15 Aug How to Price Your Art
Featured Img: Swizz Beatz, KAWS & Alicia Keys
Today’s collectors are more sophisticated and price conscious than ever. They are aware that there are a number of options when selecting art. Not only are they cost-conscious, but they almost always compare work from artist to artist before they make a purchase. So we’ve written this article for those who are still questioning their pricing and are not sure about how to price their art work. Read on….
Even though the market for creatives continues to grow, it can be difficult to measure a piece that we spend months vexed over, versus a piece that took a few hours. Both can be admired equally by a customer, but should a client get a steal just because you are unattached to a piece? How do you know the price you choose is justified enough to be comfortable, and competitive with the rest of the market? Here’s an approach to answer the elusive question: How do I price my work?
Let’s start inwardly and work outward. Understanding the value of our own artwork often rests heavily on the attachment to the piece. Knowing the story of your work becomes an intimate affair that changes perspective on the price point. Knowing that story is great for marketing, but doesn’t provide much clarity in how well a buyer will agree with the price tag. So you must change your perspective. This doesn’t mean discounting work you believe is high valued, but rather, being able to confidently justify that amount. As an artist, you should be prepared to explain how and why you set your price.
1.) LOOK OBJECTIVELY.
Price is based on multiple views, and often disregards the independent feelings the artist has about the piece. If a buyer doesn’t buy a piece, it may not be because they dislike it, but because they don’t agree with the perceived value. Look at all your pieces with equal criteria to the levels of pricing. Doing otherwise can make you sell under the artwork’s actual value, or not sale at all.
Piece By Hebru Brantley
2.) VIEW YOUR ARTWORK AS A PRODUCT, AND YOUR TIME AS A SERVICE.
As an artist, of course there will always be some attachment to your work, but not everyone will feel just as attached to it. The appeal of a piece is sometimes purely esthetic, and that’s okay. You don’t have to agree to this, but understanding and accepting that art is in the eye of the beholder and hence subject to different interpretations/reactions will help your approach in developing a pricing basis. Some will disagree, but be confident in your reasoning, because this is your job, and your time.
Your time is just as valuable as the final piece. The time spent to create should be paid for, and in many cases is the biggest determining factor in pricing. View yourself as a 9-5 artist, by figuring out what your hourly wage would be. Keep in mind that at a 9-5 company there is always an expectation to get paid, and even an expectation of higher pay the longer you’re in service.
- Price it right = Using a formula
This is where you use a little math. Your brand is your business, and many companies and other entrepreneurs have rows of books, formulas and tv shows that break down ways to sale, save, and price product. Some of those techniques can work well for the entrepreneurial artist. Take advantage of some of those tips to sit down and price things out. Price sooner rather than later, and keep records. See price per size below for formula examples.
- Price by size
How small/large a painting is, almost always has an impact on the price. Typically, a smaller painting would not be more expensive than a larger one. Be consistent. Make a list of your standard sizes and related prices and make sure to keep it current and up to date.
Formula Example 1: (Length + Width)x Pre-determined Number
Example: Formula for an 8×10 painting ~ (8+10) = 18 x $40 = $720
Formula Example 2: (Length xWidthxPer Square Inch Cost
Example: Formula for a 24×36 painting ~ 24 x 36 x 1.80 = $1,555
- Price by labor and materials.
Hours worked x hourly wage + cost of materials = price of work
This is my favorite method. Hours worked includes how long you spent making that piece. Depending on the rarity of medium, if you have to travel an hour away to obtain said material, include that time. Hourly wage can be estimated by figuring out how much you can live off of annually if working 9-5 consistently. Take that salary and break it down to the hourly amount. You also consider your experience, and recognition of your brand as an artist. Seriously consider if you can live off of $30, but you’re well known in the field for 20 years, should you be paid $50 or $100 instead? Lastly, factor in the materials.
3.) DO SOME RESEARCH
- 1What is your product? (break it down to the brand)
What have you sold and what have you sold well? Look at the range of prices your pieces are being bought. As creatives, devework the creatives equally well, so get acquainted with some business lingo, and build a personal arsenal of the best ways to sale, and how to appeal to clients.
- What type of artist and art styles are in your area?
Get to know the artists in your area. This is called your market research. Are there successful artists in your areas. Are there artists with a similar styles? Seeing that 3 portrait painters can receive an average of $400 dollars for a small to medium portrait painting could mean your work will sale at a similar range.
- Where do you fit in?
Take your formula, your market research, and your experience, and figure out what makes sense for your price. Too high and clients may think you’re overpricing, to low and you lose out on the price. If you’ve already decided on the best formula for your work, then use that to compare with other artists. Is the amount reasonable? Should you try a new approach to pricing? Is it spot on?
4.) EXPERIMENT- MAKE YOUR OWN FORMULA AS YOU CREATE NEW ART!
Do you have to use all the formulas and tips from this articles? No. Do you have to use any of the tips? No. However, its nice to have a place to start from when growing a creative business. If you have built a following, or base pay attention to the demand of your work, incrementally increase the price. Sometimes creatives are at a disadvantage because the mass market has trouble categorizing art as a value and an asset. However, now is a great time, and seems to be progressively rising in the utilization of intellectual property. So, why not take advantage of the opportunities by preparing our prices. No matter how you decide to price your art, remember to go with what works for you, your art medium, and art style. Just remember, never undercharge your works. At the very least always make sure your pricing covers your actual costs (canvas, paint, framing, shipping if applicable — unless you’re going to charge a separate, additional amount for shipping/packaging)