How I Save $2 on Almost Every Mercari Sale (And It Only Takes 60 Seconds)

Whether you sell on Poshmark, Mercari, or some other app, the shipping is almost universally the same.

A ripoff.

On Poshmark, every item, no matter the size, weight, or type, costs $5.95 to ship. That really eats into your profit margin.

On Mercari, the same is pretty much true. For items weighing 8 oz. or less, you can use Mercari’s minimum $4 shipping. If your item weighs between 8-16 oz., the only option they offer is $6 priority shipping.

That’s why I always ship it myself.

If you select the “I’ll ship the item myself” option on Mercari, you’re allowed to purchase your own shipping. All you need to do is buy the shipping independently of Mercari and then update the transaction in the app with the tracking number. Is it really worth the extra effort to save a couple bucks?

Absolutely.

This whole process takes about 60 seconds. That means if I sell 60 items where I purchase shipping independently of Mercari and I save $2 on average, I’ve spent one extra hour working (60 seconds x 60 transactions) and I’ve saved myself $120 ($2 per transaction x 60 transactions).

By purchasing shipping on my own and not using Mercari’s overpriced options, I’m making $120 per hour.

Doesn’t that seem like an hourly wage you could get behind?

So, how do I do this? PayPal offers a great service that allows you to purchase First Class postage at some pretty nice discounts. That $4 shipping Mercari offers for items up to 8 oz.? You can get it through PayPal for $2.60. First Class shipping for items 8-16 oz.? No more than $3.65 compared to Mercari’s $6!

This is how you do it.

Step 1: Go to PayPal.com/shipnow

You can purchase First Class USPS shipping by visiting PayPal.com/shipnow. You’ll need a PayPal account if you don’t have one. The screen will look like this:

PayPal shipnow screen

The PayPal.com/shipnow screen – enter the recipient’s address

Just enter the address of the buyer and click “Ship To This Address.”

Step 2: Select the desired type of shipping

For all items 16 oz. and under you’ll want to use First Class shipping, which will get the item to the buyer in 2-5 days. Unless you have a prior arrangement with the buyer to ship the item Priority or faster, this will be just fine. Just enter the type of shipping you want and click “Calculate Shipping Cost.”

Select the proper type of shipping and click Calculate Cost

Select the proper type of shipping and click “Calculate Shipping Cost”

The amount will be displayed, and then you’ll click “Confirm and Pay.” The amount will be deducted from your PayPal balance, and if you don’t have sufficient funds it’ll be deducted from your primary account type (e.g., your checking account). Don’t worry about this part. If you haven’t set up your PayPal account yet, you can do it then.

Step 3: Print the label & update tracking info

Now all that’s left is to print the label, affix it to the package, and update the tracking information in the Mercari app. The buyer will be notified and can track the package through the USPS website.

Make sure you type the tracking number in correctly. It’s a lot of digits, and if you don’t type it in correctly then your buyer (and Mercari!) won’t be able to see when the item has been delivered successfully. This happened to me once before, and I just apologized to the buyer and sent them the tracking number through the app’s messaging system. The buyer rated me and the transaction was successfully completed, but I don’t know exactly what would have happened had the buyer not rated me and I had to ask Mercari to close out the transaction. Given their reputation for poor customer service, I’m not confident it would be resolved quickly.

Everything you do to make money flipping should boil down to the question, “Am I making an adequate hourly wage by doing this?” In this instance, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes!”

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Bryan

Thanks for reading! In my full-time job as a Business Analyst for a health system, I apply analytical rigor to everyday business questions. My goal at Debt Free Dawn is to bring some of that rigor to the business of online resale but to do so in a fun and understandable way. Please ask me anything as I love to chat with fellow flippers!

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88 Comments

  1. madiha

    what a great tip. THANKS! unfortunately it wont let me make the shipping label because i don’t have any pay pal credit at the moment :(. I transferred a small amount from my bank account but it says it wont be available until 4 days later. Any other tip :/ would the amount be greater at the USPS? any ideas THANKSSSS

    • Sara

      You don’t need PayPal credit to do this. You JUST need to have a credit card on file with PayPal. You create the label and pay for it in one transaction.

