This is a question I’ve been asked a lot about, as well as have mentioned to other artists that they need to CHARGE MORE. This is probably one of the most difficult parts to navigate when first starting your own business or service. You are in the stage of not wanting to overcharge, but still wanting to make money. I know it’s hard because for awhile my only clients were friends and family. And this not only causes issues, but it makes you want to keep your work affordable for everyone, but this also makes your business less profitable. Sometimes with family and friends we have to remind them that this isn’t just a hobby, but a skill, and a career we are trying to create for ourselves.
When you lower your pricing to make it more attainable for certain people, you are not only devaluing yourself, but other creators as well. You are potentially missing out on your ‘Marke’t by trying to cater to just a small portion of individuals. Our skills have been crafted from years of learning, making mistakes, and perfecting. When we undersell ourselves, we are devaluing our skillset and craft. For example, why would you price an original hand-painted piece of art for the same cost someone can pay for a mass-produced non-original artwork you can purchase at Hobby Lobby? Now they will always expect those prices when going to any creative, because they are not understanding everything that goes behind creating something. We need to collectively let our clients know that we are not here to offer bargain prices to make a little money, we are here to offer THEM something that is original and unique and truly from the heart, all the while creating a business. This also leads into another topic that I’ll save for another post.
So how do you price your work? Again, I’ll probably make this statement many times throughout, that I am not a genius on all of this, I simply have lived through it and have learned a lot along the way and am offering you insight into this before you make those mistakes, which saves you time, effort & money!
Obviously there are many factors that contribute to pricing your work that may vary for each type of field, but what I’ve learned to start with is to find out your hourly rate that you are worth. This can be determined based on your skillset and your experience. Remember that when starting out you are typically the only person running your business, so you cannot afford to be paid the same as a larger business would pay you as an employee. I’ve created a standard pricing guide below for some creative types. Again, these are just simple equations to get you started, this may vary based on how much it costs you to run your business, as well as any extras that go into your work.
Cost of Materials + Hours it Takes to Complete ( x your hourly rate) Your cost of materials should include everything, your brushes (if you need new ones for the project), canvas, paint usage, the varnish you use to seal it, etc. Your time it takes to complete should include any planning as well.
Hours it Takes to Complete Design (x Your Hourly Rate) + Revision Time + Client Communication Time <— This last one is something I noticed (myself included) people tend to forget to add in. This is the time you may go back and forth with a client in between revisions, calls, emails, etc. Think about it this way, if you worked at a large corporation, all of this would be done on the clock and you would be compensated for it. So remember to do that for yourself!
Hourly Rate x Hours of Work + Travel + Editing Time This is a standard equation to get you started. If you include any extras in your packages, definitely include the pricing of that as well. If you use a third-party printer, make sure you are charging for your cost x 2.5 or so.
Cost of Materials x 4 + Revisions + Client Communication This may cover your design fee depending on how much it comes out to be, if it feels too low, it is.
Cost of Material x 2.5 + Design Time + Revisions + Time of Putting Suites Together + Client Communication
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