It's a perennial question asked by new artists and a question which should always be kept under review by more established artists. It's also a question which I know is concerning a lot of artists as they try to work out an appropriate response to the impact of the recession.
My intention is that I will:
- provide a commentary on the poll results at or just after the end of the month
- write some blog posts about
- the role pricing plays in marketing
- different approaches to pricing
- pricing in a recession
- produce a resources for artists information site about pricing art
Whatever the market will bear
A market led approach to pricing which tries to find the price which ensures a piece will sell. This usually involves testing out different price points to find the one which maximise sales. The results will depend on the channels used to test prices.
Based on comparable art where I live
the artist studies prices displayed in local galleries and other places where art is sold and finds a comparable artist in terms of media and/or subject matter and relates prices to these. Success with this strategy depends on whether or not the baseline artist is selling work and how much a reputation earned over years has been factored into the price they charge.
Based on comparable art on the internet
the artist looks at what else is available on the internet and picks an artist or group of artists, notes the prices asked (or achieved at auction) and then adjusts accordingly. More astute artists search for information about the price asked which actually achieves a sale.
Cost plus (wage rate+materials cost+markup)
The artist determines an hourly rate for their work, adds in the cost of materials (and matting and framing if applicable) and then adds a flat rate or a percentage as a mark-up which covers marketing and other business expenses and/or a profit element.
Price per square inch/cm
The artist determines a standard price per square inch or centimetre and applies this to all artwork. A different standard price may be worked out for very small or very large pieces. This can lead to odd prices.
Specific prices for specific sizes
This is a variation of the price per square inch which adjusts (rounds) the price to a value which sounds more like a reasonable price. It avoids odd sounding prices.
No. of hours spent on the artwork
The price is determined by a calculated hourly rate based on the notion that materials costs are incidental and the crucial cost driver is the number of hours required to complete the work. It bears no relation whatsoever to whether or not the market will pay the price.
Percentage increase each year
This approach is often used by an emerging artist who wants to grow sales income over time. The emphasis is always on relating to prices charged in previous years rather than what the market will bear or is currently paying for comparable work or input costs.
Plucked from the air
this is the "it feels like a $500 painting to me" approach. There is no obvious rationale other than a gut feel and/or a wish to avoid doing research to check out the current state of the marketplace
____________________The poll is now posted in the right hand column and closes on the 31st March 2009. You can see the results of previous polls in The Making A Mark Poll - Resources for Artists
If you would like to make a comment on pricing please do so.
- Tell me which approach you prefer to use and why.
- If you have a variation, please explain what this is and why you use it
- If you're using a completely different approach please let me know what that is