      • Ginger S Goode

        I usually sell on Ebay but I am new to Mercari, A buyer said they paid for an item and I used shipping myself, where does the address show up? Shouldnt there be some type of pending payment somewhere that will provide me the address to mail to the buyer? Or does this mean the item actually hasnt been purchased? I am super confused.HELP!!

        • CHANTELLE KLEIN

          It would show up on the confirmation email from mercari or under “selling- in progress” customers info is under the shipment information

  2. JUST what I needed to read! Thank you! I am going free shipping and of course I have a kind of low offer. I can do it with first class but not Merc’s $6. I had no clue where to go in Paypal. This clears that up! Now to edit all these listings…

  3. Lisa Smith

    I have a question. So do i still need to charge the buyer for shipping? Or just offer free shipping and increase the price of my item by the cost of shippin?

    • Marissa

      You need to offer free shipping and select ship yourself when you list. Otherwise mercari will charge for that shipping label, regardless if you use it or not. Also, you can’t upload tracking info if you didn’t select ship yourself when listing, so that could definitely cause issues. It can’t be changed after an item has already sold.

      • Samuel

        Hi,

        I actually sent the item to buyer, by printing my own label, question here is how/ where do I upload the tracking info in the app?
        Also, I have seen in the comments says “ship it myself” option. I didnt see it either in app or web? Could you please peovide me with the req info and help me?
        Since my package was already delivered to buyer, I left the message to buyer with tracking info and requesting for rating but buyer is not responding.
        Also mercari app still shows tracking of their own label and its pending, is there any way to contact mercari customer support? Any help here is appreciated.

        • Marissa

          @Samuel, it sounds like Mercari provided you a prepaid label, which unfortunately means you’ve been charged for it too. When listing or editing an item, it gives the option offer buyer free shipping yes/no. Select yes, and then you can edit the shipping carrier. Unless you’re a new seller, it should give you the option to select either prepaid label or ship on my own. It’s important that ship on my own is selected before the sale is completed, or you’re wasting your money paying out of pocket. There is no option to upload tracking info if Mercari issues a prepaid label. I have been unable to find any customer support contact info. Hope you got it resolved!

      • Samuel

        While listing there is no such option saying “ship by myself” only option saying “offer buyer free shipping yes or No? I have opted for NO. During sale mercari charges me only for their commision not for the shipping. So basically it means I printed on my own, but where to upload the tracking number?

        • Marissa

          In this case Mercari didn’t charge you for shipping because the buyer paid for it. Which means you shouldn’t have paid for it yourself at all. Creating your own label in this situation is risky: the buyer specifically paid for a certain shipping service, if you choose another carrier or mail class, you could be penalized for not honoring the shipping label the buyer paid for. In the future, if you wish to ship yourself, you need to offer free shipping and figure your cost into the item price.

  4. Jessica Pleau

    Do you use their labels for shipping over 16 oz?

    • Sandra

      I have a question maybe someone can help me, I am new to Mercari, how do I get the Buy Now button on my products

  5. Nicole

    Thank you so much for this! I have the same question as Jessica. Does this work for items that are heavier ( 16oz) ?

    • Marge

      Yes, but items over 16 oz will need to shipped via priority mail, not first class. You can purchase that label through PayPal just the same, but depending on weight, it may or may not cost more than Mercari’s labels. Mercari does save you more on shipping on higher weight items.

  6. shani

    Would i be able to go to the post office and ship out for same cost $2.60.if i am the seller using free shipping method for 8oz and under.

    • Marge

      You can ship at the post office, but their rates are higher than the discount PayPal gives.

  7. I dont see the option to ship item myself. The only link is create shipping label. Where do I choose I’ll ship item myself?

    • Elisabeth

      You have to have sold at least one thing before they let you “ship on your own”

    • Marissa

      You have to select that when you’re listing your item, it can’t be changed after the buyer has paid.

  8. Ali H

    I don’t see an option to ship the item myself… I did try this but ended up paying the $4 anyway so I could even be rated…

    • Kimberly S

      Did you figure out how to do It? I’ve had this happen I selected to pay shipping and it didn’t give me an option to enter in the shipping number after i paid for shipping at the post office.

