Pricing Your Work

November 5, 2009

Vincent Van Gogh painting.

Vincent Van Gogh painting.

The question I get asked the most by my students is about how to price your work.  This is always a mystery and difficult.  There is a magical “prime price point” somewhere.  That is the price point that magically puts something in demand, gets it bought and paid for.   Trying to figure out what that prime price point is depends on a lot of variables.

The first thing I always advise is start looking in the market for things like what you’re making and taking a poll on what they are being sold for.  It’s good to understand what the environment of competition is.   So if you’re making things by hand, make sure you’re looking at things made by hand but also check out the commercial retail offerings.  Let’s say you hand fabricate rings out of sterling silver.  Look at other hand fabricated, sterling silver rings and then also look at what is offered commercially for a similar weight or style of ring.  You can never gather too much information and having a good understanding of what is being offered gives you a good solid foundation to work from.

I know there are lots of formulas out there but they don’t take into consideration the market place, how long you’ve been making your work, what is going on economically in the world, etc.   All of these things come into play on the price of other goods and so it should also come into play for pricing your own work.

The biggest question is how much is it worth to YOU to let the piece go?  Sometimes a piece is more valuable to you then anyone will pay for.  I’m sure that you’ve seen this as a buyer:  the shoes that looked really good until you saw how much they cost?   Same idea applies here.


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