When you own your own business, it’s important to look at expenses as well as income in order to remain profitable.
I looked into various (not all – not even education or supplies and materials!) expenses for artists and thought it might be interesting to share the results. Feel free to add to our completely unscientific list in a comment.
These numbers are based on responses I received through Twitter and Facebook. (sf = square feet)
Central Virginia (476sf): $355/month
Key West, FL (750sf – 3 rooms): $1600 for studio + store front
Ravenswood, Chicago, IL (600+ sf): $540/month
Downtown Chicago, IL (sf n/a): $485/month
Gages Lake, IL (1200sf): $500/month with utilities
Albuquerque, NM (175sf): $200/mo in nonprofit art center, includes utilities, not air-conditioned
Colorado Springs, CO (400sf): $455 includes utilities
San Francisco, CA (154sf): $431/month and says most of her friends pay around $800 for an equivalent space
San Diego, CA (185sf): $550/month is on the high side because it’s in a retail space and on the art walk path
Los Angeles, CA (800sf, skylight, private bathroom, gated parking): $1050/month
Chilturn, Victoria, Australia: $120AU/week (about $105US) + $1100AU year in utilities
Inventory Business Management System
eArtist: $125 software installation
GYST: $59 for GYSTBasic and $129 for GYSTPro software installation
Artwork Archive: $49/year for the Apprentice version and $99 for Master (unlimited inventory), Cloud-based
Email Delivery Platform
MailChimp is free up to 2,000 names. You can pay a little for more features. Those rates start at $10/month for up to 500 contacts.
Constant Contact starts at $20/month for up to 500 contacts.
iContact starts at $14/month for up to 500 contacts.
Registering a Doing-Business-As name with your state. In Colorado, this fee is $20 for a sole proprietorship.
Applying for a sales tax license is $16 (for 2 years) in Colorado with a one-time deposit of $50 that is refundable. It is an additional $20 fee (for 4 years) in my city.
Average: $15-40 per entry for art shows and festivals.
In contrast, a gallery booth at Art Basel Miami Beach in 2012 was $55,000.
Click here for the art fair cheat sheet.
Textile artist Lisa Call spent $11,380 on her first booth for the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore. Of that, about $5,000 was for items she will reuse. That means about $6,400 for each additional year she does the show.
The booth fee for the 2014 American Craft Council wholesale show in Baltimore was $800-1500.
Flower photographer Patti Hankins offers these numbers:
- I started with grid walls and an EZ Up Canopy. The grid walls were about $900 and the EZ up was under $200. I upgraded to my current booth in stages.
- Booth fees range from $75 to $1000 for craft shows. I often do a booth and a half indoors. Flower & garden show fees are much higher.
- My tent is a TrimLine that was $1000 for the basic setup plus more for extra canopies, sta-bars, etc.
- Pro Panels are more than $3000. I have enough walls for a 20-foot booth, bins, desk, and shelf.
- Chevy Cargo Van was more than I care to remember. Having a van to haul everything is so much easier than dealing with a trailer, and it's so nice to have a vehicle just for shows.
- Bonus info … And for photographers who plan on doing their own printing, you’ll need a professional photo printer. My Epson 9800 was $5000.
Website hosting: $4-20/month and up
After watching my previous hosting service and platform deteriorate badly in 2013, I vowed to stay away from the numerous companies bought up by EIG. Here’s why. I now pay a lot more for more reliable up-time and better customer service at LiquidWeb. I found this review site to be particularly helpful when searching for a new Web hosting service.
Web designer: fees up to $75/hour
Graphic Designers: up to $75/hour
Moo: $19.99 for 100 MiniCards or $39.98 for 100 Classic (regular size)
GotPrint: $18.10 for 100 standard cards (14pt Premium Uncoated Cover)
VistaPrint: $13.39 for 500 (front only)
OvernightPrints: $39.95 front+back for 500 Art Biz Coach cards
4×6” Postcards (+ shipping to my Colorado home (500 quantity) color front and black back)
PrintingforLess: $131.62 (120# gloss color)
GotPrint: $47.01 (14pt Gloss Coated Cover with UV)
Modern Postcard: $144.35
500 4-color, Tri-Fold, 100lb Gloss (folds to 3.6” x 8.5”)
Modern Postcard: $406
PsPrint: $308.70 (they had a 60% off promotional discount when I checked – total =$123.48!)
Blurb: $12.99/each for 7×7” square with 20 pages
PrintingForLess: $4.04 each for 5.5×8.5” with 20 pages when you print 250 copies
PsPrint: $10.60/unit when you print just 25 copies (gloss color interior + 13 pt matte cover) or $2.514/unit for 250 copies
$20-35 an hour for sole proprietorships, which most artists are. More for corporations. The more complicated your books and tax preparations are, the more you should expect to pay.
Virtual Assistants or Online Business Managers
$35 and up per hour
$10-20 an hour
Yes, your art business is an investment and the expenses can add up. It's critical to keep excellent financial records.
The United States Tax Court recently ruled in favor of artist Susan Crile who had been claiming expenses for 40 years without seeing much profit. She beat the IRS!
==>Read the comments below from artists who told us about their expenses.