  9. If u choose to “buyer pays shipping ” they don’t charge u the 10% fee on that- but if u price ur item with shipping included and ship urself then u pay a fee on that total, which adds minimum of .30-.40 to every listing- if u had allowed urself 3$ to ship in ur total, then it would cost u the extra .30 in fees, as opposed to if u charged less for ur item and added shipping. I ship alot myself also, but not nearly as much now since it doesn’t make much difference after the fee

    • Ginger S Goode

      I usually sell on Ebay but I am new to Mercari, A buyer said they paid for an item and I used shipping myself, where does the address show up? Shouldnt there be some type of pending payment somewhere that will provide me the address to mail to the buyer? Or does this mean the item actually hasnt been purchased? I am super confused.HELP!!

    • Nedra

      I can find the option to ship yourself

  10. Adam Rocco

    This was very helpful. I am a new seller on Mercari and was not aware PP offered first class label printing. Thanks so much for your thoughtful tutorial.

  11. Lina

    I’m making labels.. can I just stick some mailing stamps on them and ship them out? It’s just so expensive with them and I don’t have PayPal.. it’s asking me for tracking in mercari but I just did it the stamp way.. oh gosh :/
    Thanks

    • Marge

      No no no…hopefully you figured this out but that is definitely not the way to go! Tracking is a must, and you don’t have that with stamps, not to mention the post office won’t accept packages over 13 oz with stamps on it. Use Mercari’s label, or create a PayPal account. What you described is an excellent way to get scammed and poor seller ratings. You’re not saving money like this.

  12. Tracy Greenzweig

    I clicked on the link provided, entered an address from a prior sale and was given a price of $4.94.

    • JaySib

      I just did too, I think prices have gone up…

      • Marge

        They have, they’ve increased the first of each year for the past few years. It varies based on what zone you’re shipping too as well. The only prices I get under $3 are shipping within state.

  13. Ginger S Goode

    I usually sell on Ebay but I am new to Mercari, A buyer said they paid for an item and I used shipping myself, where does the address show up? Shouldnt there be some type of pending payment somewhere that will provide me the address to mail to the buyer? Or does this mean the item actually hasnt been purchased? I am super confused.HELP!!

  14. Ginger S Goode

    & how do I mark an item as sold instead of deactivating the item in general?

    • Marge

      If you’re item isn’t showing as sold, the buyer hasn’t paid. I don’t think your buyer is being honest with you. Mercari isn’t showing a shipping address because there is no actual buyer yet.

  15. Ginger S Goode

    To recieve payment do I need to update my banking info in paypal? Its active but I’m not showing where anything has been purchased.

  16. Why don’t you set it where the buyer pays? Mercari will send you a prepaid label and all you have to do is print it and stick it on. Most people understand that if you pay for the label, you will fold the cost of the label into the price of the item.

    • Michelle

      I was wondering the same. I sell on Ebay & Posh, & was about to start listing on Mercari. Her post made it sound like you don’t have the option of having buyer pay shipping??

    • Marge

      Because an item is more likely to sell if you offer free shipping. Buyers realize they are often paying more for shipping than what actual shipping costs, and it feels more like being ripped off. By shipping yourself, for cheaper, you can adjust the price of your item lower and increase your odds of selling.

      • Olga Carrion

        But, I understand that shipping yourself its so expensive. How can I get an special business rate ? from UPS or FED Ex. ?

        • Cherise

          PayPal gives a nice discount for USPS, but I don’t know that any small time sellers qualify for UPS or Fed ex business pricing. You’d have to be shipping out dozens of parcels a day for that.

  17. Silvia

    Thank you so much for this! I was shipping something that was 3oz and they were charging me so much! I did this and I paid $2.66

    • Kabeera

      So i’ve listed as shipping the item myself but when listed it states prepaid label. Does mercari still send you a label and if so are you able to use a different method of shipping like shipping through paypal? What option is given to do so? And do I get all the money minus the difference when i ship it myself for less? Please help, i just listed all my items as free shipping and was wondering if i should change it.

      • Marissa

        Double check that you’ve selected ship yourself, it should only show prepaid label if you’re using their shipping label. If Mercari does send you a label after an item sells, you’ve already been charged for it so don’t print your own in that case. You won’t get money back if you ship yourself for less. You do need to offer free shipping, just make sure you click on ship on my own where it displays the shipping carrier options.

