The following is a guest post written by Shayna Burns of Pitney Bowes, offering postage machines and solutions for small businesses.

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Back in January, Hillary provided 5 tips for saving money on shipping supplies and postage that ranged from researching the best postage rates before you ship to finding special offers from carriers.

Today, we’re here to contribute more frugal shipping tips for you online sellers, whether you’re just starting out or you ship often enough to warrant the help of postage equipment and services.

  1. Let the USPS pick up your parcels — for free. When you schedule complementary carrier pick-up from the USPS online, your postal carrier will pick up your packages when he/she delivers your mail. Combine this with printing your postage at home from or from an online postage service like pbSmartPostage, and you can skip the Post Office all together! Special pick-up times can be scheduled for a small fee.
  2. Make your own parcel padding. Why pay for those foam peanuts and bubble wrap? If you can’t take unwanted packaging supplies off local businesses, as Hillary suggested, you can make your own padding. Crumple or shred old newspaper and magazines for a frugal choice.
  3. Re-use boxes for shipping. If you have a box covered in writing or logos, simply turn the box inside out and tape the box together for added support.
  4. Pre-package popular products. Dedicate a few hours to pre-packaging your best-selling items to save time initially and money later. When your packages are prepared, you can mail items more quickly; the added time could allow you to choose a slower – but more affordable – mail class and still meet expected arrival dates.
  5. Weigh your mail to pay accurate postage costs. Guessing how much mail and parcels weigh can lead to using too many stamps and overspending on postage or under-stamping, which may result in delivery delays and added costs to re-send your product. You can weigh mail with a postal scale or a rented postage meter; the latter offers the added bonus of printing postage labels at the same time.
  6. If you can’t weigh your mail, make an educated guess. Don’t minimize profits by undercharging for shipping. If you’re not sure how much your product weighs and how much to charge, check eBay and other online selling sites to see how users selling similar products priced shipping.
  7. That said, don’t scare customers away with expensive shipping charges. It’s easy to imagine why charging $15 for a product and $10 for shipping might cause shoppers to abandon a sale. Many sellers instead like to incorporate part of the shipping cost into the product price; a $20 product with $5 shipping appears much more reasonable, and you as a seller still receive the same amount in the end.

Taking the time to be smarter about shipping will save you time, money and unnecessary frustration in the long run.

We hope these tips can help you make better shipping and packaging decisions, letting you spend more time on marketing your business and selling your items.

What are some of your tips for savvy shipping?