Updated: Apr 7, 2021
Pricing your work is a very personal and individual decision. No one else can determine the value of your creation. There is no one ‘right’ formula to use to create your pricing system, but there are FIVE different things you should consider when setting your prices – especially if you are building a business and making a living from your art.
Grab my free Pricing Formula Guide here to put this into action!
TIME: calculate the amount of time you spend on each piece. This includes prep and planning time, creating the artwork, finishing and framing, and any other time you spend on one piece of artwork. At very least, you need to be paying yourself a reasonable wage for the time you commit to your work.
SIZE: calculate the total area of the artwork – square inches, square centimeters, square feet. Similarly sized pieces should be similarly priced – but again, pricing is a personal choice, just be ready to back it up and explain if there are discrepancies your clients may notice.
[Many artists choose one of these first two categories as the basis for their prices. However you choose to build your pricing system, both should be factored in to the final price for a piece of artwork.]
MATERIALS: some artforms require more expensive materials than others. No matter what the cost of your supplies, factor in the total (or estimated) cost to create each piece and make sure the final price includes the additional cost of your materials.
BUSINESS OVERHEAD: factor in the additional cost of running your business…studio space rental, internet and phone, software subscriptions, travel expenses, office supplies, etc. It takes more than the cost of your artistic materials to run your creative business, so make sure your pricing system factors in everything you need and want to pay for.
MARKET RESEARCH: if you’re not sure where to start, do some research. Look for artists with similar work to yours or those you’d like to emulate and find out what prices they have on their work. Doing market research will help you get a feel for where you should start your pricing and where you can aspire to be. [Don’t just blindly copy someone else’s pricing – their situation isn’t the same as yours.]
There is no right or wrong way to price your artwork. The value of your work is not determined solely by the time you put into it or how big it is or what materials you used. As John Lubbock wrote in The Pleasures of Life,
“Art is unquestionably one of the purest and highest elements in human happiness. It trains the mind through the eye, and the eye through the mind. As the sun colors flowers, so does art color life.”
You get to decide the value of your work! [Pro Tip: don’t undervalue yourself, it doesn’t help anyone.]
Remember, you can always tweak and adjust your system as you go - nothing is set in stone. Good luck and have fun!
**Don't forget to grab my free Pricing Formula Guide to help you create your pricing system!
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