Dos and Don’ts of Pricing Your Artwork

Artwork Archive | June 12, 2015

Photo by Thomas Galvez, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0

Whether it’s your first piece of art or your 100th, pricing your work properly can be an extremely challenging task.

Set the price too low and you could leave money on the table, set the price too high and your artwork could start stacking up in your studio.

How do you find that middle ground, that sweet spot?  We’ve compiled 5 important do’s and don’ts for pricing your art to help ensure your work finds a deserving homeand you get the salary you deserve!

DO: Research the Prices of Comparable Artists

How much do similar artists charge for their work? Thoroughly researching your market will give you a better idea of how to price your art. Consider other artists’ work that is comparable in style, medium, color, size, etc. Also look at those artists’ accomplishments, experience, geographic location, and production rate.

Then search online, or visit galleries and open studios and see their art in person. Learn what those artists charge and why - as well as what price sells and what doesn’t. This information can be an excellent gauge to help ensure your pricing is in the right ballpark.

DON’T: Undersell Your Work or Yourself

Creating art is time consuming and many materials can be expensive. Think about a reasonable hourly wage and the cost of materials when pricing your art - that includes framing and shipping, if applicable. The US Dept. of Labor lists the average hourly wage for a fine artist as $24.58use this to help you estimate. Your price should reflect the money and time you put into creating your art.

Art biz whiz, Cory Huff of The Abundant Artist, uses this trick: “if my prices don’t make me feel at least a little uncomfortable that I’m charging too much, I’m probably undercharging!” Charge what you’re worth (within reason).

DO: Keep the Same Price For Your Studio and Galleries

If you’re thinking of selling work from your studio at lower prices than your gallery, think again. Galleries put time and energy into their sales and generally aren’t happy to learn you’ve been selling work for a lot less. Take it from art business coach Alyson Stanfield, they will drop you like a hot frying pan.

What’s more, other galleries could learn about this and be less inclined to work with you. Make sure you have set prices that are generally the same for your studio and your galleries. That way people can buy your beautiful work from either place, and you can maintain a positive relationship with your galleries.

DON’T: Let Emotions Get in the Way

This is tough, we know. With all the time, creative effort and emotion you invest in your work, it’s easy to get attached. Being proud of your work is wonderful, letting emotion impact your pricing is not. Pricing your work needs to be predominantly based on its physical attributes and not on personal value. Subjective qualities like emotional attachment are hard to explain to buyers. If there’s a piece or two that are especially meaningful to you, consider keeping that work off the market and in your private collection.

DO: Have Confidence and Stand By Your Price

Whether you sell a lot of work or are new to the space, have confidence in yourself and your prices. If you don’t, buyers will figure it out quickly. State your price firmly and let the buyer respondand ignore any nagging inner thoughts about lowering it. When you take the time to properly and realistically price your work, you can stand behind the price. If the buyer wants to go below that, you’ll be ready to justify your price. Confidence does wonders and will help you come home with the money you deserve.

Want more help pricing your art? Consider one of these 3 straightforward formulas for pricing your work.

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