How Much Should I Charge For My Paintings?
Whenever an amateur artist starts out in trying to sell their paintings, they often ask the question of how much they should charge for a painting or piece of original art. Although there is no specific answer to this question, there are some guidelines that you can follow to decide on your prices as you start out and continue to sell your artwork.
At the end of the day, the price will have to be what someone is willing to pay so think about your buyers and start from there!
Van Gogh's Sunflowers
What Type of Artist Are You?
So you need to think about what to charge for your paintings and you are wondering where to start. Have a think about some of these factors to start with:
Firstly, are you selling your art to actually make some money or are you selling it because you just want someone to buy it? This is quite an important question that you may not have thought about. What I mean by this is do you want the recognition and affirmation of someone buying your painting and is this what you crave? The fact that someone is willing to pay money for a work of art that you have created may mean more to you than actually getting the money for it that it has cost you to make (or indeed, making a profit from it). This is sometimes all that people want and so this leads to a completely different pricing structure.
Or perhaps you have been painting for a while and you have a lot of artwork crowding your home and in this case you need to shift some of this work so that you can make space for more creative ideas that you have. In this case maybe you will not set a high price on your artwork so that you can sell it quickly to make space.
So the third type of artist, and the one that I am really addressing in this article, is an artist who wants to start selling their work on a regular basis and price it according to what it should be worth to a true buyer.
Criteria For Deciding On Prices
So, to give you a few ideas on setting your prices, here are some basic points and things that you need to take into account:
- When you are starting out you will probably need to start with a reasonably low pricing structure as you do not have the reputation and number of sales behind you to justify large prices
- Consider how long it took you to create the painting but do not use this as the overriding criteria. For example, if you want to make a living out of selling your art and a piece takes you 2 days to create, then think about how much you would need to earn in those 2 days to be able to survive. Base this on a 20 working day month. So say you want to earn $1,000 a month and the painting took you 2 days in total then you would need to charge at least $50 for it. This doesn't take into account numerous other factors but just think generally about it.
- Consider the cost of materials that you have used in the painting
- Charge prices that relate particularly to the size of the painting
- Consider whether the painting is a one-off or if you will do further copies of it. You need to think about a cost for the 'idea' of the painting. If you are only going to create the painting once then that idea or design is gone and you need to come up with something else for the next painting. This needs to be factored into the cost.
- Do you have to pay for studio space or are you paying for selling your work for example a table at a craft fair?
- You will have to ask yourself how good is your painting? This can seem to be a strange question and you may not feel that you are the best person to answer it but if your competition is offering paintings that may be more accomplished than yours, perhaps they have been painting for a long time, then you may need to adjust your prices accordingly. Conversely if the competition has what you consider to be an inferior product then up your prices!
How To Survive As An Artist!
Deciding on prices for your artwork is a very difficult and personal decision. Perhaps the best way is to go to an art fair or gallery and see what other paintings are selling for and gauge your prices accordingly. If you are selling consistently to a point that you can't keep up with demand then obviously you need to increase your prices. If you are not selling then that may be due to a number of things - are you marketing your art to the right people? But if you think that everything else is right then you may need to decrease your prices. There are no right answers! I have had people say to me if you are not selling then double your price so really the price can be an open book. If someone likes an artwork and wants to buy it then it is really up to their judgement as to how much they are willing to pay for it and this is also such a personal decision.