What Is Involved With Shipping To Canada From Us ?

I currently sell & ship within the US.

I would like to start selling in Canada, but I do not know any pitfalls or disadvantages I should be aware of from accepting payments and shipping to returns.

I know that PayPal will convert for me, but that is all I know.

IAre there duty fees, export fees or extra taxes???

Any pros or cons or any input would be greatly appreciated.



I configure First Class Mail International and Priority Mail International for all international customers. You can ship First Class International if the package is under $400 declared value and under 4 lbs.

I print the shipping labels at USPS.com via Click n Ship.

The labels automatically include the Customs Declaration.

If there are any customs fees/taxes, the customer pays those on receipt of the package. I don't get involved in collecting them.

I would do priority mail. I've found that first class mail has a pretty bad delivery rate.

We had discontinued shipping outside the US because it was a pain. We recently saw that Endicia would allow us to ship international with it so we are going to try it again. It was very simple to do and I didn't have to give the shipping department a credit card to be able to do it like with did on usps.com.

The other big problem we had in the past was people in other countries did not want to pay duty fees. They kept asking us to mark shipments as “gifts” and we would not do it. Some would get mad, refuse the shipment and then if we wanted it back we had to pay USPS to bring it back.

Other problems we ran in to in the past was:

  1. Fraud from some countries was a problem.
  2. You have to know if your product is allowed in their country, otherwise you could loose.
  3. We triple check orders. We had some problems with products being taken out of packages when they would go through customs.

    Shipments to Canada go pretty smooth overall. The main problem there was people just did not want to pay duty fees.

USPS Priority International and Priority Express International automatically Return To Sender if the package is undeliverable.

I've not lost one shipment via First Class International in the last year.

When the forms are filled out properly at USPS.com you get good results, I have not filled out the old hand-written customs declarations forms since USPS put them all online. That definitely improved the delivery rate.

My experience shipping to Canada and Europe has been excellent.

I repeatedly sell items that are small, lightweight and about $30. First Class International rates are affordable. Priority International is not affordable for such an order, so 99% of my international orders are only realized because the cost of shipping is not too excessive.

My Shipping Policy clearly states that “I will not identify international shipments as gifts and that they will be declared at their true value. Taxes and fees may be imposed by your country.” If you do otherwise, and are caught under declaring the value, there is a hefty fine.

Prohibited items that will be refused by customs of foreign countries are listed at USPS for each country. Most of it is common sense, most of it doesn't apply to my merchandise.

Also, don't be vague when describing the items you are declaring in a shipment. Be specific and the packages fly thru customs without problems.

Sorry I have been away.

Thanks for all the input, it is very helpful. My products are a little larger than what I think usps would like to take. I sell wood products and think ups or fed ex would be best for me. I do not know much about DHL. I think they are really for LTL shipments international.

I heard that FEDEX acts as the broker and handles any import or duty fees and I guess the same for UPS too. It sounds pretty simple, but what really is simple these days? I do see a problem if customs opens packages and forgets to put item(s) back inside box (like clips has said)…

Would signature required help with the customer noticing if package has been opened? This may make the customer open before signing or such.

OK. I am getting closer to taking the plunge.

Does anyone have any comments or suggestions with accepting PayPal only with my Canadian shipments ?

This way PayPal can guarantee funds?

How could I implement this?

And one last thing, how could I add an additional charge for these shipments?

I do appreciate everybody’s help.

Thanks. :grin: