Yes, we’ve all heard the term “starving artist,” but we want you to be able to sell your art and eat like a king. When you’re starting out, knowing how much to charge for art is a balance. You want to make money and you want people to think your price is reasonable.
Pricing your art will depend on several factors including your experience, materials, time, size, and type of art. It gets complicated, but that’s why we’ve created this easy guide for you.
The Dos and Don’ts of Pricing Art
Don’t Undervalue Your Time
Let’s start here because it’s so important. As an artist, you’ve spent plenty of time working on your pieces. Your time is valuable, so you can charge for it! Pay yourself an hourly wage by factoring this into the price of your piece.
But how do you decide how much your time is worth? If you’ve had years of experience or are doing something nobody else can do, you might charge more. Think about what hourly wage would be appropriate for your skillset. As a general rule, you should at least pay yourself minimum wage.
If you feel your time is worth $15 per hour and you spent three hours creating a piece, then you can charge $45 just for time.
Do Price for Materials
This one might be obvious, but you should definitely cover the cost of your materials! If you’re selling a physical product like a canvas, add up your expenses: the canvas, paint, and any extras. This rule is the same for mediums such as jewellery, prints, t-shirts, pottery, et cetera. Larger pieces will require more materials, so naturally you’ll need to account for this.
If you created your piece digitally, your materials might include an editing software such as the Adobe Suite, ProCreate, and even your computer. You don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) charge the full subscription or computer price for each piece you sell, but you can charge a fraction. If you pay $20.99 per month for Adobe Illustrator and you spent two days designing the piece, you might charge $5, assuming you’ll make at least four more sales to cover your subscription cost.
Materials can also include any services you use, like your subscription to Shopify for your online store or the cost of your domain name. If the eCommerce platform you use charges you a percentage of each order, you can cover this in your overall price.
Do Check Out the Competition
Shop around and see how much other artists charge for art. Do they have a similar level of experience to you? Do they use the same materials? You don’t want to be charging three times as much or as little if something comparable is out there. These prices can help you get a ballpark estimate of how much to charge for art.
Don’t Forget a Profit
If you only decided how much to charge for art based on the last few strategies, you might only make enough to break even. If selling your art is your full-time job, you may need to make a larger profit to keep yourself afloat. Once you’ve calculated the cost of your time and materials, make sure you’re still making money from the pieces you sell.
Now Put it All Together
Let’s say you value your time at $15 per hour based on experience, you spent four hours creating the piece, and your materials cost roughly $12. This would mean the price of that item is $72. Now that you have your price, see what similar items are selling for. If you’re somewhere in the ballpark and you’re making enough profit, then give this price point a try.
Remember, you can change your prices. If you realize you’re not making enough money to make any profits or if your pieces just aren’t selling, you can raise or lower your price to fix the issue.
Pricing Print on Demand Products
The ideas behind these rules still apply for POD products, but the process is a bit different. You’ll have a base or retail price for each item, and the question is how much your markup will be.
These pieces also use digital designs that can be easily reproduced. You don’t need to charge your full hourly wage and the cost of your digital materials for your product, because you’re not actually putting that time in each time you sell an item. The great thing about digital designs for POD is that once you’ve created the design itself and used it to design the product, there’s not much work left to do.
The easiest way to calculate how much to charge for art is to add your desired profit margin to the product cost. Choose your profit margin based on the time you put into the product and what will sustain your business. This may mean you only make a few dollars profit from an item, but if it didn’t take you much time and you expect to sell plenty, this is fine!
For example, if you were to sell socks on Contrado, the retail price would be $25 and you will automatically make about $5 profit. You might choose to keep this profit as is, or you can increase your markup. If you sell your socks at $29 per pair, you’ll make $8.20 per sale. Depending on the time you put into the design and your experience, this might be a great price.
If you purchase the retail product in a larger quantity like with wholesale, it’ll cost you less money. This means you can charge a smaller price for your customers to pay, but your profits will stay the same or even increase. You can factor this into your decision for how much to charge for art.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to figuring out how much to charge for art, go with your gut. If you were a customer, would you pay the price that your piece is listed at? Chances are, you’ll have a similar outlook to your supporters. You can change a price point if it doesn’t work out, but remember that your art is valuable!
To try out these pricing techniques, start selling with Contrado! Play around with your markup in your store to find what works for your art. With more than 450 products to design, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to practice how much to charge for art.