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Old 05-28-04, 07:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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The cost of doing business???

I always knew that the price of snakes subsidized the shipping of them. Iíve been selling them for the better part of the decade, and I always figured that shipping costs incurred was just the cost of doing business; the price of production; part of the ďinputĒ for breeding snakes.

But is it? And if it is, SHOULD it be?

I mean, not many other products subsidize their own shipping and handling. Should the profit made from selling a captive-bred reptile (sellers and re-sellers of WC garbage should rot in heck, ha ha!) be the price minus the cost to produce AND to package/ship it? Iím not counting shipping as what Air Canada or WestJet charges to get a box from A to B. That HAS to be the customerís dilemma. For sure. Iím talking about the packaging and delivery of the animal to the airport. Do people even realize how much that costs? Do they even care? Are they willing to pay it? If not, do you hide the cost of that into the animal, further driving the price up and making the buying public go elsewhere to some schmo whoís MORE than happy to actually sell an animal?

Itís a TOUGH one. No doubt.

But what is that cost? Is it significant? I think so. Obviously. Otherwise I wouldnít be writing this. Letís find out what it costs to ship and average shipment of snakes:

1 insulated reptile shipping box ($5) - and I get them at a VERY good deal
1 48-hour heat pack ($2)
1 gel pack ($1.50)
Newspaper (free)
Deli/shipping containers ($0.50)
Box labeling ($1)
Gas to get to the airport ($2)

Total = $12

This DOESNíT even include time ($20/hr??), ink for the printer for labels, tape for the box, or gas to get back home FROM the airport.

So say I ship about 60 shipments a year. Thatís $720++ dollars I have to pay from my own pocket, just for the RIGHT to sell snakes. Seems like a lot. But its impossible to justify charging an extra $12 per order for ďpackaging and handlingĒ, isnít it? Some breeders already do it, but how many customers do they lose by doing so? Does it hurt or help the breeder in the long run? If I sell a pair of Jungles for $500, should I get $500, or should I get $488?

Not complaining, just thinking out loud. Ignore if you think Iím bitching about selling snakes, because if so, you missed the point entirely.

Thoughts other breeders? Buyers? Potential buyers?

Cheers.

JF
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Old 05-28-04, 07:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't see a problem with a handling fee to go with the shipping fee... I know when I sell items on ebay i charge both shipping (actuall cost including insurance), plus a few dollars for handling which pays for the box etc. as for gas to go to post office, i swallowed that, usually cause I was going past there anyways. If i had to to go to toronto air port (2.5 hours away) i would charge something for that.

I know when I've bought snakes from breeders that had to ship I paid more then actual shipping charges. usually in the neighbourhood of 20 some odd dollars.

of course it makes a difference of what you're selling... if some one was dropping 20k on an animal i'd probably throw in shipping for free. what's the big deal with $100 on a 20k animal?
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Old 05-28-04, 07:53 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think it's the cost of doing business and it should be included in the price of the animal... because there are too many whiners out there that would see a charge like that (added to shipping or not) as just being gouged.

Jeff, it would be interesting to see what you ACTUALLY make if you added stuff like feeders, vet, hydro, water, a portion of property taxes/mortgage etc. etc...
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Old 05-28-04, 07:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think it should be included in price of animal. Anyone who bitches about a 20 dollar more per say 300 dollar animal is too cheap to own reptiles anyway IMHO.

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Old 05-28-04, 08:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm confused? Its should be included in the cost of the animal, meaning that I should charge $500 for a $500 dollar animal, getting $488 in actuality, or I should charge $512 for the animal and get $500?

Interesting.

Great post Lisa!
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Old 05-28-04, 08:36 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Jeff, you should get $488.

And me living in Leader, and having to drive to the airport, guess what, I only get $440.

When we can do 2 shipments at a time, we "save" some money - and can blow it on candy.

Ryan
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Old 05-28-04, 08:39 PM   #7 (permalink)
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IMO, its the cost of doing business (overhead), and a small price to pay for "Supplemental" income which may be tax free

Besides, the expence of the shipping materials is a write -off any way.

Its also just easier, and to be honest not every breeder sells for the same price so it just may be included anyway.

What's next... are we lawyers and going to be charging for calls and consultations lol

Cheers
Brian
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Old 05-28-04, 08:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Jeff,

I most definitely agree with you.
Shipping and handling fees should be added. In our own opinion (as breeders and sellers) these costs should be added to the animals that we produced and offer to the public.

BUT I can definitely tell you that 80% of the time when you tell the buyer that you're going to do that, he/she backs out of the deal. We can't put the charge on the snake either, since most prices are not only set bu us. But by basically the market itself. Even though reputation does play a big part in this 'industry' that we have here, money plays a bigger part. If we did raise our price (say $20) dollars more than the market price, we'll be basically losing quite a big of buyers. Since there are always other sellers that will sell out an animal that is like half our price and doesn't even put that 'service charge' into consideration since they're only doing it one time only. As for you and me, where we are doing this for a long time are always the ones that has to suffer the lost.

