Want to start offering commissions but are unsure of what to charge? We're here for you! Let's quickly talk about why your custom work for clients should be priced differently than your other original or editioned works.

Every artist is on their own journey and if it makes sense for you and works for you to charge the same amount, that's great! This advice is for artists who are new to commissions and want to be informed as to why other artists might charge more.

Commission pricing for artists
Image credit: By Curated.

First and simply, it often takes more time to create custom pieces. From going back and forth with clients to incorporating changes or feedback, you may easily find that a commission takes hours, days or even weeks longer to create than your other artwork. Not to mention, you may be taking time away from making work for personal projects and exhibitions to create these pieces for your clients. As such, you will want to be charging extra to account for that extra time and effort.

Along similar lines, commissions may require you to purchase additional materials. Depending on the scale, color palette or other design directives from your collectors, you may have to buy materials you don't already have. Again, make sure that you are covering those costs within the price of the artwork.

Finally, you are creating something totally unique but also specifically for your collector. It's a special process where they are getting access to you in a way that your other buyers do not. Since you're selling a premium experience, it makes sense that it comes at a higher price.

And there you have it! Three top reasons why you should consider asking for more when it comes to commissions. Ready to actually come up with concrete numbers of what to charge your collectors for your custom pieces? Good news! We've got a brand new tool for you: the art commission pricing calculator. Try it out & thanks for reading!

Want to learn more about how to price your art in general? We cover all things pricing in The Smartist School program, an affordable course for emerging artists, and in The Complete Smartist Guide book.


Alicia Puig has been a contributing writer for Create! Magazine since 2017.