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"$30 shipping for FOAM?" Topic

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1,587 hits since 23 Nov 2012
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Mr Elmo23 Nov 2012 3:10 p.m. PST

I tried to place an order to take advantage of the Battlefoam Black Friday sale. Unfortunately, the lowest price for shipping was $30. USD

I was laughing my ass off! Seriously, I can get cases of wine delivered (figure 30 pounds give or take) for a penny. Not to mention, Amazon would be more than happy to send me a 42" LCD TV via Amazon Prime (in two days) for no shipping cost.

Yeah, I want it, but not that bad.

Mako1123 Nov 2012 3:24 p.m. PST

It's not the weight, it the size of the foam.

Seems like a scam to me, but trucking companies prefer small, dense packages, so they can make more money.

If you have large lightweight ones, they ding you for their perceived lost revenue.

Silly yes, but a fact of life.

CorSecEng Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 3:44 p.m. PST

All those other companies subsidize the shipping with inflated pricing.

They could reduce the cost by switching to USPS. Now sure what they use now. Probably UPS or FedEx. Faster and has tracking but you pay for that.

Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 3:52 p.m. PST

What Corsec said.

There is no such thing as free shipping. It has a cost and that is paid by the consumer one way or another. Either rolled into the price or added as a seperate line item.

In the case of foam as previously mentioned its a bulky item and carriers don't like those so they charge by actual box size as a factor in their pricing.

At the end of the day its about total acquisition cost, not sale price.

combatpainter Fezian Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 3:54 p.m. PST

Crazy…True…But a reality. Space = money.

combatpainter Fezian Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 3:54 p.m. PST

Maybe better to get it at a con.

VonTed23 Nov 2012 4:20 p.m. PST

Handling don't forget about that!

Angel Barracks Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 4:34 p.m. PST

At the end of the day its about total acquisition cost, not sale price.

I used to sell board games that with postage and packing were cheaper than the same ones on Amazon, but as Amazon offered free shipping people would tell me they bought them from Amazon, even though the total cost was more..

There is perceived value and then there is actual value.

Mr Elmo23 Nov 2012 4:40 p.m. PST

It's not the weight, it the size of the foam.

It's Foam, maybe they need to invest in a vacuum sealer?

I've never had problems with Amazon prices. In fact, they shipped my Bolt Action Armies of Germany free 2 day shipping AND the price was $14 USD IIRC.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 5:20 p.m. PST

It's VOLUME that matters here.

When I was shipping manager at my old company, one of my jobs was to research shipping costs. Invariably, large volume items with low weight would cost a lot more to ship than high weight low volume items. You are filling a truck with low weight high volume items.

Low density foam items were invariably the most expensive items to ship. And, we cut a LOT of foam door panel inserts!
Here's a hint. Order a truckload. grin It's cheaper that way.
I experimented with vacuum sealing to ship the foam, by the way. Rupture the bag, and disaster ensues. NOT recommended.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 5:22 p.m. PST

It's NOT a scam. They would lose money on the shipment if they charged by weight. Trucking companies have to make a profit, too.
And being a "hobby" manufacturr does not require them to lose money. grin

R Brown23 Nov 2012 5:48 p.m. PST

Don't buy them…

Wow!! Pretty simple..


CorSecEng Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 5:52 p.m. PST

They could offer bulk post options with the USPS. They don't mind loosing money on high volume and low weight items. Prices stays the same till you get to the oversized charge at more then 12" on one side.

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 5:53 p.m. PST

It does not matter if you are using UPS or USPS, when it comes to light weight packages that are large, you are charge by the volume and not the weight.

If you are not using a flat rate box with USPS, should notice that they are measuring more and more boxes. In fact, I used UPS once because it was about $5.00 USD or little more less to ship with them than USPS. Basically, USPS charge doubled once the postal person measured the box and put the dimensions into the computer.

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 5:54 p.m. PST

There is a PS to the Amazon thing, as Amazon does make shippers eat some if not at times all of the shipping cost.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 6:02 p.m. PST

They don't mind loosing money on high volume and low weight items.

What makes you think they are "loosing" money?
And, what makes you think they wouldn't mind if they did?

