John Hiner is a DIY guy. He’s been making custom woodwork since 2017, and has taken to sharing his craft with customers via an Etsy storefront and online store. His best seller? Custom made loft ladders.
John creates 15-20 of these handcrafted, custom ladders each month. They’re designed to give access to loft spaces in homes, so each one has to be created specifically for the space it will serve. The ladders are both aesthetically pleasing and functional – a solution homeowners love.
With custom woodwork creations, though, come custom challenges.
When it comes to figuring out the logistics of shipping custom woodwork pieces, like a 8-12-foot ladder in a box that mimics its unique shape, things can get tricky. In searching for viable shipping options, John started using uShip. He tested out a similar shipping marketplace, but came to rely on uShip for its superior customer support, higher quality carriers, and better rates.
Name Your Price
As a uShip rookie, John would submit each shipment to the marketplace, but found that on unique shipments like his custom woodworks, he wouldn’t always get an adequate number of quotes. Once he’d gotten better acquainted with what he could expect to pay, he turned to the Name Your Price feature, which allows a user to do just that – create a listing and include the price they’re willing to pay for the shipment to see if carriers will accept. Sometimes, the price has to be increased, but the insight of past shipments gives him a close range of what he can expect to pay.
The ‘Free Shipping’ Conundrum
Like so many oversized item sellers, John wrestled with the idea of offering free shipping, while rolling the expected shipping cost into the item’s overall price. Ultimately, he found that with custom woodwork, products call for custom shipping rates, so free shipping wasn’t the best option for him or his customers.
The Price of Packaging
After getting familiar with uShip, John also turned to an airfreight solution that was in his area. He enjoys the local convenience of the company, and is happy with the up-front quotes they provide. However, the arrangement requires him to do all packaging himself, which results in about $60 of additional cost on each shipment.
With uShip’s In-Home Delivery solution, sellers like John can avoid the cost and work of packaging their products. While the quotes on uShip may be slightly higher at times, John considers skipping the work and cost of packaging to be a major selling point.
At the end of the day, it’s a process he’s still perfecting. Like John says of all his fellow Etsy sellers and online entrepreneurs, “we’re all just trying to figure it out.”