Help! Someone has requested a custom piece of artwork but I have absolutely no idea what so ever how much to charge for a piece of original work. Usually I sell my work ON items. Please help! I know I sound clueless!
I have never completed an artwork commission, but I have completed a few jewellery commissions and I have used the following points to work out the price.
You need to charge an hourly rate that includes the time you spend consulting with the customer and planning or designing the original piece, in addition to the time you spend working on the finished piece itself.
You must also take into account work you need to do, materials you need to source or tools your require that are especially for this piece or not in your usual inventory.
Finally, you need to charge an appropriate sum, bearing in mind that the customer will have a unique, original piece of artwork that nobody else in the world has. They should be prepared to pay a fair amount of money for this service! I would have a look at what other artists are prepared to charge for orignals and use their prices as a guide.
Other people on this thread are likely to come up with other factors to take into account, but that’s as much as I usually consider.
I did a commission piece for a friend (a textile peacock). I could only guess how long it could take based on my experience, but I had never made a peacock before, so it could take a lot longer than anticipated! I therefore capped the price for her so she knew what price to expect.
I agree with Samantha above regarding a price, and that was my starting point.
I see that your prices are really low on the illustrations you have for sale at the moment. Don’t think that allows for an hourly rate, probably more a weekly rate like most of us on here.
Look at what you have sold and the prices you sold for and use those as a guide and add some on for the commission element. That’s what I do anyway.
As I can often use the pattern for a commission I’ve designed to make more similar items I have to make sure that the price is in line with other things I sell of that size and complexity.In my case I take the number of pieces of glass into account but in my case material costs are a high element of the price.
I can’t really charge the customer who asked for the design twice what I sell subsequent versions for (I note that everything I make is unique so further copies will always be a bit different).
Hope this helps in some way
Thank you, it’s so difficult getting your head around it all! The illustrations on my cards are just prints (copies) so I haven’t sold/listed an original yet (hence how the price is low). I’ve been reading some articles online and the variety of opinion/advice is unbelievable!
In that case you are going to have to work out approximately how long it will take you, allocate an hourly rate and go from there. Alternative is stick your finger in the air and make a guess Good luck.
My advice would be to guesstimate how long it will take in hours to paint the picture (include the time it takes to liaise with the customer too) Decide how much you want to charge per hour (please don’t charge under the minimum hourly rate) Then add on your fixed costs of materials, fees, postage, insurance, utilities etc and you should come up with a figure. Don’t underestimate the value of a one off piece of artwork X
Just looked on your blog at your lovely art work.
Where do you sell your originals?
Thank you everyone for all the advice, the past few months have been a muddle of reading, learning, and experiencing!
Joy, I sell my illustrations (on items such as mugs etc) at craft fairs and Amun Arts ( https://www.facebook.com/amunarts/ ) sell some of my fine art prints, like the daffodil clock in the picture. I’ve only ever sold two originals - one amounting to daylight robbery to an acquaintance and a canvas piece which was auctioned for a charity.
I find it difficult to give myself an hourly rate as I’m such a fusser that I can spend up to 20 hours on a fine art piece! I feel like people wouldn’t be willing to pay a significant amount for an original, though I’d love to sell some!
I always find pricing very difficult. It’s a hobby, not my living, so it’s not critical, but I want to be professional about it.
Have a look in local exhibitions and see what people are selling for, which may give you a guide to what buyers think is reasonable. Remember that in exhibitions the artist has had to pay for the framing and paid fees and commission to the organisers, and see what that leaves them. Most cases that’s nowhere near a living wage per hour spent on the piece. If you cost it up at £7 /hr or whatever, then add profit, you 'd quickly reach an embarrassingly high number.
The trick is to get it in between, then stick to your guns. and hold out for what you are worth. Don’t underprice just to sell, that’s saying you don’t value your own work.
Also, selling unframed (just mounted) work means you don’t have to recoup the cost of a frame which might be putting the buyer off anyway (because it doesn’t match their wallpaper!) and makes it seem more affordable.
Good luck! That first sale of an original, or exhibition Red Dot is such a thrill