Information for art dealers
|Orders that must be received by the gallery in less than three weeks (when I don't have the desired print in stock) may be subject to a rush fee if I don't have the print you want in stock (depending on what stage my print production schedule is at).
I need to charge rush fees to keep my prices low and to promote efficiency. If I print only one print at a time, it takes extra time and money for cleaning the printer nozzles and extra varnish.
And printing one print at a time requires much more use of varnish. This is a case of economy of scale; the more prints I can print at one time, the less that the cost of production becomes. This is a basic rule of economics that every business person should know.
This basic principle of economic production – called "economy of scale" is even taught in some High schools, yet I've had various angry gallery dealers complain despite my explanation of my policy on rush fees, which shows how unreasonable, small-minded and uneducated some of the gallery owners are – not understanding and taking into account basic principles of economic production even after explained economy of scale to them.
And of course there are millions of other businesses that charge rush fees, sometimes amounting to hundreds of dollars per shipment, so if other businesses charge those fees, them artists may also do so.
Some art dealers have scolded me, using the argument that none of the other artists they deal with charge rush fees. That is a false argument because the other artists should charge rush fees if providing their products very quickly causes their businesses to be less efficient, because loss of efficiency means loss of revenue. Most artists are not very business-like and that's part of the reason they're not very successful.
So when art dealers angrily criticize me for charging rush fees, they're implying that I should model my business after the other artists who are not running their businesses in an efficient and business-like fashion.
Also, when I must devote extra time to producing a particular order quickly for a customer, it takes my time away from other aspects of the business which would increase my profit, such as creating new art and adding new images to my portfolio.
When I use my time inefficiently, it means I have fewer images available and fewer images in my portfolio. That reduces not only my own income, but also the income of the art dealers representing my art. But none of the art dealers who have complained angrily about me charging rush fees saw the big picture by thinking this through; they only thought about their own short-term income. (The same principle applies to the various complaints I've had from some of my art dealers about me charging for deliveries, by the way.)
Also, costs of production are supposed to be passed on the the consumer. That, too, is a basic business principle which some art dealers I've dealt with haven't understood and considered.
Shipping or Delivery Fees
|I've had a number of complaints from some of my dealers about my shipping and/or delivery fees that I have for purchase orders.
Those complaints are unjustified.
My art dealers handle delicate art, yet the complainers are apparently unaware that shipping art requires extra care and work.
The complaints are also hypocritical because some of the same art dealers who angrily complain abou tmy shipping or delivery fees for purchase orders of my art to their galleries themselves charge their customers for shipping or deliver for purchases orders that they ship or deliver to their own customers.
I've also had angry art dealers complain that I mustn't charge for shipping or delivery because the other artists whose art they represent don't charge the galleries for shipping. This rationale is also an unjustified criticism. Shipping and delivery costs me time and labor, and businesses are supposed to pass on their costs to the consumers. Not charging for shipping is not being business-like. So when art gallery owners criticize me for having shipping fees, they're criticizing me for being business-like and the lack of business skills practised by the other artists who don't charge for shipping (or hide their shipping costs in the cost of their art, and their art is almost always priced higher than mine).
Also, even multi-milion-dollar companies such as Staples charges for shipping for orders below $50, and Amazon – also one of the world's biggest companies – charges for some of its shipping. I am running a small, one-man company, so if the biggest companies on the world charge shipping (or at least sliding scale shipping), why shouldn't I? I don't have the massive economy of scale that can make free shipping feasible for those multi-national giants.
Also, the large companies that sell art on the Internet, such as Art.com and Allposters.com also charge for much of their shipping of art to retail customers and to art galleries.
In addition, charging for shipping encourages some of the local art dealers in Vancouver to be efficient, by picking up their orders from my studio while they're on their way to work, which some of them do, since they also live on Vancouver's North Shore.
And having a sliding scale for my shipping also encourages dealers to order in bigger quantities, as they get a price break for bigger orders. That is also a policy of millions of other companies and it encourages efficiencies of purchasing.
Another justification for my shipping and delivery fees is that my art prices are lower than most of my competitors. I did a survey of ten other prominent British Columbian artists and found that my prices were about 50 percent lower than theirs. So of course the other artists can afford to offer free shipping because they're charging so much more for their art
Another point of justification is that either a) the other artists who don't charge for shipping have embedded their shipping costs in the price of their art or b) they're not business-like because they're willing to travel to the gallery to deliver very small orders which aren't worth much money or to have the item shipped for free. This second scenario promotes inefficiency for the artist and is therefore unprofessional. If the price of shipping is embedded in the price of the art, there's no incentive for the gallery owners to buy in larger quantities or to travel to the artists' studio to pick up the art and thereby avoid being charged the delivery or shipping fee. So when gallery owners compare me negatively to artist that don't charge shipping or delivery fees, they're in fact criticizing me for being business-like, efficient and professional.
In addition, when gallery owners complain about my delivery fees, I ask them, "Do you have time to come to my studio to pick up your order and thereby avoid being charged the shipping fee?" Usually their answer is "no". Therefore, what they imply is that their time (for picking up the order) is precious, whereas they consider my time (to deliver the order) to be of no importance. That attitude, unfortunately, is too common among gallery owners and is one of the many reasons that so many artists have low opinions of gallery owners for being self-centered, small-minded and unfair.
It can take me three hours – sometime more – to deliver an order and get back to my studio. I need to charge for my time because I'm running a business – not a charity.
Tony Max Art
144 West 20th Street
North Vancouver, British Columbia