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Mail order

Posted by GarlicLady z7 NC (My Page) on
Tue, Nov 30, 04 at 9:59

We Have a Garlic Farm and have been selling at local farmers markets and festivals for years. We are now ready to expand to internet sales (mailing seed garlic)those of you who do mail order. What should I do first?
I have questions like how much to charge? set rates or per order etc? who do you use for shipping? Do the shipping companies have rates for small businesses? Are there rules abot shipping "seed /produce"/ Garlic is not perishble like veggies or plants . I don't think I have to charge tax on produce or seed but if I sell value added products too will tax apply to them.
any advice will be apreciated
The Garlic Lady

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Mail order

As I recall, USPS used to require a package containing live plants be marked accordingly. From the USPS website:

"Perishable Items
Some items require special packaging or special permission to be mailed. Call 1800ASKUSPS or visit your Post Office to find out how to mail these items:

* Live animals
* Fresh fruits and vegetables
* Plants"

I have always wondered what the postage would be for a horse. You can always see what other shippers require.

Anyway, I would check out any sites that already do what you are wishing to start. Check to see how someone like Burpee does things [this is not a plug for them]. There are bound to be others too.

Small businees do seem to get special shipping rates -- the absolute highest. Usually you aren't doing enough volume to matter to anyone, but there might be ways to lower your costs. Check the various shippers' websites --,, etc.

For tax questions, you could refer to your state's website, looking for information on "sales and use tax", contact a local comptrollers office for assitance, or, worst case, a sales tax professional (accountant or lawyer). Selling out of state is always the preferred thing to do ;-)

Don't forget domain registration, web hosting, site content and maintenance, a secure transaction package, the "skim" various online payment folks charge on top of the standard card rates if you have a "business" account...

I can be a lot of fun tho :-)


RE: Mail order

Plant Delights Nursery owner Tony Avent has a book out called "So you want to start a nursery" (or something like that). There are some chapters online, he explains his thinking behind shipping (it must pay for shipping, boxes, advertising, etc). A really interesting book.
I hope to be starting a cut flower business, the idea of getting licenses and lawyers and tax info is just horrifying! This is a GREAT forum to find out lots of info though, I just joined and LOVe it!

RE: Mail order

I just started looking into this as I grow herbs & perennials and wanted to start a mail order department. First, i had to become a NC certified Nursery. Then, i had to agree to treat plants(soil) for fire ants, nematodes, and Japanese beetles.(pfui) Also , mail "test shipments" to people you know in other states to see what packaging is best-This may not be so important for seed garlic, but it is for plants. Good Luck!

RE: Mail order

Also find five or six of the best mail order companies and order some plants from them.
It's interesting to see how other companies pack the stuff...

that and 10years of shipping plants has gotten me pretty good at packing boxes... hardly any damages

RE: Mail order

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