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Top Tips: How to Keep Works of Art Safe in Transit

Courier jobs in which you need to transport precious paintings or works of art can be lucrative, but you’ll need to know how to protect your cargo from damage.

Courier jobs in which you are asked to transport valuable artwork can be a great source of income, as clients will pay premium rates to ensure that their precious art is delivered safely. But this is not a job to take on lightly: some of these artworks cost thousands of pounds, and any damage can dramatically decrease their worth. If you know what you’re doing, however, a good reputation for delivering precious cargo can lead to recommendations and more jobs in this lucrative sector.

So, before you commit yourself to this kind of work, take a look at these transportation and packaging tips for courier jobs involving works of art. Here’s how to keep your cargo safe.

Plan Ahead

The reason these courier jobs command a higher price than transporting the average package is because the client will expect a little extra care to go into the service. Take the time to collect as much information as you can about the work, such as its weight, size and material. The more information you can get, the more prepared you will be to adequately protect the piece in transit.

Use the Right Kind of Packaging

The size, shape, weight and material of the artwork all need to be considered when selecting packaging. A free-standing sculpture may need to go into a good-quality packing box that’s surrounded by protective material, such as Styrofoam peanuts, while a painting may need to be wrapped in packing blankets and/or bubble wrap.

Take time to consider what type of packaging will work best, and bear in mind that while Styrofoam works well for 3D items, it can dent the paint on paintings and may also fail to protect exposed corners. Always invest in high-quality packing materials – cheap is almost always substandard when you’re dealing with transporting precious goods. This advice even extends to the tape that you use, as cheaper alternatives may not hold and could cause the packaging to unravel in transit.  

Clients are generally happy to discuss the packaging of their art with you, as it will show them that you are acting responsibly and giving them a service that’s tailored specifically to their requirements.

Mark Items as Fragile

Treating your precious cargo with kid gloves is no good if you deliver it to someone who then throws it into the corner because they don’t know what it is. Always clearly label artworks as ‘fragile’ when you’re transporting them. That way you can maximise the chances that the package will be well cared for throughout its transitArticle Search, which will win you even more brownie points.

Follow these tips and you’ll have a happy client! Who knows – they may even recommend you to other people who have similar courier jobs for you. A bit of care can lead to a whole new market of high-value work in the future.

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 Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,800 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.

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