Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Pricing


I have been away visiting for a few days then painting my studio...white! That way I can see what colours to add later on. It feels so much better in there now the awful yellow has gone. It now needs plants, shelves and hooks for tools.
I might add cumin orange to one wall, I like to use diluted acrylic paints to wash over layer after layer with a big sponge. For the time being I will be replenishing my kiln and bead stocks. 

Before my week away I was intrigued by the many pricing blogs started by sparrow salvage. I find that my approach on pricing is quite different to others, and perhaps that is because I was taught a system of 'costing' and 'pricing' during my Uni years. We had lectures on these things in preparation for exhibitions and I have dug out the relevant papers that I had squirreled away and lugged around with me over the years...I am glad I kept them so I can share them with you guys and gals now! 

To my mind pricing is totally separate to my feelings or emotional attachment to the items I make. I don't get sentimental or mark up prices because actually I want to keep them. I find it helpful to separate these feelings when pricing otherwise it can get unrealistic and that's when pricing becomes a chore.

Adjustments to this process will have to be made to suit what you make and how you sell it. Some points will be relevant to you and others not so much. If you sell through Etsy then the Etsy and Paypal fee's are your gallery mark up's and commission costs. VAT may be separate and you will know if you pay this and how much to factor in for the final price. 


These papers were given as guidance notes for graduates in the UK back in 2008. It is up to you if you work out an hourly rate and what that rate should be. I know personally I have a vague awareness of how long things take me but really it works out over the week rather than each individual bead set (I don't time myself for every set I make).



Your hourly rate includes...
finding tools and inspiration, ...(if I spend an afternoon at car boots specifically looking for new textures then this time is included in my daily and weekly rate - don't go mad with this, be realistic)
the time to make and decorate the work
packing orders, 
time to tidy and clean your studio and tools after making, (if I have made something on the potters wheel it can take me a good 20 mins to clean everything after)
photographing and listing,
and also to reply to emails and Etsy convos, custom orders etc.
If you work to a set schedule you may or may not want to include lunch and break times?

At some point you might want to include the time is takes to keep your finances and manage the money in and out of your business. I don't include this in my prices as I take forever on things like that and it would just end up silly. If you are the sort of person who incorporates this into your normal working day then it may suit you to include it in your pricing. 


At the end of all this working out you must be able to look at the item for sale and think 'What would someone pay for this?...Is it reasonable to charge £X $X for it?...Is this my first one and will I get faster at making similar items?' 

Remember it is up to you what you feel comfortable charging for your work. I have chosen to include this information in my blog as it may be useful to someone out there somewhere, and whats the point in me hogging it all to myself. 
If you have a system of your own please share, it seems pricing can be a taboo topic and many are shy or uncomfortable about it. DO leave comments below, I am interested in reading what everyone thinks. And you can all tell me 'What a load of tosh!' if you think so. Ha!




10 comments:

  1. Oh it's so helpful to see these things! you know I went to university (way back in the early 90s) and part of that art course was a 'how to be a business artist' (which everyone hated) but at no point did anyone ever talk to us about what to charge for our work. I'm tempted to contact the school and see if they do things the same way now, or if they've broached the subject. Like you said, it seems a taboo one.

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    1. Thanks Penny. Glad I can help people. It is a good way of touching base every now and then to assess if what is being made is realistic. I spend a long time making my beads but if I spent days on one set it would never manage to pay for itself never mind pay for food and bills. It is all relevant :)

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  2. No "load of tosh" here - very interesting and helpful post for many artists and craftspeople! Thank you for sharing this! :-)

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    1. Yay not a load of tosh! Thanks Yael :)

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  3. Nice of you to share your notes. It's been fascinating to read the divergent thoughts on pricing recently. Sounds like the studio is coming along nicely.

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    1. Yes the studio is beginning to feel less like a shed and more like my little haven, it all takes time...I'm learning to be patient...proud.

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  4. I really enjoyed reading this too, Robyn. The guidelines are helpful in pointing out issues that have escaped me. Thank you for the level-headed insight into an emotionally-loaded topic that deserves addressing. I have also enjoyed the open discussion going on.

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    1. That's great to hear. I think dropping any emotional attachment is one of the most important things when pricing your artwork. The buyer isn't interested in any of that, they want to see quality and unique work and I would guess that they are happy to pay for these things....if they weren't then they wouldn't be looking at handmade. If they recognise the work involved they will respect whatever price you choose to put on an item. Thats what I think anyways.

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  5. Great advice. Thanks for sharing. This whole inter-blog conversation of pricing has been a really good lesson. I wish more artists would wake up and see how they are hurting themselves and others with their underpricing.

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  6. I agree. I think for a lot of people it is only a hobby, which is fine but for us full-timers it can be difficult to find that middle ground when deciding on a price range. Thanks for commenting Gretchan

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