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Question: Rush orders

Hi! I have a question about shipping and stuff.

A commissioner wanted me to do a badge last minute for a con he's going to. He asked me if I could have it at his doorstep by the 7th for a con. I did the work per specification and had it sent out on the 3rd since I'm a full time college student, work a part time job and am in the process of moving. He asked me about daily on updates (which I didn't mind. I always sent him photos of his badge from sketch to ink to color). He was incredibly happy and right before work yesterday I sent it out.

The post office told me shipping to Ontario would take about a week. I asked about any expedited services and they'd be about $44. Adding a tracking number woulda been like $24 and I was like HRRRG, SHIT. So now I'm worried it won't get there in time.

Should I issue a partial refund if it doesn't? 

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( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 4th, 2014 09:21 pm (UTC)
If he paid an extra fee to have it made in time for the con I think that would be fair to refund.

Otherwise, you still gave him the product at it's value so you're under no real obligation to give him anything else. I would say as a personal preference you could issue the partial refund or perhaps an extra small drawing, but only if you as the artist would like to do it to save some face for missing his deadline.

I'd mostly wait to see if it gets there in time or not. If it doesn't he may be understanding if you explained it to him, since you've shown that you've been actively working on it the whole time.
Mar. 5th, 2014 05:44 am (UTC)
I charged him $6 for shipping as a rough estimate because I was honestly confused about the online shipping tracker when in reality shipping cost me $1.15. Its ridiculous that there's no intermediate option other than $44 shipping. :/
Mar. 5th, 2014 06:00 pm (UTC)
Are you in Canada or the US? If you're in the US, I'm guessing that you just shipped it in a regular envelope, right?

There are other options available - First class mail, Priority mail, and Priority Express mail. First class would have been around $4 for a padded envelope, Priority starts at $20 (flat rate envelope which they have for free at the PO), and Express is $36 (flat-rate envelope that they have at the PO). These are all for USPS, taken straight from the website. Not sure if you shipped using someone else or if your post office workers are just terrible like the ones here, or what. :/

I got charged $10 recently for something that should have shipped for $6. They just plain don't care anymore.

Edit to add: Forgot to mention, even though these are all available, only Priority Express would have have a chance of reaching him in time (and even then, it probably wouldn't - I've seen Priority International packages stuck for 4 weeks, for absolutely no reason other than USPS is the worst).

Edit to add again: Last thing, I swear. Priority shipments include "tracking" for International now, kind of. It's the customs form number. It gets scanned all along the way (sometimes a couple days late, but it DOES get scanned just like Delivery Confirmation). I guess the PO you were at was trying to push "Registered" mail, which isn't really necessary anymore unless you require a signature.

I hope this post can provide some help for the future. :O

Edited at 2014-03-05 06:06 pm (UTC)
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yep, I'm in the US! South Florida to be exact. I sent it off in a small manilla envelope. It was just a laminated image. The client had his own lanyard to clip it onto so I just punched the hole for him.

I should take it upon myself to really get familiar with all sorts of shipping methods. I'm a primarily digital artist so this came as a huge shock!

Thanks so much for the advice ;;
Mar. 4th, 2014 09:36 pm (UTC)
Unless he paid extra to have expedited shipping you wouldn't owe him any partial refund.
Mar. 5th, 2014 05:46 am (UTC)
He asked me the price for expedited and I think I might have used the USPS tracker wrong since I thought it'd be like $6 for something reasonable but I ended up paying $1.15
Mar. 5th, 2014 05:59 am (UTC)
Ah yea, expedited shipping in the lower 48 isn't expensive but once you go "across a border" even tho Canada is so damn close the price skyrockets.

You can refund him the bit of shipping and explain the situation if it doesn't make it on time and offer him as you said elsewhere a digital badge for the mistake on your part (well more-so our post office website is useless at anything and I just go to the post office to calculate shipping because of it if I need to).

Even if he's upset you can't really do anything besides that at this point and you are going above and beyond to make sure he has something for the con just in case. It's for sure a learning experience for both of you, next time he wants a quick badge in a few days to his door he should commission a Canadian so customs doesn't effect and ruin everything.
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:30 pm (UTC)
Heck yeah it's one crazy learning experience. I think I may add in a clause saying that unless I'm attending said convention, I won't accept commissions any sooner than a month prior to a convention.
Mar. 4th, 2014 10:13 pm (UTC)
For a rush job that will come up that short notice, I'd check on the price next time and see what the customer thinks before starting. If they want it that fast, they can pay for the shipping, but they shouldn't have it sprung on them at the last moment.
Mar. 5th, 2014 05:47 am (UTC)
I tried to! But the USPS site isn't very helpful :x

But I ended up charging $5 more than I needed to for shipping
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2014 05:48 am (UTC)
My sill butt forgot to do a high resolution scan! Nlarfh. But I did offer to do a free digital badge to get him /something/
Mar. 5th, 2014 12:43 am (UTC)
I live in Ontario and stuff either takes ages, or absolutely no time at all to get here from the US. It'll be hit or miss if it gets there in time.

