Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you are absolutely lost or confused when it comes to pricing your artwork? Don’t bother any more as this article will cover everything relating to guidelines on how to price artwork and other vital factors you should take into account.
A lot of artists find it challenging, especially when learning how to price artwork; some price with their emotions while others overprice their work to impress and while also attempting to make the artwork look more valuable. Though this might sometimes work, it is usually in cases where the artwork gets the attention of numerous collectors or when a collector is too naïve to realize the work is incredibly overpriced. If you are always finding yourself in a situation where you are wondering or struggling with how best to price your artwork while ensuring the price is fair and actually represents your effort, then keep reading as you are sure to find this very useful.
As an artist, you should be knowledgeable about certain things like pricing a finished artwork, the difference between selling through a gallery and selling independently, and finally, commission prices. The fact remains that creating or making art, especially for most artists, can only be possible when there is income. Pricing your artworks properly, as well as creating an eye-catching portfolio, will not only guarantee that you get to keep doing what you are so passionate about, but it also means that you earn an income while doing it.
STEPS ON HOW TO PRICE YOUR ARTWORK
Pricing Your Artwork Based on Comparisons
Irrespective of how mind-blowing or astonishing your art is, it is necessary for you as an artist to understand that your work is not the only one of its kind in existence. When planning how to price your art, you have to consider certain factors like what location you plan to sell it and if any other similar art has been sold in that location. The value of art mostly depends on other works of a similar kind, whether you choose to accept it or not.
Understandably, this can be hard to accept, mostly because as an artist, you know your art, and you are also aware of the motivation, emotion, and effort you put into it. However, the truth remains that if you really want to price your artwork to sell, then you need to start comparing your artwork to that of other artists. Now, if you are going to start pricing your artworks by drawing comparisons or comparables, there are certain things you need to take into account, such as;
1. Research and know the market you want to sell in
As an artist looking to get a good deal on your artwork, the first thing you might want to consider is determining the market, you plan to sell your art. In this aspect, you can decide whether you want to focus on selling in your city, locally, or within your immediate area. You might also be planning to sell internationally or locally; either way, depending on where you plan to sell, it is necessary for you to plan how to price your artwork accordingly, based on the prices or artist selling in the same market. The usual price for the type of artwork in your city might vary slightly higher than the regular price from an online market that sells artworks from artists all over the world internationally.
If you decide to sell through a gallery, then that is another kind of market than selling primarily direct to your consumer, for example. If you are aware of what market you are selling in, then you will easily be able to see other artists selling similar artwork, which will, in turn, give you an idea of the kind of prices people are willing to pay in your market.
2. Knowing which artists are similar to you
When it comes to pricing artwork, knowing artists that create artworks similar to yours can be very useful, which why it is important for you to take some time and familiarize yourself with those kinds of artists. You can examine or look through details of their work by checking out their online portfolios. This will give you an idea of their pricing style. While doing this, there are some factors you should take into account, such as; Materials, Subject matter, Experience level (Based on how long they have been involved in the commercial selling of art), Size of composition, and finally, Technical skill involved.
These guidelines, as outlined above, are essential, especially for painting valuation. In this case, try to identify your work with similar artists whose prices you can use as a form of guidance for setting your own prices. If you recently just started selling your artworks and you don’t really have many sales yet, then it is usually better to set the price of your art a little lower than that of other similar artists. If other artists are setting the price of their artwork, which is similar to yours, at a lower price than you and you don’t necessarily have a reputation yet, this could cost you sales that normally should be yours.
Comparing yourself to other artists objectively might seem difficult, but try to see things from the customer’s perspective and ask yourself what they want and who else might they consider buying from instead of you? These are questions you should attempt to answer and if it proves difficult, then ask someone who is not a friend or family member and will view your work without any sentiments.
3. Avoid allowing your emotions to get in the way of your art valuation
As an artist, it is a normal thing for you to be more attached to some artworks than others; however, it is essential for you to be as logical as possible when it comes to pricing your art. This is to allow your customers to get a better understanding of your price structure. If one of your artworks is more costly than the rest because it is your favorite, then you might be placing a potential buyer in a tight position of having to enquire why the artwork is more expensive compared to the rest. This might also discourage further interest in the piece.
Making Use of a Formula
The moment you are able to determine the proper price range for your artwork based on comparisons drawn from an artist in your market, you can then proceed to adopt a formula that you can use to help get within this range. Basically, your formula should consider the cost of materials used as well as an hourly wage.
To cite an example, let’s assume you settle on a price per artwork of about 600 dollars. If your materials attract a cost of 100 dollars and your work takes about 20 hours to finish, to arrive at the target price, you can pay yourself 25 dollars every hour to arrive at the target price. If you notice that similar artworks in your market sell for about 500 dollars, then you might have to reduce the hourly rate a little. With the more sales and experience you get; you will eventually be able to increase the hourly rate.
ESTABLISHING COMMISSION PRICES
There are numerous opportunities and benefits for artists who make commissioned work; however, it is essential for you to ensure that your commission prices tally with others in the market. If you are into custom orders, then it is necessary for you to learn how to price commissions in other to get steady orders. A lot of the principles and steps we have covered so far also apply in this scenario. If you are into custom portraits, you might want to get an idea of what portrait prices are in your market before establishing a formula with an hourly rate that suits you and sets you within a price range that allows your work to sell in.
