Information on Shipping Large Items & the Best Rates
October 14, 2008 7:22 AM   Subscribe

I have a few large items that i would like to sell on eBay however the shipping charges are way to high, this is not due to weight but due to dimensional size. ie. 30" x 30" x 26" high or another item is a pair of speakers which are approx 50 lbs each and 20" x 24" x 34". The cost of shipping these items makes it impossible to sell them on eBay and get what they are worth. I hope some of you savvy sellers and shippers can help me out with this problem, i have many vintage items that are large and too expensive to ship via UPS, FedEx or Dhl. Thanks
posted by Audio Lover to Shopping (13 answers total)
I've searched for flat files on eBay and most of them were local pickup only. That drastically reduces the pool of shoppers but it might be the solution. Have you tried other way of selling, like Craig's List?
posted by Bunglegirl at 7:29 AM on October 14, 2008

I'd suggest trying craigslist first. That way, you can avoid the hassle of shipping if you get an acceptable offer locally. If you don't, then you can try ebay (at which point I'll leave it to the other experts here to provide guidance).
posted by brandman at 7:30 AM on October 14, 2008

d'oh, should have previewed again...consider me 'seconding' craigslist.
posted by brandman at 7:31 AM on October 14, 2008

It's not impossible to sell heavy/large items on eBay - you just need to specify that they're only suitable for local pickup. Of course it depends on now densely populated your area is. Local pickup of eBay items is pretty common in the UK, where our population density is high enough that it's easy to sell things in a 20-mile radius.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 7:36 AM on October 14, 2008

I've had decent success with Ebay local selling large items. People will happily drive an hour each way to save $50 on shipping so if you have decent population density within an hour or so it's worth trying.
posted by COD at 7:45 AM on October 14, 2008

I once sold a pair of big stereo speakers (Vandersteen 2Ce, about the same size as yours actually) on eBay to a guy in Hawaii. Of course, you have to air-ship to Hawaii; UPS can't drive a truck there. So this dude paid almost as much for shipping as for the speakers themselves -- literally hundreds of dollars. I was happy with how much I got for the speakers, too.

So it does happen.
posted by kindall at 7:50 AM on October 14, 2008

I'd urge you to use caution as an ebay seller. Local selling would probably be safer and would solve your shipping problem, especially if you could get cash. I don't know that ebay allows that now, though.
posted by procrastination at 7:51 AM on October 14, 2008

If I was interested in buying a large item, I wouldn't even look at Ebay, it would be the local craigslist for exactly the reasons you describe.

Although I live in a fairly dense metropolitan area, so if you're out in the sticks that might not be quite as useful to you.
posted by spatula at 9:46 AM on October 14, 2008

Local selling is probably your best bet, but and Greyhound Package Express are sometimes radically less expensive to ship large things. I've often seen car bumpers being shipped via Greyhound. Neither of those options are as easy as FedEx and I'd be hesitant trying to set up complicated shipping arrangements with an eBay buyer. But they do exist, and people do use them to ship large things.
posted by ChrisHartley at 9:51 AM on October 14, 2008

My girlfriend and I just sold a leather couch, loveseat, and ottoman on Ebay in 3 days. We did local pickup only and had multiple bidders.

It will work.
posted by keep it tight at 10:39 AM on October 14, 2008

When I worked at an eBay "store" (essentially we list items for people and happen to have a storefront), we always offered shipping as option, even if it was just a "Call us if you would like to arrange shipment." This idea was that you never know who wants to buy your stuff and give you money for it. Maybe it's worth the price of shipping for them.

On really big items, we just said that if someone wanted it shipped, we'll box it up and be ready to meet the truck when it shows up. The shipping company never even had our billing info, so there was not possibility of getting stuck with a $500 shipping bill.

Granted, probably like 98% of our local pickup auctions were local pickup, but every now and then there was a guy who knew someone with a semi who was about to drive through, or even the person willing to make a road trip for some very rare item.
posted by niles at 1:41 PM on October 14, 2008

+1 to the "local pickup only" option on either eBay or Craigslist.

Put it this way, I once sold a 1.5 car garage on eBay... :-)
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 4:12 PM on October 14, 2008

Response by poster: I agree that craigslist and local pickup would be the best option and i tried both before trying to sell on ebay, i found a buyer on ebay but the shipping was to expensive. Many times even in a large market it can be hard or even impossible to find a local buyer. A buyer for these speakers could not be found locally and needed to be shipped several states away and no affordable shipping service or method could be found. That is why i asked the metafilter community for their help, local buyers could not be found.

I still have items that will need to be shipped any would appreciate any input. Any information on websites where over the road drivers looking for partial loads on their way by to a location that do not have full loads, other carriers that offer better rates than fedex or ups, i have heard horror stories concerning greyhound.

posted by Audio Lover at 6:42 AM on December 18, 2008

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