The Truth About “Free Shipping”

In today’s competitive world, it often happens that art dealers offer free shipping to finalize the sale. This is the way they close the deals and allow their buyers to feel that they have bargained well. Thus, in recent years, we have repeatedly heard that free local art delivery, free shipping, and even free art installation services have sealed the bargain. However, this is not what art shipping companies want to hear. What is more, these “free” services have reached unprecedented proportions among online retailers and, in fact, have made a lot of people think they have the right not to pay for art shipping or delivery of any other just bought item. So, what’s the catch?

The truth is that in most cases, having promised the customer the impossible, the art dealer or the gallery is looking for a way to ship the art object the cheapest way often without regard to the required conditions of art transportation. For instance, there was a case where an art shipping company was asked to put expansive works of art in ordinary cardboard boxes and send them via FedEx or similar package services that is simply unacceptable. Further, the arranging of the transportation process, no matter what the commodity, is often consigned to the lowest status employee who is additionally newest on the job. Such a person may not know all the nuances of art shipping and storage processes, as well as the requirements for the particular art object – he is just trying to carry out the assignment as cheaply as possible.

On the other hand, no one will argue the fact that people love everything that is “free” as they love the feeling to get something for nothing. Nonetheless, in most cases, “free shipping” means that minimal shipping costs have been already factored into the cost of the artwork itself, and so it is not really free. Do not forget about this! In the real world, art dealers after they have finalized the sale simply try to maximize the profits by pressuring art shipping companies to provide the cheapest services that eventually may affect the safety of your artworks. In the end, one of the parties always remains dissatisfied. Another important thing is that the gallery/art dealer typically wants to send the just sold artwork to the customer before the glow of acquisition fades that, in fact, means as soon as possible. So what do we have? The art shipping company has to provide custom pickup and delivery services, ensure appropriate packing and safe shipping, as well as help with art installation – and all this to be done in the fastest way and at the lowest prices or even for free. Well, for today, we can’t see the way to make that happen. So, buying something that is available with “free shipping,” at least ask the seller the way he is going to ship your just bought piece of art.