Newsletter: Recent Newsletters
Ideas about Pricing Your Art
- Pricing per inch. This has an easy formula and it is easy to be consistent with it. A 10" x 10" piece will be less expensive than a 10" x 14" piece. Decide on square inch pricing vs linear inch pricing (these are different formulas). Decide on the amount per inch and go for it. Is it a $1.00 per inch? $3.00 per inch? $10.00 per inch? It is an easy formula and easy to explain to people where the price comes from.
- Pricing per cost. The cost of materials (and overhead) + your time. This is a little trickier as you have to keep excellent records as to what your costs are. Some projects are much easier to calculate than others. How much of that jar of paint did you really use on this project? Are you using older supplies that you have on hand and you don't really remember what you spent on those supplies? Have prices gone up on particular supplies? Did you have to rent (or buy) any special tools or equipment? Do you pay for studio rent? How much actual time did you spend creating the piece? Did you remember to add in planning as well as actual working time? Lots of things to track (of course, you probably should be tracking this stuff anyway).
- Pricing per type of art. If you do multiple mediums, then you may want a different pricing structure for fiber art vs. painting art vs. jewelry art. Jewelry is harder to price per square inch than a painting is. It's OK to have a different system in place for each kind of art you do.
- Pricing by 'small-medium-large' sizes. Set a parameter for each size and price that range. It is easy to say all pieces up to 6" x 6" are one price, pieces up to 12" x 12" are another price, up to 24" x 24" is another price. This is great if you do a bunch of odd sizes of art. It is easier for the customer too. It is hard to price a 6" x 6" piece at one price but a 5" x 6" at another price and a 5" x 5.5" piece at yet another price, but if you have all of these 'small' pieces set at the same price point, your customer will appreciate it and it will be easier to keep track of.
- Pricing per job. This is great if you do a lot of custom work. Price each piece separately. It doesn't matter the size, your costs, how much time it takes (of course those things are all factors in setting the price). Each piece is a one-of-a-kind piece and has it's own price. Your customers will be contracting with you for a particular piece that they want - they don't need to know what you charged your other customers for their art. Each piece is unique and special and custom. They are paying for this custom piece.
- What other people are charging for something similar. Sometimes this is good information to know and sometimes it isn't. After all, each artist is unique and different and you have to know what you and your customers value your own work at. But if most people are pricing similar pieces at $100 each and you are pricing at $50 each, then customers are going to wonder why.
- Original art should cost more than prints. That being said, you should always scan your art or copy it somehow so you can make prints (Yikes - I never do this - so I am going to be sure to start).
- Will you be including hanging gear, mats and frames? How about gift boxes and packaging? What about shipping costs? All that needs to be factored in to your pricing as well.
- Don't sell yourself short. Just because you work fast or mass produce your art doesn't mean it should sell for less. What about all the time you spent practicing and learning how to do whatever it is that you now do? Time spent learning your craft should also be factored in to your pricing.
- Keep your prices consistent across venues. Just because a gallery or a show takes a % of your selling price, doesn't mean you should raise the price. Have that % already factored into your pricing. There is nothing worse than buying a piece of art from a gallery, only to find out if you had bought it somewhere else it would have been significantly lower priced. Keep your prices consistent across all venues so you don't have cranky customers or cranky gallery owners.
- Don't give coupons/discounts for your original art. Don't fall into the trap of thinking people shop for art like they shop for laundry detergent. They don't. They either want your art or they don't. They either feel like buying it or they don't. They aren't buying it because they found a coupon in their mail box.
- Sometimes we feel we aren't skilled enough yet to ask higher prices. But if you sell yourself short, that isn't going to be good for you in the long run. Plus it isn't fair to other similar artists if you are under-cutting their prices. It is tempting to discount prices - especially on older pieces - but just don't do it.
- It's OK to ask for input from other artists or past customers. They may have some valuable insight that you can use in your current pricing.
- Once you have a system in place with fair pricing, then you can feel confident in your pricing. You will have a ready answer for anyone who asks about your prices. And this also allows you to schedule an annual price increase to keep up with costs/inflation/etc (letting your regular customers know about it ahead of time).
None of this is set in stone. It is just information I have been gathering for myself and figure if I am thinking about it - then maybe you are too. I hope these ideas help you to think about your own pricing system and how you can clarify it for both yourself and your customers. There are lots of ways to price art and the important thing is for you to find the system that works best for you and your art.
So I am going to evaluate all my art prices and set up a complete system. That means a lot of pieces are going to have their prices changed because I know they aren't priced fairly or consistently. (So it might be a good time to buy something before I raise the prices.)
I encourage you to set up your own pricing system. Even if you have never sold anything before. Even if you don't think you intend to sell anything. Because you never know.