  18. Sheana

    Hi! Thanks for this great article! I’ll definitely save a lot of money by making my own labels for my sales on Mercari. I do need your help with one issue though… I made a sale, used the buyer’s address to create my shipping label using PayPal, but now I cannot figure out how to update my shipping information on Mercari. I don’t see a section where it allows me to add tracking information. I can send the tracking number to the seller using the message feature, but I don’t know how to update the actual order with a tracking number. Please help!!!! Thanks so much!! 🙂

    • Marissa

      If it was set to ship on my own that option should show up. Did Mercari email you a label to use? If so, then unfortunately you’ve already been charged for their label if ship on your own wasn’t selected at the time of the sale. It can’t be changed after the item has sold.

    • Pinky

      You have to click “Confirm Shipment” in the app, and then a new box will pop up asking you to “Add Shipping Information” such as which carrier you used and the tracking information. Hope that helps!

  19. Chelsea Peruskie

    So to do this you pay for the shipping out of your own pocket first (seller pays shipping) and then get it back after macari pays you?

    • Marissa

      Mercari will not refund you, it is out of your own pocket. You will need to figure it into your item price.

  20. Mag

    Thank you so much. I’m new to selling, and even newer to Mercari’s shipping process. I’ve had trouble with several transactions thus far so this is a true life saver.

  21. Kayla

    Hello,
    I tried to do this and it’s actually charging me $4.66 for a 15oz first class package to go from FL to WA which is more then mercari. Confused, sorry 🙁

    • Marissa

      It’s a toss up sometimes 🙁 Depending on the buyers location, it can be more or less than Mercari’s price.

  22. Olga Carrion

    Thanks a lot! On december 2018 and January 2nd 2019, I published 10 handmade ceramics items on Mercari. I’m a retired senior , and new to this online sales, Pottery is my hobby. Homemade, one by one pottery pieces in my home studio. What I wonder is why my full Mercari listing does not shows on Mercari sometimes 2,, 5, 7 never all 10 so far. I have more for sale but, trying to test the service. I’m afraid to keep posting and they get lost in the Mercari maze. Unfortunately I read a lot of not so good comments. Its too an inconvenience for buyers to find specific item b seller ‘ name. They should have even for small fee , a “corner for each seller, ( like a shop on Etsy. ) Even Though searching on Google,my list sows incomplete. .Everyday I’m reviewing my list and checking on the App site. Thanks for the info, Olga C.

  23. Inna

    First Class doesn’t include tracking that Mercari requires to provide. But using PayPayl it does?

    • Yes it does. All USPS shipping services come with tracking, no matter how you ship it. So yes, Paypal will provide you with a tracking number if you ship through them.

  24. There have been a lot of added variables since this post (Mercari and USPS shipping increases), but Pirate Ship is another great source for free shipping. The one thing I don’t like about Paypal’s shipping is that you have to scour through emails to find a tracking number for items not linked to a Paypal transaction.

    With Pirate Ship, it keeps all of your shipments right on your main page, with search functions to track down shipments much quicker. Copying and pasting addresses is also much quicker. You even get Priority Mail Cubic discounts, which is something even some paid shipping services don’t offer! Only main downside: You can’t pay with Paypal (need a debit/credit card). Other than that, it’s completely free, and all the basic First Class rates are the same as you get anywhere else (eBay, Paypal, etc.)

  25. Would the shipping cost more if you use the free Priority Mail boxes from the USPS? Thank you for writing this!

    • Marissa

      No, there is no extra charge for using their boxes, but they may only be used for priority mail, not first class. Also you must purchase the correct postage to use them, flat rate boxes or envelopes must have flat rate postage affixed (and flat rate postage cannot be used on any other boxes).

      • Thank you! This helped me so much. I filled out a PayPal shipping form and priority mail was A LOT more than first class. It’s not worth getting those free boxes when the shipping for them is so much. lol

  26. JC

    I noticed this post has outdated pricing (Poshmark is now $6.79). Can you update the pricing with your hacks?
    Thanks!

