January 16, 2015 | Posted in VINYL RECORDS | By



LP mailers are a must if you ship vinyl LP’s through the mail

Thinking about selling vinyl records online? LP mailers are an absolute must, and will save you and your customers a lot of broken record disappointment. This is the mailer I personally use.

I have shipped thousands of vinyl records myself on eBay, and have purchased almost as many through the mail. Almost every time I have received a broken record, the seller didn’t use a professional LP mailer for shipment. Understand this though, if someone wants to do damage processing the mail they surely can, so in that sense, there are no promises.

The stark reality of shipping costs

I’ve been using these mailers for over 5 years and I can’t find them cheaper, sometimes you might get lucky and run into to someone who is trying to liquidate a loss after they decide to get out of the business, that’s rare and highly unlikely.Here is what you use for shipping vinyl records

Keep in mind, the free shipping offers some sellers use usually just jack the price up to cover that cost any way, there is a limit to what a seller can discount of course with rising shipping costs.

The mailers on this page are the cheapest I know of, and I am always looking for a better deal. The place where I buy my mailers is like clock work, really professional. 5 years without any issues on their end.

Once in a while UPS or FedEx might drop the ball invoice wise, but my retailer never takes more than a few hours to get it fixed.

Here’s  the best deal I have found for vinyl record mailers

100 vinyl record mailers for 40 cents a piece.

Update May 2016: I have seen some sellers selling mailers at a ridiculous price of $100 plus for 100 mailers. I don’t know who the heck is buying those at that price, but don’t waste your money.  Don’t ever pay more than 50 cents per mailer,  and remember, the more you buy the better deal you should get. There is a point though, where the seller’s shipping costs outweigh the bargain they can give. That seems to be at the 200 mailers shipped at one time.

Stiffener pads: Buy them or make your own

I would like to mention: If you are going to ship vinyl records, don’t forget that at least one stiffener pad should be used inside the box. this can really be the difference between a cracked and perfect condition record.

I have had a few sellers ship to me with out stiffeners added, unfortunately almost every time I have received a broken record, it was when it was shipped that way; though to the credit of the USPS, most times it will make through unharmed. Surprisingly enough I have had that happen only a few times, with thousands of records shipped to me. I feel good about at least one stiffener in with the package.

Always be on the look out for boxes to scrap, you’ll learn that TV box on the curb down the street would make 4 or more great stiffeners. Might be better just to buy them, if you’re not the scrounger type like me.

(USPS Media Mail) as of 1/23/17, starts at $2.63 (70 lbs limit)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has a Media Mail rate. This provides an economical way to ship Books, CD’s, DVDs, and LP’s. You can not ship magazines, trading cards, or video games with Media Mail.

In April of 2016 the USPS actually lowered some prices (SHOCK!!!!) The flat Media Mail rate for under 1 pound is now $2.61, down from $2.72. So that’s a nice surprise. A Typical record shipped with stiffeners on both sides will run you $3.09 now, down from $3.22.  10 pounds ships for $6.93, that’s around 15 records properly packed.

UPDATE: Yes, January 2017 saw a small hike in Media Mail pricing, now .02 cents up to $2.63, my typical 1 record shipment cost now runs me $3.12. That’s still cheaper than a few years ago and pretty good deal.

Media Mail is subject to inspection, so don’t cheat, your customer might get a postage due notice when the USPS upgrades it to the next cheapest method.

Expect a day or two longer for delivery with media mail, Shipping to Hawaii and Alaska take longer. Media Mail is not allowed internationally.

Scored VS perforated record mailers?

Scored Mailers are harder to find, and are a bit more expensive. The thinking is, the perforated mailers aren’t as sturdy. I have shipped thousands of records with the perforated mailers, only one was damaged. Fact is, short of sheets of steel, nothing is going to be 100% effective all the time.

Buy in bulk!

Usually the more you buy of these mailers and stiffener pads at one time, the better deal you get. If you can afford it, and you know what your inventory is, after a while you will figure out what you need.

Always assume there will be some delay on your order, always buy more mailers when you get down to a typical 2 week supply.

Vinyl Record Mailing You will then have some breathing room in case something goes wrong with the mail. It has a few times dwindled down to a few for me, but because I ordered well in advance, it all worked out in time.

Vinyl Grading

Do you have a grasp of vinyl record grading? Won’t do you much good selling records if you’re shipping incorrectly graded vinyl.

