Costing and Pricing work

December 3, 2006

I spent a great day yesterday with a group of Artists in County Tipperary. I was running a workshop on “costing and pricing your work” but that was only a ruse for the real learning which, of course, took place between the participants. I think we had some fun (I certainly did) and I think there were some shocks for people – particularly when we did some actual calculations of how much it costs to make work – most people came expecting the secret code to pricing not having given too much thought to what they are spending (visible and hidden) to create their art.
But what I was left with after the day was the overwhelming self doubt that plagues people who put themselves out in the world with work that is so personal. This isn’t unique to artists, it’s something that anyone who is self employed faces at some point in their career. One of the issues that arose yesterday was – how can I expect someone else to have confidence in my work if I don’t have it? We spend so much time wanting external affirmation about what we do and if we don’t have a strong sense of our own value then others’ opinions of us can either inflate or inflate our sense of self and we’re left powerless to have any impact.

2 People reacted on this

  1. Donagh, Price isn’t a function of cost but it’s relational to it from the perspective of the maker. I agree that you shouldn’t punish the customer for the angst of making your product but if you don’t know how much it costs to make something you are missing a criticical piece of information in terms of pricing. If you choose to “sell” your work below cost value (which most artists do) then making up the deficit needs to be done elsewhere. Similarly many artists underprice their work because they only do a basic analysis and fail to take into account the ephemeral issues related to price – status of artist, originality, etc etc – it’s nothing to do with the customer and everything to do with the artist.

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