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How do i price my work?

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Forum topic by LyubomyrS posted 01-25-2018 06:01 AM 943 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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LyubomyrS

37 posts in 145 days


01-25-2018 06:01 AM

Hey guys, so I’m new to the business and need help pricing my projects. You can take a look at them at my page, i would really appreciate if you could give me some guidance and wrote some comments. Thanks in advance!


16 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

990 posts in 185 days


#1 posted 01-25-2018 01:44 PM

first of all – you did not make all those beautiful carvings in one weekend.
you have amassed quite a collection of very fine work that should bring some handsome prices.

have you ever sold any at all to the public?
do you keep track of the time it takes you to make one project?
what part of the country are you in ?
what kind of wood do you use ?? some woods will curl up like a potato chip once it leaves your shop
and is displayed in a totally different environment. like from Arizona to Spokane, WA., for example.
there are dozens of factors that will affect the price of your work.

personally – I would pick a few of your best pieces, build a shipping box for each one,
then – list them on a few of the online auction sites such as E-Bay, Etsy, etc to feel out the market.
certain times of the year will also affect the market. Christmas, for example.
I would invest in a website to publish your work for sale – and solicit custom work from the public.
start carving a “common” item that people would be interested in. such as house numbers, cabin names, etc.
search the internet for work similar to something you have and see what it is selling for.
there is really no way to give you a price of what your work is worth.
it boils down to what is your time and talent worth to YOU and price it accordingly.
after you sell a dozen or so pieces, you will have an idea of what you can get for similar pieces in the future.

the reason I say to build a box first prior to listing it for sale is there is nothing more aggravating to a customer
than to purchase something then the seller says – - – “I will ship it as soon as I have time to build a box for it”.
have it ready to go as soon as their payment has cleared. PayPal has good protection for both parties.

looking forward to reading a report of your journey through the Artisan’s World for profit.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2873 posts in 2537 days


#2 posted 01-25-2018 01:50 PM

I looked at a few of your pictures in the project section.
Although they do look cool, my guess is you will not get what you think for them compared to the hours invested.

Here’s why:
Are you a well known artist? If not, then you are considered an unknown, in the same category as those people who pound out art for starving artist shows. (Your art will not be considered woodworking – it is art and therefore you compete with oil, acrylic, pen & ink, and other drawing mediums.)
You need a gallery that will show your work, and not one where others are doing the same thing. In this case, a sort of 3D art is what you have, so avoid anyone who already has one of those. Trust me, good as these are, you are not the only one doing this.
Most galleries around where I live charge anywhere from 30% plus a hanging fee, up to 50%. Most have waiting lists, to be honest. Lots of good talent out there. I am lucky, I have been in my one gallery for over five years, and the latest one, meh…
You can try Etsy, but there are hundreds of not thousands of artists on that site. My daughter-in-law is an artist, a good one, on Etsy for over two years, three sales total. Not saying you would do poorly on there, but the competition is huge. She also has her own website, but most of her money comes from word of mouth, not exhibiting. She can not live off of it. Some pocket money, and that’s about it.
People have only so much wall space…and a lot of that may be reserved for family photos, personal events, etc. Pictures by fairly unknown artists just don’t make the cut.

Painting, as you should know, is sort of like making music and recording songs. Tons of really good talent, and you need a bit of a break to get the ball rolling. I’d start by showing your best to galleries that do NOT have anything like you do, but make sure they are not second and third tier galleries that cater to lower crowds, don’t have regular shows, etc. I made that mistake when a gallery approached me telling me they wanted to enter into the 3D world by putting in stuff like I make. (Not my guitars). After a lousy $150 in sales over the last three months, I plan on pulling out in the next week or so. My other gallery, I did well over $1000 in December alone, and that was not my best month.

A good break would be to have an interior designer get interested in your work, or someone who decorates things like offices, hotels, etc. And don’t be afraid to do what people want, and put your own wishes aside on what you consider your own art. By the way, animals are not selling now, quoting my one gallery manager, save for portraits of people’s dogs and cats.

Good luck!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View dbray45's profile

dbray45

3320 posts in 2799 days


#3 posted 01-25-2018 02:20 PM

There are some really good articles in the “Journal of Light Construction” on markups, etc…

A good idea is to spend the money and speak with a good accountant on identifying what your overhead really is and then you can price your work in a way that will actually work for you.

Too many people just look at the wood and nails to price out their work and that is not the case. The more informed you are, the more you know how to price and why the other folks charge what they do.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

1147 posts in 614 days


#4 posted 01-25-2018 02:57 PM

Your work may be worth something after you die, but right now it costs nothing. That’s the destiny of most artists.

