Ok. this is a whole chapter of it's own.
good video : (* will make my own this weekend maybe )
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpwdfyfA ... re=related
This being an online market, anything you buy or sell, needs to ship..
As of this writing ( 2012 ) i've been working at a shipping company for 15 years ( tech support.. but all shipping related ) ..
Packaging is KEY.. many packages arrive to their destination damaged, sometimes ( often ) from rough handling, sometimes from improper packaging.
When done right, and to excess, a box should survive just about ANYTHING a shipping company can throw at it.. depending on the item, fragile vs non-fragile items should be packaged accordingly.
A box should not have any empty space, it should be filled completely so that the item stays in it's place and does not bounce around destroying itself and the box in the process., heavy objects needs stiffer packing ( foam, padding ), while light weight items can do with crushed up newspaper or bubble fillers..
Shipping within your country means no customs.. shipping outside of your country involves customs..
Normally, the buyer ( receiver ) pays duties and brokerage not the shipper.. but this is an option you can pick on the " Customs Invoice " .. this is a SEPERATE fee from shipping, you pay shipping to the carrier ( ups, fedex, usps, canada post etc.. ) .. but you pay duties and brokerage to clear the package thru customs.
Customs... ( Duties and Brokerage )
Customs is the government entity that monitors everything entering their country, if you ship from Canada to US, US customs will inspect the parcel... if you ship from US to canada Canada customs are involved. etc.
Duties, a % tax amount charged calculated from the " Declared Value " of the item.. this % varies by country and the type of items being shipped.. ( check with YOUR country for details as a buyer/receiver )
Brokerage , is the charge applied by the company doing the paperwork to clear customs.. ( it is possible to be charged a brokerage fee, but no duties.. more on this later )
If you buy a new item from a company, they need/should declare the value of your item for legal reasons, they should declare what you PAID for the item...
If you buy a used item from a fellow forum member, you can save $$$ by declaring a lower value, for example.. if i buy a used motor for 150$, the seller can declare it as " used , 80$ " or something credible that will not seem too suspicious.. even tho i sent a payment of 150 via paypal, the shipper has nothing to loose by declaring a lower value so that when it clears customs and i get taxed the " Declared Value " .. i dont have to pay as much..
Small packages shipped via the postal service ( usps, canada post , etc ) declared below 200$, are often not charged customs fees, there are too many parcels for them to check each and every item, and they tend to concentrate on the larger stuff sold by companies.. you have no control of this however, and your parcel is subject to inspection / customs at any given time of THEIR choosing. If they touch the box, you pay brokerage, if it's declared expensively you also pay duties on top of that....
Personal items, from individuals, can be declared as " Gift " , customs tend to push these along without too much fuss.. but you still need to specify what it is.. " Gift, RC parts " .. or " Gift, used bicycle parts " for example.
If you are shipping something for repair, you already paid duties on it when you purchased it, there is an option on the customs invoice for this.. so you may pay brokerage again, but no duties a 2nd time...
cubing , using the SIZE of a box vs actual weight..
L x W x H ( in inches ) / 1728 x 10 ( ground ) or x15 ( air ) = cubic weight
20 x 20 x 20 box that weighs 5 lbs ( bicycle rims for example )
20x20x20 = 8000
/ 1728 = 4.62
x10 ( ship ground ) = 46.2 lbs
x15 ( ship air ) = 69.5 lbs !!
Shipping companies use cubic weight to bill you when a box is large but light, as it takes more space on the trucks...
so imagine how expensive it can get to use a much larger box than you need, for light stuff..