Going Postal

You’ve got all the art, ran a successful Kickstarter and manufactured everything? It’s time to post everything out. This stage is going to be as simple as you make it, but it’s going to cost. We need to consider:

  • Keeping everything in good condition and packaging costs
  • Domestic and foreign postage costs
  • Posting goods abroad (including friendly shipping)
  • Logistics

First thing we need are postage costs. Again, this is primarily for a UK audience, so here are the Royal Mail costs:

Hopefully now you can see why thickness of the deck is important. If you’ve got 50 cards you’ll be about 150g. Expect to pay around £1.32 per game for domestic UK postage. If you’re thickness is 2.6cm, you’re paying £3.00 per game. Might not sound much, but for a small box £12 game that’s a bite either your losing, or your asking your customers to pay.

However, for cheaper and more efficient postage, I used https://www.parcel2go.com/services/letters-and-small-parcels Drop of addressed packages and they’ll post them, and for cheaper too. You don’t get proof of postage, but in return you’ll save hours. If you’ve got ~200 games to post in the UK they come recommended.

Internationally there are a lot of companies who will do friendly batch dispatching, but they simply aren’t worth it for games this size. Here are the international Royal Mail prices

Again, you want to be a large letter at this point, but your looking at around £5 per game no matter where it goes. We partially subsidised this for Forks, moreso for Americans. All batch dispatching companies started at £5 per parcel minimum plus an initial setup payment.

For packaging we went with thin layers of card shrinkwrapped to keep the game free from scuffs. This was measured out to keep the game as a large letter, and we did test posts to make sure everything arrived in perfect condition. For some reason we also sent the mini-expansion as a stretch goal, which meant trying to keep a small pack of cards from getting bent. For this we used glue dots and card, and I haven’t heard anything negative yet (let me know if there was an issue though, please!). Grey polythene postage bags kept the thickness razor thin.

For labels we did a mail-merge from the Kickstarter and just printed them onto labels from a regular printer. However, for international orders there are a few other things you’ll need:

A7 document wallets. For international orders you’ll need to enclose an invoice on the outside for any customs checks. For invoices I just did a mail merge again from Kickstarter with details of how much was paid, how much was paid in shipping, tax paid (0 when not VAT registered).

A CN22 form. These are easy but time consuming to fill in. You’ll be sick of them by the time you finish. It’s all self-explanatory except for HS Tariff number. For a card game the number is 95044000. Make sure you put UK as country of origin (assuming you’ve gone the self-manufacturing route). These you can pick up for free from any post office- just ask and they’ll give them to you. Better you fill them in elsewhere then on the counter.

The total value is there, and it’s probably worth talking about friendly shipping now. Until Brexit is done/revoked Europe is an unknown. Currently you can ship there with no tariffs in place. USA and Australia have high import thresholds which you are not going to breach with a small card game. Check for other types of game, but generally assume you are friendly to the USA and Australia until calculated otherwise. Canada is different. If your game is worth £10 it should be okay depending upon exchange rate. At £12 you’ll likely be above the threshold, and your customer will have to pay tariffs. Tread carefully! If you offer freindly Canadian shipping and charge £12 for the game, you’ll either have to lie on the CN22 and invoice (don’t do this), offer to refund any tarrifs and fees paid by your customers (not ideal at all, and technically not friendly shipping), or find a Canadian distributor (this will cost you more than you have got for the game).

Overall expect to pay ~£1.40 for domestic postage and ~£5.10 for international postage and packaging. If you charge for this on Kickstarter rather than a pledge manager, people will prefer it, but you’ll lose 10% of those postage costs as well. Feel free to subsidise these as much as you think you can, or shift costs to the game (I think people would rather pay £10 for a game and £2 postage, then £8 for a game and £4 postage, even though the total cost is the same), but make sure you’ve considered them. The worst Kickstarter results have been from ignoring p&p.

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