Mako1123 Nov 2012 6:42 p.m. PST

Actually, it is a scam, given the exhorbitantly high rates they charge.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 6:49 p.m. PST

Obviously you are not in the shipping business.
"High price" does not equal scam.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian23 Nov 2012 7:08 p.m. PST

This proves two things I've known about the wargames business.

1) People hate to pay shipping costs.

2)People hate to be told the reality of shipping costs.

Which is why, if ever I make a big lump o' lead model that I could sell you for $4 USD and send to you for $5 USD, I'll charge $9 USD with free shipping.

CorSecEng Inactive Member23 Nov 2012 8:24 p.m. PST

Maybe I wasn't being clear in my statement. USPS doesn't mind losing money. They are losing a lot of every year.

I had to talk to the Post Master for Pensacola to get the definition of a package vs a large envelope. They where charging me extra to ship padded envelops that are under 3/4" thick. I got cranky with them and they pulled some BS about it not being flexible. It had like 7 Omni-ruler sections in it.

The clerks also had no clue that a padded flat rate envelope even existed.

I also sent several packages that didn't have postage on them. It was a mixup and I panicked when I caught it but I checked and they all got delivered.

They like to loss money. Well they at least like to under train their personnel.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 9:59 p.m. PST

USPS doesn't mind losing money.

I find that difficult to believe, but since it's a quasi-government institution, perhaps…

USPS combnes the worst features of the private sector and government.
It is the wave of the future.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP23 Nov 2012 10:02 p.m. PST

Seriously, I can get cases of wine delivered (figure 30 pounds give or take) for a penny. Not to mention, Amazon would be more than happy to send me a 42" LCD TV via Amazon Prime (in two days) for no shipping cost.

Do you SERIOUSLY think you are NOT paying shipping costs?
Do you SERIOUSLY think it's not factord into the price?

R Brown23 Nov 2012 10:12 p.m. PST

Pencildik TMPers

Oh well…


Personal logo Doctor X Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 12:07 a.m. PST

Next Up on Perception vs. Reality –

Why am I paying $5 USD for shipping when the auction I won was only $3 USD?

Back to you John…

Angel Barracks Inactive Member24 Nov 2012 2:47 a.m. PST

If the costs are upfront and you get the items shipped as you paid for, how have you been scammed?

Knowing the costs upfront, agreeing to pay those costs and getting the goods you paid for = opposite of scam.

GeoffQRF Inactive Member24 Nov 2012 3:09 a.m. PST

We have this problem with TSS, as we sell 2' square tiles which are low cost, low weight but high bulk.

A 2' x 2' x 8" parcel to the USA can work out over £65.00 GBP shipping, on an order value of as little as £30.00 GBP

The other choice is, as others have suggested here, to raise the unit cost to cover the postage, thus we could charge £25.00 GBP a tile instead of £8.00 GBP a tile, and say free shipping. It would be no different to US customers, but would suddenly look very expensive to UK/EU customers.

Unfortunately the postal companies have noticed that it doesn't really cost them any difference whether the parcel weighs 1/2 kg or 5kg, but they have noticed it makes a difference if it takes up 1 sq ft or 10 sq feet in their shipping containers/trucks…

BrotherSevej24 Nov 2012 3:13 a.m. PST

Sometimes the "shipping factored into price" argument just doesn't cut it, especially for people like me who's not in UK, US or other big countries. Book Depository offer free shipping on all order, and I got Descent 2nd Edition at $65 USD (MSRP $80 USD). When buying from US costs me $50 USD with $40 USD shipping, I consider the free shipping is free indeed.

Angel Barracks Inactive Member24 Nov 2012 3:13 a.m. PST

Indeedy Geoff.

Let us assume I have a truck that holds 10 average sized parcels.
The truck costs me £10.00 GBP per day to run.
Therefore the average sized parcel cost must be at least £1.00 GBP to break even.
So we charge £1.50 GBP so we can have a salary.

Now what happens if Geoff comes along and has these parcels that take up 2 spaces on my truck and he has 5 of them.
I can fit all 5 but at £1.50 GBP per parcel I lose money, thus for bigger parcels I charge more.
That simple.

