How to Price Art | Free Artwork Pricing Table Download

The artwork pricing challenge

When you’re starting to sell your artwork, it can be really hard to know what to charge. There is no hard and fast rule but having a pricing formula will help you set a consistent price.

How to calculate a pricing formula

Many artists use a square inch formula, others use a linear inch formula. Here’s how to calculate each.

Calculate the square inch by multiplying the height x width, then multiplying the total by the rate.

height × width × rate = price

 

Calculate the linear inch by adding the height + width, then multiply the total by the rate.

height + width × rate = price

Why I use the linear inch formula

There is no right or wrong formula. Many artists use a square inch pricing structure but I like the linear inch formula. The reason for this is that with a square inch pricing formula there’s a dramatic jump from smaller to larger paintings, a linear inch pricing structure results in a more gradual price increase.

My Artwork Pricing Spreadsheet

Rate

At the top of my spreadsheet is the rate. This amount is multiplied by the linear inch for the total in column 8. Changing this rate will change all the prices throughout the table. Note: The suggested rate in the download file is not the rate I currently use.

The Columns

  1. Title: In the first column of my spreadsheet, I start with the title of the painting. Each painting, even if they are the same size, may be different when I get to the finished price.
  2. Medium: My work is either encaustic on panel or encaustic monotypes on Japanese Paper. These I priced differently. Paintings on paper tend to sell for less than paintings on panel.
  3. The Year:  Pieces created earlier may have a lower price than recent work.
  4. Depth: Is the work on Gallery depth or on a Regular depth panel
  5. Height:
  6. Width:
  7. Linear Inch formula: is calculated
  8. Total: Linear Inch x Rate is calculated
  9. Cost of Frame: Some paintings aren’t framed and some have more expensive frames than others. I want to recoup this expense when I sell my work.
  10. Panel and Materials: Make sure that you’re factoring in the cost of your supplies when you figure out your pricing structure. Here I include the cost of the panel and I may add an extra materials charge if, for instance, this is an accretion piece using a lot of encaustic medium.
  11. Total: This column totals columns 8-10
  12. Rounded Total: Here I enter in the Price rounding up or down to a nice number.

Artwork Pricing Tips

1. Give yourself room for Growth

Emerging artists will price their art at more affordable rates, while established artists can expect to command higher rates. Your pricing gets to change over time but start lower and if you’re getting consistent sales, increase your prices. If you start off too high, you’ll be tempted to lower your prices and that will alienate collectors who paid the higher price.

“It’s always a better business move to raise your prices than to lower them, so leave yourself some room for growth.” source

2. But, don’t undercharge

If you aren’t covering the costs of your materials then you’re undercharging! The pricing table will help ensure that you’ve recouped your material costs.

This post by Alyson Stanfield Why You Should Raise the Prices of Your Art and How to Do It is worth reading.

“Artists who price their work too low are making things difficult for other artists who are pricing their work appropriately for the market and who need to make a living from sales.”

 

3. And, don’t undercut the Gallery

Don’t offer one price to direct sales and another price through a gallery. I’ve overheard artists at art openings telling their collectors to wait till after the show to buy directly from them. Galleries work hard promoting their artists and organizing and hanging shows – the percentage they take is well earned. My price is my price no matter where I’m selling.

4. Don’t apologize for your price

Kick your inner critic off your shoulder and state your rate! When you arrive at your price – be confident.

Add your thoughts

This is just one artist’s opinion. I would love to hear from you — what’s your formula? Do you have any tips? Please chime in with comments below.

 

About Ruth Maude

I enjoy experimenting with a variety of encaustic materials, techniques and tools. Everything I learn pushes my creative journey in new directions. I share what I've learned with other artists through my blog All Things Encaustic.

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How to Price Art | Free Artwork Pricing Table Download

12 thoughts on “How to Price Art | Free Artwork Pricing Table Download


  1. I downloaded your spreadsheet and love it. However the rate with which you start with really is the driving force on your final price and you do not talk about this rate. So my question is how do I set that rate? Just saying lower for starting artists is not helpful. Giving a range for starting artists one for more experienced and one for professional 30+ years and well known artists would be more helpful.


    1. Hi Pat,

      Thanks for your comment but I’m really not comfortable telling artists what their rate should be. I would personally think that $8-$10 would be a good starting rate for encaustic on panel but you will need to look at other artists in your area and price your work to be competitive for your local market. Also, not all encaustic art will be priced the same. Photo encaustic, encaustic mixed media, abstract encaustic paintings, encaustic sculpture, and encaustic monoprints on paper will be priced differently from each other.


  2. Is there a way to find out what artists are charging for various media types? I don’t know any encaustic artists……there are very few where I live and certainly no encaustic shows here. I don’t think the entire state has ever had an encaustic show and I live a long way from Santa Fe. Your article was somewhat informative but a formula doesn’t do any good without some more concrete figures, or at least a way to find out about them.
    I’m also curious about why this download isn’t printable……I have to get a notebook and write down the information if I want to remember it. The info provided is usable but certainly nothing in it is secret knowledge.


    1. If you click the button “Download My Artwork Pricing Spreadsheet” you will be able to download my Excel spreadsheet file. You can open it and enter your own information in the columns and you can print it.

      Check out some of the Encaustic Facebook groups – there are many, there you may be able to connect with other artists working in encaustic. Here in Toronto, there’s a lot of encaustic work. One show I was in this Summer had 7 different artists showing encaustic work! That’s great that you have the advantage of being unique in your market.


  3. What a great tool and blog. Thank you for sharing. I never really considered selling my work, but being a spreadsheet and list-making junkie, I see a spreadsheet in my future!


    1. You’re welcome. For when you reach the point where you have more art than wall space and decide it is time to start selling 🙂


  4. Thanks Ruth,
    I hadn’t even considered a Linear Inch formula, it hadn’t dawned on me to do it that way. Now I wish I had, for two different salon/galleries shows (back to back) I just ended. I had one sale, lots of great feedback, but I feel certain with the first show, I might have sold something had I had lower prices. Now I’m unsure if starting over with lower prices will be a bad idea, would it appear flaky? I did the Square inch formula, and multiplied a ratio I felt was accurate for a beginning seller. In other words, at a price I would feel happy to see them go, rather than thinking… oh rats, I shouldn’t have sold that. But you’re right, the larger pieces felt over priced compared to the smaller ones. I’m going to recalculate everything and see how it feels, and definitely look at how much wax was used for each, and so on, what process, framed, etc.
    Thanks for your Blog, and all this information, and conversation about business practices. Much appreciated.


    1. Hi Susan, Thanks for commenting and congratulations on your shows and sale. It isn’t always a case that lower prices will result in a sale. It often just means that the collector who connects with the piece hasn’t seen it yet. I had one piece in a show this past Fall and everyone loved it. I got so much amazing feedback and I still can’t believe it didn’t sell. One thing I haven’t included in the table is the expense of show fees… I figure that is down to me not for the collector to pay but they do add up. Play with the table using the pricing from the one that did sell and see how that feels. Size isn’t the only consideration. Don’t worry about appearing flaky… you’re just starting out, give yourself permission to figure this out.


  5. Thank you for the valuable information and ‘artist friendly’ pricing table download. I’ve been a relatively successful artist for many years and have always priced my own pieces (large stone carvings) according to ‘market values’ at the time. Sculpture is difficult to price because of weight, variant stone, etc., etc. Now I’m painting more and have just recently began my journey with encaustics. I hope to have a show in the near future and the information from your blog is very helpful and I will use your pricing table and the linear method of calculation in the future. Cheers!

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