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Are you planning to raise your prices in the new year?


(J M Needham) #1

I know that some artists routinely raise their prices each year by a small amount, usually in January. Is anyone here planning to do that- and if so, how much are you planning to raise them? Is there some ‘set amount of success’ that determines whether you raise them or not?

I’ve been on DPW for a little over a year now. I felt like such a silly, inexperienced kid when I began, chasing an impossible dream. I was fairly sure that I’d not make a single sale, and I’d end up giving up. To my astonishment, I’ve now got 50 red dots in my gallery! Add to that a few off-the-easel sales, commissions though another site, and regular little sales through my Redbubble shop, and I’m pretty pleased with my first year.

My plan for 2017 is to continue working to improve my skills, enter some competitions, and try to get into a few local exhibitions. But in order to do that, I need to cover entry fees- even if it’s only £10 here and there, it’s a new expense I’ve got to plan for.

I’d really appreciate the advice of more experienced artists where raising prices is concerned. I don’t want to scare my buyers away, but even a small raise might make a massive difference for me, in terms of what I can afford to enter. And if you guys have time, take a look at my gallery and see if you think I’d be justified in raising my prices slightly!


(Christine Derrick) #2

With 50 sales in one year, I don’t think you need any advice from me…it’s far more than I ever achieved in five years, let alone one.
However, I think your paintings are too cheap. $20 today is around £15 sterling. Even allowing for the fact that a buyer will have to get a frame for it, it’s still bargain basement for an original painting. You’ve got some nice little pieces there.
Your work obviously attracts buyers, if you keep your prices very low, you’ll get a name for low-priced work so a “lift” is really needed every so often.
I have put mine up a little bit; a few dollars. But I never manage to sell much, so I don’t overdo the pricing.


(Sunny Avocado) #3

Hi @jmneedham , I wanted to go check your gallery as you’ve asked but noticed your link isn’t on your profile. When it is, I can hover over your name and follow the link to your gallery. I’m not just lazy! :grin: Thought I would share this link to help you help others more easily follow to your gallery.


(J M Needham) #4

@microdaisy Thank you for your reply! When I joined the site, the majority were selling paintings at $10, $15, $20. It seemed like the artists commanding higher prices were involved with galleries, had won awards, ran workshops etc so they already had a following. However now, a lot of those lower-priced artists have disappeared- maybe the slump in sales drove them away. I guess a lot of them were hobbyists who didn’t really need the money- it certainly skewed my perspective on what ‘standard’ prices were, because here I was worried I was kind of expensive! It doesn’t help that I live in a town with very few galleries- the ones we do have are really for retired hobbyists to sell their work, so the prices are far below what serious artists would charge… 8x10" stretched canvases for £20, etc.

I’ll definitely raise my prices, then… now I just have to figure out how much to raise them!

@savocado I forgot all about it because I’m usually in the main section of the site, rather than the forum, and I never noticed there was a separate profile page here! Oops. Thanks for the help- I’ve added some links on my profile now.


(Christine Derrick) #5

A recent local exhibition near me displayed clearly a notable gap between the serious artists and the hobbyists…some of us were offering framed work at £60 to £120, while the dabblers were all under £30…and some of their work was larger than ours! (in dollars, read say $80 to $160 or so).
Years back I was shouted at in a forum for having low prices, so although at the time I wasn’t overly confident in my work, I put the prices up. It’s like saying “I value my work quite highly, so this is the price”…even though I have won no awards, am not in a gallery and no-one knows me from Adam (or Eve, to be more precise).:grin:
Can’t suggest what you should put your prices up to, it’s a very personal thing and I had difficulty…still do, really. But you gotta be more than £15! :relaxed:


(J M Needham) #6

Well, after a lot of sorting through DPW listings, digging through notes from exhibitions I’ve visited, and lots of playing with numbers, I think I have a new pricing structure thought out. I’ve posted an announcement on my Facebook and Blogger pages to let people know I’ll be raising prices in the new year; maybe the idea of ‘getting in before the price goes up’ will tempt a few into buying, who knows? In any case they shouldn’t feel shocked or offended when they return to my gallery in January and see higher prices. And I have a couple weeks to make sure I’m certain of my prices before I make them public.

I’ve read that you should expect a slump in sales if you raise your prices, as you’re leaving one market (bargain hunters) and entering another (more serious art collectors) so I’m bracing myself. But I do have to bite the bullet sometime. And from the look of recent forum threads, it seems like sales have dropped off in general these past few months (certainly looks that way from the Active Bids page) so now may be as good a time as any!

If any others want to jump in and add their thoughts on pricing and raising prices, I’d be very grateful to hear them! How do you define ‘reasonable’ pricing for original paintings? Where do you draw that line between modest and ‘too cheap’? I know, there are hundreds of discussions about pricing on every artist forum- but it is an essential part of our business, and I always find it interesting and informative to hear other people’s opinions on the subject!