Mr Elmo24 Nov 2012 4:05 a.m. PST

Don't buy them…

The purchase was more of a want than a need, so I didn't! That doesn't mean I'm still not disappointed, especially when some companies seem to get it right.

Consider, THE WARSTORE. I buy 5 Fuzzbox trays which are 15x11x2" of foam. That's $60 USD with $6 USD shipping. 10% is reasonable.

Consider BF-BF-91T from Battlefoam which are 15.5x12. only slightly larger but foam does squish. That's $75 USD with $16 USD shipping.

So, if the Warstore can do $6 USD shipping, why can't Battlefoam? In the end, maybe the Warstore should carry Battlefoam products!

GeoffQRF Inactive Member24 Nov 2012 4:09 a.m. PST

That is pretty much what the couriers/postal companies have now realised. It does'nt matter what it wweighs, so much as how much room it takes up, theus bulky (but lightweight) items are expensive to ship. If they are also low cost, then the postage starts to look very expensive.

Personal logo Swampster Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 5:25 a.m. PST

I had a play with the shopping carts of WarStore and BattleFoam.

Even if you order 50 x 5 Fuzzbox trays, the shipping doesn't alter.
If you bulk buy the Battlefoam trays the price increases but becomes an increasingly smaller percentage of the price.

That suggests the WarStore are effectively including their postage costs within their pricing. I have no idea of the relative quality of the two given as examples nor whether they are like for like but it may be that the quality is not the same. Even the lack of variety in size of cutouts allows a cheaper price.

Mr Elmo24 Nov 2012 6:52 a.m. PST

I have no idea of the relative quality of the two given as examples

I own both Fuzzbox trays and one Battlefoam product (Zombicide KS). The BF foam is denser, I might even say higher quality. Fuzzbox is great for my FoW armies, BTW.

Custom cut trays can probably demand a premium and I don't mind the tray price, just the exhorbitant shipping.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 8:19 a.m. PST

I am continually amazed by the people who think that shipping is Not Real. That it is a magical entity that can somehow be waived.
That shippers are more than willing to lose money, just so your toys (or toy cases) can arrive on your doorstop, for FREE!
The shipping would only be exhorbitant if the shipper charged you $30 USD for an actual cost of $15 USD to ship.
What exactly ARE you willing to pay?
SOMEBODY has to pay for it.

Omce again, I suggest that people should have actual experience in the industrial world before they sound off about things like shipping.
I ASSURE you that shipping high volume. low weight items is VERY expensive.

I recommend to you the study of NMFC listing for trucking freight rates.
It was my Bible for years.

A trucking company ALWAYS wants to send out a full truck. Whether it's a full truck of nails or ball bearings or lead miniatures… or a frothy mixture of air and polymer.
They also want to make the same amount of money on the truck, regarless of the load. There are fixed costs that have nothing to do with what is being shipped, such as salaries, insurance, fuel, rent on the depots, etc.
Does it make any sense to send out a truck that minimizes its profit by not charging a premium for low density items?

I might also recommend a study of trucking company profit margins. Not high.

I would also add that FedEx, UPS, USPS etc all live in the same world as the trucking companies.

Anyone who says that rates for shipping foam are "exhorbitant" simply doesn't know what they are talking about.

Just like the IP lawyers on TMP who actually know what they are talking about ("But I WANT IT! And CHEAP!"), I expect to be ignored.

Personal logo John the OFM Supporting Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 8:19 a.m. PST

Why am I paying $5 USD USD for shipping when the auction I won was only $3 USD USD?

Priority Mail shipping? Win more pf his auctions! I combine mine, when possible.

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 8:58 a.m. PST

The price difference in shipping from one source verses another may also be what each are willing to receive in mark up.

One source may be looking for a 20% profit margin and another maybe fine with only a 5% to 10% profit margin.

The same is true in any retail operation. Take Walmart and Target. A corporate person at Target told me they normally work on a 23% profit margin store wide, while Walmart normally has a 17.5% profit margin. This is why if you shop at a Target near a Walmart, the prices are lower than a Target store not competing with a near by Walmart.

