5 basic policies artists should think

We have the best art chats! No, seriously! We have artists of all levels. The one thing they all have in common is a desire to learn from each other. No one knows it all. We hold these on Zoom every Monday and Friday and pick a topic and just hone in on that topic and work it out. And last Monday the topic was those business policies every artist is supposed to have but generally hasn't actually written down until... something unpleasant happens. Even as most of us are aware of cases where friends or colleagues have had a negative incident. Myself included!

At our Monday morning art chat, we discussed the different types of policies that an artist might need, and in no way is this exhaustive:

  1. Refund/return policy (even if the policy is "no returns")

  2. Commissions policy

  3. "No harm" policy for teaching students to use specific art supplies/tools

  4. Privacy policy

  5. Shipping policy (to be honest, we didn't get to the last two before time was up)

The group's return policies range from "none" to "depends on who it is" to an informal "I'll take anything back". Although, for the most part, those in our group did not have to deal with many returns (that's a great sign, right?). In fact, those who had the largest problem and who already had policies in place were the jewelry artists. Maybe because the nature of their art lends itself to being given as gifts more easily?

The Abundant Artist has an article on writing a good return policy. Among the things I took away from it were that you have to think carefully about what you cover. Return shipping? And how long after the purchase? And what are the local laws?

Do you add your return policy to your website or print it on the sales slip? So many decisions to make!

Heidi Huston of Awen Alchemy shared with us her simplified return policy that she customizes for each sale:

In our discussion, many artists said they do not take returns or only for certain situations. For example, if something is damaged in shipping, the buyer needs to contact the seller in a reasonable amount of time to make a claim on the shipping insurance.