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5 most common mistakes that artists make setting up shipping tables - and how to solve them

We know that shipping tables seem daunting at first but we want to help you make as much as you can out of them. The shipping price is a big factor for customers when it comes to making a decision so it pays to do your research. To make your tables work every time, there are a few things you want to consider. We’ve rounded up the 5 most common mistakes that artists make setting up shipping tables. Here they are for your shipping pleasure!

1 - The shipping cost is a guess

You know your art better than anyone else, but pulling numbers from thin air in terms of shipping cost doesn’t do your hard work justice and may expose you to a some problems once an order is placed.

You want your shipping costs to be realistic so that you’re not left out of pocket if your shipping cost is too low, or that your customers are deterred from your store because your shipping costs are too high.

There are reliable couriers who can offer quotes, quickly and easily, to give you some idea of what you should be charging.

It wouldn’t even hurt to contact the courier by phone to double check if you are in any doubt.

2 - Not creating a proper inventory

Finding the right quote for shipping means giving your courier the right information. The most important being; the dimensions, weight and value of your artworks (including packaging).

These facts and figures will obviously vary depending on the art you create, so it’s extremely beneficial to stay organised by creating a proper inventory.

Categorise your artwork (e.g. small pieces, medium pieces, large pieces). That’ll make it easier to designate each artwork to the correct shipping table. You might like to start with the basics, using Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets to keep track of your information.

Once that’s done, you can set up multiple shipping tables for your varying artwork sizes, and mediums to make this run even more smoothly!

For example, you can set up one table for your small pieces, and another for your large pieces. For a step by step guide on this, read through sections 1 & 2 of this article here.

Remember, Artfinder has a combined shipping tool, so you can ship multiple artworks for one price. This is also a great incentive for customers to multi-buy! To learn more about combined shipping visit our guide here.

3 - Going crazy on insurance

We all love the look of '100%' but sticking that in the insurance percentage column of your shipping table is a recipe for disaster. Allow us to explain why, and what you might like to do instead!

Some couriers offer insurance premiums on top of a standard shipment price. For example, if you choose DHL UK you pay a fixed amount (e.g. £12 GBP) or 1.5% of the value of the goods, and they price the final shipment according to whichever cost is greater.

The reasoning behind this additional fee is that it protects your art in case of damage or loss, especially if a repair or replacement becomes necessary.

If you enter an insurance percentage on Artfinder the value of your artwork value will be taken into consideration and automatically calculated into the final shipping cost on your artwork listing.

A helpful example can be found in our Knowledge Base article here.

4 - Customers HATE paying customs fees on receipt of their artwork

Additional duties and customs fees are applied to shipments from one continent to another.

The good news is, there are couriers who allow you to pay these fees upfront when you book the shipment, so you just have to account for them in your shipping tables.

Top tip: Most internationally recognised couriers like DHL, Fedex, UPS offer DDP (Delivery Duty Paid) where local postal services do not.

For a quick quote, check out and add the quoted price to the relevant continent/countries in your shipping tables.

Stick to the following guidelines in section 3 the article here, and you’ll ace DDP in no time!

5 - Rushing

This is self-explanatory. A lot of time spent guessing means a lot of time wasted, and putting you more at risk for problems!

Take! Your! Time! Your art deserves the best, so make sure you choose a suitable courier who will take care of your art and get it to it’s destination safely.

As always, if you have any questions or problems, our support team are here to help -

Cover image: courtesy of Pablo Beneforti

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