For the first time, I included shipping (in Australia) in the price of my paintings during my latest exhibition. Usually, a shipping estimate is added on to the cost of the painting, and can be up to $300 for some of my larger works. While most people expect to pay this, it is a nice surprise when I tell them it’s included.
It's had a great response from customers! I thought it might make it simpler to offer just the one price. I raised the price of my paintings to cover it, and made sure there was a little extra for packing materials and time. I know roughly the cost to send most of my painting sizes now, so could build this into my final price.
I can still spend up to an hour packing large paintings, so will need to compensate for this more in the future, but this has been...
In a word, no! Art is a different skill to most paid trades, and it doesn't really work like that. I'll explain why.
When you are just beginning, your art is likely to take longer and you'll be charging less for it. As you gain experience, your art will likely take less time to create, yet you can charge more for it. We have to put in the hard yards as artists to start with, but it ultimately pays off!
While it is good to have a rough idea of how long an artwork takes to produce, if you work out your price divided by your hourly rate, it is likely to be slightly depressing at first. I used to paint with tiny brushes, and would take weeks to finish a painting. My prices had to be low to begin with, but my few sales enabled me to create more art, get better, and develop new and faster...
Put simply, everything you spend money on for your art business is an expense. It’s important to keep track of all these items in order to make informed decisions so that you can get a clear picture of how much you are actually generating from your business.
It also takes some of the emotion out of pricing your art. Knowing how much each artwork cost to produce helps you price each piece from a more objective perspective. It can also help you stand firm on your pricing in the face of a price negotiator and see ways in which you can cut back on costs.
And perhaps most importantly, knowing your expenses can help you better predict for the future of your art business. As artists, we don’t rely on a steady pay check. There are busy months, then months that see just a...
I often get asked by artists when is the right time to increase their prices, as it can be tricky and needs to have some reasoning behind it if queried.
I have raised my prices steadily over the six years I have worked as a professional artist. After working out my initial prices for my paintings, cards, and prints, there was a lot of testing and measuring to find out what worked well. This is what I found:
- There is a sweet spot when starting out. Start low, but not too low that you under value yourself and your work.
- It is much easier (and looks better!) for your prices to go up than come down.
- Avoid discounting if possible.
- Have different price points for your art business. Depending on what you are selling, have some lower-priced items such as cards, mid-priced items such as prints,...
If you choose to sell your work exclusively through shops and galleries, then you don't need to know much about how to sell your art. The galleries and assistants will do this for you, all you need to do is supply the work and pick up a cheque at the end of the month. While this may seem appealing to some, it does usually involve giving around 40% of your earnings back to the gallery, which makes it harder to earn a living as an artist, unless you are selling a lot of high-end artworks, fairly regularly.
One of the best parts about being an artist for me, is seeing the joy my work brings to the people who buy it. Whether it's for themselves or a gift for a loved one, I never tire of seeing their response, understanding their connection to a piece and hearing about the pleasure it brings...