Consignment Best Practices: How to Work Effectively With Your Artists

Nika on April 6, 2018

When it comes to consignments, follow these best practices.

Most galleries accept artwork from their artists on a consignment basis. It seems easy: the artist sends you their work and you give them an agreed-upon percentage or amount of the sales price.

But there are lots of details and things to consider to protect both your business and your relationship with your artists. Consider these best practices when accepting artwork from your artists.

If it’s not written down, it didn’t happen

Regardless of what kind of agreement you have with your artists, put everything in writing and be sure both parties have signed. Some galleries have artists sign consignment terms for each new body of work, while others simply have their artists sign an annual contract. If you have an ArtCloud account, you can safely store your agreements in your artists’ records.

Whatever path you take, be sure to include the following points:

  • How long will the gallery attempt to sell a given work of art?
  • Is the artist or the gallery responsible for photographing and transporting the artwork?
  • Does the artist participate in gallery discounts?

 

Increase transparency with a monthly sales breakdown before sending payment

Giving your artists regular sales reports is helpful for both the gallery and the artist. Not only can these reports help your artists better understand what is and isn’t selling, but they increase transparency into which pieces sold, when, and for how much.

Whether you compile these reports manually or generate them from your management platform, be sure they contain:

  • The date the artwork sold
  • The retail and sales price
  • The amount owed to the artist for each piece

 

Give your artists the tools to keep track of their consignments themselves

Many galleries consider regular sales and consignment reports for artists to be part of their day-to-day work, but you can also empower your artists to track their sales themselves with the right tools. Invite your artists to ArtCloud and once they’re connected to your account, both the gallery and the artist will find the consignment experience to be much smoother.

Some benefits for the gallery and for artists:

  • Artists get automatic email notifications each time one of their pieces goes out on approval or gets sold — artists love this!
  • When artists consign artwork via artcloud, the inventory data automatically populates in the gallery’s account
  • Artists have access to analytics where they can track their sales data for tax and record-keeping purposes

 

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