In this week’s session I answer a question from Darryl in Utah:
“Are there certain sizes you would recommend to offer galleries that are better to ship in reference to cost, arriving safely, etc.”
Every artists is eventually likely to have to ship their art – it’s worth thinking about how to do so systematically.
Watch this week’s video to learn more!
Does Shipping Play Into Your Sizing Decisions?
Do you base the sizes you work in on shipping considerations? How have you streamlined your shipping process? Share your comments and questions below!
its worth noting that there is a big jump from 24X36 to 30X40. That may be the point where things become considered “oversize”.
Exhibiting and thus shipping internationally is best done via specialized brokerage houses as it will save enormous fees, time and months of processing to just pay their 5% fee for logistics. Proper crating in wood is mandatory as the shipment will be going through automated processes for transport, cardboard or soft side will not survive the trip. Shipping domestically in usa or canada without borders involved cardboard pkg plus foam inserts are acceptable but it must be tight, no slippage of the art internally. i you can combine multiple pieces of close size format thats the way to go. over 30 x 40 plus pkging will result in a premium. if you are shipping enough to one location palletize it for commercial handling.
spend what is necessary for quality shipping as the low end vendors will result in art arriving damaged or not arriving at all. For example i shipped an entire exhibition from canada to scotland for a corporate exhibit where the shipping cost was 28,000. arriving on time with no extra tax fees for border control. Another artist chose the low cost version with regular shippers. 10,000 but it did not arrive on time, 50% damage rate, extra fees applied and took a week of negotiation to pass it through customs control as the paperwork was unacceptable. end cost about 75,000.
proper shipping and pkging is mandatory to business.
Tubes generally do not work with automated systems, if they arrive expect them to be crushed, dented and ripped to shreds sometimes with tire tracks from forklifts or handling equipment on them. expect 0 honoring of an insurance claims no matter what the shipper tells you.
There is also the option, if you are shipping directly to the buyer of your work, to charge the buyer the actual costs of shipping once it is known…it has worked for me over the years.
Adding the estimated shipping costs to the sale price based upon size may find you absorbing a lot of the shipping costs as weight and distance come into play once packaged.
Even posting a flat percentage to the cost for shipping, can leave you with a hefty shipping bill, eating into your profit.
If you have a client and wish to thank them in some way, I will mention there is no charge for shipping and I know that is much appreciated.
So many of us are influenced in our online shopping decisions these days with the “free shipping” tag line aren’t we? 🙂
Thank you, Jason, for your help on this topic.
I have a horror story on shipping.
I won’t recount it here except to say if you are using a shipper like UPS or FEDX etc.
Be very precise about where their size breaks are.
The different between a 22″ x22″ piece and a 24″ x24″ piece can literally cost $100.
The difference between sending multiple pieces together or separately is even more.
If you have them pack it, they will use their standards. If you pack it, they ask you what’s inside and what the value is.
This becomes very important if it’s headed to a show and will be returned. (at your expense).
None of this should dictate what the aesthetics of size for the artist. That said, minimal changes in a dimension while maintaining the ratio of length to width might be a workable compromise.
Thanks Jason. As always, your information and suggestions are spot on.
Thank You Jason for entertaining this question. I have been shipping for a few years and have noticed a change in pricing due to pandemic considerations. Also the end all to shipping is just using a company that gets the Art to its location safely. The goal obviously being that the work can be viewed without solving damage problems. Thanks again! Darryl
I just shipped a 36×36 painting by UPS from Canada to the U.S. I was going to pad it and put it into a 40×40 box. I was told if I kept it to a 39×39 size, I would save $150. You can be sure I kept that shipment to the 39×39 size.
It’s worth asking the shipper before you pack everything. And I also found out the insurance won’t pay for damages, only if they lose it. Seriously< how can you lose a big package? So I opted out of paying for insurance.
The moral of the story…. Get a quote and ask a lot of questions of your shipper before you package everything up.