Skip to main content
Learn How to Start and Run a T-Shirt Business using RedBubble, Society6 and TeePublic - Click Here

Creating a Mobile Independent Artist Business - Part 11: Pricing your art

Now that you have options for where to sell your art or make money from it (Part A and Part B), the question is how much do you charge for your art? Working out prices is one of the first questions new artists moving into a career often ask.

There are many different approaches to pricing your art with many different factors to take into account. In this article I'll look at, what I think, is the simplest method to get you started with setting your prices from the point of view of running a business and earning enough to live on.


How much does your life cost?


Step one in working out how to price your art is working out what all you monthly and yearly expenses cost you. Find out all your monthly and annual expenses (distribute the annual ones evenly into your monthly expenses). Include everything you purchase regularly not just things related to creating your art. i.e. Mortagage Payments/Rent, Electricity bills, phone bills, groceries, Drinks at the end of the week... you name it, if it's an ongoing expense include it.

Add up everything you spend over a year and divide by twelve to get the cost of you life per month. This is how much money you need to make to break even every month with no savings (unless you've factored in an amount for monthly savings into your expenses).


How much do you want to earn a year?


You know how much you need to earn from the previous section but how much do you want to earn every year? Before you start throwing out six zero figures, the higher the number you throw out there the harder you're going to have to work to achieve it.

A good base income is the amount you need to earn per month multiplied by two. Essentially a 100% mark up on your life. Similar  to how many retailers put a 100% mark up on every product they sell. Doing this means in one month you're effectively making enough money to cover all your expenses for two months.

Once you've tried calculating your prices based on a 100% mark up you can calculate alternate price points by raising or reducing the mark up to see how it affects your pricing.


How much of your Art do you need to sell?


Specifically, how much of your art will you need to sell per month in order to make the amount of money you want to earn per month? Take the most common style of artwork you make, for example an average sized painting. How many of those can you paint in a month? To keep the math easy let's say ten. You can make ten of those a month.

Now take how much you want to earn per month and divide it by ten to get the individual price of those artworks. You'll need to sell ten pieces of art at that price to make the amount you want to earn per month.

The question then becomes, can you consistently make ten pieces of art in a month? If you can, great. If not you'll need to reduce that number to however many you think you can realistically make a month and do the division again.

Once you have a price does that number seem realistic based on the kind of art you make? This is where a bit of research of your market helps.


What prices are other people selling similar art for?


Look around for other works of similar size, medium and style to yours. Try to get a broad cross section of prices. Probably best to exclude extemely well known artists from your research as their pricing will likely factor in 'investment' value, which will really distort their pricing in comparison to your calculations.

Try to find an average price and compare that to what you've calculated so far. If it's about the same figure you're doing well. If it's higher than your calculation that's quite promising. You might even consider either raising your prices (for a higher montly income) and/or selling fewer per month at the higher price (for the same monthly income).

If it's lower than your price that could be an issue. You'll need to consider whether dropping your prices and making more art per month is an option or not. You may even have to consider dropping how much you want to make per month (try to avoid going any less than a 100% mark up though).


But I'm selling _______, how do I price that?


It really doesn't matter what kind of artwork or art service you're selling, this pricing model applies across the board as a good starting point. You need to know how much to sell of whatever kind of art your selling, whether it be original paintings, digital prints, greeting cards or an art service etc. in order to set a sales goal for each month.

Making your sales goal per month will allow you to earn a decent living from your art. If you sell more, that's fantastic. If you sell consistenly less, you either need to work harder at selling or recalculate your numbers to keep your business running successfully.


But I sell more than one type of art?


This is where your pricing research will be really useful. You can still do the same math for each individual product or service. Find out how many of each product you'll need to sell in order to make your monthly sales target. Then factor in different quantities of each product you're going to sell each month in order to make up your total sales goal for the month.

For example, say you sell art cards, small artwork studies and large artworks. To meet your monthly sales goal of $100.00 (I'm keeping the numbers small and simple just for this example) you need to sell either:

  • 100 artcards @ $1.00 each
  • 10 artwork studies @ $10.00 each or,
  • 2 large artworks @ $50.00 each

Since you have three very different items you can mix up how many you sell of each based on how many of each you think you can produce per month so long as the total amount matches your sales goal.