Here’s a page with my thoughts on the subject, I discuss how I grade, and how to deal with a customer who doesn’t understand record grading. That can be a problem when selling vintage used vinyl, unreasonable expectation on bargain records.

Don’t forget insurance

Always insure any record you ship, where the amount is such you don’t feel you could afford to eat the cost if it’s damaged in transit. Any buyer can file a PayPal claim against you if you don’t insure it and get their money back, that’s a fact.

Play Testing records you sell

If you’re looking for an affordable turntable so you can play test the records you sell, this article should give you a lot of great ideas as well as tips when shopping for one.


 

*Note: While I am an Amazon.com and eBay.com affiliate, and do receive commissions from both, I am never paid or given free stuff for a review.  My reviews are written from my own personal experience as a long time eBay buyer and seller, and vinyl record collector and seller.*

*The Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers vintage cover and sleeve photo taken by the author*

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Jason Sositko

Jason Sositko, a freelance writer and entrepreneur is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I also use services such as Viglink and Skimlinks to earn income via links placed inside articles.

5 Comments

  1. Bill
    November 5, 2016

    Leave a Reply

    How many records do the mailers hold? I am selling a collection of 106 records.

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      November 6, 2016

      Leave a Reply

      They can hold 4-6 records depending on the size. Typically though you’d only ship one or two. They are just right to add stiffener pads to both sides or some bubble wrap if you want if you’re shipping 1 or 2. For larger lots I use an entirely different method, a 14 inch box, which leaves room to add about an inch of protection around the records. Those run me about .68 cents at Walmart. I am still amazed that in 6 years selling vinyl on eBay, only 1 record was broken in transit using the mailers featured here, that’s thousands of shipments, so I do indeed trust these mailers.

  2. michael brogan
    February 11, 2017

    Leave a Reply

    I am looking for a good line to sell on Ebay. Could you give me any advice about selling LP records on Ebay? Are people still buying them?
    I would appreciate your help. I shouldn’t be much competition. I am already a seller on Ebay and Amazon, but not too much success. thanks.
    Michael

    • Jason Sositko

      Jason Sositko
      February 11, 2017

      Leave a Reply

      The used vinyl market has become somewhat saturated. Finding quality to sell is getting harder and harder as people have become wiser to where to sell them. They don’t donate them as much to charity thrift stores, so profit potential gets harder and harder.

      To sell online effectively you need to understand how to grade records by sight, having a turntable to play-test is also a very good idea. You have to educate yourself on what sells and what doesn’t. Rare jazz, progressive rock, classic rock, and genres like exotica and lounge stuff will sell.

      Best thing to do is to check the completed listings on eBay for searches like Blue Note LP, Beatles LP, Pink Floyd LP, Prog LP, Jazz LP, and get a sense of what to look for. Of course then you’ll have to dig through the thrift stores, bargain bins at used record shops, and flea markets and yard sales to find stuff cheap enough that you can make a profit.

      It’s taken me over 10 years of trial and error, If I look through a record bin, I know what I’m looking for. For me, if I can’t make 5 dollars on it I don’t bother. I would say, stay away from easy listening stuff, and look for Funk, Blues, Jazz, and Progressive rock stuff. Being a music fanatic would be a big help too, understanding multiple genres is required.

      MOST IMPORTANT:

      You must grade accurately, I would advise anyone to grade conservatively. You really have to be careful saying a record is near mint, it has better be! VG+ is generally what I use as a grade, even if the record is actually better than that, I’d rather a buyer be surprised on the good side, over grading is the most complained about thing in negative feedback given on eBay. You can not say a moderately scuffed record with marks you can feel is VG+ either. If you sell poorly graded vinyl, this will earn you bad feedback quickly. Shipping with professional record mailers is also important to increase odds record won’t arrive broken.

      I have other articles here that explain in greater detail the things I have learned over the years.

      • michael brogan
        February 11, 2017

        Leave a Reply

        Thanks for the info Jason. I think I can do the things that you talk about. It seems to be hard to make any money on Ebay and Amazon these days. I hear people talking on youtube videos about making $100,000 a month online selling products that they bought at a discount. It seems to me the only way to make a profit is to steal the merchandise. the shipping costs and listing fees eat up the profit. I am a pro seller on Amazon and they are restricting me from all the categories that I want to sell in. I want to sell in movies, clothing, toys, household, jewelry, and I am not allowed until and if I get approved. I have sold a few things on Amazon but little to no profit.
        I already have a few records that I have listed on Ebay, but they didnt sell yet. I will take your advice and see what I can do. Michael

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