Updated: Jul 20, 2020
As a creative individual, it is often easier to create the work and have fun but when it comes to selling your work – that can be confusing and more daunting than the task of making the art. Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind when it comes to pricing your work:
Know that if you plan on selling your work in a gallery or an art dealer then they will most likely take a commission. (50% or less)
Know who you are selling your art to understand your market because it will drive your sales.
When you set a price, make sure you keep it consistent.
The best way to know how to price your work whether it’s art, design, prints, ceramics, etc., is to do your research! In order to gain a proper understanding of your market is to understand the competition. That means visiting other galleries, checking the pricing on similar work, and comparing the medium, size, style, subject matter, artist to gain more useful information on how you should do it. Also, if you are still unsure then ask the personnel or look up the resume of the artist to see how their career is compared to yourself.
After you’ve done enough research it’s time to create a formula for why your pricing makes sense to the buyer as well as yourself. The reason to make a formula is so your pricing stays consistent and – after doing my own research – there are two ways to approach it:
Account for the total cost it takes to create your work and the labor involved in your masterpiece.
The second way is to reverse engineer a formula so that you start a price you feel okay about and then work backwards to find your price.
For instance, if you want $1200 for your artwork and the dimensions of the canvas is 15 x 20 then your formula should be: 1200/(15x20) = 4.00
This would mean that your formula is valued at 4.00 per square inch. Then you would just repeat it.
One issue that could arise with using this method is that your smaller works might be undervalued. With that being said, having a minimum price for your work will resolve this issue.
Always remember that consistency is key.
Useful tips for what not to do
DO NOT price artworks of the same size, medium, date, subject matter, etc. at a different price. This will turn away potential buyers and makes it less likely for your work to be sold. It also creates inconsistencies which is not good.
DO NOT sell the same artwork at different prices at different locations. This is known as undercutting and is frowned upon.
DO NOT raise your prices out of nowhere especially if they have been a set price for a long time. This falls in line with the inconsistency issues.
DO NOT price your work too high. No one wants to buy work that is way overpriced especially if you’re just starting out. Instead, create a formula for raising your prices such as, meeting a certain quota and then raising your prices only after selling the amount anticipated. It is possible to raise prices on your own work however be consistent with your methodology.
DO NOT devalue your work! If you have a good relationship with your customers then don’t let them think your work is depreciating in value.
DO NOT come across as unsure about what you are pricing your work at. Go into a conversation knowing your formula for your work and be confident!
When it comes to commission pricing just make sure to increase the percentage of your sales between 5 – 15 % however, it depends on the job.
If you are pricing 3D artwork just account for volume in the formula as well as the type of materials used.
Overall, pricing your work can be a daunting task and not many artists know where to start – myself included. It’s up to you to figure out a method and stick to it while being consistent. Most importantly, have fun while making your beautiful and creative pieces of art or other types of nontraditional art!
– William Crespo