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Increase Your Profit Margin: Raise Your Prices

Increase your profit margins AS

Increase Your Profit Margin: Raise Your Prices

by Carolyn Edlund Artsy Shark

Increase your profit margins ASWant to make a better margin on everything you sell? You can grow your profit margin in two ways – decrease your costs, or raise your prices. The first article in this series addressed costs; this article will share ways to increase prices of your art or handmade work.

How can you raise prices on your artwork? It might be time to consider a price adjustment if you are selling new work within a few months of creating it, and if this is a regular occurrence for at least six months. If you can’t keep up with commissions, or your work is snapped up quickly at retail, you might look to see if you are currently underpricing what you make. Art should increase in price over time, not decrease, so carefully raise your prices in small increments and gauge how this affects your sales. A 10% – 20% increase per year may make sense for you.

There are also ways to add perceived value to your work, many of which you can easily implement. This provides you additional reasons to charge more for your art.

Include a Certificate of Authenticity with each purchase. A CoA will include the title, medium, materials, artist’s name and signature, and the year it was created, among other information. Often, a small image of the work is included to add further credibility. These certificates are often presented to prove provenance by galleries and auction houses, but artists can use them as well, and collectors like to receive them. They can be wonderful additions to a purchase, especially if it is a gift.

Offer limited editions. This strategy has often been used to justify a higher price. Enhance reproductions even further by overpainting or embellishing giclees or other prints and including an original signature.

Use beautiful presentation. If a piece of handmade jewelry is presented in an upscale box, it gives the impression that it is a more expensive piece. Art that is displayed in a gallery-style setting with appropriate lighting also makes impact as a higher-end work. Take a look at your display to see if you can improve the perceived value this way.

Add words. Recognizable words or symbols add another layer of meaning to your work, and can really connect emotionally with collectors. This can work to drive sales, make your work more collectible and increase your price.

Add functions. The more ways your work can be used, the higher the perceived value. One craftsman made large wooden jigsaw puzzles as delightful toys, but when he decided that his puzzles would make a wonderful tabletop, added legs and began to offer it as furniture, his prices skyrocketed. How many ways can your work be used? Or can you add functions by transforming what you make?

Small touches. An inscribed poem on the bottom of a ceramic pot, a beautiful lining in the pocket of a handmade jacket, or words written on the back of a painting are special touches that artists can use to enhance the desirability of their work. Sometimes no one but the owner knows it is there – it is a “secret” extra designed to enhance the experience of owning the art, and adds value.

“How Did I Get Here?” by artist Leslie Kell has a custom built frame.

“How Did I Get Here?” by artist Leslie Kell has a custom built frame.


Include matting and framing. This upsell allows you to custom mat and frame your art for the customer, and increase the price accordingly. Mark up the materials as well as charging for your labor with this added service. Or, create handmade frames specifically for your art that allow you to increase your prices. Artist Leslie Kell enhances her surreal artwork using this strategy (see image above.)

Personalization. If your process allows you to personalize your work for clients, this is a premium service that usually has a fee involved.

Commissions. Any custom made art takes longer and is more involved, and of course requires that you charge a higher price. Give some thought to the “extras” you could offer with that commission and the fees for each of them.

Create add-on packages.  Use tiered pricing to add extras levels to a purchase. Could you include a a bonus with the purchase, such as a signed coffee table book of your art? Would you be willing to make a personal appearance at an unveiling party? Buying art is an exciting experience. You can add to it with a variety of offerings that increase incrementally in complexity and price.

Think big. Many artists spread their price points to have something in their collection for different sized pocketbooks. But that doesn’t always mean you should be thinking of lower-priced items. Take a look at the most expensive piece of art you have. It is currently the most you can earn on the sale of a single piece. Then, consider ways that you can increase your price spread to offer even more expensive artwork.

How do you price your art?  Have you got any strategies you can share here? 

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