It's no doubt that pricing can make or break your business. This is why so many artists struggle with how to price their work. I am going to share a few reasons why pricing is so important and why you need to tackle the issue sooner rather than later.
Pricing Low to Sell Will Attract an Incorrect Audience
I see artists make this mistake over and over again. They assume if they just undercut the competition or price low enough then they will sell more art. Although this may be true in the short-term, it isn’t sustainable. By setting your prices too low you are attracting a lower clientele. If you truly think your work is worth $400, but you only charge $125, then you are only doing yourself a disservice.
You will attract an audience interested in purchasing $125 art not $400 work. This is why determining your Ideal customer BEFORE pricing your work is so important. You want to know what your customer wants pay before you assume what they will pay.
Pricing Too Low Can Lead to Burnout
By pricing your work at a lower rate, you can easily get exhausted and lose interest in creating. As an example, I used to draw my friends home in college and I only charged them $35! As time went on, I began to hate drawing these houses. Why? Because I would spend hours on something and then make maybe $20 after expenses.
What did I finally decide to do? I upped my prices to reflect my skills and my time. Guess what? Now I love drawing homes and my clients didn’t even bat an eye at the higher price tag. They saw what my work was worth and actually valued paying more for the piece.
*Pro tip: People value what they pay for, so if you want to elevate your work don’t give it away!
Pricing Too High Can Result in Less Sales
This one is probably the most obvious. Price to high and you probably won’t sell as much. Ok, some of you might be thinking, my art isn’t selling quickly, am I priced too high? Odds are no. Most artists I know tend to lean towards pricing too low. Instead, you probably need to focus on finding your Ideal Customer and marketing to them.
If you are really worried about your prices being too high, research other artists at your skill level. Are you in the same ballpark as them?
Inconsistent Pricing Leads to Inconsistent Sales and Lessens Your Credibility
If you are new to selling, you might have prices all over the place. This can lead to major headaches. When I was new in my career, I worked with designers, family members, and a gallery. My prices were different for every collector. It made me feel guilty, nervous to tell the price, and generally overwhelmed.
By setting stable prices, you know exactly what to tell every person who asks for a price sheet. You can still offer a discount to family and friends, but it can be in the form of a 20% discount instead of a basically free piece of work.
Setting your prices also builds your credibility and helps you build your audience. You aren’t attracting customers across the board, instead your are niching down to your true fans. Galleries, clients, and designers alike will respect your business more if you can provide a clear price list.
Pricing Too Low Devalues Your Work
We already touched on the many issues with pricing your work too low, but possibly the worst outcome of low prices is that it devalues your work. Humans value what they pay for. Think about it this way, if you buy a pair of shoes for $40 and another for $400 which are you going to take better care of? Be more excited to wear? Which will be showcased in your closet? We value what we pay for. Free or cheap things are treated as such. Charge what you are worth!
Your Prices Don’t Account for Expenses or Commission Rates
When I work with artists on pricing, I always start by making them track their expenses and their time. First, many artists have no idea what they are spending to create something. You have to build this into your price and make a profit. Many artists also neglect the value of their time. Would you want to take a job that paid you $7 an hour? What about $100 an hour? Put a price on your time.
If certain series of work take longer than others, it is ok to nudge up the price on those pieces. Just make sure your overall price range fits what your Ideal Customer wants to pay.
Finally, remember that your prices don’t have to stay the same forever. Although it is important to have stable prices, if you significantly grow in skill, popularity, or in the amount of representation, you can alter your prices. Think of it as a raise. If you improved at work, ideally they’d compensate you. Do the same for yourself every so often.
Want to learn how to accurately set your prices? Set up a one-on-one coaching call or sign up for our 3 Part Coaching Program. The program covers goal setting, pricing, ideal customer, branding, marketing and growth in 3 one hour sessions.