This is the second blog in a series of three blogs about Artist’s agent or representative services. The first blog is a general introduction to these services, the second is an overview of the various services included, and the third is an overview of what the various services cost. As always, I welcome your comments and opinions.
Artist’s Agent or Rep: What the Services Include:
The scope of services is whatever the artist and the services provider agree upon. I don’t believe in the “one size fits all” standard services package and, for that reason, will not recommend one here. Use the following as a shopping list, or as points for discussion between artist & agent or rep, to create a services package to meet the needs of the artist:
- Ongoing Sales Representation: The agent or rep pursues sales opportunities for the artist by promoting the artist’s work to potential art buyers and intermediaries with those buyers, either individually or collectively or both. This involves using existing contacts and networks and developing new contacts and networks.
- Sales Support Services: The agent or rep processes the sales and handles any required packaging and shipping for the artist. In local situations, the agent or rep does the delivery and installation of the artist’s work and, when doing so, tries to expand the sale for the artist.
- Ongoing Internet Marketing: The agent or rep uses the Internet via websites or blogs to promote the artist and the artist’s work.
- Internet Marketing Support Services: The agent or rep finds and coordinates services for website design, hosting and search engine optimization (SEO). The agent or rep helps the artist with website or blog content development, maintenance & improvement, and helps with SEO efforts to draw traffic to those sites.
- Print Media Marketing: The agent or rep searches for, finds and identifies opportunities for print media advertising and/or promotion and helps find or develop content (images and copy) for the advertising.
- Business & Social Networking Marketing: The agent or rep promotes the artist by attending local business and social networking events on the artist’s behalf. At such events, the agent or rep makes connections and promotes the artist, seeking & developing leads for sales & venue & award opportunities for the artist.
- Searching and Identifying Venue Opportunities: The agent or rep searches for, finds and identifies venue opportunities for the artist such as art shows, exhibitions or festivals.
- Venue Application/Registration Support Services: The agent or rep obtains the venue application or registration materials and prepares the submittals, including securing photography of the artist’s work and writing submittal documents (such as an artist’s statement or resume). The agent or rep prepares & submits the electronic and/or hard copy submittal package.
- Venue Sales Representation: The agent or rep represents (in person) the artist during or throughout a sales opportunity event, such as an art show, exhibition, opening or festival, to service buyers and negotiate/close sales.
- Venue Display Logistical Support Services: The agent or rep helps the artist with the set up and take down of the artist’s display for the event.
- Searching and Identifying Award Opportunities: The agent or rep searches for, finds and identifies award opportunities for the artist such as for juried competitions or commissioned work.
- Award Opportunity Support Services: As with venues (#8 above), the agent or rep handles the support tasks to position the artist for consideration for award.
- Searching and Identifying Gallery Opportunities: The agent or rep searches for, finds and identifies opportunities for gallery representation, including promoting the artist to galleries. This includes visiting the galleries to see their facilities and to meet the gallerists, and promoting the artist to selected galleries. Note: This service is less typical than the others because an agent or rep is usually an alternative to gallery representation. With gallery commissions running around 50%, there’s nothing left for the agent or rep paid by sales commissions, if the artist gets the other 50%, unless the gallery and agent or rep work together on a split sales commissions basis. If the agent or rep pay is on a fee or hourly basis, the compensation is part of the artist’s overhead supported by the artist’s 50% of sales.
- Finding and Coordinating Art Support Services: The agent or rep searches for, finds and coordinates art support services such as photography, scanning, printing, framing, casting, packaging and shipping.
- Performing Business Operations: the agent or rep helps the artist with business operations such as developing business practices, procedures, standards & forms. The agent or rep processes sales transactions and assesses proper taxes, shipping and other costs as appropriate. The agent or rep identifies art, studio and business supplies vendors and helps the artist buy the supplies economically, including arrangements for delivery and storage.
- “Agency” Services: the agent acts in an “agency” capacity for the artist by assuming certain legal and fiduciary responsibilities for the artist. Such responsibilities include signing applications, agreements, purchase orders or other documents on behalf of the artist and managing the artist’s accounts receivable and payable. Unless the agent is a lawyer, the agent cannot offer legal services to the artist.
So what package of services is right for you? Only you can decide what is valuable to you, affordable to you and ultimately right for you. The least is probably sales representation as described in #1 above. The most, everything described above or more. I suspect that most artists that use an agent or rep will use a package of services somewhere between the least and most as described here, and will pay for the services with a mix of sales-based and services-based compensation.
The more services, the higher the cost for the services. The more services that are not pure sales, the higher the sales-based (percentage) compensation (to cover those other services) and/or the higher the likelihood of added services-based (fee or hourly) compensation beyond the sales-based compensation.
To help you decide what package of services is right for you, you need some idea of the cost of the various services. That is the subject of my next blog in this three-part series, “Artist’s Agent or Rep Services: What’s the Cost?”