View Loren's profile

Loren

10476 posts in 3671 days


#5 posted 01-25-2018 03:37 PM

There’s a lot of wealth in your part of the
country. I would focus on showing your
work at fairs in order to get custom jobs
carving doors and stuff like that.

In terms of pricing fine art… you can price
it to set expectations of what commissions
will cost a client or you can price it to sell
quickly, eg. cheap. If I were you I would
price it at something like $10-15/ hr. invested
and price your custom work at twice that rate
to start.

Take a look at the art furniture of Wendell
Castle and John Cedarquist. There’s some
market for outrageous carved work. You could
call around to custom shops and inquire. Carving
is one of those specialty skills some shops do
better than others. I’ve seen plenty of carved
work done by shops that weren’t expert in it
and you can tell they weren’t.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2958 posts in 1503 days


#6 posted 01-25-2018 04:34 PM

Sorry to say, but be prepared to be disappointed. People are so used to seeing CNC generated stuff they may not be that impressed—but I sure am!!

If there is a craft/farmers/arts market type rent a booth and see what happens. If its in an upscale area, all the better….

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

990 posts in 185 days


#7 posted 01-25-2018 04:36 PM

another aspect to consider is that you must separate yourself from those
“artists” that have a CNC router. . . . . . (I call them “fabricators” – not artists).
any teenager today can put a nice design into a computer and spit a very nice mahogany carving.
with the significant price drops, the average everyday handyman can buy a CNC router
and operate it off of his/her kitchen table and call themselves a “dimensional carver”
and sell his work at a fraction of the cost of your similar work.
so you must think outside of the box in your area of expertise to grab the attention
of any potential clients that will buy your work.

like said above – no matter how good you think you are, there is always the competition
that will sell similar work for half the price you are asking.
you have to find that “niche” that will put your work in a smaller, more desirable category.

good luck in your ventures !!

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View LyubomyrS's profile

LyubomyrS

37 posts in 145 days


#8 posted 01-25-2018 04:57 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I have posted some of my pictures online but also I try to sell them at the craft shows. For example there’s an upcoming show in spokane, a big one, people pay with cash, no auction and I have no idea how much to sell for example the 3d eagle for.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

2039 posts in 2967 days


#9 posted 01-25-2018 05:20 PM

At least hold back your favorite pieces for top dollar.

For years, people told me I couldn’t get top dollar for things I made. Consider, for example, walking sticks. Search the net and you will see a lot of nice work going absurdly cheap. However, just because they let their work go cheap doesn’t mean you have to. I started at around $85.00 for a stick I could finish in a few hours, if I did several. For example, I could put out twenty of my curved sticks that are just made from big box store, knot free lumber.

Where you advertise can be huge. For example, Amazon might give you the ability to charge higher prices than EBAY (I’ve sold items on Amazon, then bought them for a fraction on EBAY.

Of course, you’ll pay some fees for using others sites.

I don’t mine consignment sales. I just keep good records and get a signature, just like the owner would with any other vendor delivering goods. Sometimes, I’ve had to tap dance to get them to consider the headache of dealing with me (records), but it’s easy to push the fact they carry no risk of having to buy something in hopes it will sell. I filled an entire Waterbed store back in the day. Worked great for me and them.

One of the headaches of consignment is the add-on pricing. Stores want to add their percent to your price. That’s fine, IF they do not subtract their share from the retail, dipping into your share.

To solve that, I just go with the “let’s take your 25%/30%/50% off the retail route. To get to the retail, just divide your percentage of the sale into your wholesale.

REMEMBER, test calculators before relying on them to do this. I got into it with some self professed match guru who ridiculed me for claiming I knew of a glitch in many calculators (he showed himself to be no less a part time idiot than the rest of us). A simple test, at the store shows many cannot perform this SIMPLE function:

1) Divide the price you need (wholesale) by your percent. This gives you the retail price.

2) To proof the results, enter the retail amount and subtract the stores percent. This should give you your wholesale, but not all calculators hanging on the stores shelf will.

View Rich's profile

Rich

2963 posts in 612 days


#10 posted 01-25-2018 09:16 PM


personally – I would pick a few of your best pieces, build a shipping box for each one,

- John Smith

Why would you build a shipping box? Large, flat packages are already expensive to ship, so why add the materials and labor to build a shipping box that will only wind up making it more expensive to ship than the artwork alone?

