Paintings and other works of 2D art are notoriously difficult to transport: they are subject to the trifecta of unwieldiness, fragility and high monetary value. Canvases rip, frames warp and crack, and paint is abraded. During your work as a courier you may well be required to transport paintings, sketches, collages and other works of art, with a value often stretching into the four or five figures. Here are a few tips for helping to ensure that your packages reach their destination in good nick. |
This may seem obvious, but plenty of couriers operate under a cookie-cutter approach: match package to size, put package in box, send package. If you wish to establish a name as a premium courier, it is imperative to look carefully at each package and offer the client a bespoke service that takes into account their specific needs. If you want to work as a courier with a broad, reliable and well-paying consumer base, this outlook is vital.
Start by carefully considering the size, shape and weight of the package, as well as its fragility and any other special considerations. Then bring the following advice into play in order to achieve that perfect art courier reputation.
Don’t Skimp On the Packaging
Using high quality packaging of the correct size and shape is a must. For a start, this means good quality boxes that are the proper size and shape for the piece you’re carrying. Then, use a sufficient quantity of good quality tape: cheap tape is liable to split in transit, ruining all your previous efforts to create an indestructible parcel. Investing in a large quantity of high quality packing tape is a must for any work as a courier, and will help keep your clients happy and your parcels intact.
Be sure to use enough packaging too: use a minimum of double layering when you package – it’s always better to use too much rather than too little. More packaging will mean that a piece will be more likely to withstand unavoidable bumps and scrapes, and will also make a good impression on the client, who will feel that their product is in good hands.
When you work as a courier, you may find yourself leaning towards particular kinds of packaging materials. With many products, the choice of such materials is a matter of personal preference, combined with whatever you can get at a good price. With art, however, it’s a little more important.
Styrofoam peanuts have a nasty habit of denting paint, so avoid them if at all possible. What’s more, they frequently leave corners and edges unprotected, making the frame and edge of a canvas vulnerable to knocks. Using a sufficient quantity of good-quality bubble-wrap is the way forward when transporting art.
Last, but not least, use “fragile” labels. Even if, as a courier, you treat every single package with the utmost care, the entire chain of transport may not be in your control. Remember: it only takes one moment of clumsiness by one person at any point in the chain to cause potentially huge damage, so a visual reminder can go a long way.
Ultimately, transporting art is like transporting any high value, fragile object: use the appropriate materials and don’t cut corners. Making a name as a careful, professional courier is a huge advantage in the business, as word will quickly get around that high-value packages are safe with you.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day work as a courier in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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