Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What to Charge?

One of the most difficult things for an artist is to sell their work. What to charge is always a predicament.
I learned from my years owning a construction company that nothing is simple and there are hundreds of hidden costs.  What, for instance, does Ten dollars an hour really cost?  For an employer taxes alone will add 40% to whatever wage so now we are at $14 an hour! But it doesn't stop there by a long shot. Next insurance companies want their cut, accountants always charge a fee and there is wear and tear on tools, and a cost involved in having a place to do business!  Most businesses would need to charge out, for a ten dollar an hour employee at least 25 dollars an hour and even then we still haven't talked about profit!
   Artists have a tendency to short change themselves and not take any of these things into consideration.  We forget about "research and development", what it cost to learn our trade, all of the mistakes we have made along the way and the fact that these errors also cost money.  So often I am asked how long it takes me to do something?  "Almost 65 years" is my standard answer and next year it will take a year longer!
   Even in retirement I can't work for free.  I still have all the expenses and it is always necessary to replenish an inventory and allow money necessary to maintain my tools.  Some of what I do any decent welder could do and there are sort of set acceptable fees for welding but a lot of what I do is of my own invention, my art if you will.  These projects you get them from me or you just don't get them.  That is the art to what I do and I charge an "artist's tax" for this.  It is not a consistent amount of money nor any type of percentage, but it is always there even if I have to pay it myself!
   Once in awhile I will run across a job that is just screaming to be done.  A challenge maybe or an opportunity for perfection in place, something that just has to be done.  Something I just can't resist.  When that happens my first desire is for my client to foot the bill of course.  It will after all be his when it is done, but if that is impossible I have been known to subsidize the job myself.  If truth be told the art is always mine even if the location isn't.
You can always find me HERE


Barbra Joan said...

What to charge for art. That has been an ongoing question that I think every artist asks themselves.
I still ask myself .. I still don't have the answer... You've given me your thoughts on it.
We put so much into a piece, but you really can't think of that when pricing...some artists go by size, some by hours. I've seen the worst with high prices, the best with low prices, but then again who am I to judge? Why don't we just let the government do it? BJ

stonepost said...

HAhaha, Barbra, like "I'm from the government and I am here to help you!" that would be pretty scary!

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Constance Stanza Extravaganza Extraordinaire said...

Here is something special for you Jerry, I think it is really awesome :-)

AutumnLeaves said...

Well said words and thoughts, Jerry. I don't sell my art (except a couple of incidences when 100% went to a charity) because I fear it isn't good enough. I know that I for one would love a couple of those stone posts myself. If we can buy our house next January, I am really going to have to ask you about this. I want to fence our small yard but it will need a gate for sure.