But I agree with everyone else, if he didnt pay for the overnight/super fast shipping, you should refund anything.
Mar. 5th, 2014 05:49 am (UTC)
He thought he did because I miss quoted him. When it comes to Canadian shipping, the USPS website is incredibly unhelpful and the counter associate was rude as heck. :/
Mar. 5th, 2014 09:21 am (UTC)
I've misquoted someone before and covered the difference, but did you even get paid $44 altogether? I don't think anyone expects you to cover that big of a difference, but the hi-res scan thing might work.

Also, do you have an artist friend attending who might be able to print/laminate the badge? Just as a back-up, maybe he could pick it up at their table if the original doesn't arrive by then.
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:27 pm (UTC)
haha, nope! It was $36 altogether for a waist up badge done in marker and pencil a little under 5"x8"

I'll ask around for the artist friend thing. Thanks so much for that suggestion!
Mar. 5th, 2014 01:43 am (UTC)
I think it kind of depends on certain circumstances. Did the client know when you were sending it off? Did they know how long shipping might take? Were they given the option to pay for the expedited shipping?

Did you give them a guarantee that you could have it in their hands on the 7th? Did they pay any sort of rush fee to guarantee the delivery?

Personally, if I made the promise that it would arrive on X date, I would either cover the cost difference for expedited shipping to make sure it arrives, or give a partial refund for the missed deadline. But that's just me--I make suits, so my items have a higher price tag and bigger shipping costs in general, but in principle, I feel like I would do the same for artwork.

In the future, be sure you know where you're shipping to, and calculate shipping times and cost so you know what to expect.
Mar. 5th, 2014 06:04 am (UTC)
Sure, lemme answer all the questions in order.

1. He is aware of my current situation and was fine with me sending it Monday,
2. They were looking for an expedited option and for SOME REASON I thought it was $6 because of farting around on the USPS site and I had no idea how to navigate the options for shipping plus it didn't give me much information about shipping to Ontario, Canada.
3. He asked to have it sent no later than Monday.

This was a big blooper on my end and I'm not used to sending things to Canada (I haven't since I used to date someone there many years ago). I'm also not used to working with tangible objects ddue by X deadline and I'm finally a PRI arily digital artist, but the advice is more than welcomed as I dong plan on making this booboo has not been fun.
Mar. 5th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC)
Okay, so let me make sure I haven't missed something. When they said shipping on Monday was FINE, at that point, did they think they were getting the expedited shipping that you charged $6 for because you had issues with the website? That's make a big difference.
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:23 pm (UTC)
I initially quoted him $6 because of my mis-navigation of the website instead of calling or going to my local branch.

We were both under the impression that this would happen.

As I mail it off, that's when I find out about the ridiculous costs and stuff. I hope that made it clear.

I made him a digital badge in the meantime and I plan on refunding him the $6 when he gets it as a further gesture of goodwill.
Mar. 6th, 2014 01:30 am (UTC)
Yup, that makes it clear. It's crazy that it's such a huge difference and really sucks.

I think you're covering it well, especially if he's okay with it. Learning experience this time! :)
Mar. 5th, 2014 09:40 am (UTC)
My overall suggestion, if this sort of situation rises up again, would be that you first charge the amount of the art, and the postage after it has been mailed, that way you won't end up over or undercharging on the postage.
Though obviously you need to make clear how high the cost might be and that the person is ready for it before you mail it (I've found out similar costs the same hard way, it's kinda shocking sometimes...)
Personally if I didn't feel sure/comfortable if I should keep the extra money, I'd talk this out with the client and see what they think, it's possible they're fine with you keeping it even if the mail doesn't arrive soon enough.
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the helpful tips! I will definitely add that as part of my ToS!
Mar. 5th, 2014 12:01 pm (UTC)
I'm in Ontario
Although I can't offer you advice on refunding or not, receiving a letter from the USA can take anywhere from a week up to a month. It's very RARE that a letter takes that long, however. Usually a week is about how long I receive mine (letters, all the way up to big trapping catalogs).
Parcels, of course, will take longer because the border/customs needs to examine them.
Keep in mind that mail doesn't move here on Sat and Sun, so it could take maybe over a week like I said.

Edited at 2014-03-05 12:03 pm (UTC)
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:28 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the firsthand experience story. I sent it out in a small envelope, smaller than an 8x11 so I'm guessing a week will be the ballpark range then. I didn't attach a clip or anything, just a laminated image.
Mar. 5th, 2014 04:51 pm (UTC)
If you have a similar situation like this again, send it through UPS. It will get there 3-5 days or less quite often :)
Mar. 5th, 2014 06:09 pm (UTC)
Unless they lose it, which happened to me the first time I shipped UPS internationally to Canada. xD If they hadn't lost it, it would have been awesome, though! USPS was going to charge $65, and UPS only asked for $35. Saved me a bundle. (Thankfully, it was also found a week later and delivered properly. :D)
Mar. 5th, 2014 11:35 pm (UTC)
I tried using UPS's site too to get a quote and I got confused too x____X! I'm going to have to take my time next time and shop around to make sure I get something competent. But UPS is a lot more global oriented so it'd probably be wisest to go with them...! Thank you :3
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )


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