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The Eternal Dilemma of Pricing

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    Pricing is something I really struggle with. An artist friend is of the opinion that if you price your work too low, then you are cheapening yourself and art in general. I would love to know what you guys all think and how you price your work –
    – is there a formula for setting a price?
    – how do you find the balance between ‘print from Target’ prices and pricing yourself out of the market?

    cheers in advance, Trace:)

    Tricia Reust

    Dear Tracey lee,
    I suggest to my students when starting up to assess their costs (for example, add up canvas/supplies/framing) and make that sum total be a third of the overall selling price. That way, they have a third available for a commission if sold in a gallery or venue, and a third to jiggle with if someone wants to haggle, and they hopefully will still cover costs. I have a set price (depending on sizes and surface) for works that I do as demonstration pieces or which are created during my giving a workshop, and separate costing system for those works which come from my heart and that I work on in my studio. Best wishes for resolving your problem with pricing, sincerely, Tricia


    In the Netherlands some galleries use a kind of formula, where they take into account the number of years of art education and the size of the work, and come up with a price tag based on that . I used this method to price some of my works, and then reduced the part a gallery would have claimed. It worked fairly well, only I don’t know how to translate it into your currency.

    Rob McGregor

    When you first start selling, I suggest that after taking costs into account, you decide what is the minimum price you would be happy with.
    If sales are quick, then increase the price a little. Continue to do this if your work goes quickly. People are not happy if they purchase one of your works and subsequently the cost for other work you produce decreases. However if prices go up, buyers are happy that they bought when they did.
    I price according to size so there is no confusion in people’s minds; they don’t see two pieces equal size and different price and wonder ???
    It also helps when painting commissions as the person knows what they are in for before committing. My commission pieces are about 25% cheaper as there are no gallery costs.

    Zilpa van der Gragt

    I had a lady ask me how I dared charge the prices I charge, a few months ago in my gallery. I simply explained, that because my work is unique to me, she would not find my method anywhere else that I am aware of, and the fact that the painting she was looking at did take me 130 hours to create. I asked in return what she would pay a plumber per hour, and replied that I would have to tripple my pricing at their rates. It was an interesting debate and the lady though not buying anything, regularly brings in her visitors, which to me is fantastic.

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