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

990 posts in 185 days


#11 posted 01-25-2018 10:33 PM

Rich said: “why add the materials and labor to build a shipping box that will only wind up making
it more expensive to ship than the artwork alone?”

my answer to that is this:
then that is not very expensive artwork and it is very okay to ship it in a cardboard box.
I guess my statement of wooden boxes for shipping comes from my mindset that I do not
make cheap stuff. if you make cheap stuff, then by all means, use cheap shipping methods.
your shop = your call (on everything).
if a carrier can find a way to drop a crow bar through it – they will…...

when I was shipping expensive items, they were usually outside of the standard cardboard box size.
and when you ship a “one of a kind” expensive item, it is not so easy to just go get another one
for replacement if one has been damaged. even though it was insured.
Rich – I am quite sure that it will only take you only five minutes to zip some 1×4 together and screw
some luan door skins to it to make a box and it will not be as heavy as you imagine ….....
my customers knew the packaging and shipping charges and method of shipping prior to placing the deposit.
totally up to the artist/fabricator of how he wants to ship and how much he values his work.
overkill ?? possibly. can art still be damaged in a wooden box ? yes, of course it can.
please forgive me if I am a little overly cautious…... after losing a few pieces to the shipping industry,
I will take that extra step of prevention, if I think it is prudent. if someone is going to argue or balk over
shipping expenses compared to the cost of the item, I will normally just pass on the job. When my business
was strictly internet based, everything I sold was shipped. and yes, some were in the standard cardboard box.
but there was usually a piece of 1/4” plywood on each side of the item inside the box.
after having 2 boxes lost by Greyhound, I stopped that nonsense and only used UPS or FedEx.
bottom line is the value of what you made and sold will dictate the method of shipment = your call.

I would hate to hear that the OP, LyubomyrS, made a fantastically carved eagle and got a lot of money
for it and he shipped it in a cardboard box and it got damaged beyond repair in shipment solely because
he is new to shipping and had no idea of how to ship expensive items.

here is one of the items I shipped for a customer:

and as you can see, this particular box went to the Naval Air Facility (NAF) Atsugi, Japan.
my customer base had no size limitations or geographic boundaries.
and a big shout-out for the internet based small business owners.

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

990 posts in 185 days


#12 posted 01-25-2018 10:57 PM

Rich – the OP is working on this project as we speak. if he sells it online to someone across the country,
(or even outside the country, for that matter) he must figure out how to package, box and ship it.
please toss in your suggestion as how he should pack and ship it. (and pretend you are taking full
responsibility for any damages that may occur in shipment).

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

View Rich's profile

Rich

2963 posts in 612 days


#13 posted 01-26-2018 01:19 AM


Rich – the OP is working on this project as we speak. if he sells it online to someone across the country,
(or even outside the country, for that matter) he must figure out how to package, box and ship it.
please toss in your suggestion as how he should pack and ship it. (and pretend you are taking full
responsibility for any damages that may occur in shipment).

- John Smith

Such drama. What’s with the “pretend you are taking full responsibility” nonsense? Do you take full responsibility for all of the advice you offer on here? Fortunately, neither of us has to take responsibility for the OP’s packages being delivered safely. Know why? There’s this thing called insurance that adds just a few dollars to the cost of a package. I ship things all over the country in cardboard boxes — indeed, millions of packages are shipped safely every day in cardboard boxes. Some are expensive, fragile items at that. Major shippers are Six Sigma operations. They don’t stay in business by messing up people’s packages.

I asked why he would spend time and money to package something in a way that will unnecessarily add to the cost. It doesn’t sound like the OP has a lot if money coming in. If he can sell them for enough to justify his hard work and the added expense of that crate and the shipping costs it will add, that’s great. Otherwise, why spend time and money where it isn’t necessary? Spend it on more product, better marketing strategies — things that will add to your sales, not your expenses.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View Rich's profile

Rich

2963 posts in 612 days


#14 posted 01-26-2018 01:30 AM

Back to the OP. Speaking of boxes, have you considered applying your skill to objects, rather than art pieces? There are companies that sell quality boxes, unfinished and ready for your carving and painting. I’d be much more likely to purchase a beautiful item like that than something to hang on my wall.

Want a niche that might take off on a site like Etsy or Thumbtack? Pet urns. You can buy a plain unfinished wooden pet urn online and have the buyer send you a picture of their pet they’d like you to carve and paint on it. Another possibility — gift boxes. You can buy plain, unfinished wooden wine boxes and adorn them with all sorts of your work. Look for sites selling unfinished wooden boxes and see all of the different products they offer. The possibilities are really endless. Just use your imagination.

-- Half of what we read or hear about finishing is right. We just don’t know which half! — Bob Flexner

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

990 posts in 185 days


#15 posted 01-26-2018 01:50 AM

bantering aside – Rich has some pretty good ideas that fit your skill level and interests.
most of everything he suggested would fit in a USPS Flat Rate Box.
then the whole world becomes your customer base.

best of luck in your endeavors !!!

.

-- Graduated Valedictorian from the University of HardKnocks --

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