The ATP Beta "First Swap" Swap: Fees for Future Swap

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Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Dec 13, 2015 12:41 PM CST
Fellow swappers, I have a question to run by all of you...

My concern is how much to charge for the fee for my upcoming seed swap. Since I'm opening it up to all ATP'ers and I'm anticipating a larger number of people than the beta, there is a good chance that there will be some people who will request enough seeds to fill a medium-sized flat-rate box...which will cost more than $6. I don't want people to think I'm charging excessive fees, but I also don't want to get stuck paying money out of my own pocket for other people to get their seeds.

My solution to this prior to the beta was to set up the swaps with the option (or requirement) of 'tips' that could be in the form of money, seeds, or other items that might help offset any potential costs that might occur, but that hasn't been established as a practice yet, so I don't see anyone doing that. I could set my fee higher, at $8, but I do have concerns that it will either a) discourage people who just want a few seeds or who see that the other swaps are 'cheaper' or b) people will try to get their 'money's worth' and all of the swappers will end up requesting tons of seeds and needing the larger boxes and I'll have shot myself in the foot, so to speak.

I would appreciate any suggestions you might have. I really don't want to go broke over this swap, but I don't want to discourage participants, either.

Thoughts?
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Dec 13, 2015 1:05 PM CST
Libby, for my swap and future swaps I set a limit of 100 packs of seeds. That is the approximate amount of seeds that will fit in a small flat rate box. If the participants pay $6.00 priority mail to send their seed to you and another $6.00 for return postage, then they are paying a total of $12.00 shipping. Assuming seeds cost at least $3.00 per pack, then 100 packs of seeds would be a $300 value for only $12 dollars shipping.
If you don't want to limit the number of seeds picked then set a sliding scale. $6.00 for the first 100 packs picked. If they go over that then they need to add an additional $6.00. If someone goes just slightly over, say 110 packs and you find you can get them all in a small box then you can just refund the extra.
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 13, 2015 1:10 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Jay has some great ideas there.

Also the padded flat rate envelope ships for just under six bucks and can hold a tremendous amount of seeds.
Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
Frogs and Toads Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter I helped beta test the first seed swap Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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poisondartfrog
Dec 13, 2015 1:29 PM CST
I have sent as many as 500 packs for swaps in flat rate padded envelopes. They are free from the P.O. and easy to use.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Dec 13, 2015 1:48 PM CST
Horntoad said:Libby, for my swap and future swaps I set a limit of 100 packs of seeds. That is the approximate amount of seeds that will fit in a small flat rate box. If the participants pay $6.00 priority mail to send their seed to you and another $6.00 for return postage, then they are paying a total of $12.00 shipping. Assuming seeds cost at least $3.00 per pack, then 100 packs of seeds would be a $300 value for only $12 dollars shipping.
If you don't want to limit the number of seeds picked then set a sliding scale. $6.00 for the first 100 packs picked. If they go over that then they need to add an additional $6.00. If someone goes just slightly over, say 110 packs and you find you can get them all in a small box then you can just refund the extra.


Thank you for the suggestion! I tip my hat to you. I am glad you mentioned this, too. Like you, I had set a 100 packet limit on my seed swap to help control for this (and to help prevent excessive 'nabbing'), but I really didn't know how many would fit in a small rate box. I sent about 50-60 seed packets to Dave in a small flat-rate box and they seemed to just barely fit, but it might be because of the larger Zip-loc bag I used to send all of the smaller bags in. Rolling my eyes.

I also thought that maybe I could just email people on an individual basis if their packages got too large for the small box and ask them to send more money in, but I don't want anyone to see it as a 'bait-n-switch' swap and think I told them one price and am now charging them a higher one. I'm all about fairness and being as transparent up front as possible...I want people to feel secure going into it and I want them to know exactly what to expect.

... I hadn't thought about a sliding scale idea, though! That's a great idea! It allows for appropriate-pricing, but also allows for transparency upfront. That just might be the solution, Thank You! , Horntoad! I'll have to give that some thought. If I don't do it this time around, then I'm still going to consider that for my future swaps. (I might stick with the request limit for now and see how that goes and then switch to 'tiered pricing' with unrestricted requests in the future if I get a feel that people are contributing large enough quantities to the swap.)
Name: Danita
GA (Zone 7b)
Charter ATP Member Forum moderator Hummingbirder Salvias Butterflies Birds
Plant Identifier Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Seed Starter Cat Lover Region: Georgia
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Danita
Dec 13, 2015 1:55 PM CST
USPS will even ship packs of the flat-rate, padded envelopes to your house for free.

https://store.usps.com/store/browse/uspsProductDetailMultiSk...

I've even had someone mail a pair of shoes that I purchased in them (although I wasn't too happy about that.)

They currently cost $6.10 to ship. You'll want to check that the post office doesn't have a scheduled price hike before the end of your swap.

If it were me, I do like Ella and round it up to $7 to cover costs of any extras that I might need to use like packing tape, printer ink, etc. (The envelopes have their own seal, but really stuffed packs may need extra.)
Name: Sandy B.
Ford River, Michigan UP (Zone 4b)
(Zone 4b-maybe 5a)
Charter ATP Member Celebrating Gardening: 2015 I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the first seed swap Region: United States of America Region: Michigan
Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Birds Butterflies Dog Lover Cat Lover
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Weedwhacker
Dec 13, 2015 2:19 PM CST
poisondartfrog said:I have sent as many as 500 packs for swaps in flat rate padded envelopes. They are free from the P.O. and easy to use.


