The Legacy Shipping Model: Base Rates and Product Rates

IMPORTANT: This page describes an older shipping model, now out of date. This page will remain in the handbook until all customers have migrated to the new model.

Your IndieMade store automatically calculates shipping costs, and collects those costs from your customers, based on the settings you provide.

Understanding Shipping

Every order placed through your IndieMade store has a shipping charge composed of two separate components:

  1. The base rate, which is applied to the entire order, regardless of how many products are purchased. (Some people call this a handling charge.)
  2. The product rates for the products in the order. Each separate product contributes its product rate to the total.

You can set your own base rate and default product rate for every country you ship to, in the store > settings section of your dashboard. If you need to charge a different product rate for a specific product, you can set that in the product edit form.

Let's take an example: a store that sells bowling balls, t-shirts, and paper clips. The base rate for this store is set at $2.00, and the default per-product rate is $2.00. Bowling balls are heavy, so they have a special product rate of $10.00 each. Paper clips are light, so they cost just a penny each to ship. In this case:

  • A t-shirt costs $3.00 to ship ($2.00 for the base rate, plus $1.00 for the default product rate)
  • Two bowling balls cost $22.00 to ship ($2.00 for the base rate, plus $10 each for the bowling balls)
  • A bowling ball and 10 paper clips cost $12.10 to ship ($2.00 for the base rate, $10 for the bowling ball, and a penny for each of the paper clips)
  • Five paper clips cost $2.05 to ship ($2.00 for the base rate, plus a nickel for the five paper clips)

You can also set the product rate to 0 if your base rate covers your entire shipping cost and you don't want customers to incur additional shipping charges with each item they add to their orders. This works especially well if the products you sell are lightweight so that additional items do not raise your shipping expenses.

Modifying Shipping Costs

You can set up different base rates and default product rates for each country that you ship to.

Log into your dashboard and navigate to store > settings. A bit down the page is the shipping section, which includes a list of the most common destinations for your site:


In this list you'll find the United States and Canada -- plus the country that your store is based in and some popular destinations for orders that you've already shipped. The active base rate, and the default product rates, are shown. To make changes, simply click on the edit link and make the changes you want.

Shipping to Different Countries

By default your IndieMade site is set up only for the United States and Canada. If you ship to other countries, it's easy to set up your IndieMade store to properly calculate shipping. A bit further down the page is a list of the seven continents.


Click on the edit link to get a list of all the countries in that continent. For example, if you can ship to South America, click on the edit link to get a list of all the countries in South America and their current settings:


To turn on shipping for more than one country at a time, check the appopriate boxes and push the blue button reading Edit selected countries. (You can select all the countries in that continent at once by clicking on the top checkbox, in the table header.) Or, just click the edit  link in the rightmost column to work on one country at a time.

In either case, the shipping screen is similar. For example, let's enable shipping to Paraguay and set the base rate to be $32.00, and the default product rate to be $4.00:


Country Selection at Checkout

When your customers are ready to checkout, the country pulldown in the destination address section will automatically be populated with the countries that you've enabled. When the user changes the destination country, the choices in the state/province pulldown will automatically populate with selections that are correct for that country, and the shipping charges will automatically be updated.



Cindy Douglass

Shipping by weight and by country would be easier.

If I have two items; one is 1 lb and another is 6 lbs, the international shipping price varies as much as $20 according to the weight. One international surcharge doesn't seem to cover the differences between those two weights unless I grossly overcharge for international shipping on the lighter weight item. And that doesn't even cover items that would be greater than 6 lbs.

Gillian Mowry

While I understand how this works...base price for the entire order...product rates for individual's difficult to figure out a good "base price" for other countries that encompasses every item I sell. Some items only cost $8 to ship...while others cost $ having one "base price" and "product rates" just doesn't seem to work...especially since changing the "product rates" for individual products changes the shipping for all countries including the US. Coming from Etsy where shipping is super easy...this method is really odd. It would be fantastic if I could just put in separate shipping rates for each item for the countries I ship to...I'd rather it take a bit more time than have to grossly over or under charge for shipping.

Axel McCarthy

Gillian, we've rolled out a new shipping model tonight that is much closer to Etsy's model, and with multiple shipping profiles as well. This page has the details.


Is it possible to have indiemade set specific shipping zones like ebay and amazon do? My items are heavy, so I mus set a high base rate/product rate so I don't get hammered on shipping. I feel this turns a likely customer away, unless I note on my site and any overages in shipping would be refunded to the customer. Then wouldn't I have to pay a fee for each "refund?"
It would be great if we could have the 8 standard shipping zones and we could then list product by weight and allow a customer a more accurate idea of shipping costs.


This is just making it harder than it should be. I have to make the "handling" cost the lowest amount I can take then make the "shipping" cost the difference for each item. That is very backwards. I'm afraid my customers will question the absurdity of it or worse, lose customers over my handling prices. I would rather set each price for each item than to have to do this!

Kevin Cotton

Just set handling and default price to zero in shipping and then in each product go into shipping tab and set the shipping price. That's what I do.


How do I set up for shipping Priority Mail and/or First Class Mail. Am I going to have to set each item up as I go? Sorry to say, I'm finding the shipping profiles very confusing.

Emily McKay

This is starting to break Indiemade for me, the shipping is absolutely horrible for setting stuff. I have a few days left in my trial and I don't think this is going to work.

Axel McCarthy

Hi Emily, we've rolled out a new shipping model based on the feedback we got from customers like you. Read up on it in the handbook section on shipping... hope this helps make it work for you.

