Thursday, September 11, 2008

Suggestions on shipping your artwork

Ok, so you've sold a print or have gotten into a gallery show. Looking at shipping options, I would guess like myself you want to ship the cheapest way possible while protecting your artwork. You might be tempted to ship via USPS. DON'T! 

I recently shipped a print having packaged it in a tube, carefully putting tissue in the top and bottom. It was also wrapped in an acid free plastic bag. The tube was shipped USPS and arrived crushed. The client was not happy at all, but I assured them that my guarantee covered such things and apologized profusely while quickly printing another to get to them. 

I later learned, unlike FedEx or UPS, the USPS has no basic level of insurance on every package sent. You get one hundred dollars of insurance coverage with either UPS or FedEx. For myself in most cases, this is enough as it covers the frame and cost of printing usually. So, I'm out the replacement costs having used USPS. Both UPS and FedEx also offer extra insurance coverage at a very reasonable price. I have sent emails to the USPS explaining the situation and have yet to get a response. Also inquiring at the local place where I ship about USPS, they said not to expect a response. It is their experience that they simply don't care. 

Here are a few extra notes about shipping artwork:
1. Avoid using styrofoam peanuts. Galleries hate this as would you if you had upwards of seventy shipping crates or packages to store as is the case with many group exhibitions. 
2. Order or pick up a few glass stickers that you can adhere to the outside of shipping packages. Your shipment will likely be handled with a more gentle hand.
3. Make sure to label the artwork itself. I simply clear tape a business card to the back of the frame. Anything you can do to make it easier on a gallery is to your benefit. 
4. Go to Lowe's or Home Depot and buy a sheet of flat insulation. It's a cheap way to add a little protection around your work. I make slip cases out of them with packing tape. 
5. Include a flyer or some other piece of promotional material in a shipment. It's your chance to promote yourself, after all you were selected to be in the show. Don't pass it up.
6. Set up an account with UPS or FedEx for return shipping from a gallery back home. We would all like to think that our work will always sell, but it doesn't. Many of the shows I've been in request a return shipping label with the artwork. If you have an account set up, you can include the label and if the piece sells you just saved some cash. 

That's it for now. 
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Mainely me said...

thanks, it's always nice to learn from the experience of others. Like your account idea it's a wonderful way to save time and money. Keep on bloggin.

jelbar said...

USPS is practically worthless. There is also no way to track your packages as they get diverted to Singapore, rerouted and then delayed in Seychelles, and eventually winding up as a shim under a table leg in East Timor.