How Does Etsy Make Money?

Is Etsy free?

For the buyer

If you’re looking to buy on Etsy, the answer is “yes, until you actually buy something”.  It doesn’t cost you any money to create an account on Etsy, browse or search for merchandise, add items to lists or to your “Favourites”, or write a review of a an item once you’ve already bought and received it.  However, once you’ve completed an order for an item on Etsy, or for an Etsy Gift Card, you’re going to have to pay someone for it.

For the seller

If you’re thinking of using Etsy to sell your wares, the answer is “not really”.  Setting up a shop on Etsy doesn’t cost you any money, but these things do:

  • Listing an item publicly
  • Selling an item
  • Selling a privately-listed item
  • Selling more than one copy of an item at a time
  • Processing a payment from a customer
  • Buying shipping labels for U.S.P.S. or Canada Post
  • Advertising your shop and items on Etsy
  • Joining Etsy’s Wholesale Program

All of these charges will be added to a bill that Etsy will send you on the first day of each month.  You have until midnight on the 15th day of each month to pay this bill, or it will be considered past due.  The only exception is the charge for processing a payment from a customer, which will be taken directly out of the money that you get from making a sale on Etsy.  The actual amounts of these charges are listed in the section below.

Etsy Pricing

For the buyer

All prices on Etsy are set by the seller of the item.  You will also have to pay for the seller’s shipping charges, which are based on how far away you are from the seller, as well as the weight and dimensions of the item(s) that you’re buying.  See our Etsy Shipping article for more detailed information on how to calculate your shipping costs.

Some sellers may also charge a state-sanctioned sales tax; this can usually be found under the Shipping and Policies tab, as well (and if it doesn’t, it should appear on the page where you review and submit an order).  It may only apply if you’re buying from the same state that the seller lives in.

Also, certain countries may charge import and customs taxes if you’re ordering from across international borders, so be aware of that possibility, too.

For the seller

Here’s a breakdown of the fees that Etsy will charge you:

  • Each item that you list on Etsy costs you 20₵ U.S.   Each listing lasts for 4 months from the date that you post it.  After that, you will have to pay another 20₵ U.S. per item to keep the listing active, unless you’ve sold the item (or sold out of it) in the meantime.  You can also list some items privately, which won’t cost you any money.  However, if you sell them, Etsy will charge you the usual 20₵ U.S.  If you sell multiple quantities of the same item at one time, Etsy will also charge you 20₵ U.S. for each extra copy of that item sold beyond the first (as if the copy was listed as a separate item).
  • Etsy charges you 3.5% of the sale price (i.e. before taxes and shipping costs) of each item that you sell.
  • For each order that you complete, Etsy will deduct a payment processing fee, based on the total cost of each order (i.e. total sale price of items in the order + tax + shipping costs), from the money that you receive from that order.  This fee varies by country, but is usually 3% or 4%, plus a flat fee per order that is between 0.25 and 3 units of that country’s currency.
  • The price for advertisements on Etsy varies based on what you’re advertising.
  • Purchasing shipping labels for the U.S. Postal Service or Canada Post directly from Etsy costs the same as — or sometimes less than — purchasing them from those respective companies.
  • Signing up for Etsy’s Wholesale Program, which lets you get another business to help you create and sell your wares faster, costs $100.  This fee is non-refundable.


And that’s a brief overview of how Etsy makes money, including what you have to pay as both a buyer and a seller!

Etsy Shipping

So, how does an item on Etsy get from a seller to your front door if and when you decide to buy it?  Below are some frequently-asked questions about how shipping works on Etsy, along with our best answer for each of them.

What is the Etsy’s shipping policy?

Generally speaking, Etsy doesn’t have a fixed shipping policy.  Instead, it allows shop owners to set their own shipping policies, including what carriers they ship with and whether or not they offer expedited shipping options.

You can see a shop’s overall policies (including their shipping policies) by clicking on the shop’s name, which takes you to the shop’s page on Etsy.  Then, click Policies under “Shop Info” on the left-hand side.

You can also find these policies by clicking on an item to take you to its page on Etsy.  Then, click on Shipping and Policies underneath the item’s picture to see the policies of the shop that sells that item.

