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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9 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

  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?

  4. Jessica Pleau

    Do you use their labels for shipping over 16 oz?

  5. Nicole

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

  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.

  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?

  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.

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