For my example your sales goals could be:

  • 1 large artwork per month
  • 2 artwork studies and,
  • 30 art cards 

Altogether totalling $100 per month. The actual amounts of each product you sell could also be tied to the popularity of a specific item, once you start getting an understanding of what is selling best. You may choose to make more of a popularly selling item because you know there is a better chance of making a sale.


But my work takes longer than a month to make?


No problem. To calculate pricing you'll need to add up the sales goals of however many months it takes you to make an artwork and this becomes the base price for that artwork. If it looks too high you're going to either need to work quicker or make and sell more than one at a time.

When it comes to selling the artwork, you'll need to project the sale forward into your future sales goals. That way you're not behind whilst waiting to make a sale for a period, you're ahead on sales goals for future months.

To explain, every time you sell an artwork that takes months to make, you spread that amount across the sales goals of future months until it no longer covers the sales goals of that month. The first month that it doesn't cover the sales goal, is the month that you know you'll need to sell another artwork in order to make your living for the next few months.

Ideally, the time it takes to make your artwork is less than the time it takes before you'll need to make another sale, thus you'll earn a living and keep up with demand.


Things to consider


As I said at the beginning of this article there are many different methods to price your art. My method should really only be a starting point. The main advantage is that this method assesses your life and helps you to understand how much money you'll need to make in order to earn a full time and relatively comfortable living.

Many other methods often focus on individual artworks and don't seem to have any connection to your business as a whole.

However my suggested method does have a few short falls that should be considered if you're not getting the sales and meeting your sales goals, including:

  • The market you're selling to. The prices you command on eBay are going to be very different to those you can potentially earn from a real world gallery for the exact same piece of art. If your prices are too high for the market you're trying to sell to, you won't get any sales.
     
  • Wholesale versus Retail pricing. The prices you calculate in my method are really wholesale prices. These are the prices you must sell your work at and still make a profit. To get your retail pricing you should, at minimum, double your wholesale price. This then gives you some leway for offering discounts whilst still always making a profit.
     
  • This pricing model does not take into account the investment value of your work, if your art is seen as an investment by your collectors or you want it to be seen as an investment purchase.
     
  • The emotional demand and/or subject of an artwork is also not considered. You may create art that really pulls at the heart strings for many viewers or is of subject matter that is in high demand. Artworks like this may command higher prices then similarly sized works that have less emotional impact or are of less popular subject matter.
     
---o ---o--- o---

When it comes to art, pricing can be a very personal thing. If you just want to be practical or need somewhere to start then the above method works well. Once you start selling you'll get a feel for what sells and what doesn't and how much you can price things at.

Remember that, in the art world, the cheapest pricing isn't always the best pricing to go with. Higher pricing is often associated with quality and/or prestige. Try to be consistent with your pricing and always remember to price with your overall sales goals in mind.


Comments

St!nk
* Affiliate Link - Support our advertisers and help keep this site free *

Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: Long Story Short (2021) *Very minor spoilers*

Written and directed by Australian actor, Josh Lawson, Long Story Short is a fun rom-com about putting things off until the 'right' time and maybe how that isn't a good strategy for life. Rafe Spall plays Teddy, a guy who has a reputation for putting things off, and waiting too long to act on important decisions like setting a wedding date to his fiance, Leanne (Zahra Newman). It's not that he's lazy or unmotivated, it's just that he likes to wait for the perfect time to act. One day while visiting his father's grave he meets a strange woman (Noni Hazlehurst) who promises to give him a gift on his wedding day. Teddy doesn't think too much of it but then, on his wedding day, he jumps forward a year in time, where Leanne is celebrating their one year wedding anniversary. Teddy barely has time to comprehend his predicament before he flashes forward to their two year anniversary. Long Story Short inevitably will be compared to the Bill Murray movie, Ground

Movie Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) *Spoiler Free*

I must admit I definitely didn’t dislike the original, theatrical cut of Joss Wheden’s 2017 Justice League. In fact I gave it a mostly positive review and I bought the DVD. However after seeing Zack Snyder’s Justice League , a four hour epic, I definitely prefer the latter. Comparing the two versions, the overall story is mostly the same. Based on Lex Luthor’s warning at the end of Batman Versus Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman must assemble a team of superheroes to combat an imminent attack on the planet by an alien army. Where the versions differ is in the character development and backstory of each hero as they are brought into the team. As well you get a much more fleshed out backstory and motivation for the movie’s villains. Most of this character development is either scaled back or completely changed in the original 2017 release, with the major, major villain erased from that film entirely. I also got the sense that once the team comes together the mood between the characters

