Over the past few years, artists have discovered they could build a successful art business by selling their artwork at local art fairs, online, and galleries.
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However, their challenge is developing a pricing strategy that works and produces a fair hourly rate.
Artwork prices should reflect the time it took to make the product, the cost of your materials, and what potential buyers are willing to pay. If your art ranges in prices from $10 to $2,000, it’s confusing for people thinking about buying your work. A wide variety of low prices and higher prices for similar sizes will discourage a potential buyer from making a purchase.
A consistent price range is significant because buyers want to know they’re paying a fair price and getting the best deal in person or online.
Pricing art is difficult because so many variables are involved in production and marketing. But, by defining the factors that go into your art’s price, you’ll be able to build a pricing strategy you can feel confident about when selling to galleries, at art fairs, or online.
What Determines The Price Of Artwork?
When developing a pricing strategy, ask yourself: what went into making your artwork? The factors that affect the price include materials, time to create the piece, career level, and product in demand.
Materials: Start by taking an inventory of everything you used to make the piece. If you bought supplies at retail prices, it would be easy to know how much they cost. The best way to keep track of your material costs is by creating a spreadsheet with all the materials you use and the costs of the supplies.
Marketing Fees: Calculate how much it costs to market the painting you sell. Always include art fair fees and gallery commissions if you sell your art in a gallery.
If you’re working in a gallery, commissions usually range from 30-50%, depending on how much the gallery sells your work and whether they represent other artists. If you’re self-representing, use online galleries that charge less or have no fees.
If you sell your art in local gift shops, calculate the commission fees.
You will also want to include the advertising costs of your online store.
All costs of running a business should be included in the selling price. The bottom line is that you are in business to make money, not lose money.
Time: How long did it take to make the painting? If you use a technique that involves multiple steps, note how much time went into each stage and the overall time it took to finish the piece. The number of hours spent on a project should be included in the price.
How To Price Art For Beginners
There are many factors when it comes to pricing a work of art. However, the three strategies below will make the process easier. After you have decided on a price structure for your products, you will want to ensure the prices are the same on all platforms you use to sell your artwork.
FORMULA 2: (Hourly Wage × Hours Spent) + Cost of Materials
Your hourly wage should reflect the money and time you spent creating your artwork. Giving yourself an hourly wage ensures you are paid for each work hour and cover the materials used for each project.
For example, if you make $18 per hour and spend six hours working on the painting, your formula would look like this:
($18 × 6) + Cost of Materials = Price Tag
$108 + Cost of Materials = Price Tag
Before settling on a price, research what prices other artists with similar levels and sell similar work. If their prices are much lower, you might consider lowering your costs until your artwork is in demand and you have a significant social media presence.
Price By Size
Pricing by the size of a painting (linear inches) is another popular way artists price their artwork. Add the height and the width and multiply the cost per inch.
For example, if your painting is 10″ x 10″ the total inches equals 20″. (10″ +10″)
If you want to charge $20 per inch, the painting price will be $200.
10″ + 10″ x $20 = $200
This simple formula will ensure that smaller and larger works are constantly priced.
Price By Square Inch
Lastly, you can price your paintings by pricing your art by square inches. To do this, multiply the width by the height in inches x the price per square inch.
10″ x 10″ x $4 = $400
Why Is It Important To Have Consistent Prices
Emerging artists work hard to become established artists. Often they become impatient and change the sale price in hopes of landing a sale. It takes time to become an established artist. So it is a good idea to be consistent with your prices and work on strategies to drive an art buyer to your online portfolio.
Here are some reasons you don’t want to have different prices for your artwork.
Be Consistent On All Platforms
People won’t rely on your work if you change your prices often. Take time to define a strategy and purpose for every price change. If someone is interested in buying one of your paintings, they probably want to buy more. Consistent pricing will make them feel secure that their investment will pay off down the road.
Make sure that your prices are the same, both online and offline. If you sell your work at art fairs, your website prices should be the same. Sometimes, a potential buyer might want to take some time to think if they will invest in a painting. They might feel cheated if they visit your online art gallery and notice the price is higher than at the art fair they attended. Having consistent prices establishes trust between you and your clients.
To become a professional artist, you will want to build credibility. Art collectors pay close attention to price increases and fluctuating prices. You will not only upset a buyer if they purchased a limited edition print at the highest price but discover the price is lower the following week. Yes, it is ok to have sales throughout the year but adjusting the price point because you are trying to increase sales will ruin your reputation. There is a lot of competition in the art world, so make sure you build credibility, not lose it.
Price Your Work Right
When setting the price for your work, consider all the factors that go into creating it. Set a fair price that people will still think is a good deal even if it’s higher than others charging for similar work.
If you put in the time, energy, and money for materials, your prices should reflect that effort. It is unfair to pay yourself less than what is worth when you sell your art, so be sure to price yourself fairly.
A great way to build your business faster is by setting competitive prices, and as your art sells, you can increase your prices yearly.
Final Thoughts On Consistent Art Prices
Pricing artwork can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Decide how you’re going to price your work and stick with it.
By following these three basic strategies, you’ll be able to define your pricing strategy and sell more artwork.