Pricing art is extremely difficult. Many artists feel deciding on a price for a work is more daunting than creating it! If you’re struggling with what to charge for art you’ve made, here are a few schools of thought to get you started:
Hourly Wage Method
Particularly appropriate for emerging artists, one popular pricing method is taking a look at the hours involved in creating the artwork as well as the cost of supplies. The first step is to determine what you believe is a fair value for 1 hour of your time. This can be anywhere from 10 dollars an hour to more than 100 an hour. Next, track how many hours you spent creating the piece of artwork as well how much you spent on the supplies. Multiply the numbers of hours spent by the hourly wage you would like to collect. Next take that number and add the cost of supplies. After you have calculated your the cost of your time and supplies together, increase that amount by 30%. This 30% is the commission that the seller will be taking for selling your work.
Hourly wage: $20
Amount of hours: 6
Cost of supplies: $25
( Hourly wage x Amount of hours + Cost of Supplies ) + 30%
$20 x 6 + $25 = $145 + $43 = $188
Square Inch Method
Another popular method involves basing the price on the size of the painting in order to keep your prices consistently through your body of work. This is done by calculating the price per square inch of surface area. You can determine this price by dividing the price of a painting that sold at a price you were comfortable with, or by using the following simple formula. Determine the price per square inch based on your experience level, multiply this number by the number of inches in your painting, and add the cost of the materials used. You should increase the cost of the materials used by the amount of commission the seller is taking (in the case of ArtVenue, 30%) so you aren’t losing money on the supplies.
Price per square inch: $0.50
Size of Canvas: 16 x 20 = 320 sq inches.
Cost of supplies: $25
Price per square inch x Number of sq inches + ( Cost of supplies + 30% )
$0.50 x 320 = $160 + $25 + $7 = $192
Analyze the Market
If you are not comfortable using a formula to calculate an appropriate price for your work, another way to determine an appropriate price is to analyze your market. Do your research to find an artist you believe your work is comparable to in quality that is selling well and also is at the same stage in his artistic career as you are. You can leverage their prices to determine what the market is willing to pay. Keep in mind, this isn’t a guaranteed way to succeed in your pricing strategy, many other aspects could be influencing the fact that their work is selling and yours isn’t.
Things to keep in mind once you have determined a pricing strategy:
- Don’t let your emotions get involved in your pricing, it will lead you to have an inconsistent pricing strategy.
- Stay consistent with the pricing throughout your body of work.
- Keep in mind that medium as well as size play a part in pricing.
- Price for the environment around you. Customers at a coffee shop will not be willing to pay as much as customers in an established art gallery.