Lower Your Expectations, COVID-19 Vaccines Aren't a 'Cure-All'

I'm going to preface this post with the obvious, I'm not a medical expert. I have no experience with creating vaccines nor how they work. Everything that follows is based upon my own opinions and thoughts. Definitely do your own research on whether you want to get vaccinated for COVID-19 or not. The following cut'n'paste message has been circulating on Facebook. At least that's where I first came across it. It's not attributed to anyone so it's not possible to draw any conclusions about the original poster's motivations or intent: --- Post begins --- Let’s awaken some people’s minds... What happens if you decide to get "vaccinated" (beside the fact that you could end up very sick or even dead)??? Here are 12 important questions and answers before considering getting vaccinated: "If I get vaccinated can I stop wearing a mask(s)?" Government: "NO" "If I get vaccinated will the restaurants, bars, schools, fitness clubs, h

Podcasts for Comic Book Movie Nerds and Enterprising Side Hustlers

If you haven’t discovered Podcasts yet you’re missing out on an entire world of ready to listen to content covering a whole library of interests that you can download into your favorite mobile podcast app and listen to at your convenience. If you have I thought I’d spend take the opportunity to recommend some of the podcasts I’m listening to. My podcast app of choice is Beyond Pod for Android but any podcast app will probably do. Once you have your app installed search for these shows from within the app. Comic Book Movie Podcasts If you haven’t noticed I’m a total comic book movie nerd but I don’t really know anyone who likes these movies as much as I do. Consequently I seek out podcasts where I can hear all kinds of discussions surrounding these movies, from the moment they are first announced, to a scene by scene, spoiler breakdown of the final movie release (after I’ve seen the film of course). Fatman Beyond - Director, Kevin Smith, and screen writer Marc Bernardin, deliver a usu

TV Series Review: WandaVision (2021) *Spoiler Free*

Marvel Studios continues the Marvel Cinematic Universe on the small screen with the nine part series, WandaVision , now streaming on Disney+. Initially released weekly during January and February 2021, the entire series is now available to stream with a Disney+ subscription. Set a few weeks after Avengers: Endgame , superheroes, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (Paul Bettany) appear to be living an idealistic life in a black and white 1950’s sitcom. However everything isn’t as it seems in this new reality. WandaVision is an unusual story about love, loss, grief, and healing told through the lens of witches and superheroes. It’s a fairly original concept with plenty of humor, interesting character development, and quite a few surprises. I don’t usually review television series, despite watching quite a lot of them through various streaming services, however WandaVision is definitely worth an exception. For me, the series was the closest yet to watching a live action version o

Crowne Plaza Hotel and Botanical Gardens, Adelaide, South Australia.

Crowne Plaza Hotel, Adelaide, South Australia My partner, Enigma, and I finally managed our two day getaway in Adelaide staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel , ideally located not far from the central shopping district, arts precinct, and cafe strip. I say 'finally' because we initially booked this getaway in November of 2020 and watched it disappear on the morning we were meant to leave as SA went into a hard lockdown due to a COVID19 outbreak. Frustratingly the lockdown turned out to be unnecessary thanks to a not entirely accurate reporting on the movements of one positive case. However the damage to our trip was done. Lock down was lifted two days later but we had to reschedule our stay for January. Thankfully the Crowne Plaza was able to honor the same discount prices we had initially booked for, bringing the stay within our budget for two nights. Service at the hotel has been good. This is the first hotel we've stayed at with a street level concierge, who explains where t

Five Websites to Print Your Own Custom Designs/Photos Onto T-Shirts and Other Gifts

Have you ever wanted to print your child’s art onto their very own skateboard, or create a calendar of all your holiday snaps (or maybe even a photo book)? That’s where Print On Demand websites come in. They specialise in printing custom images onto their products, with orders being as small as just one item. While many of these sites are designed for artists and photographers to open online shops to sell their designs that doesn’t mean you can’t use these sites too. There’s no reason you can’t open your own free shop for the sole purpose of buying your own printed designs - some sites will let you design custom products without needing to open a shop at all. Below I’ve created a list of five Print On Demand sites I’ve used and recommend, along with a sixth bonus option that you may not have even thought of but is probably the most convenient of all. Red Bubble - Has grown into quite possibly one of the biggest Print On Demand sites online. Registering a free account will give you acc

Buy Gifts and Apparel featuring art by TET