In terms of Miniatures, The Warstore is retail outlet competing with not only the manufacturers they stock, but other retail outlets, whether on line on in a community somewhere else around the world. Thus, to move product and keep it moving, they work at a lower profit margin and most likely depend on volume. Which means that they will depend on some items covering the cost others in the area of shipping. Shipping may be reasonable to you on your large item, because the difference may be covered by a dozen or so other purchases.

Lee Brilleaux Fezian24 Nov 2012 10:11 a.m. PST

I am entertained that the guy who started our winning our sympathy by telling us how cheaply he gets his cases of wine delivered continues to battle on in the face of people who have the actual facts of the business at their fingertips. What's the joke about having a little cheese with your whine?

When I first got into the nuts and bolts of the commercial end of our strange pastime, I observed that there seemed to be many people making fifty grand a year who were convinced they were being robbed by people who made fifteen.

This is still the case, athough the first number has gone up.

goragrad24 Nov 2012 11:25 a.m. PST

Actually, the high weight vs high volume isn't quite as simple as some are presenting here. Flat rate priority has a cut off of 70 lbs. There are also surcharges for some shippers based on weight.

Not knowing who the seller is on the wine, it may be that they compute shipping based on transaction value. One sporting goods retailer I deal with operates in that fashion. For example, a 180.00 purchase will have a shipping charge of 19.00 (rough). So if I buy set of 180.00 boots I pay the same shipping as I do for two 440 round cans of 7.62x54r less than ten pounds for the boots vs 40 plus for the ammo (and from another seller the ammo would run 30-40.00 depending on zone).

In this model the shipper has determined that while they lose money on shipping for some items, they 'overcharge' on others and it presumably comes out in the wash.

P.S. Once had a fellow charge me 50.00 rather than 80.00 (20 percent) for shipping after I had pointed out the flat rate option, amusingly he got it into two boxes and made himself an extra 20.00 on the deal. Even more amusingly he dumped 70 lbs in one box and 30 in the other, fortunately the Post Office repaired the first after it came apart and I didn't lose any minis.

Mr Elmo24 Nov 2012 1:07 p.m. PST

What exactly ARE you willing to pay?

Generally, around 10%. The order I had wanted to place was a bit over $100 USD so, $10 USD or so in shipping is fine. I also think if you'd be willing to drop $200 USD in one go then shipping should be free, like with Miniature Building Authority.

In the end, it's not MY problem how much it costs to ship something. At some point, I'm not willing to pay more than a certain amount and if you want a sale then you'll have to make the price (with shipping) attractive enough.

The price difference in shipping from one source verses another may also be what each are willing to receive in mark up.

One of the problems with GW price increases is that it raises the bar on "reasonable." After all, if GW miniatures are $15 USD then you can price at $10 USD and look like a deal!

Conversely, if someone prices shipping at $6 USD and you try for $16 USD for shipping then you appear overpriced. It may be sad to some, but the bar on acceptable shipping rates is going DOWN, not up.

Personal logo Miniatureships Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 4:56 p.m. PST

The bar of acceptable shipping rates may be going down, but the cost of the item is going up.

Basically, no business can operate if they are losing money.
The shipping charge, for a company to say in business, will either be charged up front, or be built into the price. We can commend companies with low shipping cost, but somewhere they are making it up.

Mako1124 Nov 2012 5:11 p.m. PST

"Obviously you are not in the shipping business.
"High price" does not equal scam".

20 years in logistics management, for a Fortune 15 company, so I have a little…..

Trucks are frequently not filled to capacity (especially those doing local deliveries), and I suspect given the anemic world economy, I imagine there's considerable space available on many jets as well.

CorSecEng Inactive Member24 Nov 2012 6:28 p.m. PST

Thewarstore can eat a ton of shipping before it affects their bottom line. They are shipping a metric ton of stuff every day. Battlefoam is sending large packages to distributors and a few (probably a different carrier) to customers for direct sales and custom orders.

I'll give you a real example.

most of my products weight almost nothing. I ship Priority in the US and charge $5.25 USD per order. Rarely do I need to get a larger box then a small flat rate. If I do it's usually not that much more. Like $0.15 USD or so. I might make $0.10 USD because I order my labels through the internet. Keep in mind I spend time processing that order. I would be losing money if I paid someone to do it.

