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Anyone have any thoughts on how to appropriately price your work?

Right now, I come up with prices based on the cost of the material used and the time/hours it took me to make it, based on an hourly rate I have for my artwork. Sometimes, it seems people want something for nothing, which can be a big point of frustration. While I would love to sell some work someday independent of our metal fabrication business, I will not lower the prices on the art to the point where I am operating at a loss.

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I do the same thing: cost of materials plus hours which for me is $25. an hour. Then on top of that I add aesthetic value, which is subjective, based upon curb appeal, ie. quality, presentation, originality, etc.

In our world of cheap mass productions common people do not want to buy original art.
Cost of material plus hourly rate plus aesthetic value seems to be the trifecta of pricing work. When figuring out hourly rate you may also figure in your floor cost - hourly cost of your facility, electricity ect. Another way of figuring hourly rate suggested to me by one of my professors is to take the minimum wage and add one dollar for every year you have been seriously (professionally) been creating art and one dollar for every year of formal art education. Your name and reputation can also add significantly to the cost (or reduce it).

A simple way many craftspeople figure their work is to just triple the cost of materials.

You also must consider, if you are going to sell your work in galleries that they usually take around 50% of the selling price with no account for your material costs. Sometimes you can negotiate this but unless you either have a very good reputation or are a very good seller for them, they usually won't budge.

I do reccomend that you hold your final selling price at the amount it would sell for in a gallery and do not offer discounts period. Many galleries require this - I also require any gallery that I work through to not offer discounts to their clients. Many galleries require a commision on work you sell yourself, even if it did not go through them as well.
Well thanks you guys for your replies. For the most part, from what you are describing, I am pretty much doing the same thing, but it is hard not to second guess yourself when you don't end up with the commission/job after all - particularly when you don't even get a courtesy email or call back - the correspondence just stops.

As far as the galleries - I have been holding off because of the hefty commissions that are typical. But for the sake of exposure - I think it is something I need to do. As my portfolio grows, I think I will feel better prepared to find a gallery where my style is a good fit.

Thanks again for the input!
Speaking from the gallery end of things, we need commissions to stay in business, however as an artist I understand not wanting to give up 50% of something you created.

Exposure is the important thing. People can't buy what they don't see. You need to get your work out there for the right person to come by and buy.

We spoke about a year ago, maybe it is time to get together again. I have opened the garden to the studio for art hops during cool weather...and wouldn't you know August is going to fool me! I am putting sculptures in the garden to create a better art experience for visitors. It might be time to do something.

Keep in touch,

Also when figuring cost, do not forget to include consumables (sandpaper and such) and any waste materials-filings or loss from casting for example. These are often included in the floor cost for some folks, but should be kept track of.


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