Chapter 28. Automating Your Shipping Chores

Waaay back in August of 1999, the United States Postal Service announced a brand-new service: Information-Based Indicia (IBI). Targeted at the SOHO (small office/home office) market, IBI is USPS-certified postage that you can print on envelopes and sticker labels right from your PC. Sellers on eBay and elsewhere on the Internet — whether they're selling from home or from a huge office — are all printing their own postage. Not only is printing postage quicker than stickingstamps on a package, but the result looks way more professional.

I'm a savvy consumer and businesswoman. I don't believe in paying for extras, nor do I believe in being a victim of hidden charges. The onlinepostagearena — while providing helpful tools that make running your eBay business easier — is fraught with bargains, deals, and introductory offers. (Usually the free postage offered in these deals only comes after the 30-day trial period.) I urge you to read these offers carefully so that you know what you're getting yourself into: Evaluate how much it will cost you to start and to maintain an ongoing relationship with any onlinepostage- service company. Although you may initially get some free hardwareand pay a low introductory rate, the fine print might tell you that you have agreed to pay unreasonably high prices six months down the line. I always double-check pricing before getting into anything, and Iurge you to adopt this same strategy as part of your business ...

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