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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28 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!!

  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) ?

    • 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?

  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!!

  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.

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