Quick video on how WMG recommends packaging your work before shipping to buyers.
Shipping artwork is a bit of a nuisance and rather pricey. We want to give you some shipping pointers that might ease your mind. Once you get this part figured out, you will be prepared for sales!
Shipping and tax should be included in your price to create an easy buying experience for your customers. Thus, it is important that you do some research before you price your artwork so that you are aware of actual costs. You will also need to have materials on hand, ready to ship as soon as possible after you are notified of a sale.
Some ideas you might consider:
Use clean, new or like-new shipping materials
Works on paper
- We have discovered 3 layers of foam core to be a lightweight and affordable way to keep your flat package’s integrity without bent corners
- Cut foam core 2-3” larger than your acetate-sleeved package (painting, mat, backing board)
- Place package into the center of your foam core, allowing approximately 1-2” margin around your package. Tape in place.
- Tape the entire edge of foam core. Tape should be strong. The best tape has strings running through it. Other strong shipping tape will suffice.
Works on canvas, other
- Creating a package within a package will assure corners will not be damaged.
- Build or purchase a box. You may also build a box from cardboard (3 ply is best), foam core or masonite.
- 2” thick foam, available at builders’ supply stores, may be cut to put a foam cushion on all 4 sides of your artwork.
- If you use it, do not allow plastic wrap, bubble wrap or tape to come into contact with your paint surface. Maintain a paper barrier between any plastic and your work to avoid creating a sheen on your paint surface. Brown or white newsprint or similar will suffice.
- Never cover a box with paper. It is no longer permitted by shippers and will be immediately removed by them, prior to placing label.
Maintain a clean, professional presentation
Keep in mind, the shipping industry has dramatically changed in recent years to handle huge volume. Your package will encounter roller belts and automation. It will be slid, bounced and scraped, seldom handled by hand. It must be well built.
Determine approximate shipping cost for each piece*
- Package your painting as though you were shipping
- Weigh, measure & get a quote for insured painting either online or on location through your preferred shipper.
- Insure for price of painting
- Although more expensive, an expedited (i.e. 2 day, etc.) package is more direct, handled less and therefore less apt to be damaged
Most shippers allow you to set up a business account where you may be able to get some small discount, print a shipping label and even arrange for pickup. Each company has phone or online chat capabilities to help you.
- If you prefer to drop off your package at a location, we recommend comparing a couple of shippers if you have more than one near you. Keep in mind, convenience is important!
- If you use a storefront location with many shipping options (Pack-n-Ship, etc.) they will charge more than if you go directly to UPS, USPS or FedEx.
- UPS and USPS deliver all packages by company employees (Postal truck, UPS truck). At times, FedEx subcontracts with other local delivery services.
- If you wish to sell outside the US, be certain you obtain all necessary shipping, customs, insurance information.
Problems with shipping
We at WMG have had few issues/problems when we insure, package and label our packages. We have discovered the following:
- All major shipping companies will honor problems that occur, so long as you insure your package and use good, solid shipping materials. If a damage occurs, the damage must be photographed from all angles by recipient and, in time, you will be compensated. Note: they will look at the photos to determine if your work was well packed.
- If a package is lost, shippers will trace the package. Most likely it will be found. If not, within a reasonable amount of time they will reimburse you for your insured amount.
If shipping artwork is a new experience, we suggest you test the waters by listing smaller pieces. This way, you will find your materials and costs to be affordable and accessible. Begin, for instance, with a painting in a 16 x 20” mat. Your shipping materials should run approximately $10-15 and postage/insurance should cost about $10-15. Thus your shipping/handling cost would be $20-30 above your painting price.*
Cost of shipping materials, of course, is much less when purchased in bulk. See Artist Resources
* Actual costs may differ.