Pricing your work – consistency matters

Pricing your work is never easy, but once you have settled on a price structure that works for you it is all too easy for prices to start to vary depending on where your work is being advertised or shown. Websites – your own, the on-line galleries where your work is available, and more particularly the bricks and mortar galleries who have agreed to show your work – mean that your prices are very visible to buyers as they browse.

Maintaining a consistent price across all your work is very important and making sure that anyone showing your work sticks to that price is important also:

  • The price on the wall in a gallery should be the same as the price on your one website
  • The price offered on (say) Saatchi should be the same as everywhere else
  • The price offered at an open exhibition of Art Fair should be the same …

You get the idea!

“Yes I know it’s more expensive – it’s twice the size of the last one you bought!!”

You should insist that any gallery that sells your work sticks to your prices or at least involves you in any discussion about changing your prices so that you can apply any changes wherever else you need to.  Of course, there is nothing stopping you from making a special price for visitors to your studio or for collectors who are repeat buyers in private transactions.  But what you need first of all is a pricing system.

I use an Excel spreadsheet for this – it is very simple and easy to create. The first column is the height of the artwork and the second is the width.  Height times width will give you the area of the artwork and this goes into the next column. I then sort by area so that the largest comes first.

I add another column for the prices and give this column the title ‘Year’.  This is not an exact science since a small work could take almost as long as a larger one, so you need to adjust the pricing carefully, but overall I find it massively helpful to use as a starting point. If you work in different mediums it might be a good idea to make another spread sheet for each medium as drawings, for example, usually command lower prices than paintings.  Title all the spreadsheets and keep them in a folder on your desk top where you keep all your art business info.  Now you can review your pricing every year.

Also, if you are using Artlook, having the prices ready to hand when you are entering up new work saves a lot of time!


About Sarah

Sarah Wimperis is a professional artist and illustrator and also works for Artlook in Client Support and as our Artist Ambassador. Sarah's Artlook website is here.