If I have in stock a print that your customer wants, you can have it often the same day, if you're willing to come to my studio in North Vancouver to buy it that day.
If the print is not in stock, my turnaround time varies from a few days to one month. The time frame varies, depending on how busy I am, how many print orders I have, and what stage of production I'm in and the urgency of the customers' deadlines (if they have any deadlines),
Normally I do a print and varnish run once a month, but it's sometimes more or less than that.
Rush orders 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).
Depending on the circumstances, I sometimes need to charge rush fees to keep my prices low and to promote efficiency. If I do small print and varnish runs, it takes extra time and money for cleaning the printer nozzles and set-up and clean-up for both printing and varnishing. Therefore small print runs reduce my efficiency and reduce my profit margin.
This in business and economics is called 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, disrespectful, 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 not caring to learn about such basic business principles.
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.
And of course there are millions of other businesses that charge rush fees, so if other businesses charge those fees, them artists may also do so. Even multi-billion-dollar companies like Staples charge for shipping of orders under $50, yet some of my art dealers have angrily, unfairly and disrespectfully lambasted me and my tiny, one-man company for applying this basic and common business practice.
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.
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 and don't realize that their long-term income from selling my art is reduced if they pressure me into printing and varnishing frequently to satisfy individual customers. (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.)
In almost every case I'm able to persuade my retail customers to wait for up to a few weeks to get their orders fulfilled because I take the time to educate them about the giclee-making process and the economy of scale issue that is the cause of it not being practical for me to print and varnish every week., and
I also educate my retail customers about
the fact that quality craftsmanship takes time. The fact that I take the time to meticulously make my prints partly by hand is a selling feature which enhances the value of my giclees.
I find it interesting that in almost every case when I educate my retail customers about the difficulties involved in hand-making my art and my emphasis on quality and keeping my prices low and trying to be efficient, they are understanding and accept the time frames that are sometimes longer than what they initially hope for.
Yet most of the small-minded and ignorant art dealers that I've dealt with who have complained to me that my giclee production times are sometimes too slow couldn't care less about justifying to their customers the time required to produce quality work, because they're ignorant of what's involved in giclee craftsmanship.
I've found it very difficult to find good salespeople among the 157 art dealers who have promoted my are over my 30-year art career. Many of them have no sales training and no interest in learning even basic sales principles such as justifying the timing issue and therefore of course don't pass on this justification to their customers.
So instead of acquiring basic sales skills and justifying aspects of my art such as timing, pricing and rush fees to their customers, they bend over backwards to please their customers b making unreasonable promises to their customers – such as promising I'll fulfill a print order in a week without consulting me first to ask me if I can do that. Instead of justifying prices and timing to their customers, those lower-tier art dealers turn around and goad their suppliers (the artists) to lower our art prices, offer free shipping, not charge rush fees, and work like maniacs to do print and varnish runs weekly and otherwise cut corners.
Such disrespectful and undignified art dealers remind me of used car dealers; everything is geared toward making quick bucks. They have no pride in quality craftsmanship, no respect for artists and lack respect for quality salesmanship. They make no effort to learn about and pass on to their customers a respect for the value of art and the complex and demanding art-making processes.
Such low-class art dealers, despite promoting my art, engender a "race to the bottom" mentality and in effect they try to drag me down to the lowest common denominator of the art world and wrongly educate the public to view art as a cheap commodity that artists can churn out.
It's no wonder with such a disdainful attitude toward art and artists among art dealers that art prices in Canada are the same as they were 25 years ago, despite annual, average, compound inflation of about two percent.
|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 about my 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 practiced 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.