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pricing your time, skill, work

updated sun 4 feb 01


Marie Gibbons on sat 3 feb 01

lets face it - pricing sucks... no one likes to figure that part out.....
pricing for what time is worth... time ( not just your time, since many of us
come from different angles of 'our time worth') In my case, I quit my day
job almost 2 years ago... yes i have a working husband, but we do have a
family of 4 to take care of, and for 18 years i contributed a part time
salary to that pot... so, in quiting my job I had to really focus on how to
keep that income, smaller as it might be, but still a viable income to the
family. Also, I have always done my art to pay its own way, meaning that any
supplies etc. that i needed to buy HAD to come from sales of art. taking
from the family income was never an option.

After quitting the day job, I had to really be concious of the lose of that
hourly income... so that figure balanced against what the market will bear is
the way i price my work... the other factor is that my work stood up to the
quality of the hourly wage i needed to be asking for it... I take great pains
to assure that my work is finished well.... the bottoms, the insides, the
whole piece is given the same care, so that it can be looked at from any
angle and it is not sloppy anywhere, after all if i want to charge a good
price, i must provide a well finished piece.

My pricing strategy is based on being able to survive and contribute to my
family income.... I understand for some it isn't the same case, and in that
arena you may not price your time the same, what i would suggest is that you
look apart from your own liesure time then and think about the fair hourly
wage you expect to pay another for their services....if you are in need of a
plumber, or go get a haircut, don't you expect to pay a certain amount.....
will you go get a $7.00 haircut, or do you feel that getting what you pay for
you are more comfortable with a hairdresser who charges a bit more?

It all boils down to a decent wage for equal quality of work.... The problem
is when you are doing something 'on the side' and don't value it as your
lively hood you tend to price down.... but... if it were someone else that
you were getting this service from you would expect to pay more... Market
value is what we should all be looking at, in my opinion, of course being
confident that the value is based equally, on the quality, the item, etc....
in that way we are not then cutting each others throats in a price war....
there is nothing worse than seeing someone do good quality work as a 'hobby'
and price it based on the cost of materials and nothing more.... if that is
the way you want to do your work then don't sell it, give it away as gifts
and let the value stay where it should be, appreciated by the person as a
valuable item that was given as a gift of love. time is time, time needs to
be compensated.... compensation should be familiar between us all.... other
wise it makes us all look bad, the higher prices look like 'who do they think
they are' and the lower end is questioned as to 'what is wrong with this
piece, why is it so cheap' those two things blended together produces a
confused consumer.

To add to all this confusion and discussion of diff. galleries charging
different commissions, again in my opinion you should always be figuring your
price on the highest commission... I always price for a 50% commission... if
i happen to get a gallery that only charges 35% then i make a little more.
The reason for this is that your work should be consistant in price, it
shouldn't be in one gallery retailing for 100.00 and in another for 175.00.
That tends to piss of gallery owners and customers alike. There is nothing
worse than overhearing someone who has purchased one of your pieces see it in
another space for less money! It makes them feel 'taken'. Art is supposed
to increase in value.... when someone invests in your work they dont want to
come across it at a lesser value, they want to see your prices at least
staying the same, or even better increasing (and of course being in demand)

Personally... I fantasize about a barter industry... wouldn't it be wonderful
to be able to exchage work for needs... I need a new car, and you need some
art, lets work out a deal!

Marie Gibbons
Arvada, Colorado
sculpture in clay & mixed media
please visit my work, and sign the guestbook!

Marie Gibbons
Arvada, Colorado
sculpture in clay & mixed media
please visit my work, and sign the guestbook!