Add a Turnkey Element When Selling Art

by Carolyn Edlund

How your customer – and your creative business – can benefit from selling work in forms that offer ease and convenience.


How making art turnkey can improve your sales.


Wikipedia defines the word turnkey as: Ready to use. Complete in its existing form, down to every detail.

This describes many commercial products sold to consumers for the purpose of being used instantly, without additional thought or preparation. And not surprisingly, people like this type of convenience.

Why should an artist consider convenience and “ready to use” as an element to build into their offering? And how can they take advantage of using turnkey solutions to increase their sales?

People considering an art purchase have one primary thing in mind, and that is themselves. They want art that suits their tastes, that pleases them, and that will be easy to buy and to display. Nobody wants extra hassles or expenses to worry about, and that goes double for most online buyers today, who rank convenience high on their list.

As an artist with a small business, you are uniquely positioned to be lean and nimble in what you create and how you present your work. Oftentimes it means you spend more time, effort and talent on your art, which makes it more valuable and more expensive than manufactured products. But at the same time, you can also use turnkey elements that appeal to customers and help them make the purchase. How?

As a characteristic of the product:

  • An original or reproduction which is delivered ready to hang or install without additional effort or cost.
  • An item packaged in such a way to be ready for the customer to ship, or easily place in a suitcase.
  • Packaging for retailers (in the case of items consigned or wholesaled) that can easily be displayed in a store environment, or that come with a display fixture ready to go on the floor.

As part of the service which the artist provides:

  • A package that includes the price of the art, plus shipping and insurance so that no additional concern or calculation is necessary.
  • Gift wrapping or packaging provided by the artist to provide a memorable unboxing experience for the recipient.
  • Complete installation of the artwork provided as a part of the purchase package.

Do you currently offer any of these, or similar turnkey options that fit your artwork? They can make the difference in closing the sale. And, they can be used as selling points when speaking with potential customers and in your marketing campaigns, and making art sales.


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  1. Yes, I deliver throughout Australia (which is my main market) all paintings mounted and framed and ready to hang on the wall. I arrange packaging and courier and all is included in the initial quoted price. As well, if the painting is within the local Wider Sydney Basin, I deliver my paintings personally wherever possible. If the painting is very large I try to locate a picture hanging service in their local vicinity, with pricing and appointment times.
    When couriering overseas, the painting is usually unframed. However I reduce my normal fee; to accommodate the additional framing costs the client will incur at their destination. I track the painting courier and follow up to see how the painting is settling into its new home.

    • Dee, clearly you have given a lot of thought to the customer experience, and I doubt you would offer all these benefits in a turnkey package unless you saw results. What is the response you have gotten from customers?

  2. Another consideration for artists who ship work is the set of applicable laws in effect at the destination, beyond copyright and trademark.

    The Uniform Commercial Code takes care of interstate shipments of art in the U.S. Export laws, import laws, customs regulations apply to international art shipments.

    It’s up to the artist to insure that he/she meets the standards for getting paid, having rights protected, as well as getting the work to the customer rather than confiscated at the border somewhere.

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