It can be very useful having a formula that you can easily refer to for commission prices as it allows you the opportunity to scale or set your price based on the difficulty of the artwork plus, it will make it a lot easier for your customer to understand how you arrived at the price.
INCORPORATING A MARKETING STRATEGY INTO YOUR PRICING
It is ideal to consider pricing artwork as an aspect of your marketing strategy. The commission prices on your artworks place you in a certain aspect of the market, so how can you leverage your pricing strategy. Having original artworks that have a higher price than the rest, probably because they are bigger, could make the rest of your artworks seem like a great deal in comparison. Even if you don’t plan on selling the large, expensive artwork easily, it creates an increased perceived value for your overall body of work.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRICING YOUR ART FOR WHOLESALE AND RETAIL
If you just recently started selling your artwork commercially, you will most likely sell primarily through your online store. Even if you are able to get your works on display in a gallery, you can still sell some of your original artworks directly to customers through your store. When you sell directly to customers, it is usually known as wholesale, even if you are selling just a single artwork, while selling through a gallery is referred to as retail.
If you decide to sell wholesale, then you can make use of the steps as discussed earlier; however, if you are going to sell your artworks through an online art retailer or a gallery, that collects a commission, then pricing your art will depend on knowing how much commission they will collect.
Let’s assume that your art commission price is set at 500 dollars for artwork; there is a chance that if you sell the said piece through a gallery, then you will get to keep 50% of the sale price. In that case, your selling price at the gallery should be around 1000 dollars.
If you are selling through a gallery, then the online store prices for your artworks should also be the same as the gallery prices. This is because if the price of your artwork is reduced on your online store, then the gallery won’t be okay knowing that customers can get your work somewhere else for a much more reduced price after spending resources and time promoting your work themselves.
CONSIDERING THE LONG TERM WHEN PRICING YOUR ART
When pricing your artwork, it can be very tempting to go as high as possible, but as earlier implied, that is never a good idea. There is never any benefit to having many expensive paintings in your store if no one is buying them. Try considering this as a long-term game and price your artwork based on the guidelines earlier discussed.
So, what is the best time to increase your rate? If you have been getting steady work and your art commission prices have not changed for a while, you can probably increase your price. Instead of diving straight into pricing artwork at a very high range, it is more beneficial to sell work consistently and, in doing so, build your brand. This will help you gain the much-needed reputation necessary to justify those high prices in the long run.
DO’S AND DON’TS OF PRICING YOUR ARTWORK
Irrespective of it being your first artwork or 50th artwork, setting a price on your work can be very difficult and challenging. If you set the price too low and you could end up leaving money on the table, and setting the price too high could result in your artwork stacking up in the studio
When setting a price on your artworks, there are necessary do’s and don’ts to strictly adhere too, so as to ensure your work gets a deserving home while you also earn the profit you deserve.
• Research the Prices of Similar Artists
One question you should consider is how much do similar artists charge for their work. Carefully researching your market will provide you with an idea of how to price your artworks. Consider the works of other artists comparable in size, style, color, and medium. Also, look at the accomplishments of those artists, including their production rate, geographic location, and production rate, after which you can then look online or visit open studios and galleries to get a better view of their art in person.
You can learn certain things from those artists like what they charge and why they charge such amount, including what price sells and what doesn’t. This information can be beneficial in ensuring that your pricing is within the right range.
• Keep the Same Price for Your Galleries and Studio
It is never a good idea to sell artwork from your studio at a reduced price than your gallery. No gallery will be happy to learn you have been selling your work for a lot less, especially with the amount of energy and time they put into sales. In most cases, this might result in the said gallery, not wanting to work with you anymore.
This could also affect you in the long run as other galleries could become aware of this and choose not to work with you. This is why you should ensure that your set prices are generally the same for your studio and your galleries.
• Be Confident and Stand by Your Price
Irrespective of if you are new to selling artworks commercially or not, it is vital for you to be confident in yourself and your prices. Buyers can tell when you are not confident and take advantage of it. Be firm when stating your price and wait for the buyer’s response. Ignore any inner thoughts about lowering the price. When you put in the effort and time to properly price your work, you should have no problem standing by the price. If your buyer wants a reduction from your set price, you can easily justify the price. Confidence is an efficient tool towards ensuring you earn the profit you genuinely deserve.
• Don’t Undersell Yourself or Your Work
Creating artwork is time-consuming and can also attract a lot of expenses, especially on some materials. Creating an eye-catching masterpiece is not something that can be done easily; if it were, then everyone would have been an artist. When pricing your art, take into account the cost of materials as well as reasonable hourly wages. Your price should be determined by the time and money that you put into creating your art.
• Don’t let emotions get in the way
This can be very challenging, mostly due to all the creative effort, time, and emotion invested in your work, so it can be very easy to get attached. It is a wonderful thing to be proud of your work. But it would be best if you did not let your emotions affect your pricing. The pricing of your artwork needs to be based on its physical attributes and not personal value. If there’s one or two of your artworks that you are especially attached to, then consider keeping that work in your private collection and off the market.
Generally, it might not be fun, taking out time to figure the price you want to place on the artwork you put so much effort and time into; however, it is vital for your career as an artist to know how to price your artwork.