It sounds to me like the envelopes would be the way to go! Thumbs up
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Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 13, 2015 4:57 PM CST
More great ideas to make this new feature the best seed swap around.

I like the idea of having multiple pricing, there is always going to be small volume and high volume seed requests.
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
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DogsNDaylilies
Dec 13, 2015 6:05 PM CST
DogsNDaylilies said:

Thank you for the suggestion! I tip my hat to you. I am glad you mentioned this, too. Like you, I had set a 100 packet limit on my seed swap to help control for this (and to help prevent excessive 'nabbing'),


I actually had lowered it to 75, so I changed it to 100 for now. I'm going to give myself tomorrow to review everything and set up the rules. Registration will start on 12/15/15. (Tuesday)

I'm excited! Hurray!
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
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Horntoad
Dec 13, 2015 6:23 PM CST
DogsNDaylilies said:

Registration will start on 12/15/15. (Tuesday)


Remember it is set on UTC, if you select 12/15/15 on the calendar it will actually start at 6:00pm on the 14th
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
DogsNDaylilies
Dec 13, 2015 6:24 PM CST
Danita said:USPS will even ship packs of the flat-rate, padded envelopes to your house for free.

https://store.usps.com/store/browse/uspsProductDetailMultiSk...

I've even had someone mail a pair of shoes that I purchased in them (although I wasn't too happy about that.)

They currently cost $6.10 to ship. You'll want to check that the post office doesn't have a scheduled price hike before the end of your swap.

If it were me, I do like Ella and round it up to $7 to cover costs of any extras that I might need to use like packing tape, printer ink, etc. (The envelopes have their own seal, but really stuffed packs may need extra.)


You bring up some really good points....
Name: Dnd
SE Michigan (Zone 6a)
Dog Lover Daylilies Organic Gardener Houseplants Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Ideas: Level 1
I helped beta test the first seed swap
Image
DogsNDaylilies
Dec 13, 2015 6:25 PM CST
Can I call for a vote?
If a swap, open to all members and all seed types, were to charge a fee of $8, would you join? (Please be honest with yourself and me.):

Yes or No?
Name: Duane
Gresham OR (Zone 8a)
Life began in a garden.
I helped beta test the first seed swap Winter Sowing Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Salvias Hummingbirder
Hostas Cottage Gardener Annuals Echinacea Container Gardener Dahlias
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duane456
Dec 13, 2015 6:27 PM CST
I'll be honest and say --"no"----I'd be hesitant
Name: Alana H
(Zone 7a)
Frogs and Toads Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter I helped beta test the first seed swap Keeper of Poultry Garden Ideas: Level 1
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poisondartfrog
Dec 13, 2015 6:30 PM CST
I would not. Too many other swaps at 6.00 or less.
If you print postage using the USPS website the cost of shipping a flat rate bubble envelope is 5.70 and you don't have to stand in line at the P.O.
Name: Jay
Nederland, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Region: Gulf Coast Charter ATP Member I helped beta test the first seed swap I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier Tip Photographer Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Hibiscus
Image
Horntoad
Dec 13, 2015 6:34 PM CST
Are you extra expenses really going to be that much. I already set $6.00 on mine so I am not going to change it on them. I didn't think about the extra cost so I will just absorb it this time. I think I will probably charge $7.00 for future ones unless I see that it is more after this swap. I would have to give serious thought about joining at $8.00.
wildflowersoftexas.com
texasnatureonline.com


Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 13, 2015 6:44 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I would say $6 is a bare minimum. With postage running $5.25 for the small flat rate boxes and $5.75 for the padded envelopes, my shipping costs were covered. I used my laser printer with the peel/sticker paper for the labels and those have a cost, so I'd say I got pretty close to breaking even. I might have made 3 or 4 dollars. I certainly didn't lose money. I wouldn't mind paying $7 to participate but $8 per person feels a little steep.

I can envision some people charging that much, or even more, if they are offering something well above and beyond being a host for a regular swap. If it was something highly specialized or the host was especially sought after and well known as an excellent host, they might be able to command a higher entrance fee. But those circumstances would be unusual, I think.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 13, 2015 6:46 PM CST
It would seem that 30 cents profit from the $6.00 fee per participant should cover ink and tape if needed, especially if there were 30 to 40 participants. Nine to twelve dollars covers a lot of ink and tape.
I'm for keeping it lower.

@dave do you have figures on what it cost you to process the packages?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 13, 2015 6:52 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

The total cost for shipping on my side was $101.15. I collected $114 ($6 per person times 19 people. Trish didn't pay since she didn't do return shipping. I just walked her seeds over to her office. Smiling )

So I ended up with a net gain of $12.85. I figure I spent maybe a couple bucks on materials (ink and special paper.) I guess at the end of the day I came up with a $10 gain.

BTW, a couple people included a bonus monetary tip and that was unexpected and appreciated. I'm going to share the tips plus any excess amount with the children who helped me do all the work. Smiling
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Dec 13, 2015 6:55 PM CST
I'm bad. I didn't even think about sending a tip. *Blush*
I will retain that knowledge for future seed/plant swaps.

Now the question comes up, would we be able to do something like this for a plant swap?
Or should this be brought up in a new thread?
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
Garden Ideas: Master Level Beekeeper Garden Sages Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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dave
Dec 13, 2015 6:58 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

Don't feel bad for not sending a tip. It never even crossed my mind that anybody would do so, and I was very surprised (although it was indeed quite nice.) Definitely not expected and I don't think a precedent should be set for future swaps.

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