  27. Allyssa Bertschy

    So by doing this and printing the label, i do not need to go to the post office counter? I can just put it in any of the blue usps mailbox around my town? Also: What happens if you think your item is 8oz but it is really 10oz? I see the price differs quite a bit in a 2oz difference.
    Im doing my first mercari shipments tomorrow afternoon and I have 5 of them to ship out, so I’m trying to figure the whole shipping thing out.

    Thanks!

    • Marissa

      Better yet, you can simply put them in your own mailbox if they fit, and if it’s too big, schedule a pickup for your mail carrier to pickup at your house. A box likely won’t fit into the blue drop boxes.
      You need a kitchen scales to weigh your packages. No guessing at weights. Always round up. A bathroom scales is not accurate enough for small items. If you don’t have a kitchen scales, then wait to print your own labels until you have them. Also, did you select print on your own in your Mercari listings? If not, you’re wasting your money double paying for shipping because Mercari already deducts that from your payout. They will not refund you. If this is your first Mercari sale, I highly recommend you use their shipping options instead of shipping on your own.

      • Allyssa Bertschy

        I did the ship myself option. So I believe Mercari only took 10% of my dale for their posting fee.

        But thanks! This helps a lot 🙂

  28. Debra

    Thanks. Question: I just sold my first item and got the shipping label from Mercari. Are you saying that the 2nd sale I’ll see the link to ship on my own? I have my own USPS account and it is definitely cheaper than Mercari. If I do pay for my shipping label, can I charge the buyer for shipping? That is where I am confused. If I click on buyer pays for shipping, they pay 4.25 (not free ship), can I still print my own labels?

    • Marge

      On your 2nd sale, you should have the option to select ship on my own when you list your item. You cannot charge the buyer directly for shipping; you need to figure it into your price and list it with free shipping. If the buyer pays, you have to use Mercari’s label. It is not always cheaper to ship on your own, it varies so much based on weight and destination. USPS rates are higher than PayPal’s shipping rates also.

      • Debra

        Thanks. I’m from NY so when shipping to CA or AZ, not much savings. When I do select ‘ship on my own’, do I then have to print my own label or can I use Mercari label (if I see the destination does not work out for me).

        Question on setting up my checking acct info: I don’t see where I can provide that info.
        On ebay, not only do we pay final value fees but also paypal fees. At least there are no paypal fees here. Mercari deducts 10% and 90% is mine. Is that true that there are no additional fees (other than shipping if I choose so)?

        • Marge

          If you select ‘ship on my own’, you will need to purchase and print your own label, Mercari won’t issue a label. They don’t allow you to change shipping options after a purchase is made unfortunately.
          Mercari doesn’t release the funds until after the buyer receives their item, and you need a $10 minimum balance to transfer to your account (or they charge a fee). When you click on your balance, you should be able to select transfer, and then link your account. I love how Mercari is upfront about their fees, the 10% is the only fee they deduct. What they say you earn is what you’ll get.

          • Debra

            your responses are awesome. Thanks! Looking forward to my first transfer. btw…. are most of the buyers legit? What I mean is…. because they know that the money is not released until their sayso…. do returns happen often? And, does Mercari get rid of buyers who ‘play the game’???

          • Marge

            I’m not a frequent seller, but I have never had any bad experiences. Funds are released when the buyer rates the transaction; if they fail to do so within 3 days of delivery Mercari will automatically rate it for them. I’m not even sure returns are allowed. In the case of an incorrect or damaged item, the buyer would need to notify you within those 3 days. Mercari is the one holding the funds, not the buyer. Both buyers and sellers rate each other, so if a buyer was dishonest, their ratings would probably reflect that.

  29. Maria Artsy

    Hi. What if the item weighs 1-3 pounds? Fedex is cheaper in that weight class. Would i save money for shipping if its via paypal too?

  30. Cheryl Batla

    Hi, my question involves shipping board games, what is usually the average cost and do I just wrap in brown paper and send off or what is the best method?

