Today, I want to talk about pricing your art and understanding the value of your work. This isn’t a one size fits all pricing formula, but is meant to help you have a better understanding of why you may use certain numbers when pricing your work. You can use these pricing factors to find the best system for you. Let’s dive in!
Pricing Factor #1: Your Time and Materials
This is the first and most basic approach to take a look at how you are pricing your art. Whether that is a physical painting you are selling to a customer, or a digital design you are licensing to another company.
You want to make sure that number includes not only the actual cost of your materials, but a decent hourly rate for yourself, plus an extra cushion to cover your overhead. Your overhead can be: your studio rent and utilities, your general tech tools needed to sell your work like a scanner or your computer, monthly subscriptions to design software, and more. Ideally, the amount of income you are bringing in from all of your projects combined will cover these costs plus some: that’s where profit comes in!
Pricing Factor #2: The Value You Bring
When someone buys your art from you, they’re not just buying the physical thing. If it’s a painting in their home, they are buying an experience. Something that brings joy to them and their family everyday, and something that may increase in value over time.
If a company is licensing or buying your artwork, they are doing so because they think it will sell their products to their customers. You are helping them make a profit, too. The value and expertise you bring is so much more than the materials or time you invested in your work.
Pricing Factor #3: The Current Market
I’m all for the sky being the limit when it comes to your pricing. Artists on average from what I have seen tend to undercharge and are afraid of losing the customer. If you are pricing on the higher end of the market and it is working for you, go for it! And if you want to get to that point, inch your way closer to it as you can. Sometimes it will work, and sometimes the client will want to negotiate with you (don’t be afraid to negotiate yourself!).
With that pep talk out of the way, I want to note that there are some market standards that you may want to base your pricing around. For example, many companies have a standard payment structure for their licensing program and it may be hard for you to maneuver around that. If your brand and work is more well-known with a built in customer base, it could be easier for you to negotiate with those larger companies (because at that point, your own audience could be buying their products, too). But don’t let that discourage you! I believe that if we all are negotiating for fair pay and beyond as artists, we can change the industry and it’s current standards.