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Pricing Your Artwork: 4 Steps to Pricing Your Work

· Support Artists,Artist Services

Pricing artwork is a challenge without one correct solution. I know that statement essentially starts me off on the foot of contradicting my title, but bare with me. There is no one right way to set pricing for artwork, but after 10+ years of watching artists stare at their work wistfully and pray for an appropriate number to just magically pop into their heads, I felt there had to be some way to help them at least get started. Below you’ll find 4 steps that you can use as a formula or pick and choose what works for you.
 

1) How much did it cost you to create the piece? What did the materials cost? How long did it take you and what is your time worth? (Side note: Your time is worth more than $10 or $15 an hour. It’s one thing if you are in a steady job where there are other benefits and the employer is carrying some of the tax burden, but as an artist/small business, self-employment taxes are hefty, and you need to consider them. How high you go above $15 is totally up to you, but I strongly encourage you to value your artmaking time at more than $15/hour.)

2) Multiply that number by 3. This is the absolute bare minimum number your work should go for. Why? Because if you only cover your hard costs without any markup, you aren’t making any money towards business costs like building and hosting a website, getting your work photographed or business cards designed (hint hint nudge nudge), investing in future work, sales commission or taxes, for example. There’s also classes, studio rental, the time you spent learning how to use this medium.
3) This is often where people ask me, “Wait, why haven’t you asked me how big the work is?” I don’t fundamentally believe larger art should cost more. Size comes into consideration in step #1 where you are calculating material costs because presumably larger work takes more material and costs more, but after that, I stop thinking about size. I have several small paintings that I would price higher than larger ones because of my personal affinity for the work.
4) Supply and demand. How prolific are you as an artist? Do you create only one-of-a-kind works? Is your work collectible? If you don’t create that much work but everybody wants it, you can charge more. If you are editioning work, you charge less than one-of-a-kinds or originals.

Still need help? Don’t stress out, this is a highly personal and sometimes emotional process. Get in touch and we can talk through your specific work and pricing strategy!

 

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