Yes, yes, shipping charges, that forgotten expense. You find something online you want to buy, then realize the shipping charges are as much and sometimes MORE than the cost of the item!!! What's up with that???!!!
I'll tell you what's up with that for my shops, Nancy's Fabric Shop and Custom Designs by Nancy. I learned the hard way how the shipping expenses can reduce my profit to nothing, and sometimes even go into negative territory, after I did the math. First, my goods are heavy. The shipping isn't minimal as it can be for jewelry, it can be quite serious, especially when sending a comforter or bedspread. And then there are the etsy and paypal fees. Etsy may only charge $.20 to list, and 3.5% doesn't sound like a lot until you do the math on a $50 piece, which is $1.75, plus the .$20 and paypal's fee and we're over $2.00 in fees and I haven't packaged and shipped it yet.
I know there's always a lot of discussion in the forums about how to price your pieces. I want to be competitive, and to tell the truth my material costs are minimal. In Custom Designs by Nancy I want to be paid for my labor. Even simple potholders or placemats can take time to make, and my etsy stores ARE my day job. So I use the shipping charges to pay the etsy and paypal fees, figure about $.60 for the packaging (envelopes or box), and guesstimate how much the post office will charge to ship to Alabama (whereever) from New York.
For example, I sent a potholder to Georgia in May. The potholder itself sold for $5 and I charged her $2 for shipping. The actual post office cost was $1.56, the envelope cost maybe $.30, the paypal fee was $.50, the list fee was $.20 and etsy's 3.5% was $.18, totalling a$2.74. So, out of the $7 she was charged, I actually received $4.25, and it took maybe 1/2 hour to make the potholder.
I don't mean for this to sound like a rant. I'm just putting it out there into reality. Because of my own experience I don't question people's shipping charges, and I realize that free shipping from a seller is a big deal.
Maybe I should increase my prices to include the fees, and offer free shipping...