Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Etsy Quick Trick: workarounds for the new DIM package rates

New USPS regulations went into effect on June 23, 2019. Lightweight packages over 1 cu ft can now be much more expensive to ship. How is your shop coping?

Here are some workarounds:

If you are interested in the first option, USPS Retail Ground®, the caveats are in the footnotes:
  1. Zones 1–4 are only for the mailing of hazardous materials, live animals, or other items required to be shipped by ground transportation (does not apply to oversized parcels). 
  2. For parcels that measure in combined length and girth more than 84 inches but not more than 108 inches, and the piece weighs less than 20 pounds, use the 20-pound price (balloon price) based on the applicable zone. 
  3. For parcels that measure in combined length and girth more than 108 inches but not more than 130 inches, use the oversized price, regardless of weight, based on the applicable zone. 

Some definitions and other information for those contemplating using Retail Ground®:

"Balloon" means packages whose length + girth measure 84-108 inches. They are charged the 20-lb rate ($21-$62, depending on zone).

"Oversized" is the term for packages whose length + girth measure more than 108 inches. They will be charged a special, very expensive rate that ranges from $75-$197 to ship.

Retail Ground® does not include insurance, or packaging.

To deal with the fact that USPS Retail Ground® rate is restricted to zones 5-9 unless you are mailing hazardous materials or live animals, you may need to ship something hazardous in the package. I will not be giving any more instructions, but you will want to do your homework.

What are the zones, anyway?

The USPS zones are based on where you ship from. They are different for almost everyone (if you have a different 3-digit zip, the first three digits of your zip code). To find out yours, go to the USPS at this link.

Type in the first three digits of your zip code; a chart will appear with your zones.

I keep a copy in my shipping room for reference.

A review: your options besides the USPS:

  • Fedex
  • UPS. They have a promotion code going right now: EASY more info
Whichever method you choose, Etsy does not have any means to calculate shipping of items over 1 cubic ft. (They do, but only include Priority, Parcel Select and other very expensive methods.)

For now, I suggest adding a note to your listings over 1 cu ft: if shipping seems high, to contact you for a more accurate quote.

L x W x H / 166 = DIM weght

Why this drastic uptick in USPS rates?

"The USPS’s current business model has become outdated due to changes in technology, markets, and customer needs and preferences. It is unsustainable and must be fundamentally changed if the USPS is to avoid a financial collapse and a taxpayer-funded bailout."

More information here.


  1. Thank you for the information! I sell wreaths so the smallest package I would typically send is 20x6x20. I need to find some alternative solutions so this is very helpful!
    Thanks again!

  2. Thank you so much - Shipping costs are getting way crazy!


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