  31. Edie

    I have a question, I’m pretty new to Mercari. I sold a 30pc lot on Mercari and had selected their shipping via fedex (the buyer was charged $17) I’m shipping tomorrow.The box weighs 12 lb but they are charging a 20lb label, i did not see an option to add weight and didn’t know it at the time of listing item. is that because I charged the seller too much for shipping and can I reprint and get a corrected label for the actual lower weight either thru Mercari or fedex? If so will money be refunded to seller or added to my account? I will for sure the majority of time choose to ship myself. Thanks a lot, Edie

    • Marissa

      They charge the same rate for any package 10-20 lbs. The buyer already paid, just use that label because you won’t get a cheaper rate through usps. Mercari seldom refunds you, don’t ever ship on your own expecting to get credit, you need to figure shipping costs into your initial item price. I honestly do not advise shipping on your own unless you’re an experienced shipper. The prices listed in this blog post are obsolete, there have been 2 postage increases since then. It’s a toss up sometimes if it actually is cheaper on your own. In this case, no. USPS rate is around $30 depending on location.

  32. Edie

    And thank you for this information. It I sent very helpful to many.

  33. navy wife

    Thank you for this post. I am brand new to Mercari. Question: do I have to have my checking acct. linked to Mercari? Can I just get paid through another avenue? I am uneasy giving my ckg. account number to Mercari. Is there another option to get paid? I assume PayPal, but doesn’t PayPal take out money? Thanks in advance.

    • Marissa

      Mercari only pays out through direct deposit, they do not support PayPal at this time. If you want the money in your bank account, then yes, you have to link your bank account. Giving your info to Mercari is no different than giving someone a personal check: both your account number and routing information are printed at the bottom of every check. Otherwise, you can simply use your balance to shop on Mercari if you don’t transfer it.

  34. Jen

    Please update your blog to let other buyers know that you are saving money upfront, however the gamble is if the buyer opens a return. If you didn’t use Mercari label, then you as responsible to pay for shipping both ways. You have to refund their full amount plus pay to get your item sent back. That’s the downside to using your own shipping label.

  35. Melissa Kaminski

    Where do you enter the tracking number on Mercari?

  36. Aaron Bennett

    I disagree with you saving money because you are spending more by shipping things yourself! If you use mercaris shipping the buyer is charged for the shipping label, not the sellers. You actually make more money if you do the math. Say you sell an item for $10 free shipping, mercari takes 10% of the selling price leaving you with $9. Subtract your cost to ship the item which is about $3 for 4 ounces or less and you are left with $6. Now subtract the cost of the item if you are buying things to resell. You paid $4 for it leaving you $2 profit. Sell that same item for $8 and make the buyer pay for the shipping. You get charged 80 cents leaving you with $7.20. That’s $1.20 more in profit. The higher your price of items, the more mercari takes from your sale. Free shipping is a bogus scheme these companies came up with to make more money from sellers, nothing more. Ebay started that crap a long time ago and even went to lengths of charging final value fees on total item sale including shipping so it doesn’t really matter if you offer it on there or not anymore.

  37. m

    I have a question regarding checking accts: does the bank report your direct deposits? do you need to have a business checking acct. for Mercari/Posh?

    • Marissa

      Report to whom? No, you don’t need a business account, your personal checking account will work for transferring funds.

  38. Rae eaves

    Why can’t you just do it the old fashioned way and hand write the address and return address on the package and ship it the cheapest way with tracking?

    • Marissa

      Because that’s not the cheapest way. PayPal offers lower prices than USPS does in the post office, plus saves you a trip. $1 or so per package definitely adds up.

  39. Tony

    Is shipping protection included when doing it this way?

  40. JENNIFER CLICK

    Hi! The thing I’ve been trying to figure out is how to ship items yourself when they’re under a pound. The problem is, first class mail for under 1 pound does NOT come with a tracking number, which Mercari requires. Even if they didn’t, I would still want tracking to reduce the likelihood of someone saying they didn’t receive an item (in which case you’re SOL b/c you won’t get paid if you don’t have tracking!).
    I see people listing items for only $5 or $6 with free shipping, and I wonder how they’re making any money, or at least making enough to make the trip to the post office worth it!
    Any feedback on this?

    • Marge

      First class mail DOES come with a tracking number actually. Any label you print has a tracking number, unless you’re just sticking stamps on a package. First class letters are the only ones that do not have tracking. Also, no need to make a trip to the post office if you print your own label, just stick it in your mailbox or schedule a free pickup.

  41. Bryan Smith

    can we also do the same thing on poshmark? I couldn’t find a way to buy my own shipping label on Poshmark….any ideas?

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