Here's Bluethumb's policy for shipping artworks alongside some commonly asked questions:
Shipping small, medium and large works
Artists with small to medium sized artworks (max package size 105cm x 105cm) are recommend to send their art via Australia Post. All you need to do is email us the invoice and we’ll pay it along with the artwork payment. You’ll get reimbursed even if the art is returned.
If your artwork exceeds 105cm on any side or you cannot get to Australia Post, Bluethumb will book & pay for freight using our normal couriers (eg TNT, DHL).
Artists with an established Bluethumb track record can now request to manage all their own freight. This requires Bluethumb approval and an update to your artist profile by us.
Why does Bluethumb recommend using Auspost with small to medium artworks?
Well Auspost charge freight consistently with less nasty surprises, fees wise. Auspost also have a high delivery accuracy to residential addresses (ie customer’s homes). And for those artists who hate waiting for couriers this means you take control of dispatch.
When I send an artwork with Auspost what happens next?
Enter the details (including tracking number, cost of sending and a photo of the receipt through your 'My Orders' page or send it by replying to the respective 'Your artwork has been sold email'. We’ll add the amount to the payout on your artwork.
Note: We’re working hard to get Bluethumb sub-accounts 🤞in local Auspost stores so that one day you can just drop the art and we’ll pay without the whole receipt palaver. We're aiming to reduce the back & forth of admin and questions about delivery (self delivery usually), getting reimbursed, returns, missing items and so on. When you have hundreds of conversations on the go each month with artists, plus hundreds of buyer questions about delivery it gets hectic!
Can I self deliver and will I get paid the freight allocation?
To put it simply, no. Without going into detail, we’ve simply had too many challenges with self delivery and a scalable, tracked system is needed. So all artworks need to be shipped and tracked. We’ll reimburse the exact cost of freight. Auspost is who we recommend, based on their high delivery success rate and lower cost.
The exception is if you’re an approved artist, sending all your own freight (see below).
...But packaging costs?
Should be factored into your artwork price, as they always have been. Think of these as another business expense that is part of selling art.
How do I become approved to self-deliver?
You should sell art frequently and be prepared to send all your artworks yourself. Sometimes it’s cheap. Sometimes it’s expensive. The freight, insurance, questions on delivery are your responsibility. It’s not too onerous but we do note that often artists doing this have a partner helping with admin.
Reach out to Bluethumb for approval to self-deliver.
If we say yes - we’ll probably start slowly with a trial.
If all goes well, we'll update your profile to ‘self shipping’.
Note: Once 'self-shipping' is approved, when you upload artworks there will be no additional shipping allocation on top of the artwork price. We'll let you know how this works in the approval email.
We recommend including shipping costs in your price, in line with our Free Shipping promise to collectors, and this should help with price uniformity across platforms. Having spoken to high selling artists they find it easier to simply price the art, and have sent enough to know and budget for the approx. cost of freight.
What are the size limits on Auspost?
They have a maximum package size of 105cm on any length. So the absolute overall maximum package size is 105cm x 105cm.
Note that any package with a side of 100cm+ will incur oversize handling fees.
Star Track (owned by Auspost) can take larger items up to around 120cm but right now we’re not using them. Once we have established a commercial account with Auspost we hope to add in their Startrack Overnight Express service.
What are the size limits for TNT and other carriers?
TNT use trucks and can take very large packages. But they do charge on cubic weight, ie volume.
It is important to note, that if any package has a side > 149cm they have hefty oversize/manual handling charges.
Are there any changes to insurance?
Yes, but it is largely behind the scenes. We used to insure every artwork shipped at the time of shipping. Now we have one, all encompassing insurance policy. This covers all the freight we book, and your freight through Australia Post. It is one of the reasons we want you to use Auspost or us. If you use another carrier yourself, insurance rests with you, the artist.
If an artwork is above $3000 in value, we’ll take out additional cover as a precaution. So if you’re sending an artwork worth over $3000 with Auspost, please touch base with us first. Otherwise there is nothing else you need to do.
Really, all you have to do is continue to package art correctly. Insurance will be paid out only on correctly packaged items that meet our Packaging Requirements below:
Acid free tissue paper or glassine paper is laid on top of the artwork surface.
Artwork is wrapped in a minimum of 3 layers of bubble wrap, securely tapped down ensuring the corners of the work are sufficiently padded and protected with additional cardboard corners as appropriate.
Artwork is placed into a double thickness cardboard box. The artwork should fit in the box snuggly once wrapped, and not slide around.
Fragile tape/stickers/writing should be clearly indicated on the box.
Acid free tissue paper or glassine paper is laid on top of the artwork surface, paper should be slightly larger than the image to fold over the edges.
Artwork is rolled with the artwork surface facing outwards.
Artwork tube is a minimum of 2mm in thickness and 1-2cm longer than the work at each end.
Ends are secured onto the tube with tape.
Fragile tape/stickers/writing should be clearly indicated on the tube.
In addition to the above minimum packaging requirements, photographs are also required to be taken by the artist of:
each artwork once it has been bubble wrapped and/or rolled (before it goes in the box or tube); and
the final packaging (the sealed box or tube) before the artwork is shipped.
What other changes can we expect next?
The pricing algorithm for freight on artwork upload will be updated to reflect the changes soon. This is in response to charges we get with bigger packages, and that we lose money on this art consistently.
So we hope you appreciate the changes and understand our drive to make life simpler, to cut out missed art pickups, deliveries and extra admin.