Adding on to Kat’s article that covers three simple tips on how to price your art, this blog will cover even more advice about pricing artwork!
Before even bringing up actual numbers, let’s discuss mindset. Why? Because talking about adding a monetary value to your work is really a larger conversation about sales. And in order to sell, you need to be able to present your prices confidently. It can feel daunting to ask for a certain price for your work early on. So, how do you build confidence in your prices? Base them on aspects of your career and practice such as your career experience, your mastery of your craft, and/or the time and money invested in your work. This way, if anyone asks why you charge what you do, you have evidence to support you. Also keep in mind that it will get easier with time. Each yes you get from a client will confirm that you’re on the right track when it comes to your prices and motivate you to keep going!
Professionalism and transparency can also tie into your confidence in your prices. Respond promptly to inquiries and don’t feel pressured to offer discounts right away. Say your number and let the other person come back to you with a decision or offer first. Then, you can negotiate if needed. You may opt to show prices directly on your website (which we generally recommend) and have price lists handy for any current bodies of work you have available to sell. Being prepared and ready for sales will help others see you as a professional artpreneur and believe in your worth.
Now, Iet's dive into the basics of pricing artwork if you’re an emerging artist:
- Price original artworks higher than editions and multiples. In addition, larger works should be worth more than smaller sized artworks unless the prices are based on another factor like the cost of materials or hours of labor.
- Always aim to make a profit. It’s okay if you only break even for your first few sales to practice selling. That said, learn to trust that you will connect with the right collectors who will be happy to pay what you are worth in order to own art they love.
- Be consistent with your prices. It’s common practice to have, for example, all of your works that are 12 x 12 to be the same price (assuming they are created with the same media). If you price things of the same size differently, it can confuse your potential customers and make them question the true value of your artwork.
- Don’t forget taxes & the cost of shipping. Look up rates in your area to ensure you’re charging the correct amounts. When selling online and if you are selling mostly regionally or nationally, consider including the cost of shipping within the price to streamline your sales.
- Price your commissions higher than already made originals to account for any revisions or or directions you allow from your clients.
These tips will help you get started, but as a final note, I want to remind you that pricing your art isn’t meant to be black and white. It should evolve over time and grow with you. You likely won’t find the “perfect” answer right away so you may have to experiment a bit at first to see what works. Even with the right price, you’ll still have customers who will walk away. This happens to everyone! Please don’t beat yourself up over a missed sale. Those who are truly interested come back eventually and the rest simply weren’t the right client for you.
You may have heard people say that you can always raise prices but should never lower them. I think this is too strict of an approach. Lowering prices may be necessary on occasion (especially when you’re figuring things out) and that’s okay. Other phrases often repeated about pricing are “the best price is the one you can say with a straight face” or “the best price is the one you can get away with”. I’d say: the best price is one you believe in and would be excited to sell your artwork for. To me, that’s where the true magic happens.
Still unsure? Try one of these three art pricing calculators! You can also find more advice on pricing, selling, and marketing your work in our book The Complete Smartist Guide.
Alicia Puig has been a contributing writer for Create! Magazine since 2017.