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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.
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.
Dec 13, 2015 1:10 PM CST
|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.
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.|
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.
Thank you for the suggestion! 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.
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, , 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.)
Dec 13, 2015 1:55 PM CST
|USPS will even ship packs of the flat-rate, padded envelopes to your house for free.|
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.)
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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!
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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.
Dec 13, 2015 6:05 PM CST
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)
Dec 13, 2015 6:23 PM CST
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
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.
You bring up some really good points....
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?
Dec 13, 2015 6:27 PM CST
|I'll be honest and say --"no"----I'd be hesitant|
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.
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.|
Dec 13, 2015 6:44 PM CST
|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.
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?
Dec 13, 2015 6:52 PM CST
|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. )|
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.
Dec 13, 2015 6:55 PM CST
|I'm bad. I didn't even think about sending a tip. |
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?
Dec 13, 2015 6:58 PM CST
|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.|