How to Set Processing Times and “Ship-By” Dates

Processing times and “ship by” dates help buyers know when you’ll ship items in your shop. Buyers can see the processing time for an item on the listing page under Shipping and return policies. The “ship by” date appears on the receipt after the buyer purchases an item.

For eligible listings, customers may see the estimated delivery date instead of the processing time.

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What is the processing time for an item?

The processing time is how much time you need to get an order ready to ship. The processing time helps set expectations with buyers before purchasing an item, and accurate processing times help you reliably ship your orders.

If an order is custom, this will include the amount of time it takes to create the custom item. If an order is already made, the processing time is the amount of time you need to package the item and bring it to the shipping service.

The processing time also affects when the buyer can open a case about an order and when they can leave a review.

What is the “ship by” date?

The “ship by” date is the date that you commit to ship an order to the buyer. This is the date at the end of the longest processing time for an order.

For example: your processing time for an item is 3-5 days. A buyer orders the item on September 1. The “ship by” date for this order is September 6.

If you don't set a processing time

If you don’t specify a processing time for an item, the buyer won’t see a "ship by" date during the checkout process. If the buyer places an order for multiple items and one doesn't have a processing time, then the whole order won't show a "ship by" date, even if other items in the order do have processing times.

How do I set the processing time for an item?

To set the processing time for a shipping profile:

  1. Sign in to Etsy.com.
  2. Visit your Shop Manager.
  3. Go to Settings.
  4. Go to Shipping settings.
  5. Go to Shipping profiles.
  6. Select Add profile or select a shipping profile you want to update.
  7. Fill out the shipping profile.
  8. In Order Processing Schedule, select Edit.
  9. Select if you only process orders Monday through Friday, or if you want to include Saturday and/or Sunday in your processing times.
  10. Select Update.
  11. Select your Processing time from the dropdown. You can choose a processing time between from 1 business day and 10 weeks.
  12. Select Create profile.

Next, you can choose this shipping profile for your listings:

  1. In Shop Manager, select Listings.
  2. Find the listing you want to change, or create a new listing.
  3. Find the gear icon and choose Edit.
  4. Scroll down to the Shipping section.
  5. Select the shipping profile with the correct processing time.
  6. Choose Publish.

You can edit the processing time for an item using these same steps.

Processing times and “ship by” dates are determined by your order processing schedule, which can be set to include weekends. If a ship-by date falls on a Sunday, it will usually be bumped to the next business day. 

If you see that the “ship by” date for your order falls on a holiday or a Sunday, you can update the date once per order.

Processing times begin the day after your item is purchased by a buyer. For example: 

  • A listing of yours is purchased by a buyer on Wednesday. It has a 5-day processing time and a processing schedule set to Monday - Friday, so the ship by date would be the following Wednesday.

  • If the same listing included Saturday and Sunday in your processing schedule, then it would have a ship by date of Monday instead. 

What if I ship faster than my processing times? 

Having fast processing times can lead to shorter estimated delivery dates, which can help encourage customers to buy items from your shop. If you have a history of completing your orders faster than your listed processing times, you’ll see your actual processing times displayed in your shipping profiles and custom shipping settings. From here you can quickly apply them to your profile

For example, if your shipping profile’s processing time is set to 5-7 days, but you typically complete your orders in 3-5 days, you can apply the shorter actual processing time to that shipping profile. 

To update your shipping profiles and custom shipping settings with your actual processing times

  1. From Shop Manager, go to Shipping settings
  2. Select Shipping profiles
  3. If this is your first time updating your shipping profiles to your actual processing times, you’ll see a popup window giving you the opportunity to update your settings.
  4. Select Update all to apply your actual processing times across all of your eligible listings. You can also choose I'll review on my own to select individual listings.  
  5. If successful, you’ll see confirmation that your processing times have been updated. 

Review your actual processing times individually in the Processing time section of your shipping profiles. The automatic Update option is only visible if your actual processing times are shorter than what you had set for that profile. You can manually adjust your processing times at any point. 

Shipping profiles and custom shipping settings that are missing critical information will fail to update. You must add the missing information before you can update them to your actual processing times.

How are the actual processing times in my shipping profiles calculated? 

Your actual processing time is based on your processing times over the past 120 days for orders that shipped using that specific shipping profile, with a minimum of at least 5 orders shipped with it. 

To make sure that the processing times are accurate, the ship date you set when completing your order should match the date you plan to hand off the order to the shipping carrier.

How do I update the “ship by” date for an order? 

You can edit the “ship by” date once, as long as the original "ship by" date hasn't passed, and the buyer has agreed to the new date.

To update the “ship by” date for an existing order:

  1. Sign in to Etsy.com.
  2. Go to your Shop Manager.
  3. Select Orders & Shipping.
  4. Find the transaction you want to change.
  5. Choose the (ellipsis) icon.
  6. Choose Update ship by date.
  7. Select your new ship by date. The new date must be within three weeks of the original “ship by” date.
  8. Add a note to the buyer explaining the new ship by date.
  9. Choose Update & notify buyer.
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