The Secret Fees of DIY E-Commerce

   Let’s all take a trip down a hypothetical business scenario for a small homemade jewelry seller, shall we?

       I have my own small business where I make jewelry from unusual objects, and I am ready to start an e-commerce site to help promote my company. I don’t know where to turn to help me the most for the least amount of money out of my pocket each month. So, I decided to research and determine how much I would make from selling my products on different sites. 

   This is what I found out:


  • Having a basic plan on Etsy is free.
  • Having a plus plan will cost me $10/month.
  • The listing fee for selling on Etsy is $.20 per item listed.

      But what they don’t tell you is that they take money from the shipping total. They take a percentage of the total you sold the item for and a few other hidden fees and rates. 

     One seller posted a review listing a discrepancy with her sales on Etsy. “For example, I made a sale + shipping that came to $64.49, but I only received $55.21 of that, with no prior Etsy bills being deducted….” 

    When I read that, I was utterly shocked. How does $9.28 disappear without explanation? Do your research and see what they could be taking out of your earned sales and why. You can check out a complete list of Etsy’s hidden fees here.


       Turns out, being a personal seller on Amazon doesn’t cost you a monthly rate either, which is crazy when comparing it to something like Etsy. They do, however, tell you that you have a closing fee for every item that you sell on Amazon. There is also a referral fee that can range really high depending on your product category. For me, the referral fee is 20%. Yikes! 

    What Amazon doesn’t tell you, though, is that you will have to pay hidden fees for added packing weight when shipping items, product size, storing your items in their warehouses, even errors on Amazon’s part concerning orders.

   That last one is absurd to me, to think that they mess up on an item and I have to pay for it. You can look at the breakdown for costs on items and sales here. Look before you sign up!


    Now let’s do another hypothetical jewelry business where instead of an individual, I am in charge of a small team. As a company or ‘professional seller,’ let’s see how much I would make after selling my products on different sites.


    The small business plans they have could cost me anywhere from $30/month to $80/month, depending on my size, which they make you aware of when signing up. Each subscription plan includes a list of features and varying levels of assistance from the site. Shopify seems to be geared toward small to medium-sized businesses, so if you are thinking about looking into them, keep that in mind. You can research the specifics of each plan’s credit card rates and related fees here


     As a professional seller on Amazon, I would be expected to pay $40/month for a seller account, but I wouldn’t have to pay the referral fee mentioned before or the closing fee for any of my items. So, the more you sell each month, the better the professional account is made to appear. 

    The whole thing seems way too complicated since you would still have to pay all those other crazy fees regardless of your account level. So, think all those fees over carefully and make sure it would be worth it to you to sell on Amazon. 



     We’ve looked at the potentials for selling on a few different sites for DIY e-commerce, and they each present several fees on top of the agreed-upon rate when you sign up with them. However, we also have an e-commerce rate for our customers, and we don’t have any hidden fees. Our e-commerce rates are a flat fee, and we tell you upfront what each plan will allow you to access.


See Our E-commerce


      Your e-commerce site is yours to create and control, so make sure you listen to what previous sellers have to say about any sites you’re considering before you join them! Doing research and deciding whether e-commerce is your best option or retail can be examined in our previous article. It could save you a lot of energy and time spent hunched over a calculator trying to figure out what’s going where.

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