Print sale on spec--what would you do?
I was contacted by a local art advisor several a few weeks ago, looking for some photographs for a a client. I sent her a selection of images via email which were passed on to the client. The client liked three of the images and after some discussion decided on three 8x10 silver gelatin prints. I have an 11x14 silver print of one of the negatives, and large digital prints of the other two, so the 8x10's would be a custom printed order.
The advisor told me that the next step was having me invoice the client as soon as the purchase was confirmed. So far so good. However, the advisor contacted me today and said the client would like to see the prints before deciding on the purchase. I'm in a position of potentially doing a lot of work to produce three high quality archivally printed split-toned prints and have the client decline the purchase. Plus I'd have the extra work of delivering and retrieving the prints from the client. I have small worries about the clients damaging or not returning the prints and a larger worry that I'm encouraging bad behavior and capriciousness on the part of the client--they have nothing to lose.
On the other hand, there definitely won't be a sale if I decline and I can understand wanting to see artwork before purchasing. If I invoiced (as originally proposed) and sent the prints and they weren't happy, I'd refund the money as long as the prints were returned undamaged and within a short period of time.
Has anyone faced a similar situation? How would you handle it? Thanks.