(Sunny Avocado) #7

I think one of the most important things as you bring your prices up, for me anyway, has been culling out work I was just not as happy with or older work that I have outgrown. If I took all of that out though, I’d have very few pieces in my DPW gallery. I felt better about what was on there though…


(Elizabeth See) #8

Yes, You absolutely need to raise your prices. Go through and remove about 20 percent of your paintings that you like the least. Take the top 20 percent that you like the most and triple the price of those paintings and then double the prices of the remaining paintings . People will not take you seriously if your paintings are priced so low. They will think that there must be something the matter with them. they are great. Rock on!


(Theresa Taylor Bayer) #9

Beautiful work, yes, yes, yes, do raise your prices. Look at comparable work and see how much they charge, and yes, you can get that, too. It’s nice to slow down and sell fewer works but make the same money. Then you have the time to spend on really doing your best with each painting. After you’ve raised prices then you can do it again next year. BTW the late Robert Genn had some good articles about pricing on his website, painterskeys.com. That website is still in operation; his daughter now runs it.


(Theresa Taylor Bayer) #10

This is great advice – thanks!


(Irina Beskina) #11

It’s really interesting how raising prices will work for you, and I would appreciate your updates regarding the issue sometime later next year. I’m also one of those who set their prices pretty low, and my reasons for that are quite simple: many artists say they feel bad about selling their art cheaply, but I feel much worse when my paintings sit in the boxes for years gathering dust. I really do prefer to know (or at least to hope) that someone enjoys having them in his/her home, and the fact that they didn’t have to pay millions for the pleasure doesn’t really bug me. In addition to this I don’t do anything at all on the marketing end, as what I like about painting is the process itself; writing blogs, sending out ads, etc. is not my cup of tea, and I simply don’t want to spend my time and effort on that. My low prices are my payback for the pleasure of not doing what I don’t want to do. With all the above I still think from time to time about raising prices a bit, so I would really appreciate your feedback about how it worked for you!


(J M Needham) #12

@elizabeth_see Thank you so much for your reply. I will definitely have a clean up of my gallery, and look at doubling prices. I spent a long time looking through the Landscape and Still Life categories last night, noting what other artists were charging for small works… Doubling doesn’t seem unreasonable, as there are quite a few artists selling them at around $40+. Tripling is a pretty big jump, so I will have to spend a little time pondering whether I have the guts to do that! I can always push prices up further if the success keeps up next year, after all.

@tbarts I checked out painterskeys last night after reading your reply- I think I spent two hours at least reading articles on all aspects of art. What a fascinating site! Thanks so much for mentioning it. And thanks for your vote of confidence! It would be nice to have a bit more time to focus on each work- especially on doing some larger works for other venues.

@irinab Thanks for your reply! I’ll definitely come back some time next year and let everyone know how I get on- hopefully it will be a postive post! I totally understand your reasoning behind your prices, and I definitely understand not enjoying marketing. I have a few accounts on social media sites that I use. Some I find quite easy to keep up with. Others, I hate (Facebook, I’m looking at you…) But I know that I have had sales because of them, so I put up with it. My least favourite thing is writing any kind of promotional material, artist statement, emailing potential venues for sales. I’m terrified of sounding arrogant or pretentious, so I get really flustered trying to figure out what to say. But I do want to try to make a serious career of art, so I’ll keep struggling through it!

Thank you again to everyone who’s replied… It’s great to read your thoughts, and I really appreciate the advice!


(Jim Moyer) #13

I have a brick and morter gallery. Half the busness in town burned down so visitors have decreased dramatically. The plan now is to start putting those pieces on-line and will have to see what the market will do.

I have been in the art business for over 50 years and pricing has always been a challenge. I figure I can entertain an offer but never had an offer for more than I was asking.

Looks like your plan is workable


(Olga Touboltseva-Lefort) #14

@irinab It seems we are feeling and doing the same way, Irina.
@jmneedham At my opinion, pricing our own art is very personal question and it is difficult to suggest the best way how to deal with it to any of us. Same for price increase. If you are feeling like you are not satisfied with your prices it is better to give you a try, raise them and see the buyers response. You can make a “sale” later if you put too high.
I made some arithmetiques…just for fun. Here on DPW the price range is going from 1$ to more than 4000 $… but about 50% of all available works are under 100$ (about 6% are offered for less than 25$, 16% between 26$ and 50$ and 25% between 51$ and 100$). Plus other 17% under 200$. Obviously, it is affordable art and I think it is the spirit of this site. About 2-3 % of available paintings were sold in November (based on “what’s selling”) but we do not know at what price range, probably in majority at very affordable.
What I never forget when I decide my prices:

  1. On this site I am one of more than 1500 other artists and buyers have a choice between more than 88000 other paintings available here… this is a huge offer!
  2. Buyers are looking for affordable prices BUT/AND they are still buying the pieces they like. In other words, they will buy the best match on the given moment between “Wahoo, what a beautiful painting, I want it!” And “let see if I can afford it!”. Exactly as we do ourselves for other purchases.
    3)We are selling here a small works that we are doing to keep sticking on painting and impove our skills, isn’t it? We have to find oulselves the golden middle way between our work effort and price we are ready to give it away and feel happy. Hoping that our “golden middle way” will match someone’s “wish to buy”.