Does Etsy do international shipping?

Generally, most sellers on Etsy will indeed ship their items across international borders.  However, this is once again dependent on the policies of each individual seller, because some sellers will only ship to places within their own country, and some will only ship to certain other countries.  There are a few ways that you can find this information.

The first is by reading a shop’s overall policies, as described in the previous section.  The second is by visiting an individual item’s page.  You may be able to find what countries it ships to by clicking the Shipping and Policies tab, but sometimes, it will say which countries the item ships to in the general information section.  If it says Select Countries, click on this to show a list of countries that the seller will ship this item to.

Finally, searching for an item on Etsy can allow you to take the worry out of whether that item can be shipped to your country or not.  Simply search for an item, and then, under the “Refine Your Search” section, click the drop-down menu below “Ships To” and select a country.

Voila!  Now, the only items you’ll see are ones that can be shipped to the country that you chose!

See our How to Search on Etsy tutorial for more detailed instructions on searching for items on Etsy.

How much are Etsy shipping costs?  Is there an Etsy shipping calculator?

In general, shipping costs on Etsy are based on how far away you are from the seller, as well as the weight and dimensions of the item(s) that you’re buying.

If you’re a buyer, shipping costs can be found by visiting an item’s page, clicking the Shipping and Policies tab, and then click the drop-down menu under “Shipping To” and selecting your country.

(Note: if you select United States as your country, you will also need to enter your ZIP code in order to calculate shipping costs.)

If you’re a seller, you can use a tool called “Price Your Postage” (which you can find here) to calculate how much you will be paying for shipping, so you can set your rates for buyers accordingly.

Simply pick whether you’re shipping to a domestic address or to an international one, then type in your ZIP code, your destination’s ZIP code (or the country you’re shipping to), and your package’s weight and dimensions.  Then click Calculate Prices.

Can I get free shipping on Etsy? Is there an Etsy free shipping coupon code?

As a matter of fact, you can, and there is!  See our Etsy Coupon Codes tutorial (here) to find out more.

How long are Etsy shipping times (on average)?

The time that it takes to ship items from their sellers on Etsy to you is dependent on two things.  First, it’s dependent on how long it takes sellers to process your items.  Sellers need time to properly pack and apply shipping labels to your order, and if your items are of the “Handmade” class, sellers may need time to create and/or customize them.  Second, it’s dependent on the shipping options that the seller uses (or that you ask them to use), which generally includes whether or not the seller has to ship across international borders.

Both item processing times and shipping times can usually be found by checking a store’s shipping policies, the process for which described in the “What is Etsy’s Shipping Policy?” section above.  As a general guideline, though, if a seller doesn’t list a processing time for an item, the processing time for that item is set to a default of 5 days.  In addition, shipping to a location within the same country takes an average maximum of 2 days, while shipping to another country takes an average maximum of 10 days.

Etsy then adds to the date of your order the processing time for your items (i.e. it will use the longest processing time among items in your order) and the average maximum shipping time (based on whether the shipment is domestic or international) to give you an estimated delivery date for your order.

Can I track my Etsy order?

If the seller includes tracking information with your order, then yes, you can track your Etsy order.  To do so, start by going to in your web browser and logging in (if you haven’t already).  Then, click You (i.e. your account) in the top-right corner, and select Purchases and Reviews.

Next, simply find the order that you want to track, and click Track Package.

If Etsy supports tracking for the carrier that’s delivering your order, a window will pop up showing you a map of your package’s journey (so far), along with the dates and times of major tracking events.

If Etsy doesn’t support tracking for the carrier that’s delivering your order, you will be taken to that carrier’s website, and you can view your package’s tracking information (if available) there.

You will also be notified by email of your shipping updates.  Click Track Package to get them.

Your order will be marked as:

  • Not Shipped:  If the seller has not shipped your package yet, or at least has not updated the order invoice to indicate that they have shipped it.
  • Shipped:  If the seller has updated the order invoice to indicate that they have shipped your package, whether or not they’ve added tracking information to the package.
  • In Transit: If the package has been given a tracking number and has been moved at least once.


Well, that covers the topics that people ask about the most regarding shipping on Etsy.  We hope you found the answer you were looking for!