Artists often ask me how much they should price their work for. This conversation comes up pretty frequently and is something I consider every time I finish a painting. There are a number of factors that I take into consideration when pricing my work and in this article I hope to break them down for you.
When you start off nobody knows or cares who you are, so you should keep your prices humble, but DO NOT undervalue it – this gives the impression that you don’t believe in your work. Take into consideration studio costs, time taken, material costs, transportation costs, and gallery commissions (which are usually 50%). Now create a price to ensure you aren’t losing money!
Visit the exhibitions of artists who you think are at the same level as you and see how they price their work. This can help you evaluate yourself and ensure you are well placed within the market.
Have your prices written down, even better, have them up on your website with the asking price. Now when a collector asks "how much?" you can refer to your catalogue and it shows that you aren't making prices up in that moment. You can also reinforce your artwork's worth according to previous reference points. For example, last week I agreed on a commission for £2,000 - that price was based on a work of similar scale and complexity that I sold the previous month. My client was assured by the knowledge that others in his position were happy to pay that price. It gave my price more tangibility.
Ultimately, it isn’t about what other people are selling for, it’s about what you CAN sell for. If you can sell consistently at a given price, then test incrementing it. If you stop selling, then you’ll know you’ve gone too far. I aim to sell work more or less at the rate that I can make it. That way my studio doesn’t get too clogged up with artworks. On the other hand, if you are selling paintings faster than you can create them, it’s time to price up.
Have a range:
As the price of your artworks goes up, ensure not to price people out of owning them. Make looser sketches or limited edition prints; these are more affordable and it means that your work is accessible for people on a tighter budget. At the same time, you should be pushing the boundaries and creating statement, high-end pieces for your luxury buyers. This allows you to keep sales coming in from a greater range of the art buying population and keeps your cash flow more consistent.
If you are following the above steps then have confidence. If you believe you are worth it, then others will too!
As always I love to start a conversation with these articles, so please leave your thoughts in the comment section and share with anyone who may be having difficulty pricing their work.