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Old 09-11-2018, 03:06 PM
Dapple115 Dapple115 is offline
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Packaging & Shipping Best Practices?

Hi everyone! I'm a new artist and also new to the site, so I hope I'm posting this in the correct forum. What are your best practices for packaging and shipping your art? I've done some research reading online articles and blogs and am trying to figure out what's the most economical but also safe way to package and ship my art. Based on what I've read so far, here is what I *think* might be a good approach, but please let me know what you think or if you have any other suggestions or different views, I'd greatly appreciate it!

So, a basic plan from what I've read:

- Sell my paintings on my own website (using Wix or Squarespace likely), using PayPal and/or just a standard credit card form for payments.
- Use the weight, dimensions, and client's postal code to get an online estimate from UPS (from what I've read the shipping typically averages out around 10% of the price of the piece of art?).
- Ship with UPS since they sound like the most reliable and best for potential loss/damage claims.
- Buy insurance/tracking for each package.
- Advertise shipping as separate from my painting's price (as opposed to including it in the price and advertising "free shipping" as I've read some artists do?).
- Buy my own packaging supplies from ULine, pack my painting myself to ensure it's thorough.
- Have them double box it at UPS for safety?
- Provide the client with a refund if the shipping estimate was in excess?


Does this sound like a good idea as a set up for a new artist? I'm the most unsure of the last two points above - should I have UPS double box it? And is the refund on the difference of shipping a standard practice? I read that some artists do that.

Thank you so much for reading all of this! I just have so many questions starting out and don't want to charge the wrong amount or package things poorly. Thank you in advance for any and all recommendations, suggestions, or ideas! It's much appreciated.
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Old 09-11-2018, 07:42 PM
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CarlyHardy CarlyHardy is offline
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Re: Packaging & Shipping Best Practices?

Check insurance information with UPS. If you pack it instead of them,not sure they guarantee payment for damages.
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Old 09-12-2018, 09:03 AM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Packaging & Shipping Best Practices?

My 2 cents in italics and purple.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapple115
- Use the weight, dimensions, and client's postal code to get an online estimate from UPS (from what I've read the shipping typically averages out around 10% of the price of the piece of art?).

The only aspect of the shipping fees that would be related to the price of the art would be the insurance fee charged by the shipper. UPS charged about $1 for every $100 in value the last time I checked. The first $100 is included IF you place a value up to $100 on the piece when you create the label. A $600 painting is going to cost you an extra $5.

- Ship with UPS since they sound like the most reliable and best for potential loss/damage claims.

I use both UPS and FedEx. They have both handled insurance claims quickly and fairly. That is not the case with my experience with the US Postal Service.

- Buy insurance/tracking for each package.

You can self insure if you have business insurance. Back when I was shipping 300K+ worth of stuff a year a shipping insurance rider was significantly less expensive than paying $1 / $100, saving me several thousand dollars a year. Be sure to clearly understand the deductibles and how claims will impact your premiums if you go that route. When first starting out, it is easier to just pay the $1 to UPS but be sure your shipments are well packed. At least 1" of actual foam (NOT the packing peanuts) padding on all sides, heavy walled boxes etc. If they have glass, often the insurance will not cover it so keep that in mind.

- Advertise shipping as separate from my painting's price (as opposed to including it in the price and advertising "free shipping" as I've read some artists do?).

Since art buying is often impulsive, you want to keep it as fast and easy as possible. Having the shipping included in the price is the most simple method. What percentage of your buyers are going to pick the art up locally vs shipping it? If all or most will ship it, you might consider having it included in the price. If you do have it as an add on, make sure that the shipping option is instantly calculated when they add stuff to the shopping cart with them providing nothing more than their zip and state. Don't make them fill in their entire address or sign up with an account to get the shipping charges.

- Buy my own packaging supplies from ULine, pack my painting myself to ensure it's thorough.
- Have them double box it at UPS for safety?

Double boxing is a very good thing for expensive stuff. No point in having UPS do that, do it yourself as well. If you are in a large city, you might check for local sources for boxes. I used to buy mine from a local company for half what Uline charges.

- Provide the client with a refund if the shipping estimate was in excess?

I tried that for a while. It was cumbersome. Just get it right the first time. I always added some extra $ to the shipping charges just in case so I didn't lose money, and quit refunding any difference long ago.

If the software you use for your store doesn't have automated UPS / FedEx shipping calculator in it plus the ability to add the insurance fees, you might consider picking the farthest state away from you (I used Bangor Maine when I did that) and calculating the shipping based on that and use it for everyone as an add on item that shows the price right up front.




The best of luck with your new venture!



Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlyHardy
Check insurance information with UPS. If you pack it instead of them,not sure they guarantee payment for damages.

Who the packing is done by has no factor in the insurance. HOW it was packaged does. If packed improperly they may deny your claim. I have never had anything packaged by a UPS store and have never had any problems with UPS insurance claims.
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Old 09-13-2018, 08:43 PM
Dapple115 Dapple115 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Packaging & Shipping Best Practices?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CarlyHardy
Check insurance information with UPS. If you pack it instead of them,not sure they guarantee payment for damages.

Thank you Carly! I was wondering about this too.
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Old 09-13-2018, 09:49 PM
Dapple115 Dapple115 is offline
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Thumbs up Re: Packaging & Shipping Best Practices?

Thank you so much Contumacious! Wow, all your input is incredibly helpful and clarifies so much that was unclear to me before, thank you for being so generous!

That is so good to know about the shipping fees and insurance, I did not know that the worked that way! And that way the insurance is much less than I expected. Also good to know that FedEx is an option too.

Would that be at least 1" foam as well as bubble wrap or do I not need to use bubble wrap if I've used foam?

Great to know about double boxing and local boxing sources! How much would you typically add to the shipping charges to make sure you're covered? And what software do you use that has an automated shipping calculator?
And that's a huge relief to know that who packs the painting won't affect the insurance claim in the event of a damaged item.

Thank you again!
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