UPS and USPS have just changed their policy on shipping lithium batteries not inside equipment. They will ship if the destination is Sydney, but nowhere else. This means in practice we can’t take orders for just lithium batteries anymore. This does not affect shipments of batteries inside items – this is still fine provided the total capacity is under 100Wh.
One area I see customers struggling with all the time is estimating the shipping cost. I understand this is very difficult (it is difficult for me and I have been doing it for years), but there is simple way to get an idea of the cost and that is to use two guesses – a high one and a low one using my shipping cost calculator.
Step 1. Click on my shipping cost calculator. This is the big green button in the top right hand side of my order form. If you are using a phone then it will be below the main order form so scroll down.
Step 2. Enter your Postcode and the Item Price. It is important that you do this as both can affect the final shipping cost. At this stage you will see that all the different shipping options are greyed out.
Step 3. Make a low guess. To do this think of the smallest sized box that would fit all your items and the lightest it might weigh. Don’t worry too much if you are 100% accurate as you are not trying to guess the final cost, just work out the cost range. All the possible shipping methods available will then become visible along with the costs.
Step 4. Make a high guess. Now imagine the biggest sized box the items would need. It can be really helpful here to pull out a box you have and measure it. Enter the new dimensions and look at the shipping methods and costs. If any of the methods are greyed out then that method can’t be used.
Step 5. Decide if you want fast or cheap shipping. You now just need to decide if you want your items quickly or cheaply. Sometimes the answer for both is the same shipping method. This is especially true for larger items where express is both the cheapest and fastest.
Step 6. Place your order and get a quote. The only complication to worry about is if the amount you are willing to pay in shipping is greater than the low range but less than the high range. If this is the case then put in your quote what your high and low guesses were and we will advise you on what we think is your best option. If we think it is better for you to not order then we will let you know. We would rather you did not order than get a final bill that was more than you wanted to pay.
A question that comes up a lot is when it is a good idea to use consolidation (this is when you combine multiple orders from different stores into one package for shipping overseas)? Because all order have a minimum order fee (US$10) and because economy shipping is so cheap, it really only makes sense to consolidate when you are using express shipping. With economy shipping all consolidating does is slow down the shipping of your orders since my US partners have to wait for the slowest order to arrive before they can ship while not saving you any money. For example, if you consolidate two orders from different stores and one take 2 days to arrive from the store and the other takes 2 weeks then my US partner can’t ship your first order until the second order has arrived. The simple rule to follow is:
- Consolidation will save you money when using express shipping, but it will slow you getting your items.
- Consolidation make no sense when using economy shipping since you save no money and it only slows you getting your items.
My US partners have been able to arrange a economy shipping with tracking. This is around 60% more expensive than economy shipping without tracking, but it does offer a cheaper alternative for smaller items that are over the normal economy mail limits. The major advantage of this new shipping method is the shipping is based on the actual weight only and not volumetric weight provided the size of the box is under the mail size limits (length under 42 inch; girth + length under 97 inches) and the total cost of the order is under US$600. The price is also the same to all countries unlike express shipping.
The only real downside with this method (apart for the slower speed ~ 14 days) is only makes sense for items under 6 lbs, or for bulky, but light items. For items above 6 lbs then express shipping will normally be cheaper.
The drop in the oil price before Christmas is finally flowing through to the UPS fuel surcharge (it lags by a few months). The great news is the fuel surcharge is down to 3.5% (it was 11% a few month back). This makes express shipping cheaper than it has ever been – if only we can get the A$ back up to parity!
There have been some changes to the way economy mail shipping works. Instead of have only one cost, my US partners are now charged two different rates depending on the size of the package. If the package is under 24 inches (60cm) in length, and the total of the length + width + height is under 36 inches (90cm), then the old pricing applies. If your packages is larger than this size limit then the shipping cost is a little higher (e.g. a larger 1 lb package will cost US$2.75 more) . The shipping cost calculator on the order form will tell you what the new cost will be based on the box dimensions and weight.
The good news about this change is we can now ship larger packages by economy shipping. The limit is now 42 inches (105cm) in length and the girth + length can be up to 97 inches (242cm). The weight limit is still 4 lbs (1.8kg), but since economy mail is not based on volumetric weight it is still a great option for large, but not heavy items.
It is generally a good idea in business to avoid talking about other companies, but when one of them is causing problems for the entire mail forwarding industry you sometimes need to break this rule to inform people. My advice for anyone thinking of using ShopMate’s mail forwarding service is to read this thread on whirlpool which has a huge number of very negative posts from dozens of different users of the ShopMate mail forwarding service.
To answer the original question yes Price USA is an excellent alternative to the ShopMate parcel forwarding service. Price USA’s purchasing service is faster, cheaper and we are highly experienced in shipping items to Australia (and other countries) from the USA. We have been in business for more than seven years and can help you get those items you can’t order directly from the USA.
I have update my contact phone number. The new number is (02) 8091 3474. I can still be contacted on my old number for now, but if you want to get in contact with me by phone then please use my new number.
This is the time of year for UPS to increase their shipping prices. For reasons known only to UPS this is not a straight percentage increase, but ranges from 5% to more than 10% with all sorts of strange anomalies (i.e. 13 lbs is much more expensive to ship than 12 lbs). I have updated the shipping cost calculator and my website to reflect this price increase.
The price increase only affects express shipping. At this stage economy shipping stays the same price as last year since USPS has announced that there will be no price increase for 2015.
This UPS increase does make Sea freight more cost effective so the cross-over point is now 50 lbs (it used to be 100 lbs). I have updated my shipping cost calculator to reflect this.
I have a bargain for those of you looking to buy a Motorola X 2014 phone. Due to a ordering mix up (one of my US partners ordered the wrong colour model) we now have brand new open box one sitting here at my home in Sydney for sale. The specs are below and the price is AUS$500 + AUS$20 shipping. On eBay the same phone is selling for around AUS$675 – $700 so this should hopefully go fast.
Back -> Dark Teal
Front -> Black
Trim -> Metallic Dark Gray
Memory -> 16GB
Wall Charger -> White
Unlocked phone without a contract
Moto X pure edition
If you have any questions please just email me.
Edit. Sold – was a great bargain. My husband was disappointed as he was wanting to keep it for himself.