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Hi All ~ This is likely just me on a whine, but I wanted to toss the subject out there to see if others are handling this differently or better.

I'm semi-retired from the show circuit after 20 years - I only do non-canopy shows with a potentially good financial return now so I do need gallery income, which is never consistent, but nevertheless brings in additional income.  Because I'm getting ready to have shoulder surgery in a month I just finished two days of framing and then packing to ship a good quantity of work to my best gallery so that they will have something to sell during the time I won't be able to either frame or ship anything.  All my costs for the shipping part, as well as the materials - the bubble wrap, corner protectors, boxes, tape, etc., as well as my labor was on me, which is the standard gallery/artist arrangement (artist ships to the gallery - gallery pays to ship back if they no longer want the piece).  Shipping cost me just over $100 for eight pieces which will retail at the gallery for $1150 each.

This big push effort over two days reminded me of the costs, both my physical output and in dollars, of doing this.

I've considered making an arrangement with the gallery that I will ship directly to the client when the client knows what piece they want and my original thought was just to charge the gallery the UPS charge, but then my CEO brain part kicked in and I thought this - the gallery is obviously going to charge the client shipping charges, but I have no way of knowing how much and it's doubtful they will share that with me, so perhaps I should just charge the gallery the exact charges I would charge a collector of mine if I were selling a piece out of the studio.

I know I'm all over the map on this post, but if anyone has a system or a good way of handling this kind of thing (other than not dealing with out of state galleries of course), I'm all ears.  Thanks!

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It may sound logical to you but the gallery is likely to find that too complicated. As a former gallery owner myself, I had a lot of ideas like this come over the.transom, and the response was that a system was in place. Period. If you put the artist between the gallery and the collector in any eat before the sale is accomplished, you are negating necessity of gallery at all. If you are negotiating shipping costs with collector, you are stepping on that gallery's established systems. (I know more than one gallery that makes. Little profit on "shipping and handling," and whether that's "right" or not, it's not uncommon.
"In any way" and "makes a little profit" - apologies for autospell!

This came at a good time and I'm looking for answers too.  We received an order for several pieces for a gallery in NJ from our exhibition at AENY '18.  We live in OR and I just got the quote for shipping across the country and I believe the gallery owner is not at all happy about it.  But, I have nothing to do with the shipping at all - it is what it is (Fed Ex quote) - is there a better way to ship fine art across the country?  We are newbies and have no idea, but would like to be represented in a number of galleries and I don't want shipping to be cost prohibitive???  Looking for advice, as well, please.

When i owned a gallery in Austin I used an insured professional art delivery service that was a wonderful time and money saver because they come to you with moving blankets and pick up the art and place it in safe racks in a big truck and deliver it to your gallery. They insist you do not pack it because they use their blankets to save space on the truck. They delivery guys were so friendly and knowledgeable about handling fine art. Less expensive than Fedex and the best part is it’s so much better for the environment. I can’t bear using styrofoam and plastic bubble wrap, They travel major art markets every day from Florida to Santa Fe and NYC and everywhere in between. Here’s their number. Not sure if they go to where you live. (505) 982-6155 Hope it helps!
As a Gallery Owner, this question is one I’ve not found a good answer for! My best advice is to talk to the Gallery about which pieces we can honestly think will sell, not pieces we are in the fence about. I do not want something shipped to me unless I’m really confident I can sell it, because as an Artist, I saw it as wasted money if the piece doesn’t sell.

I use Fed-Ex in my business, and when I shop, I consider packaging a cost of doing business. I don’t charge a handling fee, and base my shipping price to the client based on Fed-Ex rates rounded up to the next $5 increment. I will gladly show my Artists what I am being Bill and what I am billing. Shipping isn’t where I’m making my money, it’s from the commission on the Art. Feel free to ask your Gallery, it is, after all, supposed to be a partnership.


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