Print postage from home, Don’t wait in line at Post Office

How to create and print a shipping label using PayPal. OR How to avoid having to wait at the Post Office ever again to mail packages!! (As of Oct 2020)

This is a nice YouTube that summarizes the process.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvgn_pusgSc  Her is the PayPal “secret link”. https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create Read on for more details.

You can pay for your postage from your computer if you have a PayPal account. If you don’t have one, create one at paypal.com. You will enter all the normal address and credit card info. You will be paying commercial postal rates so you save a tiny bit, but mostly you won’t have to stand in long lines! Especially NOW with social distance lines…

You need an accurate kitchen scale.
Box up your item and weigh it. The rates are based on full pounds. So whatever the pounds and ounces are, round up to the next pound. If you are a tiny bit over a pound increment, look to cut some cardboard off to get it below the pound mark. If you are an ounce or more over the pound mark, you can add more padding or items to bring it to the next pound.

First log into your PayPal account. While on their page click or type this PayPal “secret link”. https://www.paypal.com/shiplabel/create .  PP doesn’t talk about this on their page.

You log in and enter their address, then press “Ship to This Address”

  • Choose USPS (US Postal Service) At this time I find them cheaper and more convenient for packages up to 4#s.
  • I choose to ship my easels “Priority Mail (1-3) days”. It is usually cheaper than using first class mail!! See below a link to the USPS web page for the actual rates.
  • For a normal box you fill, choose “Package/Thick Envelope”. Same if you use a padded bag.
  • For Weight just put in the rounded up pound weight, No need to say 1# 8 oz, just put in 2#.
  • For Priority you must add dimensions. For normal sizes you can round up in inches. Doesn’t seem to matter in my experience.
  • Select what day you will mail it. Not sure how critical this is. Nothing happens until they check it in.

 Then Calculate Shipping Cost. Now if you want to enter First-Class mail (2-5) or the Express just to see, change it and press Calculate Shipping Cost again. When you are happy select pay.

Optional: Right now I right click the Tracking number and go to the USPS web page. It will say this tracking number is not in the system because you haven’t dropped it off yet… You can copy that page link and paste it in an email to the recipient.

Now go back and print the shipping label. Fold it in half and tape it to your box. Don’t put any tape over either of the bar codes.

When you drop it off at the US Post Office you can walk around all the (envious) people up to the counter. You will probably see other pre-paid packages somewhere piled up. You can wait until the person being helped is done and ask the clerk or you can just smile at the clerk and gesture “is dropping it right here OK?”, they will nod and smile because they don’t have to deal with another package. If you want to wait in line for a receipt you can. They will process it and print you a receipt. Otherwise you use your tracking number as receipt.

If you just want to predict what a package will cost you can. Just fill out a sample package on their web page and calculate shipping. When done delete it.
If you want to predict what a package will cost, here is a link to the current rates.

http://pe.usps.com/ Postal Explorer > Look for “Prices”, click >Prices HTML
Go down to >Commercial Prices, Click Priority Mail  (Or First class, etc)  Scroll down to Priority Mail – Commercial Base (not commercial plus)—Letters, Large Envelopes & Parcels. You can see the zone rates change based on distance from you.  You can search on Domestic Zone Chart.

Good luck, Bill

Created: Updated Oct 2020, 16 Dec 2019