First, the customer always pays for the shipping. This isn’t something you need to feel uncomfortable or self-conscious about. This is an industry standard. So when someone buys something from you and they don’t live near you, you have to ask them to pay for the shipping.
How do you know how much to charge for shipping? If it’s a small enough piece, Kevin just packs and ships it himself. One of his favorite ways to do that is use the post office. They give you free boxes in different sizes. The biggest size isn’t very big, though. Still, Kevin just shipped a sculpture to Colorado in a post office box.
Do you want to add a little bit to that cost for having to wrap everything and ship it? Other companies do, so why shouldn’t artists?
If you know what the package weighs and know its size or you’re using post office boxes, which have set prices, you can just go to the USPS.com Website – it will tell you exactly what it’s going to cost. You can even use the post office’s Click-n-Ship service, pay for shipping, and get a mailing label. Then you just drop off your package at a post office, or they’ll even pick it up.
But there is a secret weapon with the post office, a Website called http://www.pirateship.com which is a little bit cheaper than the post office. Kevin also sometimes uses FedEx. It’s more expensive but offers great service.
What if you don’t want to pack it yourself? If you have a Kinko’s near you, they will box it for you. You need to find out what the cost is first, of course. They’ll not only pack it for you, they ARE FedEx, so they can just pack your artwork and ship it for you. So that’s another route to go.
But Kevin’s work is often big, sometimes REALLY big. How does he ship those sculptures? He uses a shipping company. How do you find a shipping company? It took Kevin a while to find some good shipping companies that didn’t cost a fortune. He recently considered 3 – 4 shipping companies that were new to him to see if we could beat the prices he’s getting now – and he couldn’t. Once you find some good shipping companies – and you want more than 1 so you can compare prices – you’ll find that you want to have a good relationship with them because a good shipping company is hard to find.
How did Kevin find the 2 primary shipping companies he uses? One is part of a chain or franchise called Navis Pack & Ship. They also have a sister company called PakMail. There’s probably a Navis or a PakMail near you – use their Websites to find out. The other shipper he uses is a private company Kevin got by word of mouth.
With these companies, “shipping” usually means creating and shipping. Sometimes they’ll even pick it up for a little extra cost. They’ll wrap it up appropriately, whether it’s putting it in a cardboard box or a wooden crate, and they’ll arrange for the shipping. You’ll need to give them certain information to get your prices, usually a zip code whether it’s going to a business or a residence, and some other information. And you’ll need to get a price, because you have to give that to the customer before they agreed to have it shipped to them. This is a real issue because sometimes the shipping costs more than the artwork. However, you need to have the customer’s approval before you ship.
So just depending where it goes, it’ll depend which company is going to be faster and which cheaper. Sometimes both issues matter, sometimes one. But there are 2 variables that can be really important to you.
Kevin has sculpture on the brain, but if you’re shipping a painting, that’s easier because you can actually order special boxes for shipping paintings, and they come in the sizes that canvases normally come in. Just get online and search for “shipping boxes for paintings.” You might have to adjust for an unusual canvas size.
Richard and anyone else out there who’s wondering about shipping art, Kevin hopes this is helpful. Please visit http://www.kevincaron.com to more free how-to videos and see Kevin’s wonderful sculpture.
Well, you might want to stick around for a moment and see Kevin’s business manager lose her mic in a strategic location ….