By The Inch Or By The Hour? The Complicated Dance Of Pricing Your Art

Posted by Filipinas Makabenta on Thursday, June 11, 2015 Under: behind the canvas

One thing about being a fine artist that I find very very uncomfortable is the pricing of a piece.

Recently, a potential client had approached me excitedly for a portrait. She had seen my work through another client who had ordered two pieces for himself and his wife.

I was quite hesitant to take the job as I have a waitlist (yay) so I said to her, “Let me see what you want first then I will give you a quote.”

Two weeks had  gone by and I have not heard since.

I had learned that this potential client had gone around asking people my price since she found her quote was “too much”, which left such a bad taste in my mouth.

Now, I have had my fair share of people like these. I admit, I have the worse business sense. I am teetotaling between undercharging pieces. But I have never overcharged. I have yet to see the day. To protect myself, I have developed a quoting system. Most of the time I am very flexible to clients on a budget. But if we were to get down to the nitty gritty of calculating my rate, do I charge by the inch or by the hour? Do I calculate along the lines of how much the material cost and materials you want for your particular piece?

I always say it depends on how complicated the piece they want is, and the time to take for the piece to finish.

One cannot measure how much it takes out of an artist to make a certain piece, and most of the time, I don’t think the client knows or cares.

Going back to that potential client–I am glad one of them people she inquired upon told her to not compare. Each piece is different. “If you want a menu price, you can always go to Disneyland and get those caricature things for super cheap” Said that valiant repeat client. Not to mock those caricature artists–I did that too for a living for a bit! In Disneyland no less!

In : behind the canvas 

Tags: art  painting  behindthecanvas  comissionwork