International is a different story. We use first class USPS. Our cost depends on weight and destination. I charge on a scale based on the total cost of the order.

Works out in most cases. I win some and I loss some. Most of the cost evens out and if anything is in my favor a few bucks each month.

One exception… The Mag-Token line is heavy. 9 ounces per unit. The price point is really low. $10.99 USD. I loss a lot of cash on every order that goes over seas. It's usually around $8 USD to ship to the UK and I charge $5. USD The big problem is when you order 2. Your still under the $25 USD cap for the price to go up to $8. USD It now costs me $10 USD-$12 to ship it. 3 or more and I usually bump it to flat rate priority at $16.25 USD and still loss $8 USD or so.

I don't loss money but I don't like breaking even on a sale. The profit from the sale should not be going to shipping. It should be going to important things like overhead costs and paying for the next one to be made. I also like to pay my mortgage.

I have not figured out how to force paypal to add a $1 USD or $2 USD to the sale price for that order only and only on international shipping.

I could jack my shipping charges but I decided to eat to cost and keep my shipping lower.

Free shipping is like anything else that's free. Someone somewhere is paying for it.

Personal logo Fergal Sponsoring Member of TMP24 Nov 2012 8:30 p.m. PST

Hi CorSecEng, I really enjoy your posts and think you are totally a positive force in the hobby, so please don't take this as a slam. But anyone serious about a business that depends on shipping things from an internet store really needs a shopping cart system. 5 years ago, this was likely very expensive. It's still not dirt cheap, but it's VERY EASILY done with a lot of services for around $20 USD-$30 a month for small shops. If you're depending on paypal to give you a granular shipping price system, it won't happen. They give you the bare minimum.

One of my hats during the day is web design, so I was able to create a site that allows me to charge what it costs to ship to any country in the world, though I only ship to Europe, N. America and Oz/NZ.

I have flat out refused to buy from stores that charge the $5 USD flat shipping for US orders before. It's so easy to do it cheaper, and it doesn't cost any more for the shipper. My minimum shipping is $2 USD because that's what it costs to ship 1-4 figures.

Mr Elmo25 Nov 2012 4:37 a.m. PST

I ship Priority in the US and charge $5.25 USD USD per order.

I've ordered your stuff and shipping was fine. The only problem now is that I need to slightly adjust some omni rulers and need to buy $2 USD worth of stuff.

Clearly I'm not paying 200% shipping and the $5.25 USD is reasonable so I don't order. Again, it's a want not a need. I figure SOMEDAY I will need stands or something and the order will get to a high enough amount. For now, I keep thinking some store somewhere will have your product.

It's like when I used to use Amazon "Super Saver Shipping" and had to add items to get free shipping. At least with Prime, those days are over.

Another thing you could do is sell a bigger variety or get your products to someone who does (like the Warstore). That way, I can order, 2 rulebooks, 4 ruler segments, a pack of miniatures, etc. and make the shipping reasonable.

Don Manser Inactive Member25 Nov 2012 9:52 a.m. PST

>>>A trucking company ALWAYS wants to send out a full truck.

Especially now with the cost of fuel.


KenofYork25 Nov 2012 7:57 p.m. PST

I did not read the entire post so excuse if this is redundant.

I am amazed at the volume discount given to the big shippers. It is very substantial and is another tool in the big guys arsenal to defeat the upstarts.

CorSecEng Inactive Member29 Nov 2012 7:01 p.m. PST

A company I used to work for shipped with UPS and paid by the truck. It was not uncommon to see 2 pup trailers roll in and replace two full ones. That happened several times a day. They shipped books so they were saving a ton. Those trailers where probably rather heavy when they left.

@crossover You missing one big ingredient. Sure the cart system is $25 USD but what about the merchant account? Those run $30 USD-$50 a month plus fees. I'm not going to increase my overhead by $50 USD or more just to have some fancy reports and a site that looks like everyone elses. Related products is probably the only thing that might help bring in more cash.

My host is working on a system that I am a beta tester for. Our next site update will bring a lot of changes.

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