Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

Website prices for UPS and Fedex are retail prices for people with no accounts. Even if you have very little volume you can open an account with them. Once you do, you will probably automatically see significantly better prices when you log into your account. After you have your account setup go ahead and call them up and ask for help with pricing for your business. Even if you have low volume they may be able to add a little better discount to your account. Tell them you plan to use them exclusively (and mean it so they see all your volume not just part of it), and tell them you are trying to grow your business.

Uline is the best source I know of for large flat boxes for shipping things like picture frames. Make sure you set up an account with them as well. If you have some history of buying from them on a regular basis (doesn't have to be a lot), go ahead and give them a call. Try to purchase all of your packing supplies from them so your total spending amount is as high as possible. Call them and tell them that you are using them as your sole supplier for packing supplies and you are working on growing your business. Ask them if they can help you improve your shipping margins by attaching some discounts to your account, or giving you a break on shipping if you cant pick things up from them.

Dont worry about how high your volume is, just ask. If they say no, ask where your volume needs to be so you will know when to call them back. Keep in mind they dont just look at the size of individual orders, they look at what you spend over the year. Large companies like these have a large range of discount programs for customers of all different sizes. I know this because I started Frame Destination in my garage. I worked through the different levels of just having to call the 1-800 number, to later having a dedicated inside sales person for my account, to having a dedicated sales person that comes out to my business.

Cheers, Mark

President Frame Destination, Inc.

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Mark, do you know of a good source for custom sized cardboard boxes? Seems like a lot of the smaller box manufacturers have folded (no pun intended) in Michigan.

Jim, I am not aware of a national company for custom. We are based in Dallas and use Budget Box of Dallas. Not sure if they ship or if that would make sense for you but here is their website:

Hi there might try this website shipping and supply specialists!

Ditto what Tamara said, Jim. Try ULine. I just ordered from them last night after like 6pm and my order will be here tomorrow morning.

This is a good discussion topic.  I am sure many of our members ship orders on a regular basis.  Anybody else have a good source for boxes?

My business is in Dallas and I have tried a number of different places here but no one comes close to the selection of different box sizes than Uline. If you need standard size boxes there are other places and their retail prices can be lower than Uline but I have not found another company that maintains inventory as well, has a lower order processing error rate and as good customer service as Uline.

Cheers, Mark

Frame Destination

I like Uline, but I occasionally need boxes that aren't standard sizes, for shipping panoramas that are long and skinny, for example. The other drawback to Uline is freight cost and minimum quantity. It's not terribly efficient to ship 5 boxes, say.
Since the issue doesn't come up often, I've just made my own crates, but they are heavy and more expensive to ship.

Jim, have you tried these for panorama:

They are adjustable boxes that can be collapsed down to half size on one side and remain long on the other. They will not be as sturdy as a crate though. My shippers used to use them but now we have tools for cutting the cardboard and they just re-size our other boxes or combine boxes for pano frames.

An artist friend of mine told me a couple of years ago to ship USPS.  I used to use ups and it got expensive  i guess my work is small enough to use the post office.   i print all my labels online,  i even shipped something  to australia last week and printed label online and did the customs forms online.  They give you the boxes, and pick up at my front door,  been doing this for over two years and it works great.

Steve, this is very interesting.  Do they drop the boxes off after you order your pick up online?  Do you have an account for printing labels?  Thanks for an info!!

Two of my favorite sources, Uline and Frame Destination.  Both companies provide great customer service and amazingly quick delivery.  In fact I just made orders from both companies again today.  AND every frame I have ever received from Frame Destination has arrived flawless.  Never a scratch and corners perfect on every one.  Stretcher Bar Frames are quality wood and well made. 

Very helpful Mark, thank you!  I have been paying too much at the local UPS store for sure!


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