Saturday, May 11, 2013

ART SHOWS 101: Survival Tips for Show Artists and Crafters Vol. 8: Pricing

 Volume 8:  Pricing

Do you have questions about how to price your work? One method of determining your price is to do a little comparison shopping. You can do this by attending local shows, going to local shops and galleries, and even checking online sources like Etsy; but if your show is next week you need some answers now!

A quick Google search of the words: artist wholesale pricing formula turned up a plethora of advice, some of it very good! Here are some of the highlights of what I found along with links to the original sites:

Etsy’s Basic Pricing Formula: 

Materials + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail

It’s easy to track your material costs, and doable, if not always easy, to determine the actual amount of time you spend creating a piece (although I know I always underestimate my time). The tricky part can be determining your expenses. If you work out of a rented studio your costs are pretty cut and dry, but if you work out of your home things get murky. It’s easy to dismiss expenses like rent (mortgage), utilities, and phone charges when you pay those bills  anyway , business or not -- but they shouldn’t be dismissed!

Make the time to sit down and write out ALL of your expenses. Really think about it. Even the small things. Do you use your computer and internet service for your business? How about your computer printer? And what about all of those miles you’ve logged driving back and forth to the craft supply store? Be honest, but be inclusive. 

Don’t forget to pay yourself! What would you expect to be paid if you were working for someone else? Be realistic and fair.

More Pricing Advice from Alyson B. Stanfield’s Art Biz Blog:

Guidelines for Pricing Your Art

Your prices must be consistent. People shouldn’t pay less at your open studio than they do at a gallery. You have one price and should never (never ever) undersell your representatives.

Start on the low end, while paying yourself enough. You can always raise your prices. It’s nearly suicidal to lower your prices later and it won’t make your current buyers happy at all.

Don’t forget to pay yourself a wage! The most common mistake artists make is forgetting to pay themselves. You have to cover overhead and materials, but you also need to be compensated for your time.

Attach higher prices to originals and larger works. As a general rule, originals are priced higher than reproductions and larger works sell for more than smaller works. 

More expensive materials (bronze, precious gems) command higher prices

Know your market. Study the pricing of artists working in the same genre (abstract, local landscape, portraits), showing in the same venues, and who are at about the same place in their careers.

The faster you work and more prolific you are, the lower your prices–in general!

If you can’t produce enough work to keep up with the demand, it’s time to raise your prices.

Instead of lowering your prices, you’re free to offer discounts for friends, family, and your best customers. Call it a discount and write the receipt so the buyers know the true value.

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Until next time -- keep creating!