(J M Needham) #15

Well, you asked me to let you know how things went with the price raise. I hung on a while, hoping I’d have something positive to report. But at this point I can’t put if off any more…

I’ve sold ONE painting on DPW this year, back in April. Of course, most people are experiencing a drop in sales, but I sold around fifty paintings in 2016… To drop down to one in 2017 is an awful feeling. It’s humiliating. Luckily I’ve been doing drawing commissions in between college work, which just about pays for my DPW membership, but I’m really scraping by. This is with me advertising on multiple websites, doing local exhibitions… though I had to turn down a few really good opportunities to exhibit this summer, as I could no longer afford the entry fees! And they’re not expensive, we’re talking £15, £20.

A bitter little voice in my head suggests my paintings are only worth $20 and I was stupid to think otherwise. Maybe the people who suggested I raise them were just being nice! I feel like people must be laughing at me, thinking I’m a dumb, selfish kid. Should I admit defeat and drop my prices now? Or do I just need to be patient (and hope that the magical money fairy comes to pay my website renewal fee? Haha, if only.)

Seriously, though, I’m thinking about holding some kind of sale next month… offer things at lower prices for a bit and see if anyone bites. After all, things can’t get any worse from here, can they?


(Irina Beskina) #16

I was one of those who asked to share your experience, and I want to thank you for your update even though it sounds really sad. I know the feeling of humiliation when you don’t get a singe sale in months, but in my - rather limited - experience it all goes in waves. You may have a few dry months and then suddenly sell a whole bunch, so - whatever you decide to do about your prices - just don’t give up. As to the pricing strategies, I have no advice to give, as I still keep my prices in a pretty low range, but here are a few things I noticed during my couple of years on DPW. First of all, it seems to me that success never comes quickly. There might be a few lucky exceptions there, but generally it looks like it takes years and years to develop a large following. Secondly, it might make sense to raise prices gradually - at least that what I heard from other artists who started selling cheap and now set their prices relatively high. One more thing I’m not quite sure about, but still - it seems to me that most of the artists who regularly sell small daily paintings at around $100 or so do much more than just painting and advertising on multiple websites/social networks: apart from that they regularly run some workshops (and I guess their students might be their potential buyers), publish some tutorials, write and sell books etc. Another thing that might affect sales on this site and that doesn’t have anything to do with any individual artists is that art market might be over saturated with daily paintings by now, and those who started selling daily pieces lately have slimmer chances to get as many collectors as “pioneers” of the daily painting movement. This last one sounds a bit sad to me too, as I really like doing daily paintings, and this painting style fits perfectly in my schedule as I have a full time job which leaves only a couple of hours in the evening to paint, but still, if selling art is the main goal then it’s probably a good idea not to concentrate on daily paintings exclusively, but explore other styles as well.

Again, the notes above are just my own observations, and hopefully other artists that put their prices relatively high and sell successfully will share their thoughts here. Meanwhile having some kind of a sale for a month seems to be a good idea: a sale doesn’t mean dropping your prices permanently, but might show you possible options in pricing strategy.

I hope that things will work out for you!


(J M Needham) #17

Thanks for your reply!

It’s exhausting trying to figure out what the best strategy is, you can spend all your time debating it instead of painting… Set your prices low, and people suggest you raise them; set them higher, and people suggest you lower them. I’d been planning to raise gradually, but then I got several replies which made me feel a bit guilty that I was undercutting other artists so much. And now here I am… -sigh-

I do realise the established artists have more than just social media on their side… I don’t expect to be selling the way that they do! Just, you know, one small painting every month or so would be nice, so I’m not losing money. Obviously things like books and workshops are not options I can take, so I do the best that I can.

Luckily daily paintings aren’t the only kind of art I sell, but the drawing commissions I do are very low-priced. I have my Redbubble shop, but that doesn’t make much… I got a mighty 8p from it for September! I’m hoping I’ll get a Christmas rush there, like I did last year. I’d love to do more exhibitions, but as previously mentioned, entry costs are my problem right now. I’m always looking for new opportunities, if anyone has any other ideas they’re welcome… Of course, I’m doing this all around getting my degree, so time is slightly more limited than I’d like, but I keep trying!

Well, I’ve gone ahead and made my sale, and already one painting has gone, so that’s good. I can afford my membership this month- hallelujah! Now I just a reasonable month so I can renew my main website in November… Fingers crossed…!