Mel Orr

I really like the new shipping feature implemented at Etsy.  I think something similar here would be a terrific feature.  Right now, going to Paypal works, but not having the 1st class International shipping option, is a huge inconvenience.  20% of my sales are international and filling out the forms,  going to the post office and paying cash/cc is just a huge time inconvenience for me.  I really like coordinating my entire sale in one spot.  Just FWIW.... this is something I think would be a game changer.  Also, I find the shipping options here a bit confusing.  Figuring it out, but not sure the customer really wants to take the time to understand it.  I may just change over to free shipping and incorporate this in the cost to keep it simple.  What's on your roadmap? Is there a place for us to see what's in the works? 

Thanks ~ Melinda 

Axel McCarthy

Hi Melinda,

Just so you know we've released a new shipping model that we hope will address your concerns. You can set up multiple profiles, and within each profile set a by-itself cost and a with-another cost for the products, different for each country if you like. It should be more familiar to customers who've used Etsy in the past. The documentation on the new shipping model has details.

Hope this helps!



Jessica Robinson

I am wondering how to differentiate shipping from the U.S. mainland to Alaska and Hawaii. As it stands now, those two states are lumped in with the rest of the U.S. And I would like to have zero shipping charges for my homestate. How may I set that up?

Jason Francois

I have three different levels of shipping for international. (US based.)   First class for my less expensive items.  Priority International for my pricier items up to $399, and from the $400 cutoff I use Priority Express International.   

The base and product rates don't allow for this, and neither does the one change to product rates on the creation screen.   Is there any option being developed to allow custom setting by item?   Because this is a huge limitation. 

Axel McCarthy

Agreed it is a limitiation Shipping profiles are probably the number one request for changes to the store feature. This feature is in development as I write this... we in customer care can't wait for it to go live either! Hang in there, it's on the way.

Axel McCarthy

Jason, just thought you'd like to know that we've released multiple shipping profiles, per request. Check out the handbook page on shipping profiles for details. (You'll need to migrate your store to the new model first, when you're ready, from the shipping settings screen.)

Cynthia D Davis

Hi Axel

I tried Indiemade about a year ago for the free trial month and was happy with the trial with the exception of shipping. I was wondering if there were any updates on the rollout for the shipping changes ? I am considering moving my shop to Indiemade and shipping is the key consideration.


Cynthia Davis

Axel McCarthy

Cynthia, wanted to let you know that we've released the new shipping model with support for multiple profiles. The documentation on the shipping system starts here. We'd love to get your feedback on it. 

Melissa K

I will add my voice in agreement regarding a more manageable shipping system that includes profiles and "with another item" options for combined shipping. I have spent hours researching the different shopping carts so that I can open up off Etsy and was about to decide on Indiemade, but this will be the deal breaker unless it changes soon. I would also love to see an "Everywhere Else" category for international shipping since some sellers have light items for which this is very practical.

Axel McCarthy

We now have shipping profiles and "with another item" options for combined shipping. The new model is, hopefully, more familiar to our customers who have a lot of experience with Etsy. I hope it encourages you to get a free 30 day trial and check it out!

June F

I am totally confused by this shipping set up. Can't this be made simpler ? Pulling my hair out!

Chris K


I would like to add my voice to the shipping setup problem. It's really ridiculous! I have to charge $15 shipping to most international countries. If they decide to buy more that one thing...and I hope they do!...they'll be overcharged $15!

We should not have to be refunding shipping charges on a regular basis.

Also, as with many shopowners I sell a variety of items. One shipping cost doesn't work.

I have been with Indiemade for about 6 months now...but seriously thinking of moving because of this problem.

Please hear us. :(



Axel McCarthy

Chris, thanks so much for taking the time to let us know the old shipping model wasn't working for you. We've just released enhancements that include multiple shipping profiles. You can migrate to the new system automatically from the store settings page. (And all new sites get the new model automatically.)

Hope this helps out... let us know what you think. Although we can't act on every suggestion we get, we really do listen.

Elsie L. Inzer

How soon before new changes take effect?  I'm just into building my shop.  I have an Etsy shop and am playing with another provider on a monthly basis (Weebly).  I really do like the IndieMade format and ease of use (better then Weebly).  But, like others, shipping will be the deciding factor on whether or not I go beyond my trial period.  So, I add my voice to all the others.  Please give us more choices.

Axel McCarthy

We heard you guys loud and clear.

The consensus we got from customers like you is that you wanted multiple shipping profiles, and a combined shipping model where you could set shipping costs for each country per product, with an optional discount for additional products purchased in the same order. (This is very similar to the way Etsy does shipping.) 

New sites get the new shipping model automatically. Existing sites like yours can, during the transition period, continue to use the old shipping model until you decide to migrate to the new model

Hope this helps!


I have been considering opening a shop here and decided to check out the Q & A section first; including shipping. However, after reading everyones comments the last thing I need is something to be even more time consuming when my time is valuable. I will wait till they get the shipping improved before I open shop. Especially when I am paying money for a shop; the shipping should work.

I like the idea if imitating etsy's shipping.

I am really in need of an artisan shop that supports real artisan creations so I am hoping this issue improves soon.

If there's excellent support and consideration hopefully they will be reading our comments and be willing to do something about it, soon please.

Axel McCarthy

Hey Cheldena, glad you wrote. As it happens just tonight we rolled out a new shipping model that should be familiar to our Etsy refugees. Sign up for a free 30 day trial of the service and you can give it a spin yourself! :-)

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