That certainly did the trick didn't it. Got quite a few of you talking and your approaches all vary and are all valid and ways that I have used myself.
How did you answer my question? What is the lowest price you would accept? Why?
It is just a tactic I use to price my own work. I don't ever charge that price but it does give me a rational starting place.
There is not a one size fits all solution because we are all individuals working in a plethora of ways with a huge variety of mediums.
So now let me tell you about my two very different experiences, today I am going to start with my gallery owners head first. On Friday it will be completely me with my artists hat on.
Everything I type from now on is from a business owner point of view.
Let's get this out of the way first, I take a commission from sales. It is in both mine and the artists best interests that the work is priced to sell.
I have my finger on the pulse of what peoples general comfort zone of spending is in my gallery in Swanage. Yes, I have rule breakers, I wish I had many more but since the recession people are happy to spend £500 and under. The key thing to note here is the word 'happy'. These are easy sales that people rarely think too hard about. If we want to add comfortable, warm and fluffy to the equation we have to go down to £200 and under.
That's just how it is. I have learned to have a fairly accurate gauge when it comes to pricing. (OTHER PEOPLES WORK). Why the capital letters? I think we all know why, more on that later.
The hard bit is convincing artists that I know what I am talking about. That's a hard one. What you can't/shouldn't do is work out the value of your work and then add the gallery commission on top. This seems to be common practice but it is not a good one. If you don't do this then look away now.
If you value something at £100 then add 50% to cover commission the value of the piece is still only £100, not £150. As human beings we actually have a fairly good innate sense of value. Whether we are prepared to spend it or not is another thing but be can judge fairly accurately if some thing is the right price for what it is. This applies to art as well.
How do you get it right? Compromise? Well yes a little bit, but you have to look at the bigger picture. I said yesterday multiple smaller sales vs one bigger sale could be more financially lucrative.
The most important thing to remember is that you cannot go backwards. If you have sold well at £150 for specific type of work via a gallery or personally. You have set a benchmark. If you want to encourage people to collect your work it is important that you remain consistent.
Do not be tempted to think that because you might be paying less commission or no commission that you should lower your prices. If someone paid £150 for your work and they see it somewhere else valued at £100 they will not be happy. Remember this if you are in it for the long game.
When I have sold peoples work who have a continuous theme running through it, be it colour, subject matter etc. When the work is reasonably priced it is quite common yes, common for people to buy 3 or on a few occasions 5. Just a little food for thought, you can also add incentive by giving a good discount on multiple purchases.
I think that doing your homework is absolutely key to perfecting the art of pricing. I visit galleries all the time and I look at what they are charging for original work. I look at the scale, media, the content and if there are business cards I'll take one and look the artist up.
Knowing what market you are aiming for is part of the pricing solution.
One thing I can tell you that they also do, many of them that is. If they have a featured artist that they are selling prints by as well as originals. The prints are not of the ones on the wall. This is clever as it doesn't encourage the 'can't afford the original so I'll buy a print' mentality. It also allows a sense of still getting something unique.
- Do your homework.
- Be optimistic but realistic
- Get guidance from professionals and take it on board.
- Understand that you will never really achieve the equivalent of a professional hourly rate. But it is what we all aspire to.
- If you are just starting out then your prices should reflect this.
- The more your work becomes known and the more you sell should impact on your pricing.
- Do not get greedy!
- Work out a formula that works for you and your work and stick to it.
- If you produce work at £100 or less try and negotiate commission with the gallery. 45% is excessive on smaller sales but remember they will also be working hard to sell your work for you.
One last thing I have written blogs about this before, are you a commercial artist? Or are you an artist that makes things that they want to make, that hopes people will like it enough to buy it? I am the latter and it means that sometimes I am lucky and sometimes I am not.