Two things are certain when it comes to pricing your art.
First, it’s a struggle for most artists.
The difficulty with pricing art is legendary. You’re not the only one who doesn’t have it all figured out. Even if you’re confident in your prices today, it’s almost guaranteed that you will question them again within a few weeks or months. You heard it here first.
Second, there’s a good chance that your prices are too low.
Many artists – especially those who are just starting out – undervalue their art. Their work isn’t priced correctly to be able to split 50% of the sale with a gallerist or art consultant.
Artists who price their work too low are making things difficult for other artists who are pricing their work appropriately for the market and who need to make a living from sales.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you would be happier getting higher prices for your art. Yes?
But you don’t know if your art warrants it or if this is the right time. Right? You’re scared to make the wrong move.
Fear not! Here are 5 reasons to raise your prices and how to do it.
5 Reasons to Raise Your Prices
1. The numbers reveal the frightening truth.
This is what scares you – facing the numbers. When you do the dirty math, you realize that you’re paying yourself next to zippo.
You have good reason to be scared.
Along the same lines, you should also raise your prices when …
2. Your pricing is uneven.
If you notice that there isn’t enough difference between two sizes or two disparate media, consider raising the prices of those that seem too low.
3. The cost of your materials has increased.
This is a no-brainer. If it costs you more to make it, you should be charging more.
In 2011, Wendy Edsall-Kerwin raised her prices due to the rising cost of silver. I love the way she shared the price increase with her list: a graph to illustrate the dramatic hike in pricing. See it here.
This graph makes it much easier than even putting it in writing and saying, “4.50 an ounce to $30 an ounce” or “The price of silver has gone so high.” This actually shows graphically, from a trusted source, that the price of silver has gone up.
4. You can’t keep up with the demand for your art.
Helloooooooo. If you can’t make enough work to fulfill commissions and orders and maintain inventory to show at galleries or art festivals, you need to raise your prices. It’s the law of supply and demand (Econ 101).
This sounds like a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem. You are justified raising your prices at this point.
5. You start selling through galleries or another new market.
Suddenly, you have to split the sale with someone else. Or you realize you’d like to have your art in galleries at some point.
Best business practices warrant that you include a possible (future) 50% commission in all of your pricing. If you haven’t done that, you need to face the music and increase your prices tout de suite.
And … Let’s hope you don’t have to raise them 50% at once because that’s a shock to the system if they’ve been selling well at the lower prices.
Now, here’s how to put your new prices out there.
How To Raise Your Prices
If you sell through galleries or other retail spaces, you should have a conversation with those in charge before raising your prices. You need to ask for their input and make sure they are on board.
On the other hand, you can pretty much raise your prices whenever you like if you sell directly to buyers.
Just rip off the Band-aid and go forward with confidence. Here’s how to take the sting out of it …
Make an announcement to your subscribers and collectors first because they are the people who have been supporting you and cheering you on. Write something like this:
Things have been going very well for me, which is good news. On the flipside, I can’t seem to keep up with demand, so I need to raise my prices.
Because you’ve been such a valuable supporter, I want to offer my work to you at current pricing for the next 30 days. After that, my prices will increase by x%.
This rewards your collectors and makes them feel special. They will understand your situation so there is no reason to be afraid of telling them.
Collectors should feel good about investing in your art early on in your career. They’ll be delighted to know that you’re successful enough to raise your prices.
Where do you struggle with pricing?
Have you raised your prices recently? What was the result?