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How to price artwork and creative services to feel amazing

By Jessica Craddock

Mar 15

My two favorite questions to ask new clients / potential clients / anyone and everyone and their mom are:

  • 1
    What do you want? 
  • 2
    Why don't you have it yet?

I'm a problem solver at heart, and nothing makes me happier than helping you get what you want.

Not knowing how to reach your income goals is one of the most common problems I run across, right behind not knowing how to create consistent income.

And to be honest, I'm not surprised. These creative souls say things like:

"I looked at other people who are "making it" and priced my work like theirs."
  • 'Making it' can mean SO many different things. If they have a huge audience, they may or may not be making a lot of money. Audience size isn't always relevant. Knowing how to attract, nurture, and sell to even small numbers of people at prices that help you reach your goals is the important thing.
  • Once you pass the $100k mark, the game might change somewhat. At this point, if you can't scale your current business model any further, you may choose to spend more time growing your audience and having a more accessible price point for different budgets. This might look like prints or bite-sized offers. But you don't want to get stuck in the minimum wage trap, so don't focus on low-profit items until you know how to bring in significant and consistent income.
"I've never sold anything higher than $800."
  • Great! Let's play with challenging that. If you don't offer a higher price point, they can't buy a higher price point. If you bury your high prices on your website and don't talk about them out of fear of judgment or that no one will buy, they won't!
"My audience doesn't have the budget."
  • There are always individuals in your audience who DO have the budget. They may not have decided to buy your work, yet, but this is an opportunity to continue increasing your marketing and selling skills.
"I'm scared I won't sell as much if I raise my prices."
  • You might sell less, or you might sell the same number, or you might sell more. Or you might sell them later in a different way. Or you might sell nothing but get some custom requests that you love as a result. There are infinite possibilities here. Let's not shut down your chance to get what you want by focusing on just one.
  • What this thought comes down to is your ego. If you usually sell 10 pieces for $200, would you be upset if you sold ONLY ONE piece for $2000? I would tell say, AWESOME! You made the same amount of money, you now have inventory to play with, your time for money just went way up, and you only have to pack and ship one piece. Hallelujah!

So now that we've got those objections out of the way, let's open your mind to some practical and energetic strategies to increase your prices.

1. One quarter at a time

Don't worry about figuring out your forever pricing -- such a thing doesn't exist. All you have to worry about is your 'right now' pricing. 

What are your money goals?

Get clear! Don't just pick a number out of the sky -- find one you can get grounded in by knowing where your dollars are going. 

Have enough inventory and/or time to deliver to meet your goals

Compare your number to what you are selling that quarter. If your goal is $9768, but you will only have $5000 worth to sell, you're short, and either:

  •  
    your prices must go up
  •  
    you need more art to sell or more time carved out to deliver a service
  •  
    you need to lower your goal for now (<-- last, last resort)
Set yourself up for success even if you don't sell out
I'd recommend having at least 125 - 150% of your goal in inventory. (That comes out to $12,000-15,000 available for purchase if your goal is $9768.) 

Don't assume you'll sell out everything. Set yourself up for success to meet or even exceed your goals.

2. Three-tier pricing

Instead of the more traditional pricing methods like 'price per square inch', consider creating this three-tier pricing guideline.

There's no hard and fast rules here, but I use this guide as a place to start and edit it as needed:

Have 1-3 'signature' pieces
These are your grand vision - your creme de la creme. Whether or not you expect them to sell online is irrelevant. They set the stage for the look and pricing of the rest of your collection and give you room to be delighted in your final sales number. This will look like the most luxurious, exciting, creative thing you want to deliver if you are selling a service.

The price on these should equal your entire sales goal for the quarter.  If we use the $9768 goal, and you have two of these, they would be $5000 each.
Have 5-10 middle-sized pieces
These are the pieces you most want to sell.... aka your goldilocks pieces: where the price is not too high, but also not the least expensive available. If you're working on increasing your prices, these could be equivalent to the highest price you've ever sold before this collection. 

The price on these should also equal at least your sales goal for the quarter. If we use the $9768 goal, and you have eight of these, they would be approximately $1200 each.
Have around 10 small-sized pieces
These pieces are meant to satiate that need most of us have for 'affordable' artwork, while also soothing the scariness of increasing your prices. 

Option 1: Price these at 25-50% of your middle-priced piece.

If your middle price is $1200, your small size would be priced between $300-600.

Option 2: If you have a much greater number of small pieces than medium pieces, divide your goal by the number of small pieces.

If we use the $9768 goal, and you have ten of these, they would be approximately $1000 each. 


Using this example, there isn't enough price difference between the small and medium so it's not quite as effective to use option 2. Check in with your gut after you look at these guidelines to see where you need to adjust. Add everything back up and make sure the math works!

This month in Consistent Income, two of my ten girls sold their highest-priced original pieces ever using this pricing method -- one for $2500 and one for $1600 (alongside the other sales they made!) Not too shabby, eh??

If you're wanting to raise your prices and create consistent income, we need to chat about the next round and see if it's a fit for you! Book a call with me here.

About the Author

I teach intuitive artist entrepreneurs practical and energetic strategies to create consistent income and life balance.

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