical pitch from them.

    I've read stories and seen pictures of guitars and ukes that were shipped with strings tuned to pitch and the guitar was dropped on the endpin, and even in a hard case or with a uke some other drop impact and due to the forces going through the instrument, the string tension had caused the scarf joint in the headstock to completely fail due to the combination of the impact force energy and string tension on the neck.

    Also, noteworthy and highly-regarded luthier Frank Ford suggest having firm padding completely around all of the headstock area, both top and bottom, since this is the part of the instrument most likely to snap off, even inside of a hard case, due to impact force.

    You can read lots of interesting tips on his web site http://frets.com
    This ═╣FAQ link╠═ will help you learn about many things.
    You should click it, as the answers are waiting for you.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booli View Post
    I am surprised that many online vendors (Elderly, Gryphon, Uke Republic, Mainland, Guitar Center, etc) can ship a uke in a hard case for ~$15.
    I shipped a tenor case yesterday for around $9.00, Priority, insured. There was no uke inside, but the case was much heavier than a uke.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

  10. #30
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    I just encountered a surprise concerning shipping. If I ship a uke from NY to NY, it will cost about $10. Sending the same box to CA will cost about $50. Something to keep in mind when you're selling.
    Too many ukes, but I can't stop buying!

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