So I agree with you Jeff about the 'extra charge' but this would greatly affect the demand of people. Since our price is mostly at the high end (hey you pay at you get). So increasing it more would just mean that our animals goes even slower.....

I agree that Marsia said 'Anyone who bitches about a 20 dollar more per say 300 dollar animal is too cheap to own reptiles anyway' but the truth is that....people are cheap. I have been dealing with a lot of customers who wouldn't even pay $5 dollars more....I offered $160 for a snake they they come back and tell me that the highest pay that he/she will pay is $155.....

So at the end Jeff....I think that we wont be able to charge this extra. $$ into the cost. We would be, but we'll lose more than the extra charge to cover those cost....

but this is all based on my own opinion....
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Old 05-28-04, 08:48 PM   #9 (permalink)
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This is an interesting topic. Say you don't swallow the $12 in extra shipping charges, what's next? Will people start charging for the feeders the animal has gone through prior to shipping? Too many variables can complicate and even destroy a sale, so would the annual cost be enough to offset the potential loss of business? (assuming you aren't selling 20k animals) I'm just firing these off the top of my head so who knows...
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Old 05-28-04, 09:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I say charge whatever gets you the profit you want, and what the market allows. If I go to Burger King, they don't add on gas that the 18 Wheeler burned geting to the store , napkins, ketchup packets, etc... They just charge what they can get. Maybe I'm naive but I would assume that someone who buys from a pro breeder would understand and appreciate the price. At least more than some one trying to bargain down $5 at a table at a reptile show from a local clown breeding out of a toolshed.
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Old 05-28-04, 09:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Nice post scalawag, although they most certaintly do charge for the trucks gas, kethcup and everything else, it's all included in the price.

My main point is this....lets say Favelle has one price list that says "Jungles 500....shipping extra + 15 handling charge..." or another one that says "Jungles.....515.00 + shipping" that to me seems more reasonable and easier to digest. its the exact same thing but to a buyer when you see extra charges tacked on, it looks worse. And if I want Favelles jungles, I'll pay the 515.

Its about profit, but EVERY business figures out what there cost is, and handling is certaintly an extra cost. So I think it should just be added into the price.

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Old 05-28-04, 09:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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One more thing to add:

Simon- I am afriad I will not be very popular as a reptile breeder, because if anyone came to me, and complained over 5 bucks, I would tell them where they can find that 5 bucks, and it wouldnt be pretty.

lol

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Old 05-28-04, 10:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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well when you pack up your animals and head to a show do you raise your prices to cover the cost of the trip??? Charge what ever you want you'll find out soon enough how people feel about it
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Old 05-28-04, 10:05 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by marisa
One more thing to add:

Simon- I am afriad I will not be very popular as a reptile breeder, because if anyone came to me, and complained over 5 bucks, I would tell them where they can find that 5 bucks, and it wouldnt be pretty.

lol

Marisa
LOL
Well to be honest I don't tell them directly. I just tell them in my heart...I mean..what is $5 dollars!!! Heck I think that the worst one was around half a year or so ago....when I had my snow corn for sale at $38 dollars....and that guy put down $35 and I said...well it's $38 dollars..that guy took the $35 dollars back and put my snow female down....and walked off......so a person would actually walk away from a buy for $3 dollars!!!!

Maybe its just me....

But really for me, myself as the buyer. If I wanted to get a quality animal from a reputable breeder, I wouldn't mind paying a few extra bucks more.

Say if I get anything from Jeff Favelle, Don Patterson, Roy Stockwell, Don Soderberg, Kathy Love, etc etc....I wouldn't mind paying that extra few bucks for transport and all for a quality animal. But a lot of people (espeically new herpers, sorry not directing at any new herpers) really do mind that extra cost and will get stuff somewhere else.

Heck I tried to put that extra cost on before (with the $10 dollars boxing fee) and people didn't like it and started emailing me about how stupid that was to charge an extra fee and all.....and that was around 2 years ago.....
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Old 05-28-04, 10:08 PM   #15 (permalink)
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IMO, I think that since you set the price for the animal, you then have the right to charge the buyer your out-of-pocket expenses (within reason of course, there was a post on this site a while ago, and the seller had an animal listed, stating the price for the animal, and quantified it by mentioning that the price was was it was due to the cost of food that the snake had eaten over X amount of time). Sorry, a rant of sorts.. Yes, you should get $500 when you charge $500 for said animal. If the buyer is willing to pay the cost of the animal, and then bitches about a $12 handling fee, then he can certainly find that animal elsewhere. You're not Wal-Mart (no offense) you're not taking in millions of dollars a year selling your wares, we're all grassroots, and at this level, these are costs that should not be 'bitten" by the seller.
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