Monday, August 15, 2011

Tips for Transporting and Shipping your Portfolio

You've spent countless hours and a nice chunk of change putting together the perfect portfolio presentation and now it's time to show the world what you have to offer.  At this point the last thing you want is to have your portfolio mishandled and damaged in it's travels.

Fortunately this has only happened to one of my clients (that I know of) but it was devastating enough that I felt it was important to share some tips to ensure the safe delivery and return of your portfolio.  While this post focuses on the shipping of portfolios, it also applies to transporting your portfolio to face to face meetings.  Accidents happen and while you probably feel confident hand carrying your portfolio to visit potential clients, you can't always prevent unexpected events. It could be bumped around in the car on the way to the meeting or someone could brush your arm the wrong way and cause you to drop it.  For this reason it's always best to overprotect your portfolio.

damaged box
Treat your portfolio as you would the art that it holds.  Our portfolios are extremely sturdy and well built but they are presentation pieces that need to be protected.  For this reason I recommend that your portfolio is packed with extra care and more padding than you think it needs.  UPS and FEDEX do a great job but they don't know or care what's inside the boxes they are delivering and Handle with Care tags do little to change the way that packages are treated.

perforated foam
One of the simplest and least costly ways to create an appropriate shipping container is to start with a basic cardboard box that is at least 4" larger than your portfolio in all directions.  Since you are trying to make a good first impression be sure to use a clean, new, unmarked box.  Purchase some heavy duty foam from a shipping supply company or a foam company.  The Foam Factory sells perforated foam sheets, called Pick and Pluck.  The perforation allows you to create any sized cutout in the foam. Use this in combination with solid foam pieces to create a form fitting nest  around your portfolio.  Choosing foam over paper or bubblewrap is preferable for a few reasons; it makes it easier for your potential client to re-pack the box for return shipping, it looks much cleaner than bunched up pieces of paper and it prevents the portfolio from shifting during shipping.

If you have a bit more to invest, there are many companies that offer standard and custom made hard shipping cases.  Many of these are marketed as computer or instrument cases but can be used for just about anything.  Take a look at Janal Cases, Quick Cases and Pelican Cases for some possibilities.  Many of these are crush and waterproof and come with a lifetime guarantee.  You've invested a lot in creating your portfolio so it's a good idea to invest just a little more to protect it.  If you have any questions or would like further recommendations please don't hesitate to call.

Janal Cases